Republicans win it all

For the last six years we’ve had a divided government. President elect Trump will be taking office with Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate. That will give him, and Republican Congressional leadership, the ability to move legislation in a way that we haven’t seen since the first two years of President Obama’s… Read More

October 2016 Pension Finance Update

October was a down month for investors, but pension sponsors were able to tread water, as the impact of higher interest rates on pension liabilities offset asset losses. Both model pension plans we track1 saw basically flat results on the month. Through October, Plan A is down almost 5% and the more conservative Plan B… Read More

DOL releases FAQs on the Best Interest Contract Exemption

On October 27, 2016, the Department of Labor released answers to 34 “Frequently Asked Questions,” providing additional guidance on application of the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BIC) and certain other exemptions released in connection with its new Conflict of Interest rule. According to DOL, the new FAQs are part of a series that it expects… Read More

New York City Private Sector retirement plan proposal

The New York City Comptroller has proposed a program (the “New York City Nest Egg”) that would default every New York City worker into either a qualified plan or an IRA. The proposal is interesting in a number of respects. It’s the first private sector retirement program proposed by a “political subdivision” of a state… Read More

2017 Increases for Retirement Plans, Social Security

The Social Security Administration just announced benefit increases effective in 2017. Current retirees will receive a cost-of-living increase, beginning in January 2017, of 0.3%, reflecting the increase in CPI-W between the 3rd quarter of 2014 (which was higher than the 3rd quarter of 2015) and the 3rd quarter of 2016. In addition, the maximum amount… Read More

Update: stock drop litigation and inside information

“Stock drop” cases involve company stock held in a defined contribution plan that has lost significant value (hence, “drop”), in which the plaintiff argues that the plan’s fiduciaries had an obligation to sell plan stock, or at least discontinue buying it, before or during the “drop.” The Supreme Court, in its 2014 decision in Fifth… Read More

Current Outlook – October 2016

In this Current outlook we discuss three issues raised in the recent complaint filed against fiduciaries of the Northrop Grumman DC plan that are atypical of 401(k) fee litigation – reimbursement of sponsor direct expenses, use of a flat recordkeeping fee and Financial Engines payments. We then review the recent GAO report 401(K) PLANS: DOL… Read More

IRS Finalizes partial annuity regulation

On September 9, 2016 IRS published final regulations providing rules for “partial annuity distributions” in defined benefit plans, e.g., distribution of part of a participant’s benefit as a lump sum and part as an annuity. In this article we discuss the final regulation. Background Under current rules, the present value of any optional form of… Read More

Senate Finance Committee approves bipartisan retirement savings legislation

On September 21, 2016, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2016. The bill includes a number of provisions affecting both defined contribution and defined benefit plans. In this article, we begin with some background on the bill’s genesis and prospects and then focus on four of the more… Read More

September 2016 Pension Finance Update

Pensions enjoyed modest improvement in funded status last month, but remain underwater during 2016 through three quarters. Both model pension plans we track1 improved by less than 1% in September. For the year, Plan A is down 5% and the more conservative Plan B is down less than 1%: Assets Stocks mostly edged up in… Read More

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