Technical Competence

Technical Competence covers the nuts and bolts of the 403(b) plan market, focusing on regulations at both the state and federal level, along with developments in public-employee plan management.


Technical Competence

Technical Competence

By John Ortman7/16/2014 • 0 Comments

Are graft and fraud the next big thing for state pension plans? An industry segment already beset by massive underfunding, bankruptcy court proceedings and other litigation, politics and pension envy doesn’t need any more bad news. But that may be exactly what it gets.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/15/2014 • 0 Comments

On July 9, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) signed into law a measure that makes it illegal to transfer or assign public pension benefits. The Show-Me State is the first to enact such legislation. 


By John Iekel7/14/2014 • 0 Comments

The IRS on July 11 announced that it is withdrawing a proposal it made in 1981 for an amendment to regulations governing IRA rollovers. The proposed amendment to Treas. Reg. § 1.408-4(b)(4)(ii) would have applied the rollover limitation on an IRA-by-IRA basis. This withdrawal affects individuals who maintain IRAs and financial institutions that are trustees, custodians, or issuers of IRAs. READ MORE

By John Iekel7/11/2014 • 0 Comments

When the IRS writes its essay about how it spent its summer vacation, it will report about how it rolled out a new compliance initiative project focusing on whether non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements are operating in accordance with Internal Revenue Code Section 409A. So says Linda Segal Blinn in MarketBeat.


By John Iekel7/11/2014 • 0 Comments

Defined benefit plans, DC plans and 403(b) annuity arrangements, take note: July 31 is right around the corner. That’s the day by which most plans must file the dreaded and onerous Form 5500. The clock is ticking on filing the form that reports on 2013.  READ MORE

By Chris DeGrassi7/8/2014 • 0 Comments

NTSA is always busy working on your behalf and that of those whom you serve. Following is a look at what’s been going on in selected states, as well as NTSA’s assessment and what action we are taking.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/7/2014 • 0 Comments

An agent working with a public school superintendent to include retirement benefits in his individual contract reviews the wording the district plans to use. She sees that they have given the superintendent a choice of medical insurance OR an employer contribution to the 403(b) plan. In Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder tells us whether there is a problem with providing this choice.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/7/2014 • 0 Comments

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia allow charter schools. They tend to treat their benefits packages in the same way as a typical for-profit employer and not in the way a traditional K-12 school does. In MarketBeat, Diane D. Capone of Lincoln Investment writes that it is important to know who is working with charter schools in your area and to develop a relationship, including one with third party administrators, that will facilitate a 403(b) retirement plan and allow you to help in properly establishing and running a charter school’s retirement plan.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/2/2014 • 0 Comments

The Treasury Department issued a rule July 1 that essentially allows employees to convert part of their IRA or 401(k) balances into a longevity annuity. Under the rule, an IRA or 401(k) can allow participants to use $125,000 or up to 25 percent of their IRA or 401(k) — whichever is less — to buy a longevity annuity. The dollar limit will be adjusted for inflation in $10,000 increments.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/30/2014 • 0 Comments

An agent with a product provider insists that an employee can take distribution from his 457(b) plan and roll it over into the same employer’s 403(b) plan; he is under 70 ½ and actively employed with that employer. The agent says there is new guidance making this permissible. In Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder discusses whether the agent is correct.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/30/2014 • 0 Comments

Controversy persists in the Tar Heel State over the way information is disclosed — or not disclosed — about how state pension funds are invested and the deals behind those investments.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/27/2014 • 0 Comments

Cash and securities holdings of the 100 largest public employee pension systems in the United States —   which account for 89.4 percent of domestic public pension financial activity — grew during the first quarter of 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Quarterly Survey of Public Pensions. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/25/2014 • 0 Comments

The federal government, a purveyor of regulations and legislation, has set before the 403(b) community a veritable blue plate special — and one with a long shelf life to boot. NTSA President Susan Diehl of PenServ Services, Inc., outlined what’s on that plate at NTSA’s 403(b) Summit in Washington, D.C., on June 24.


By Steven Sullivan6/25/2014 • 0 Comments

Relying on the traditional methods for determining a client’s tolerance for risk can be risky in itself, according to Michael Kitces, speaking at the 2014 NTSA 403(b) Summit in Washington, D.C., on June 24. Kitces is a partner and director of research at the Pinnacle Advisory Group. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/24/2014 • 0 Comments

The watchword of the day is patience. And detailed preparation. Speaking to a packed room at a June 23 general session of the NTSA 403(b) Summit in Washington, D.C., Kristi Cook, head of an eponymous law firm, and Ellie Lowder, of TSA Consulting, outlined the challenges facing the 403(b) industry.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/17/2014 • 0 Comments

A measure that would reform the pension system serving the Keystone State’s public-sector employees is coming closer to a vote. HB 1353, introduced by Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Berks), would offer a new hybrid plan to new employees and seeks to reduce the burden the system places on Pennsylvania taxpayers.  READ MORE

By Thomas Clark6/17/2014 • 0 Comments

In spring 2013, a nationwide wave of class action lawsuits were filed against five large hospital systems claiming affiliation with the Catholic Church. The claims were all the same: The defined benefit pension plans sponsored by the hospitals were not eligible for the church plan exemption under ERISA. During the last year, we have had substantive decisions in three of the cases on what the scope of the church plan exemption should be. In this week’s MarketBeat, Thomas E. Clark, Jr. discusses this litigation and what may happen next.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/17/2014 • 0 Comments

If the holder of a Roth 403(b) is over age 59½ and has held his account for more than five years, is the plan administrator required to withhold 20 percent for federal income tax since the distribution is eligible to be rolled over?  In Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder says yea or nay. 


By John Iekel6/13/2014 • 0 Comments

Funds held in inherited IRAs are not retirement funds and must be included in a bankruptcy estate, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 12. The Court’s 9-0 ruling in Clark v. Rameker, No. 13-299 (U.S. 6/12/14), aff’d 714 F.3d 559 (7th Cir. 2013)) was definitive in drawing a distinction between inherited IRAs and retirement funds, and between inherited IRAs and other funds to which the Bankruptcy Code’s exemptions apply. The Court’s ruling ended years of ping-pong litigation in which successive courts reversed decisions by lower courts.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/10/2014 • 0 Comments

If a client is age 72, and has worked for three years for an employer that offers a 457(b) plan, what are the rules regarding when he can retire with an unreduced benefit? In Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder explains what he needs to do and whether any catch-up contributions are possible. READ MORE

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