Business of Benefits

Business of Benefits

Tag Archives: Plan Distributed Annuities

Auditing Distributed 403(b) (and 401(a)) Contracts

Posted in 403(b), Lifetime Income, Plan Administration
How do you audit a 403(b) in-kind distribution? There is no financial transaction, no cash changes hands, there is no change in investments. It really is only a nominal change in the records of the insurer. Yet, somehow, GAAP requires that the "transaction" be verified. There is no answer, yet, to this question, which means the industries (that is, auditors, insurers, and lawyers) will be pressed for finding a standardized approach for bringing audit certainty to this process. It even becomes a bigger issue than 403(b)s: QLACs and other distributed annuity contracts are all able to be distributed as "in-kind" distributions from 401(a) plans as well, and there is no acceptable "recordkeeping" method to audit.… Continue Reading

DOL and Lifetime Income

Posted in Lifetime Income
Even with all of the interest in the Fiduciary Rule, the DOL is still paying attention to lifetime income-so much so that the Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (the “QLAC”, established by the IRS) was granted broad relief under the Rule. This relief is so favorable that one of the claims being brought in the 5… Continue Reading

Addressing Fiduciary Concerns in the Purchase of 401(k) Distributed Annuities: Dealing With The Five “I’s”- Part 2, Inflexibility and Inaccessability

Posted in Lifetime Income
Traditional annuities are inflexible. Period. You get the monthly benefit you pay for. They provide a very valuable benefit which should be part of anyone's retirement planning, but this inflexibility can be scary, as it takes away from the participant the ability to address unexpected contingencies. This fear comes from the second point: the funds used to buy the traditional annuity are gone for good. Other than payments made under a survivor annuity, the traditional annuity doesn't give the participant any access to funds to pay for contingencies, nor does it typically pay a death benefit. So what's a fiduciary to do?… Continue Reading

Addressing Fiduciary Concerns in the Purchase of 401(k) Distributed Annuities: Dealing With The Five “I’s”- Part 1, Irrevocability

Posted in Lifetime Income
The first element in a fiduciary review is to get at least a layman's grasp on the nature of insurance and insurance regulation. Pooling risks with others is an uncomfortable concept that is foreign to fiduciary with a defined contribution mindset Because of pooling and this "30 year risk," insurance is regulated in ways of no other industry… Continue Reading

Do 403(b) Distributed Custodial Accounts Currently Exist?

Posted in 403(b)
Our blog of May 26 on "Distributed Custodial Accounts" generated a number of comments, which require a bit of a "follow-on."  Ellie Lowder, one of the grand dames  of the 403(b) world, agreed with my assessment.  She mentioned  that she had discussions with the IRS on this point. Staff  just couldn’t see how distributions of… Continue Reading

401(k) Annuities: “Defined Benefit” Guarantees Using a 401(k) Account

Posted in Lifetime Income, Lifetime Income Published Papers
It is back to the future, in an odd sort of way. There is growing trade press coverage on the interests of 401(k) plans and plan participants on turning a portion of participants’ account balances into a "defined benefit-like" guaranteed income stream. Follow, for example, this link to Plan There are really two ways… Continue Reading