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Plan compliance

July 2022 legislative update – review of key bipartisan retirement policy reform proposals

On March 29, 2022, the House of Representatives, by a 414-5 vote, approved the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 (SECURE 2.0), a synthesis of the Ways and Means Committee’s Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 and the Education and Labor Committee’s RISE Act. On June 14, 2022, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, by a voice vote, passed the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement to Supplement Healthy Investments for the Nest Egg Act (the RISE & SHINE Act). And, on June 22, 2022, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved the Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act. In what follows we provide a brief summary of certain key provisions of these three bills.

Senate Finance Chair releases outline of broad, bipartisan retirement legislation

On June 17, 2022, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) released an outline of the bipartisan Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act. The Committee is expected to take up this legislation beginning the week of June 20. The EARN Act, together with the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement to Supplement Healthy Investments for the…Read More

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.

DOL proposes new ESG and proxy voting regulation – would significantly change rules adopted by the Trump DOL at the end of 2020

On October 13, 2021, the Department of Labor released a proposed regulation on “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights” (environmental, social, or governance (ESG) investing and proxy voting), proposing to significantly revise the position taken by the Trump DOL at the end of 2020 on these issues. (We discuss the…Read More

DOL publishes limited guidance on missing participants, allows transfers from terminating DC plans to PBGC program

DOL’s “best practices” document outlines its view of the “best practices that the fiduciaries of defined benefit and defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, can follow to ensure that plan participants and beneficiaries receive promised benefits when they reach retirement age.” The document begins by identifying “red flags,” then discusses issues with respect to census/plan data, communications, missing participant search, and documentation.

Biden Administration agency agenda

In this article we review possible retirement policy agency initiatives of a Biden Administration. We will follow up with a discussion of possible legislative initiatives when the Congressional situation becomes clearer.