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DOL issues RFI on disclosure and fiduciary issues with respect to “climate-related financial risks”

On February 14, 2022, the Department of Labor published a “Request for Information on Possible Agency Actions to Protect Life Savings and Pensions from Threats of Climate-Related Financial Risk.” Among other things, the RFI solicits comments on whether DOL should collect data on climate-related financial risk (CRFR) for retirement plans, whether certain guaranteed lifetime investment products (e.g., annuities) may mitigate/hedge CRFR and whether DOL should facilitate their inclusion in DC plans, and whether there is a need to educate participants (e.g., in participant directed DC plans) about CRFR.

De-risking in 2022 – Part 2 – the de-risking decision in the context of rising interest rates

many plans will use a 2021 August, September, October, November, or December lookback month to determine the interest rate to be used to value 2022 lump sums. For these plans, the increase in interest rates in 2022 will mean that 2022 lump sums will be valued at an interest rate that is lower than current market rates, generating a lump sum that is greater than the current market value of the associated liability.

De-risking in 2022 – Part 1

In this article, we provide our standard analysis of de-risking: how changes in interest rates and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums may affect sponsor decisions to de-risk (or not de-risk) defined benefit plan liabilities in 2022. For purposes of this article, we focus solely on de-risking by paying out a deferred vested participant’s benefit as a lump sum and thereby eliminating the related liability.

Outlook 2022 – The Retirement Policy agenda – Highlights

In this article, we briefly consider the 2022 retirement policy legislative, regulatory, and litigation agenda. Most of these issues are carryovers from 2021, and we have discussed them at length elsewhere. We are, therefore, going to keep our preview of 2022 brief, focusing on the “highlights,” and providing links to our prior, more comprehensive treatment.

Court grants Intel’s motion to dismiss in litigation challenging the use of “non-traditional assets” in a TDF

On January 8, 2022, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted defendant plan fiduciaries’ motion to dismiss in Anderson v. Intel, a case involving a challenge to Intel’s inclusion of non-traditional assets (including hedge funds, private equity, and commodities) in Intel’s 401(k) plan default target date fund (TDF). Plaintiffs argued… Read More

2021 Retirement Policy – A Year In Review

Throughout the year, we have followed the performance of the interest rate and securities markets, tracking their effect on retirement finance. As of mid-December, interest rates are up 30-40 basis points for plans with typical duration, and the S&P 500 is up 25% on the year.

DB Plan Terminations – Some Basics

The combination of higher interest rates and a strong stock market have significantly improved pension funding. For some sponsors looking to exit the DB system, this improvement in funding may put them in a position to consider plan termination. In this article we briefly review some of the key issues the project of terminating a plan presents.

Retirement Policy Update – November 2021

President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The new legislation (among many other things) extends 25-year average interest rate stabilization relief under ERISA’s DB plan minimum funding rules another five years.

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