ERISA Advisory Committee on Outsourcing Employee Benefit Plan Services

In a related article we discussed the ERISA Advisory Council’s (EAC) recommendations on Facilitating Lifetime Plan Participation. In this article we very briefly review and evaluate its findings and recommendations with respect to Outsourcing Employee Benefit Plan Services. (We recently discussed outsourcing issues in detail in our article Outsourcing of defined contribution plan fiduciary function.)… Read More

PBGC’s 2014 Annual Report

On November 17, 2014, the PBGC released its FY 2014 Annual Report (PBGC operates on a September 30 fiscal year). PBGC’s annual reports have in recent years, to some degree, become lobbying instruments, highlighting PBGC’s deficit and arguing for changes in PBGC’s premium structure. The size of the PBGC deficit, highlighted in the 2013 annual… Read More

Harris v. Amgen decided by Ninth Circuit

On October 30, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit handed down its decision in Harris v. Amgen, a ‘stock drop’ case. The decision came after the Ninth Circuit’s earlier (2013) decision in favor of participant-plaintiffs had been vacated and remanded by the Supreme Court for reconsideration in light of Fifth Third Bancorp et… Read More

Society of Actuaries releases updated mortality tables

On October 27, 2014, the Society of Actuaries published its (new) RP-2014 Mortality Tables and Mortality Improvement Scale MP-2014, related reports, and two documents responding to comments on its exposure draft from earlier this year. We will refer to this group of documents as the SOA Report. The base mortality tables/improvement scale are unchanged from… Read More

Tibble appeal to be heard by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the plaintiffs in Tibble v. Edison International, a 401(k) fee case. The Court will review only one issue: Whether a claim that ERISA plan fiduciaries breached their duty of prudence by offering higher-cost retail-class mutual funds to plan participants, even though identical lower-cost institution-class mutual… Read More

Deferred annuities in target date funds approved by IRS, DOL

On October 24, 2014, IRS released Notice 2014-66, providing guidance with respect to a program under which deferred annuities are included as “fixed income” investments in a target date fund (TDF). In connection with the Notice, the Department of Labor released a letter addressing certain fiduciary issues with respect to the program. In this article… Read More

Outsourcing of defined contribution plan fiduciary function

Sponsor outsourcing of fiduciary obligations is getting some attention. There is, of course, a broad, long-term outsourcing trend as firms continue to focus on core businesses and core competencies. With respect to defined contribution (DC) plans, the current trend towards the ‘institutionalization’ of investments (e.g., using more collective trusts, separate accounts and ‘white label’ funds),… Read More

Roth vs. ‘regular’ 401(k): the math

The Roth 401(k) contribution was introduced by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA). It was then (and has been since) largely a budget gimmick – a way to reduce the size of the ‘tax expenditure’ on retirement savings. Further ‘Rothification’ of Tax Code retirement savings provisions is currently being considered… Read More

2015 Increases for Retirement Plans, Social Security

The Social Security Administration recently announced benefit increases effective in 2014. Current retirees will receive a cost-of-living increase, beginning in January 2015, of 1.7%, reflecting the increase in CPI-W between the third quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of 2014. In addition, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax will increase… Read More

Information on brokerage windows requested by DOL

On August 20, 2014, the Department of Labor released a request for information (RFI) concerning brokerage windows in 401(k) plans. The RFI includes 39 questions covering definitional issues, plan offerings, participation, selection, information available to fiduciaries, costs, disclosure, the role of advisors, fiduciary duties and reporting. In this article we begin by reviewing the brokerage… Read More

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