Our own Richard Shea and Jack Lund recently contributed a post to the RetireSecure Blog maintained by the Pension Research Council of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. The post discusses the competing rhetoric surrounding the impact of proposed financial transaction taxes on the American retirement system.
ERISA Advisory Council Urges DOL to Streamline Retirement Plan Disclosures
The Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans (often called the “ERISA Advisory Council”) has released a report urging the Department of Labor (“DOL”) to streamline retirement plan disclosure requirements. The report reiterates concerns the Council expressed in 2005 and 2009, echoed by the U.S. Government and Accountability Office (the “GAO”) in 2013, that the number and complexity of mandatory disclosures confuses participants and burdens plan administrators. The Council’s latest report goes further than previous reports have done, outlining four recommendations for specific rule changes and proposing new model notices to simplify the current disclosure scheme.
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Bipartisan Tax Group Releases Savings & Investment Report
The bipartisan Tax Reform Working Group on Savings and Investment has submitted its report to Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden of the Senate Finance Committee. The report provides the Finance Committee with policy options and recommendations to consider as part of comprehensive tax reform.
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ERISA Advisory Council Considers Model Lump Sum Window Disclosures
The ERISA Advisory Council held a hearing last week on “Model Notices and Disclosures for Pension Risk Transfers.” The Council, which advises the Secretary of Labor on the Labor Department’s administration of ERISA, is working to develop model disclosures to participants who receive lump sum offers in connection with de-risking transactions. While the Council is focused on lump sums offered in connection with limited election windows, the model disclosures might apply any time an individual is offered a lump sum distribution in lieu of an annuity benefit.
The Council heard testimony from several witnesses, many of whom proposed text or offered suggestions to be included in model disclosures—including testimony by our own Robert Newman of Covington & Burling LLP. While the Council deliberates, employers conducting lump sum windows might wish to consider some of the disclosures suggested at the hearing.
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IRS Allows Longevity Annuities in Retirement Plans
The IRS has published a final regulation that allows defined contribution plans to offer longevity annuities commencing as late as age 85. Although the final regulation is similar to the rule proposed in 2012, the IRS has made some welcome improvements in response to public comments.
The final regulation is effective for annuities purchased after July 1, 2014. Employers might wish to consider whether to offer longevity annuities in their defined contribution plans, now that the IRS has explained the rules that govern these annuities.…
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MyRAs: Why Sophisticated Plan Sponsors Ought to Consider Them
As many of you have no doubt heard, President Obama introduced a new retirement savings vehicle, known as a myRA, in his State of the Union address. At first blush, the program appears aimed exclusively at employees with no company-sponsored retirement plan and therefore of little interest to employers with sophisticated retirement programs already…