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The 2016 Excellence & Innovation Awards

Six winners were announced Monday, October 24 for Excellence and Innovation Awards at Pensions & Investments' West Coast Defined Contribution conference in San Diego 

This is the fifth year that P&I and the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA) have recognized achievements by plan sponsors, but this year's award provides a broader scope than those in previous years, which focused solely on innovation. 

DCIIA Proposes Industry-Standard Lexicon to Encourage Greater Adoption of Automatic Features in DC Plans

DCIIA’s Retirement Research Board and the Automation Task Force announces a standardized lexicon for defined contribution retirement plans to promote further adoption of automatic features.  In the whitepaper,“ Building a Common Language to Promote Adoption of Auto Features in DC Plans," DCIIA seeks to increase auto feature adoption by enabling plan sponsors to focus on improving both the performance of their plans as well as participant outcome. Read the press release and access the paper.

DOL News

DOL Releases Proposed Regulations and Interpretive Bulletin
on State-Run Plan Initiatives

Monday, November 16, 2015

Washington, DC -- The Department of Labor on November 16 simultaneously released proposed regulations and an Interpretive Bulletin that seek to provide a road map for states to set up payroll deduction savings IRA programs that would not be preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and to assist states in helping employers establish ERISA-covered plans for their employees. 

According to a DOL fact sheet, the proposed regulations describe the circumstances under which a state-required payroll deduction savings IRA program, including one with automatic enrollment, would not give rise to an employee pension benefit plan under ERISA. 

Under the proposal, a program must be established and maintained by a state government pursuant to state law, and state law would require certain private-sector employers to make the program available to their employees.  The proposed regulations and a DOL fact sheet describe the specific circumstances and conditions of the state-based program, including investment alternatives, notification rights, administrative and fiduciary responsibilities, and the role of the employer. 

The Interpretive Bulletin sets forth the views of the DOL concerning the application of ERISA and certain state law approaches designed to expand retirement savings options available to private sector workers through ERISA-covered retirement plans.  The Bulletin describes three approaches for states to consider, including establishing a marketplace to connect eligible employers with retirement plans available in the private sector market; making available a "prototype plan" that individual employers could adopt; and establishing a multiple employer plan (MEP) that eligible employers could join rather than establishing their own separate plan.

The Interpretive Bulletin is effective on November 18, 2015.

Written comments on the proposed regulations should be submitted to the Department of Labor by January 19, 2016

DCIIA’s Public Policy Committee and Institutional Structure Task Force have been anticipating this guidance and are in the process of developing a sub-group to consider the underlying policy issues and draft a comment letter.

If you are interested in getting involved, please sign up via the following link: Institutional Structure/MEPs Task Force.

Proposed Regulations

DOL Fact Sheet

DOL Interpretive Bulletin

Washington Update

Ted Godbout Shares an Overview of DC Policy News in Washington...

We thought it would be helpful for members to provide a brief synopsis of significant developments occurring over the last few months that relate to defined contribution plan issues or that are of interest to the DC plan community.

This update address:

  • The DOL’s proposal to change the definition of fiduciary,
  • A forthcoming DOL proposal on state-run retirement plans,
  • The IRS moving to limit its determination letter program for qualified retirement plans,
  • Upcoming ERISA Advisory Council recommendations expected on lifetime income notices, and
  • The IRS announcing that the 401(k) contribution limit for 2016 will remain unchanged at $18,000.

To view the full article, click here

DCIIA’s Jim Smith Featured in Bipartisan Policy Center Forum on “Rethinking Retirement Plans”

Jim Smith, head of Workplace Strategy for North America at Morningstar and HelloWallet, and DCIIA’s Retirement Income Committee Chair, on October 21 participated on a panel with two other panelists discussing strategies to solve the retirement coverage and savings gap.  The panel discussion was part of a broader forum held by the Bipartisan Policy Center on “Rethinking Retirement Plans.”  

The forum also featured former Senator Kent Conrad, co-chair of BPC’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings, who offered opening remarks, and Phyllis Borzi, Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Mark Iwry, Senior Advisor to the Treasury Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Retirement and Health Policy at the Treasury Department.

Smith and his co-panelists discussed the latest strategies and thinking in the defined contribution space, including intelligent plan design and behavioral science, making it easier for employers to set up 401(k) plans, preventing leakage and increasing portability, and helping participants with balancing priorities and setting retirement benchmarking goals, among other topics.

Borzi and Iwry updated attendees on the latest developments and policy issues that DOL and Treasury are focusing on, including updates on the DOL’s proposed changes to the definition of fiduciary, state activity to establish retirement plans for non-governmental employees, and efforts to expand retirement coverage.  

The individual panel discussions can be viewed by clicking here

Congratulations to the 2015 Recipients of DCIIA’s and Pensions & Investments’ Innovator Award

5 lauded for DC breakthroughs with Innovator Awards (Pensions & Investments – 11.2.15)

Congratulations to the 2015 winners of DCIIA’s and Pensions & Investments’ fourth annual Innovator Awards and Awards of Excellence for defined contribution plan executives and their employers who implemented new and unusual changes that ultimately will improve their participants’ outcome in retirement.  
The winners were announced and recognized at Pensions & Investments’ 2015 West Coast Defined Contribution Conference held October 18-20 in San Francisco.  DCIIA and Pensions & Investments co-sponsor this annual award for innovation by defined contribution plans and their executives.

Read all of the details, here

DCIIA Press Release – Wednesday, September 16, 2015

After examining the pros and cons of using illiquid assets in a defined contribution (DC) framework, the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA) finds that a strong case can be made for including such assets in DC plans.

Read the full press release...
DCIIA Issues Press Release on Study Examining Illiquid Assets in DC Plans

DCIIA Press Release:
Ted Godbout Joins DCIIA as Director of Communications and Public Relations

We are pleased to announce that Ted Godbout has joined DCIIA as Director of Communications and Public Relations, effective today, September 11. Ted will assist us in further implementing DCIIA’s overall communications and media relations strategy, including press and stakeholder outreach, membership updates and announcements, website content, and social media activities.

Ted brings a wealth of experience in strategic communications, government relations, and public policy development, and has a deep understanding of the legislative and regulatory processes. He also has extensive experience working on retirement security and federal tax policy issues.Ted most recently was the Communications Director for the ERISA Industry Committee where he oversaw all internal and external communications for the association. His government relations and public policy experience includes stints at the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Senate Finance Committee, KPMG, and AARP.

Read full press release, here.

Please welcome Ted to DCIIA. He can be reached at TGodbout@dciia.org and by phone at 703-258-4784.

DCIIA Press Release – Friday, June 19, 2015

"The Evidence Is in…Automatic Plan Features Work”

New research from DCIIA shows that defined contribution plan sponsors that use automatic plan features have better participation rates and higher deferral rates for plan participants. Over the period of study, DCIIA has found an increase in the use of automatic plan features, or auto-features; however, the results suggest that some obstacles still remain that limit increased participant savings rates.

Read more – link to full press release
The Evidence Is in…Automatic Plan Features Work

Link to whitepaper
DCIIA Plan Sponsor Survey 2014: Focus on Automatic Plan Features

Please join us in thanking the following DCIIA members for the tremendous effort in developing this important whitepaper: 

Authored by
Lori Lucas, Callan Associates
Joshua Dietch, Chatham Partners
Suzanne van Staveren, Goldman Sachs Asset Management
Catherine Peterson, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Bridget Bearden, Strategic Insight, an Asset International company
Catherine Collinson, Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies

A special thanks to
Joshua Dietch, Chatham Partners
Joan McDonagh, Empower Retirement
Catherine Peterson, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Donald Stone, Plan Sponsor Advisors, a division of Pavilion Advisory Group
Bridget Bearden, Strategic Insight, an Asset International company
Michael Skinner, T. Rowe Price
Mendel Melzer, The Newport Group

5/27/15 Message to Membership – DCIIA Inaugural Investment Forum Announcement
Read more

Invitation to DCIIA Membership to Submit Presentation Proposals – accepted through Monday, July 13, 2015
For more information about the Investment Forum and how to submit a proposal, please visit our website, here.

4/17/15 Message to Membership

Information Related to the DOL Fiduciary Proposal Release on April 14, 2015

Given the level of interest in the DOL Fiduciary Rule Proposal released earlier this week, we have added a discussion of the re-proposal as an agenda item on the Public Policy Committee call on Monday, April 20 (dial-in details below). We will likely spend 15-20 minutes of the monthly call on the discussion, and we welcome all DCIIA members to join the call to contribute to the discussion. 

Public Policy Committee Call – Monday, April 20, 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. 
Conference Call Dial-in: (605) 477-2100, Access Code: 400475

If you are interested in joining the DOL Fiduciary Proposal Task Force to help draft DCIIA's comment letter, please sign up using the committee signup option, here

As helpful background for our members, we have included some information from the DOL immediately below.  We've also included some additional links below relating to the proposal that may be of interest. 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor has released a proposed rule that will protect 401(k) and IRA investors by mitigating the effect of conflicts of interest in the retirement investment marketplace. A White House Council of Economic Advisers analysis found that these conflicts of interest result in annual losses of about 1 percentage point for affected investors — or about $17 billion per year in total, read full release, here, and Fact Sheet, here. 

Publishing the proposal is just one step in the regulatory process. The proposal is subject to change based on feedback received at each step, and we want the public to weigh in extensively throughout the process.

Next Steps:
US Labor Department seeks public comment on proposal to protect consumers from conflicts of interest in retirement advice – Release Number: 15-0655-NAT. The due date for responses is July 6, 2015.

The Department strongly encourages all interested parties to give feedback on the proposal. The Department will hold a public hearing and accept written comments, so anyone who wants to comment on any aspect of the proposal has that opportunity. You may go to Regulations.gov, "Your Voice in Federal Decision-Making," which allows you to search for and view a description of rules currently open for comment, read full texts of the documents, and submit comments. You can also submit comments directly to the Department of Labor by email, mail, by hand, or by courier.  

DOL Site –  listing of important links relating to the proposed rule:

The Proposal: Proposed Rule, Prohibited Transaction Exemptions, and Economic Analysis
Press Release: DOL seeks public comment on proposal to protect consumers from conflicts of interest in retirement advice
FAQs: Conflicts of Interest Rulemaking
Fact Sheet: Proposal to Protect Retirement Savings
Blog: Today's Important Step to Strengthen Retirement Security

DOL Proposes Major Changes to Fiduciary Advice Definition, Revises Existing Exemptions
(Groom Law Group Chartered)

DOL Fiduciary Rule to Revamp Regulation of Advice to Plans and IRAs
(Morgan Lewis – Lawflash: By Lindsay Jackson & Brian Baltz)

DOL Proposes New Fiduciary Rule for Retirement Advisors
(The Wagner Law Group – ERISA & Investment Management Law Alert: By Marcia Wagner)

Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance to Facilitate Automatic Enrollment in Retirement Plans through Simplified Correction Methods

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance designed to facilitate automatic enrollment and contribution increases in 401(k) and similar retirement savings plans. This guidance adds to the current IRS self-correction program, which allows plan sponsors to easily correct administrative errors without risking the plan’s tax qualification and without having to obtain IRS approval.
read more

2/23/15 Message to Members...

Included below is Fact Sheet released by the White House today.  Included in that fact sheet is a link to additional information and resources on the Department of Labor's website (http://www.dol.gov/featured/protectyoursavings/) as well as a link to a report from the Council of Economic Advisers (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/cea_coi_report_final.pdf).  President Obama will be discussing the Administration's focus on these issues at 2pm today at the AARP's offices in Washington, DC.  You can watch the remarks live on the AARP's website.  

February 23, 2015
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

FACT SHEET: Middle Class Economics: Strengthening Retirement Security by Cracking Down on Backdoor Payments and Hidden Fees
“That’s what middle-class economics is—the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015

To learn more, visit DOL.gov/ProtectYourSavings.

DCIIA Press Release – Wednesday, December 10, 2014
"Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contracts: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)”

Link to full press release:  DCIIA Announces FAQ Resource for new QLAC regulations 

Link to paper on dciia.org/publications directory:
White Paper – White Paper – Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contracts: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In its newly released document, “Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contracts: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)”, DCIIA provides insight into recently announced regulations that make longevity annuities accessible to the defined contribution (DC) and individual retirement account (IRA) markets.  

Please join us in thanking the following DCIIA members for the tremendous effort in developing this FAQ: 

Barb Hogg, Aon Hewitt

Patricia Kuhn, BlackRock, Inc.

Mike Westhoven, DST Retirement Solutions

Douglas Kant, Fidelity Investments

Drew Carrington, Franklin Templeton Investments 

Joan McDonagh, Empower Retirement

Steve Shepherd, Hewitt EnnisKnupp, Inc.

Cynthia Mallett, MetLife

Jim Smith, Morningstar, Inc.

Dan Gardner, Russell Investments

Jody Strakosch, Strakosch Retirement Strategies, LLC 

Cindy Vogl, UBS Global Asset Management 

Brokerage Windows RFI – DCIIA Comment Letter Submitted on 11.19.2014

Request for Information (Request for Information) Regarding Standards for Brokerage Windows in Participant-Directed Individual Account Plans (RIN 1210-AB59)

DCIIA Comment Letter – The Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Request for Information by the United States Department of Labor (the Department) on the Standards for Brokerage Windows in Participant-Directed Individual Account Plans. DCIIA recognizes that brokerage windows can play an important role in enhancing retirement outcomes and commends the Department on its efforts to seek more information on this relevant topic prior to considering additional rulemaking...read the entire comment letter.

Treasury Issues Guidance to Encourage Annuities in 401 (k) Plans – 10.24.2014

Earlier today, the U.S. Treasury Department took an extremely important and welcome step to promote retirement income security.  Treasury issued guidance to pave the way for employers who sponsor 401(k) and other defined contribution plans to voluntarily allow the contributions of automatically enrolled participants to be placed in deferred annuities.  In addition, at Treasury's request, the DOL issued guidance today which confirmed that target date funds or other investment vehicles serving as qualified default investment alternatives may include annuities among their fixed income investments.

Mark Iwry is very interested in DCIIA's comments, so we will be creating a task force to provide feedback to Treasury.  Please contact Brenda O'Connor if you are interested in participating. 

Included below is a  link to an article published in Forbes by Jeff Brown of University of Illinois with his take on these new guidelines. 

New Treasury Guidance Will Encourage Annuities In 401(k) Plan

2014 Innovator Awards Winners – read the full story on P&I – 11.10.14

We're excited to share the winners of the third annual Innovator Awards announced at Pensions & Investments' 2014 West Coast Defined Contribution Conference. 

DCIIA and P&I spotlight 5 who went the extra mile for participants  – Read more – the full story . 

2014 Innovator Award winners (from left): QSuper's Rosemary Vilgan; Massachhusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman; International Paper's Carol Sung; Buck Consultants' Jeannie Lowe; and New York Deferred Comp's Georgette Gestely.

DCIIA Collective Investment Trust (CIT) Webcast – 10.9.2014 

The discussion will provide background CITs, highlight changes to the OCC Handbook on CITs, which sets forth regulatory and supervisory expectations for CIT managers, and provide insight into areas of current regulatory concern.

DCIIA CIT Webcast_10.9.14 – Replay Link

DCIIA CIT Webcast – Final Presentation 10.9.14

DCIIA Collective Investment Trust (CIT) Webcast Invitation
Please join us on Thursday, October 9, 2014 from 11:00 a.m.– 12:00 p.m.  (ET) – Register Now

The discussion will provide background CITs, highlight changes to the OCC Handbook on CITs, which sets forth regulatory and supervisory expectations for CIT managers, and provide insight into areas of current regulatory concern.

DCIIA hosted a very successful Global Webcast on 9.23.2014

Exploring DC Systems in France, Sweden, and the Netherlands, on Tuesday, September 23.  You may access the final presentation materials in the Committee Webcast folder or by clicking on the following link:  

DCIIA Global Wecast Replay Link_9.23.14

DCIIA Global Webcast Presentation_9.23.14

DCIIA Global Webcast: Exploring DC Systems in France, Sweden, and the Netherlands 

Meeting Date:  September 23, 2014
Meeting Time:  10:00 a.m. (Eastern Time)
Meeting Duration:  60 minutes
Registration is required to attend this event.  Please register now.  You will then receive a confirmation email with all of the details.

DCIIA Letter to Treasury – Revenue Ruling 2014-9 – 7.29.2014 
Re: Guidance Facilitating Tax-Free Rollovers to Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Download DCIIA Letter to Treasury

DCIIA sends letter to Treasury expressing appreciation for the Treasury Department’s efforts to facilitate the portability of workers’ retirement benefits between their prior and current retirement plans that are reflected in Revenue Ruling 2014-9.  DCIIA is committed to helping plan sponsors and the industry act on this new Revenue Ruling by providing information and thought leadership to support broader implementation of qualifying plan-to-plan rollovers.  To this end, DCIIA is developing a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to provide greater insight into the Revenue Ruling and its implications.

Rachel Sykes joins the DCIIA Team as Research Project Manager

We are pleased to announce that Rachel Sykes joins the DCIIA team today as a Research Project Manager.  Rachel will be working with me to formally launch the DCIIA Retirement Research Center.  She will be responsible for managing the organization’s research agenda, working with internal members (including the members of the newly established Retirement Research Board) and external researchers to ensure the timely completion of impactful retirement research, and seek to communicate research results across industry and academic venues.  Rachel joins us from J.P. Morgan, where she was a Product Manager in the Commercial and Investment Bank, working with Pensions, Insurers, and Asset Managers.  Prior to J.P. Morgan, Rachel worked at Fidelity Investments’ Strategic Advisers in the Asset Allocation Division, as well as in Wellington Management Company’s Quantitative Investment Group.  Rachel has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Suffolk University, and has earned the CFA designation.  Her investment background, combined with her passion for improving retirement outcomes should serve her well at DCIIA.  Rachel's contact information is below: 

Rachel C. Sykes,
Research Project Manager


Please join me in welcoming Rachel to DCIIA! 



Treasury Issues Final Rules Regarding Longevity Annuities
DCIIA Press Release – 7.17.2014

We're excited to share that Treasury has finalized the QLAC regulations, and we are including the DCIIA Treasury Press Release.  As you can see, the final regulations include some enhancements suggested by DCIIA and others shared at the hearing on the proposed regulations, including an increase in the amount that can be invested and the addition of a return of premium option.  This should be a major step forward in providing effective lifetime income solutions to defined contribution participants.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2014                              
CONTACT: Erin Donar, Treasury Public Affairs (202) 622-2690 

Rules provide for greater security by giving American families more flexibility to plan for retirement and protect themselves from outliving their savings.
Final Rule – pdf for downloading:

DCIIA's Inaugural Global Webcast – Replay Link – 6.25.2014

Please find below the replay link for DCIIA's Global Webcast, led by our Global Committee leadership team, Click Here.

Rollovers to Qualified Plans Guidance – 4.3.2014

The IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2014-9 on April 3 which provides a new process for plan administrators to reasonably conclude that a rollover contribution is valid. Receiving plans may access the EFAST2 database maintained by the Department of Labor, locate the most recent Form 5500 filed by the distributing plan, and confirm that it is not coded as a plan not intended to be qualified.  Click here to Read More.

DCIIA Holds First-Of-Its-Kind Defined Contribution Auto Features Town Hall; Unveils Auto Features Resource Center – 4.2.2014

On April 2, 2014, the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA) held an Auto Features Town Hall. This first-of-its-kind event brought together plan sponsors, defined contribution (DC) industry leaders, and policymakers to engage in an open dialogue regarding how retirement income adequacy of U.S. workers can be improved through the better use of auto enrollment and automatic contribution escalation features in DC plans.
Press Release – DCIIA Holds First-Of-Its-Kind Defined Contribution Auto Features Town Hall; Unveils Auto Features Resource Center

Lew Minsky and five other DC industry leaders were interviewed in the latest edition of The Participant Magazine

They discuss how to improve the retirement system by driving change in Washington. 
Click the link to read the full article: The Participant Magazine