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Retirement Plan Management

Agenda Now Available – 2017 Phoenix Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference

The election is over and one thing everyone can agree on is that we are entering an unprecedented season of change. Your employees and your executive board are looking to you for insights regarding what lies ahead. The 2017 Phoenix Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference provides an opportunity for you to connect with industry leaders, benefits experts and peers for up-to-date information so you can make the best decisions for your plans moving forward.

Final Rules for DB Minimum Required Contributions Issued

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued final regulations providing guidance on the determination of minimum required contributions for single-employer defined benefit (DB) plans, as well as final regulations regarding the excise tax for failure to satisfy the minimum funding requirements for defined benefit plans.  The regulations apply to plan years on or after January 1, 2016.

Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Benchmarks

According to Deloitte’s Annual Defined Contribution Benchmarking Survey for 2013-2014, efforts to make it easier for employees to save for retirement combined with a strengthening economy have stimulated 401(k) contribution rates and account balances.   This report provides an overview of the plan features, policies, objectives, and attitudes of the DC plan sponsors participating in the survey.

Ensuring Good Plan Governance

This short article by attorney firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP lists housekeeping actions to streamline plan administration and minimize exposure to breach of fiduciary duty claims and potential litigation.

Innovative Strategies to Help Maximize Social Security Benefits

This July, 2015 white paper from Prudential outlines why Social Security deserves to be considered as a valuable resource worthy of careful stewardship by individuals—and how today’s retirees can best maximize its benefits while helping minimize the taxes on their retirement income in general.

Fiduciary Compliance and Common Errors

This June, 2015 article (with full webinar link) from Cammack Retirement Group addresses common fiduciary compliance errors that are often the focus of entities such as the DOL.

Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer Workers and Retirees: Retirement Saving & Spending Study

T. Rowe Price’s June, 2015 Retirement Saving & Spending Study revealed that across groups of 401(k) savers, millennials are following better financial habits than those of baby boomers. The slide presentation uncovers how different generational workers are saving and spending, and identify the statistics that differentiate these populations.

DCIIA Paper Outlines DC Plan Success Factors

The Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA) has developed a best practices framework to outline actions that defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors and fiduciaries can take to build plans that have the greatest potential to help participants achieve retirement readiness.

2015 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 401(k) Wellness Scorecard

Automation, mobility and advice are strengthening employee participation in workplace benefit plans, according to the 2015 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 401(k) Wellness Scorecard, with nearly two-thirds more Millennial’s participating in a 401(k) plan in 2014 than in the previous year.

16th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers

Transamerica’s 16th Annual Retirement Survey of Workers, published in May 2015, examines the retirement outlook of workers in their Twenties, Thirties, Forties, Fifties, and Sixties and older to compare and contrast their retirement preparations and shed light on how they can navigate the future and improve their retirement outlook.

EBRI’s 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey: Having a Retirement Savings Plan a Key Factor in Americans’ Retirement Confidence

The 25th Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) finds Americans’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has continued to rebound from the record lows experienced between 2009 and 2013, but this increased level of confidence does not appear to be grounded on objectively improved retirement preparations.

MassMutual’s ERISA Advisory Services 2015 Calendar

This user-friendly guide, developed by MassMutual’s ERISA Advisory Services team, contains some key dates plan fiduciaries should be aware of related to plan filings, notices, distributions, testing and reporting requirements.

Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Benchmarks

This information and benchmarks in BMO Retirement Services’ March, 2015 publication Perspectives 2015 includes a summary of statistics and trends related to common features of retirement plans.  The data was compiled using data from PSCA, Deloitte, and Vanguard surveys.

Securing Retirement Income With Annuities

This March 2015 article in USA today discusses QLACs (Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts) and how they may offer retirees some guarantees that they would not otherwise get in their retirement plans.

Retirement Plan Rollover Basics

Departing retirement plan participants may wish to roll over their plan assets to another qualified plan or individual retirement account (IRA) to avoid paying taxes and to continue saving for retirement; but there are certain guidelines that must be adhered to.  Included in this January 27, 2015 article in Plansponsor is a link to a Rollover Chart provided by the IRS that details the rules for allowable rollovers.

IRS Retirement Plan Checklists

The IRS offers one-page checklists for SIMPLE IRAs, SEPs, SARSEPs, 401(k) plans and 403(b) plans to help plan sponsors start a review of their plan’s basic operations.   Each checklist links to a Fix-It Guide with tips on how to find, fix and avoid each potential error.

2015 DC Plan Checklist

Consulting firm Mercer has compiled its annual list of 10 recommendations for sponsors of defined contribution plans to help them face competitive pressures, regulatory scrutiny and legal challenges in 2015.

Money Market Reform and Workplace Savings Plans: A Plan Sponsor Guide to What’s Ahead

A Fidelity white paper, “Money Market Reform and Workplace Savings Plans” identifies whats ahead for plan sponsors regarding the impact of the SEC’s significant regulatory changes for money marketing mutual funds. The paper includes key takeaways, details of the regulatory changes and the practical realities of plan sponsors.

The Middle-Income Boomer Retirement Gap: Savings, Education and Advice

This November 2014 report from the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement finds that only one in 10 middle-income Baby Boomers use the services of a financial professional. The report based, on data collected from 1000 Americans aged 50 to 68 in a July 2014 online survey,  provides greater detail about how prepared Baby Boomers are for retirement.

IRS Updates Regarding Retirement Plan Appeal Procedures

IRS Publication 1020, “Appeal Procedures Employee Plans Examinations”, the IRS explains what plan sponsors can do if they disagree with a proposed disqualification of their qualified retirement plan by the agency, as well as what plan sponsors must do if they agree to a proposed plan disqualification.

Plan Sponsor Views of Participant Support and Advisor Partnerships

This survey of national plan sponsors, conducted by American Centry Investments in the first quarter of 2014,  provides insight into how employers view their plan objectives, the importance of the support of their advisors and service providers, and their beliefs surrounding employee behavior. A total of 310 plan sponsors were surveyed representing plan assets of less than $25 million through $100 million.

PBGC Finalizes Additional Guarantee for DC Rollovers

Buck Consultants’ December 1, 2014, issue of For Your Information discusses PBGS recently finalized regulations increasing individual participant maximum benefit guarantees when covered DB plans accept rollovers from DC plans in exchange for lifetime income benefits and are subsequently terminated.

2014 PLANSPONSOR DC Survey

PLANSPONSOR’s annual Defined Contribution Survey provides industry benchmarks for measuring and evaluating 401(k) and other DC providers based on feedback from their own clients.  It includes industry statistics and other rankings based on their findings.

2015 DC Plan Compliance Calendar

Vanguard provides this quick reference compliance calendar for defined contribution plans with calendar-year plan years.  It includes a list of more than 30 recurring compliance and notice requirements for tax-qualified defined contribution plans for 2015.

IRS Notice 2014-74: Safe Harbor Explanations

This IRS notice amends the two safe harbor explanations in Notice 2009-68 regarding certain information to be provided to recipients of eligible rollover distributions. Amendments to the safe harbor explanations relate to the allocation of pre-tax and after-tax amounts, distributions in the form of in-plan Roth rollovers and other clarifications.

Changes in Later-Than-Expected Retirement After the Great Recession

The Employee Benefit Research Institute recently found a nearly 23-percentage-point drop in workers retiring early or close to their expected retirement after the markets crashed, and have noted a large increase in later-than-expected retirements following the recession.

Investor Behavior Survey

Results from an online investor behavior survey conducted by the Nationwide Retirement Institute in June 2014 found that less than half (42%-49%) of all respondents are confident in their preparedness for retirement. The survey included 2033 respondents, age 18 or older with investable assets of at least $50,000. The survey  compared and contrasted results for specific demographic groups, including Millenials, Gen X, near-retirees and high net worth individuals.

The Changing Face of Retirement — Women: Balancing Family, Career & Financial Security

A report  by  the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies examines the retirement preparedness of women in the workforce in the United States and around the world. Based on findings  from  parent firm’s Aegon  2014 Retirement Readiness Survey, the report finds that today’s women are better educated and enjoy career opportunities beyond previous generations of women. However, the results also show that a woman’s path to a financially secure retirement is challenging.

The Role of Longevity Annuities in Providing Retirement Security

This November 2014 economic study by The Brookings Institution defines and discusses longevity annuities and how they could increase expected financial security for middle- and -upper -income retirees who have substantial financial assets at the time of retirement.

2014 Inside Benefits Communication Survey

The 2014 Inside Benefits Communication Survey, a collaborative research effort from the National Business Coalition on Health and Benz Communications, is a national survey that explores how companies are making investments in benefits communications and the return on those efforts.  The survey’s data was collected from more than 300 high-level business professionals and provides greater insight into how companies are planning and implementing benefits communication.

A Look at Private-Sector Retirement Plan Income After ERISA, 2013

This study by the Investment Company Institute, published in October 2014, determined retirees across all income groups are collecting more in retirement income now from employer-sponsored retirement plans than they were in the mid-1970s.

Results of 401(k) Wellness Scorecard Reports Positive Trends in Participant Behavior and Plan Design

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s 401(k) Wellness Scorecard results for the first half of 2014 indicate that saving for retirement and health care expenses was a priority for employees of all ages.  It also suggests that increased mobile access, 401(k) auto features, and more personalized advice have made employee benefit plans more valuable and easier to use for the typical participant.

Mistakes That May Trigger a 401(k) Plan Audit

This October 2014 article in Employee Benefit News discusses several emerging issues that companies should be aware of that might affect their benefit plans.  It includes a list of red-flag risk areas that often draw the DOL’s attention and could trigger a plan audit.

Research Examines Retirement Readiness Challenge and What Employers Can Do to Improve 401(k) Plans

This October 2014  report from Transamerica’s 15th Annual Retirement Survey reveals positive news for retirement savings in America, but says that there’s still room for improvement.  The report is based on two separate phone surveys conducted earlier in 2014 with 751 for-profit employers and 4143 workers at for-profit firms.  The surveys explored employers’ views on the economy, whether they offer retirement benefits to employees, and American workers’ retirement readiness and expectations. The report recommends steps employers can take to improve their 401(k) plans based on survey results.

Frequently Asked Questions About 401(k) Plans

This September 2014 report from the Investment Company Institute answers frequently asked questions about 401(k) plans, including what percentage of U.S. retirement assets they represent, what the average balance is, and how participants have allocated their investments.

Milliman’s Multiemployer Pension Funding Study

Milliman’s inaugural Multiemployer Pension Funding study reports on the estimated funded status of all U.S. multiemployer plans as of December 31, 2013, plus the change in funding levels from December 31, 2012.  It also endeavors to find out why many plans continue to struggle from the effects of the 2008 financial crisis despite favorable investment returns.

Delays in Retirement Among Some Workers

This TowersWatson article, based on the firm’s 2013/2014 Global Benefit Attitudes Survey, examines changing retirement patterns of workers in the U. S. and elsewhere. Noting the tendency to delay retirement and increased participation in the workforce of older workers, the article also highlights those employees who are the most likely to postpone retirement.

IRS Webinar Recording: Defined Benefit Plan Terminations

The IRS conducted this webinar on defined benefit plan terminations on August 14, 2014.  The discussion includes defining “date of termination” revisions, funding requirements, pension benefit guaranty corporation (PGBC) issues, and notice of intent to terminate the plan.

IRS Issues Additional Guidance Regarding Hybrid Retirement Plans

The IRS published final regulations providing guidance in the Federal Register on September 19, 2014 relating to applicable defined benefit plans. Applicable defined benefit plans are those that use a lump sum-based benefit formula, including cash balance plans and pension equity plans, as well as other hybrid retirement plans.

DB to DC Plan Shift Slowly Stabilizing

A September 2014  analysis by Towers Watson of retirement plan offerings at Fortune 500 companies suggests the shift from defined benefit (DB) plans to defined contribution (DC) plans may be slowly stabilizing, with fewer companies actively moving away from DB plans and establishing new DC plans for salaried employees than at any other point over the last decade.

Using Re-enrollment to Improve Participant Investing and Provide Fiduciary Protections

This white paper by attorneys Fred Reish and Bruce Ashton of the law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP  makes the case for re-enrolling 401(k) participants into the plan and defaulting them into a QDIA such as a target date fund. The authors discuss legal principles involved, common misconceptions about re-enrollment and best practices for implementation.

Checklist of DC Plan Participant Notices

With the 2014 plan year nearing its end, this Prudential Compliance Bullletin looks ahead at notices that may need to be provided before the start of the 2015 plan year.  The publication provides a summary of the annual notice requirements for those notices, including timing, recipients, contents, and method of delivery.

Survey Shows 401(k)s a “Must-Have” Benefit

An August 2014 survey of 401(k) participants by Charles Schwab shows that  employees overwhelmingly (87%) consider the 401(k) a necessity in their benefits package, but that many are under-utilizing the tools available to help them manage it.

Checklist for Investment Policy Statements

Strategic Benefit Services has released a new checklist to help plan sponsors develop, implement and maintain an effective Investment Policy Statement.

Survey Highlights: Assessing the New Retiree Experience

An online survey of recent retirees and “near retirees” conducted in February and March 2014 by T. Rowe Price shows many retirees are living adequately on less, while   a majority of near retirees say they will have to adjust their style of living in retirement.

Infographic: Participant Behaviors

This infographic depicts findings from an online survey that OneAmerica fielded on its website for retirement plan participants. Conducted between August and November 2013, the survey’s objective was to gain a better understanding of participants’ behaviors and what resources might be most effective in helping plan participants prepare for retirement.

2014 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey Report

This report, published in June 2014 from Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., provides an interesting look at data collected from 1,833 organizations across the country when they were surveyed about their current and future employee benefits strategies.

Health Care Organizations Addressing Retirement Plan Engagement

Transamerica released the 11th annual research report, Retirement Plan Trends in Today’s Healthcare Market – 2014.  Produced in partnership with the American Hospital Association, the report finds that defined contribution retirement plan sponsors in the healthcare industry are making adjustments to plan design that can help employees achieve retirement goals, including placing greater emphasis on retirement outcomes, increasing default deferral rates and streamlining investment options.

“Retirement Vision 2020” Prescribes Successful Savings Strategies to Drive Better Outcomes

A Fidelity white paper, “Retirement Vision 2020″  identifies steps that plan sponsors, advisors, consultants and Washington can take to ensure that as many American workers as possible, across all generations, are prepared for retirement. The paper includes such recommendations as designing a retirement plan for income replacement, accounting for uncovered healthcare costs in retirement and using aggressive defaults for unengaged employees. The paper also advocates personalized help as employees transition into retirement.

15th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey

Two reports based on Transamerica’s 15th annual Retirement Survey,  examine retirement readiness and expectations across generations. The first compares Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millenials while the second focuses specifically on Millenials, describing these youngest workers as an”emerging generation of super savers.”

Understanding the Re-Enrollment Process

This article from J. P. Morgan Asset Management explains why many more plan sponsors are considering the plan design strategy of reenrollment, to both improve portfolio diversification and limit plan sponsor fiduciary liability.

Is the Road to Retirement Smooth for Your Employees or Is There Danger Ahead?

Many employees falsely believe they are saving enough for retirement, or underestimate the amounts they will need.  This article in EBRI’s June 2014 Notes explains which employees are likely to fall short of the goals, and hopefully forewarns employers so they can better prepare these employees.

Consistency Is Key in Retirement Readiness

The latest joint study by the Investment Company Institute and the Employee Benefit Research Institute examines defined contribution account balances between 2007 and 2012, concluding that consistency is important key in participant behavior.

Employee Benefits: Today, Tomorrow, and Yesterday

This Julie 2014 Issue Brief summarizes EBRI’s 35th policy forum held in Washington, DC, on Dec. 12, 2013. The symposium provided expert perspectives on the workplace and work force of the past, the challenges of today’s multi-generational workplace, and the difficulties and opportunities of the future.

Commentary on Implications of Court Ruling in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer

This paper from Groom Law Group discusses the Supreme Courts finding that ERISA fiduciaries are not entitled to a presumption of prudence when they invest in company stock.  The case at hand involved an ESOP plans, but the decision has implications for publicly traded firms that offer company stock in their retirement plans.

2014 National Cash Balance Plan Research Report

This paper by retirement plan consulting firm Kravitz continues its annual tracking of cash balance plans, a process it first began in 2008. The 2014 iteration claims that growth in the number of cash balance plans has been boosted in recent years by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and by new IRS regulations in 2010.

U.S. Treasury Releases Final Rules on Longevity Annuities in Retirement Plans

This press release provides an overview of the Treasury Department’s final rules on longevity annuities within retirement plans.  Among the modifications in the final rules, which were Issued July 1, 2014, are changes to required minimum distribution rules and an increase the maximum permitted investment in longevity annuities.

2013 Trends in Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation; Spotlight on Plan Participants

This June 2014 research report from The Principal® focuses on participants’ experiences with non-qualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans. Based on online interviews conducted in late summer 2013, the survey examined factors that drive satisfaction with these plans, how deferral decisions are made and the role of NQDC in retirement readiness for key employees.

Help in Defined Contribution Plans: 2006-2012

Aon Hewitt teamed up with Financial Engines on this report that examines how participants’ use of three types of “help”–target date funds, managed accounts and online advice–affect investment performance.

Due Diligence for Target Date Funds Goes Beyond Examining the Glide Path

This White Paper by Vanguard argues that looking solely at the glide path of target date funds-how its asset allocation changes over time– is an incomplete approach to the due diligence plan sponsors should perform on these widely used defined contribution investments.  The paper identifies other areas that deserve scrutiny as part of any due diligence effort.  These include glide path stability, sub-asset allocation and cost.

EBSA’s Proposed Guide to 408(b)(2) Disclosures – Fact Sheet

This Fact Sheet on the EBSA website discusses the agency’s proposed amendment these regulations to require covered service providers to furnish a guide along with the required disclosures, if the disclosures are contained in multiple or lengthy documents.

Is a Permanent Lump Sum Window Distribution a Viable Pension De-Risking Strategy?

This posting by Jeffrey Keminar on Milliman’s Retirement Townhall blog poses the question of whether plan sponsors should consider a permanent window that would allow terminated vested defined benefit participants to take a lump sum distribution. Advantages cited include no longer have to pay PBGC premiums for participants who take the lump sum and alleviating concern at a future date about trying to locate a participant.  The posting also highlights potential downsides as well as plan administration and compliance responsibilities associated with this strategy.

Can 401(k) Plans Combined with Social Security Provide Adequate Retirement Income?

This January 2014 issue of EBRI Notes offers data to show that with 30 years of participation ina 401(k) plan and assuming Social Security benefits remain at current levels, between 83 and 86 percent of workers will be able to replace at least 60 percent of their age-64 wages and salary on an inflation-adjusted basis.

Building Enduring Retirement Income Systems

This initiative from the American Academy of Actuaries recommends principles for retirement plan design that the organization believes will lead to a better functioning U.S. retirement system. It urges policymakers to re-examine current regulations and practices in light of the prevalence of defined contribution plans as the primary retirement savings vehicle available to U.S. workers. Among the issues this initiative raises is redefining the role of the employer.

Implications of DC Plan Participants’ Retirement Distributions

A December 2013 research paper by Vanguard discusses the implications of the behavior of retirement-age DC plan participants who sever employment. The study finds that most have preserved their retirement savings in a tax-deferred account for five years.

2014 IRC 415 Dollar Limitations on Benefits and Contributions

This page on the IRS website provides a table specifying the IRC 415 limits for 2014. Essentially, deferral rates for defined contribution plans are unchanged. The chart includes COLA changes for annual compensation, HCE threshold, taxable wage base, etc.

Re-Visiting Retirement Plan Fee Fairness at the Participant Level

A follow-up to an earlier article, this November 2013 paper by Milliman’s Douglas Conkel provides an overview of his initial argument about the inequity that exists in current revenue sharing for participants. It then goes on to examine the impact of current arrangements on participants and to suggest strategies for improving fee fairness and transparency.

Research Shows Re-Enrollment into QDIA Aids 401(k) Diversification

A research paper by mutual fund giant and 401(k) provider Vanguard highlights the benefits of re-enrolling participants (with an opt-out provision) into a QDIA. The paper includes a case study demonstrating the improvement in asset allocation.

Definition of “Spouse” and “Marriage” under ERISA and the Supreme Court’s Decision in United States v. Windsor

The DOL’s Technical Release No. 2013-04 provides guidance for employers on the definition of “spouse” and “marriage” in connection with their benefit plans.  The release states that, in general, the two terms in Title I of ERISA and in related department regulations should be read to include same-sex couples legally married in any state or foreign jurisdiction that recognizes such marriages, regardless of where they currently live.

Vanguard’s How America Saves 2013

This annual study looks at Vanguard’s database of plan sponsors and participants and reports on the latest trends in employer-sponsored retirement plans and participant behavior.

Research Measures DC Plan Participants’ Savings and Investing Behavior

Research from Aon Hewitt, based on the behaviors of 3.5 million eligible employees in 141 defined contribution plans, provides a tool for plan sponsors to gauge how their own plan participants’ behavior stacks up. The report also makes recommendations for improving outcomes through plan structure and communication.

EBSA FAB 2013-02 Extends Time for Comparative Charts

EBSA issued this Bulletin July 22, 2013, extending the time frame by which sponsors of participant-directed retirement accounts must provide charts comparing plan investments to participants. Instead of a specific date, plan sponsors will be given a 35-40 day window to provide this information for 2013 and 2014. EBSA is considering a regulatory amendment that replaces the current specific date requirement with this window for annual disclosures and delivery of the comparative charts.

Paying Employee Benefit Plan Expenses from Plan Assets

This article from Groom Law describes the types of expenses that may and may not be paid from the assets of an employee benefit plan. It also explains among other things the difference between fiduciary and settlor activities and expenses and the consequences for improper use of plan assets to pay plan expenses.

Women & Retirement Plans InfoGraphic

This one-page snapshot succintly summarizes survey findings from Lincoln Financial Group’s Retirement Power Research Series that looked at how to engage and motivate women participants in defined contribution plans.

White Paper on Women & Retirement Plans

This White Paper from Lincoln Financial Group’s Retirement Power Research Series examines women as a discreet segment within defined contribution plan participants.

DOL/EBSA Lifetime Income Calculator

This page on the DOL/EBSA website provides an overview, instructions and an explanation of results in connection with the Lifetime Income Calulator the Department developed in conjunction with its May 7 advance notice of proposed rulemaking. The notice focuses on retirement income projections for defined contribution plan participants.

DOL Field Assistance Bulletin 2013-01, MAP-21 Funding

This memorandum provides guidance on compliance by single-employer defined benefit pension plans with section 40211(b)(2) of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). This section of MAP-21 amended the annual funding notice requirements of section 101(f) of ERISA to require additional disclosure of the effect of segment rate stabilization on funding.t plans. This field assistance bulletin also includes a supplement to the model annual funding notice that plan administrators may use to comply with these new requirements.

IRS February 2013 Employee Plan News

This is the February 2013 edition of a periodic newsletter the IRS publishes. In this issue is information on how new revenue correction procedures affect 403(b) plans, updates on compliance projects and more.

Target Date Fund Tips for Fiduciaries from EBSA/DOL

The Employee Benefits Security Administration has issued a brief, three-page document with general guidelines for plan sponsors with respect to selecting and monitoring target date funds.

Retirement Income Adequacy

This 2012 research from Aon/Hewitt looks at retirement income adequacy at large companies and concludes that employees should target 11 times final annual pay to ensure adequate income in retirement.

Overview of Current Retirement Income Products

This paper by the Institutional Retirement Income Institute examines retirement income products currently available and examines the pros and cons of each, outlining how plan sponsors can assess the suitability of each for their plan participants.

2014 DC Plan Compliance Calendar

Vanguard provides this quick reference compliance calendar for defined contribution plans with calendar-year plan years. The deadlines in this calendar are for plans with calendar-year plan years.

Guide to Common Qualified Retirement Plan Requirements

This page on the IRS website, updated in October, 2012,  lists some of the more important retirement plan requirements to ensure that employer-sponsored plans maintain their qualified status under IRS rules.

PBGC Premiums – 2014

This page on the PBGC’s website provides a table of the premium rates for 2014 as well as links to other information and resources available from this federally mandated pension insurance program.

Participant Fee Disclosure – Clarification on Brokerage Windows

On July 30, 2012, EBSA issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2012-02R to clarify the fee disclosures that are required for investments participants make through brokerage windows. The Department’s original guidance, issued in May, caused an uproar among professionals in the retirement industry and plan sponsors who complained the disclosures were needlessly burdensome and would overwhelm participants. The Bulletin is in a Q&A format; question number 13 addresses this specific issue.

Plan Sponsor Guide to the RFP Process

Vanguard has put together a simple, straightforward guide to creating and processing an Request For Proposal for your organization’s retirement program. Included are several worksheets to simplify and clarify the comparison process.

MAP-21 – DB Interest Rates and PBGC Premiums

This August 2012 Sibson Consulting Bulletin discusses the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act signed into law in July. The law provides funding rate interest stabilization for defined benefit plans and also increases PBGC premiums. The Bulletin provides an overview and identifies implications for plan sponsors.

Participant-Level Retirement Plan Fee Disclosure Regulation – FAQs

This Field Assistance Bulletin (No. 2012-02) from Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration contains frequently asked questions and answers about the Department’s participant-level fee disclosure regulation (29 CFR § 2550.404a-5). It also answers questions about related plan-level disclosures under 408(b)(2).

IRS Employee Plans News – March 2012

The March 2012 issue has articles on new guidance encouraging plans to offer lifetime income options, an update on the Determination Letter Program, the IRS’ 401(k) plan projects and other employer plan-related topics.

EBSA – Fee Disclosure Failure Notice

This page on the EBSA website outlines action a plan sponsor can take to avoid a prohibited transaction when a plan service provider fails to disclose fee information it is required to under 408(b)(2). The page contains a link to a model notice of covered service provider’s failure to comply as well as links to a 408(b)(2) Fact Sheet and Final Regulations.

EBSA – Understanding Retirement Plan Fees and Expenses

EBSA has provided an easy-to-read article for retirement plan sponsors on its website in conjunction with the February 2012 publication of 408(b)2 plan-level fee disclosures. The article includes explanations of the major categories of fees and basic information on investment fees. There are also links to several other supporting publications, most notably a link to a model 401(k) plan fee disclosure form.

Bait and Switch: Glide Path Instability

This report from Ibbotson Associates, a Morningstar company, documents the changes in the implied glide paths of major target date providers through time and introduces a new measure for tracking stability.

Selecting a Target Date Fund Benchmark

This research report by Ibbotson Associates, a Morningstar company, discusses the challenges investors face in determining an appropriate benchmark for target date funds and discusses quantitative and qualitative measures that can be used to compare performance.

A Brief History of Target Date Funds

This is the first in a series of articles from Target Date Analytics, LLC that seek to explain the whats and whys of target date funds in easy-to-understand language. In this inaugural article, authors Joe Nagengast and Craig Israelson trace the evolution and growth of target date funds from their beginning in 1994.

Are Target Date Funds a Bad Idea?

This is the second in a series of articles about target date funds from Target Date Analytics, LLC. In this piece, Craig Israelson and Joe Nagengast look at the criticisms leveled at these funds when so many investors near or in retirement lost significant amounts of money they had invested in 2010 target date funds. The authors make the case, albeit within certain bounds, for why they believe target date funds are a good idea.

Target Date Funds Misconceptions

This third in an ongoing series of articles seeks to debunk some of the myths and misunderstandings about target date funds. Authors Joe Nagengast and Craig Israelson of Target Date Analytics, LLC, examine such issues as “longevity risk,” the debate over “to” versus “through” glidepaths and the need for increased disclosure to participants.

Auto Enrollment-Public Plan Case Study

Retirement Made Simpler ™, a coalition of the AARP, FINRA and the Retirement Security Project, issued this report on automatic enrollment in South Dakota’s defined contribution retirement plan. The report examines the background and passage of legislation that made auto enrollment possible and looks, as well, at the success the program has had in its early stages

Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Resource

An online resource, My NQDC.com, offers a wealth of educational information on non-qualified deferred compensation plans. Basic information, such as core concepts, types of plans and a glossary are available free of charge. Paid subscribers have access to the entire site.

Cash Balance Plan Guidance

Law firm Proskauer issued this Client Alert which discusses the IRS’ final and proposed regulations on hybrid retirement plans (cash balance plans and pension equity plans).

Automatic 403(b) Toolkit

Retirement Made Simpler ™ has produced a robust toolkit to provide 403(b) plan sponsors with a step-by-step guide to implementing automatic feature.

EBSA’s Proposal for Broadening the Definition of Fiduciaries Under ERISA

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration issued this proposed rule October 22, 2010, explaining ERISA’s definition of “fiduciary” for employee benefit plans.  The broader definition proposed is designed to protect plans and plan participants from conflicts of interest and self-dealing from persons who give investment advice.

Form 5500 – ERISA Filing

The Department of Labor created this web page covering the electronic filing of Form 5500, which was made mandatory January 1, 2010, for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2009.

Automatic 401(k) Directory

Retirement Made Simpler ™ has created a directory of employers who have implemented automated 401(k) features.

Types of Retirement Plans

This section of the IRS Sponsor/Employer web pages is a “fundamentals” of employer-sponsored plans.  Find information on starting and maintaining a retirement plan, including what kinds of plans there are, how they work, and the benefits of having a retirement plan.

Compliance Assistance for Health and Retirement Plans

This section of the EBSA site provides useful tools and a wealth of information for ensuring that your health and retirement plans adhere to federal regulations.  It also includes FAQs, Model Notices and other information on a broad array of plan management issues.

Aon Consulting – Ready 2012 Pension Pulse Survey

This January 2009 survey of companies with frozen defined benefit pension plans looks at how many have eliminated benefit accruals to all or some of their workers as well as the policies, programs or plan changes they have put into place to mitigate risk.

Choose to Save

This website is completely devoted to financial education. It offers articles and calculators for thinking about many money-related situations.

Managing Your Frozen Pension Plan: A New Paradigm

Changes in funding requirements and financial reporting have brought increased attention to frozen pension plans, as discussed in this Aon Hewitt article. Coupled with recent market turmoil, there is increased interest in finding better ways to move these single-employer and multiple-employer qualified plans to full funding.

Fiduciary Checklist for Retirement Plan Sponsors

This is a synopsis of prudent fiduciary practices as articulated by former Department of Labor/EBSA litigator Sherwin Kaplan. The list is not all-inclusive, but is a good place to start.

Department of Labor/EBSA Fact Sheets

This page on the EBSA website is a listing of Fact Sheets on various aspects of healthcare benefits, such as the Affordable Care Act, COBRA, HIPAA and Mental Health Parity and on Retirement issues, such as Selecting and Monitoring Pension Consultants, Default Investment Alternatives, the definition of “fiduciary”, etc.