Retirement Account, Fall 2017

Fall 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

Issue Brief Provides Perspective on 2017 Social Security Trustees Report
The Social Security Committee released an issue brief, An Actuarial Perspective on the 2017 Social Security Trustees Report, in July. The brief provides an actuarial perspective on the social insurance program’s long-term solvency issues and recommends that Congress act soon to improve the program’s long-range solvency.

PPC Releases Issue Brief on Assessing Health of Pension Plans
The Pension Practice Council (PPC) published an issue brief, Assessing Pension Plan Health: More Than One Right Number Tells the Whole Story, in July that explores various methods to measure the financial health of pension plans. A key takeaway of the brief is that multiple measurements are needed to comprehensively express the obligation or funded status of a pension plan, and that understanding that there is more than one right number is essential to engaging in critical retirement security issues.

RECENT ACTIVITIES

Committee Submits Comments to ERISA Advisory Council on Annual Funding Notice
The Pension Committee submitted a comment letter to the ERISA Advisory Council in August regarding the Annual Funding Notice for Defined Benefit Plans (AFN). The letter encourages the Advisory Council to improve the notice by narrowing its focus, encouraging a helpful narrative, and providing generic information on the internet.

Committee Submits Comments to Congressman on Incentives for Annuities
The Pension Committee submitted a comment letter to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA 21) in August regarding incentives to provide annuity payouts from qualified plans. The letter encourages Congress to extend tax incentives for annuities purchased from defined contribution plans and IRAs to defined benefit plans, and to have the same cap on tax incentives for both qualified and nonqualified annuities.

Intersector Group Releases May Meeting Notes With PBGC and Treasury, IRS
The Intersector Group in August released the notes of its May 2017 meeting with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and the notes of its May 2017 meeting with the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

 

ALERTS

The Academy issued an alert in September after the IRS, along with the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and the PBGC, announced in Notice 2017-49 that it will be providing funding relief for employee benefit plans affected by recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The Academy issued an alert in September after the IRS issued Notice 2017-45 on Sept. 1, which extends through 2018 the temporary nondiscrimination relief for closed defined benefit plans provided in Notice 2014-5, 2014-2 I.R.B. 276. This notice furthers a previous extension announced in September 2016.

IN THE NEWS

Senior Pension Fellow Ted Goldman and Pension Practice Council Forward Thinking Task Force Chairperson Eric Keener authored a subscriber-only Benefits Quarterly article on Retirement for the AGES, the Academy’s framework for assessing and comparing retirement-income systems.

Plan Adviser and BenefitsPro reported on the Pension Committee’s comment letter to the ERISA Advisory Council regarding employer requirements for supplying Annual Funding Notices for Defined Benefit Plans.

Joshua Shapiro, chairperson of the Multiemployer Plans Subcommittee, was quoted in a Bloomberg BNA story on the PBGC’s multiemployer insurance program.

CBS News story discussing concerns about the funding level of Social Security and Medicare cited the Academy’s actuarial perspective on possible solutions.

PlanSponsor story cited the Pension Practice Council’s issue brief that explores methods to measure the financial health of pension plans.

UPCOMING

Registration Open for Retirement Readiness Webinar
Registration is now open for the webinar, “Retirement Readiness In Three Countries: Who Is Ready To Retire?” which will be held on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 10-11:15 EDT. The webinar will look at the results of a recent survey—conducted jointly by the American Academy of Actuaries, the Actuaries Institute of Australia, and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (U.K.)—that explored the retirement preparedness of residents in all three countries. Speakers will discuss highlights from the survey, including some specific recommendations for policy initiatives aimed at improving overall retirement readiness. This webinar is free to attend. Register here.

Registration Open for Academy’s Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum
Regular registration ends Friday, Oct. 20, for the 2017 Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum. Featuring a keynote address by veteran journalist Bob Woodward, this event will provide the latest information on changes in Washington, D.C., and their impact on our profession. The pension-related sessions include: “Multiemployer Pension Plans: Is There a Runaway Ramp Before the Cliff?”; “Public Pension Plans: The Pothole-Filled Road to Retirement Security?”; and “National Retirement Policy Objectives: Are We on the Same Page?” Register here.