December 2015 Archive

Legal and Regulatory Update – December 2015

December 10, 2015

In this article, we discuss: the final IRS rules for hybrid plans not in compliance with the market rate of return standard – those rules also postpone the effective date of 2014 hybrid rules to 2017; the recent decision in Pfeil v. State Street, a stock drop case; ERISA Advisory Council recommendations with respect to pension risk transfers; and the possible inclusion in omnibus spending legislation of a provision de-funding the Department of Labor’s fiduciary proposal. Read More

How will the Fed interest rate increase affect pension plans?

December 22, 2015

On Wednesday, December 16, 2015, the Federal Reserve Federal Open Market Committee announced that it had “decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1/4 to 1/2 percent.” This represents, roughly, a 25 basis point increase in short term rates. For most defined benefit plans, interest rates are the most significant variable in plan valuations. In this article we review how the Fed’s action may affect DB plan sponsors’ (1) financial statements, (2) funding and (3) de-risking decisions. Read More

A Modern Defined Benefit Plan (reprinted from PLANSPONSOR)

December 04, 2015

Why a market-return cash balance plan might be the right design to improve sponsor and participant outcomes. Although defined contribution (DC) plans include many great features—including flexibility, ease of understanding and stable sponsor costs—many plan sponsors and policymakers, recognizing the shortcomings of a DC-only retirement program, have been seeking ways to reintroduce defined benefit (DB) plan features into DC plans. Download

November 2015 Pension Finance Update

December 03, 2015

November saw pension sponsors mostly tread water, consolidating gains from a strong October, in what is shaping up as a solid, if unspectacular, year for pension finances. Both model pension plans we track were close to flat last month: Plan A gained a fraction of 1% and is now ahead 4% on the year, while Plan B dropped a fraction of 1% but remains up almost 2% on the year through November. Read More

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