Understanding Employee Benefits

What is Publicly Traded Stock?

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The Pension Protection Act of 2006 added Section 401(a)(35) to the Internal Revenue Code generally effective for plan years beginning after December 31, 2006. That section provides in general that defined contribution retirement plans that hold employer securities that are publicly traded must give plan participants the right to diversify... Read More

Topics: Retirement Plans

GAO Issues Multiple Employer Plan Report

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report on Multiple Employer Plans, encouraging the federal agencies that regulate the plans to collect data and coordinate oversight of them. The report is interesting reading for those wanting more information about these types of plans.

Topics: Health Plan, Retirement Plans

IRS Announces Suspension of the Lost Participant Letter Forwarding Program

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            On August 31, 2012, the IRS issued Rev. Proc. 2012-35 and a related press release announcing that effective immediately, the IRS will no longer forward letters on behalf of plan sponsors or administrators of qualified retirement plans to assist in locating missing participants and beneficiaries of vested pension benefits.... Read More

Topics: Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans

Reminder: Retirement Plan Fee Disclosures Received? –Review and Pass it Along

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Defined contribution plan fiduciaries were required to receive fee disclosures from covered service providers by July 1, 2012 pursuant to final regulations under ERISA §408(b)(2). See Blog Posts. http://benefitsnotes.com/2012/05/labor-issues-qas-on-required-fee-disclosures-to-participants/  http://benefitsnotes.com/2012/04/408b-2-disclosures-that-wasnt-so-bad-was-it/ A separate Labor Regulation now requires that plan administrators provide an initial fee disclosure to plan participants and beneficiaries by... Read More

Topics: Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans

Department of Labor Withdraws Controversial Guidance On Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts in 401(k) Plans

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On May 7, 2012 the Department of Labor issued a set of questions and answers via Field Assistance Bulletin FAB No. 2012-02 (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/fab2012-2.html) concerning the new fiduciary fee disclosures in Labor Regulations §2550.408(b)-2 and participant fee disclosure requirements outlined in Labor Regulations §2550.404(a)-5. Q&A 30 of the May 7th FAB... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans

Participants Are Entitled to Specific Information About Their Service Credit Even Before They Are Entitled to Their Pensions

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In a recent federal district court case, Whirlpool Corporation closed a factory and notified a number of former employees about the status of their pensions, including their years of credited service. The corporation’s records differed from the service records maintained by the union. Approximately five years after the factory closed,... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans

President Signs Highway Funding Bill

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On June 29, 2012, Congress passed a highway funding bill (H.R. 4348) which includes as a funding source, certain pension funding stabilization provisions. The impact of the pension changes would be to increase the segment rates used to calculate liability and normal costs for purposes of determining minimum required contributions and... Read More

Topics: Retirement Plans

Stuck Between the IRS and the NLRB

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Employers who sponsor 401(k) plans know that distributions from those plans can be made only on certain allowable events, such as separation from service. While an employee is still employed, distributions can be made after age 59½ or as a result of financial hardship. Defined benefit pension plans face similar... Read More

Topics: Retirement Plans