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The Wagner Law Group

The Wagner Law Group is a nationally recognized practice in the areas of ERISA, employee benefits and executive compensation, trusts and estates, employment, labor and human resources, litigation, investment management, immigration, family and municipal law.


Established in 1996, The Wagner Law Group is dedicated to the highest standards of integrity, excellence and thought leadership and is considered to be amongst the nation's premier ERISA and employee benefits law firms. The firm has seven offices across the country, providing unparalleled legal advice to its clients, including large, small and nonprofit corporations as well as individuals and government entities worldwide. The Wagner Law Group's 33 attorneys, senior benefits consultant and five paralegals combine many years of experience in their fields of practice with a variety of backgrounds. Seven of the attorneys are AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell and six are Fellows of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, an invitation-only organization of nationally recognized employee benefits lawyers.  Seven of the firm's attorneys have been named to the prestigious Super Lawyers list for 2018, which highlights outstanding lawyers based on a rigorous selection process.








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The Wagner Law Group


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Lincoln, MA
Tel: (617) 532-8080
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August 31, 2018



Law Alert


President Trump Issues Executive Order On Retirement Security




Today, President Trump issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Labor ("DOL") and the Treasury Department to ease the barriers employers face in offering retirement plans and increase employee access to retirement benefit programs. One-third of private-sector employees in the American workforce are said to lack access to workplace retirement plans.


First, the DOL and Treasury are directed to consider making changes to the existing rules regarding Association Retirement Plans, also known as Multiple Employer Plans ("MEPs"). A MEP (which is different from a multiemployer plan for employees covered by collective bargaining agreements) is a type of retirement plan that pools contributions made by two or more unrelated employers. Small and mid-sized employers may be able to reduce the administrative and overhead costs (e.g., recordkeeping and discrimination testing) of offering a retirement plan on their own by the economies of scale that result from pooling the resources of several participating employers. There are no restrictions under the Internal Revenue Code as to whom may participate in such plans, but the DOL has required that there be certain types of relationships between entities participating in such plans, such as trade associations. In its recently issued final regulations with respect to association health plans, the DOL modified its historic position with respect to welfare plans, but did not address the treatment of pension plans. This is an issue with respect to which there is bipartisan support, and legislation addressing the same issue has been introduced in Congress. That legislation would also address another hurdle to these open-MEPs, by eliminating the "one bad apple" rule, under which an act that would disqualify the plan of one participating employer would adversely affect the plans of all participating employers. An unresolved issue with respect to open MEPs is the extent to which participating employers would retain residual fiduciary liability under such plans.  


Second, the DOL and Treasury are directed to identify ways to lessen the administrative burdens for maintaining retirement plans, which often prevent small businesses from offering them. In particular, the order directs these government agencies to improve the efficiency of notice and paperwork requirements associated with retirement plans.


Third, as a way of increasing retirement preparedness, the Treasury is directed to review and update the mortality tables used to calculate minimum required distributions ("MRDs") under the Internal Revenue Code for individual retirement accounts ("IRAs") and defined contribution plans such as 401(k) plans. Currently, IRA participants must commence distributions no later than the April 1 after the year in which they attain age 70½, and a similar rule applies to retirees in tax-qualified defined contribution plans. Americans have experienced longer life expectancies in recent years and with updated mortality tables, the MRD amounts will decrease, thereby allowing participants to keep more money in their 401(k) plans and IRAs for longer periods. This portion of the Executive Order is intended to address the concern of workers that they will outlive their retirement savings.



If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Barry Salkin, Stephen Migausky or Livia Aber




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This Newsletter is provided for information purposes by The Wagner Law Group to clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter, and may not be relied upon as specific legal advice.  This material is not to be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. Under the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered advertising.