Wrapping up the 2016 Enrolled Actuaries meeting it basically came down to three main topics for me, all of which came up on the last day:
- new DOL fiduciary rules effective April, 2017;
- plan document restatements of Defined Benefit plans likely not going to happen until 2018; and
- reining in new comparability cross-tested plans.
The final plenary session was all about the fiduciary rules and it came down to:
“if actuaries stay within their roles they would not be considered a fiduciary?”
which led to my question:
If a public plan actuary uses their own judgment in determining the discount rate for a valuation would they then be considered a fiduciary?
Never got asked since a line formed at the mike but other questions did make it out.
At the Dialogue with the IRS/Treasury I asked about plan restatements and was told:
- April 30, 2016 is a firm deadline for Defined Contribution PPA restatements and the panelists knew of no movement to extend the date,
- there are 67 applications for determination letters on Defined Benefit (including Cash Balance) plans with issues on improper interest crediting rates and using benefit designs that were not definitely determinable (ie defining a benefit as the 415 limit) that are holding up approvals (which will come all at once and not piecemeal); and
- the expectation is that the restatement period will be from May 1, 2018 to April 30, 2010.
As for those proposed regulations that were supposed to be about QSERPs and closed defined benefit plans but wound up including provisions that will adversely impact the most popular plan design for small plans over the last ten years, to a direct question (not from me) IRS actuary Harlan Weller would only say:
“I think I will pass on that question.”