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Press Release on Mortality Seminar

Press Release

November 19, 2014

Today, Altman & Cronin Benefit Consultants, LLC, in conjunction with the accounting firm Moss Adams LLP, conducted a webinar on the implementation of the RP-2014 mortality tables (with MP-2014 projection scale) for plan sponsors use at their upcoming fiscal year ends. Of the approximately 150 participants on the call, three-quarters were in-house finance and accounting personnel, 15% were other in-house personnel (HR, legal, etc.) and 10% were external consultants.

The group was surveyed about when they would adopt the new mortality tables for their financial reporting. Of the nearly 20% of participants with fiscal year ends before 12/31/14, roughly 40% said they would be adopting new mortality tables for their upcoming reporting, while 60% said they would be deferring adoption of the new tables. Interestingly, for the nearly half of the participants with calendar fiscal years, the majority also indicated they would not be adopting the new tables as of December 31, 2014. Even for the third of the participants with fiscal years ending after December 31, more than half indicated that they would not adopt the new tables in their current fiscal year. This result, indicating that only a minority of plan sponsors intend to adopt the new mortality tables for their upcoming fiscal year end reporting, will be surprising for many pension professionals.

After a discussion about how the tables are intended to be customized by plan sponsors (especially large sponsors), the group was surveyed on whether they expect to adopt the “recommended” tables and scale, or they will customize the adopted tables. About 70% of the group expected to adopt the recommended tables, while 30% indicated intent to customize the adopted tables.

Finally, after a discussion on life expectancy trends, the group was asked if they believe that people will all die by a specific age (currently assumed to be age 120), if they thought life expectancies would continue to increase over time, or if eventually people will live forever. The group was roughly split evenly between those who think there is a fixed ultimate lifetime, and those who expect continued increase in life expectancies into the future. Only two people indicated that they expect that humans will eventually live forever.

Altman & Cronin Benefit Consultants, LLC is a boutique actuarial and consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco, CA. They specialize in advising clients about the design, funding and administration of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans. Inquiries can be addressed to: (415) 395-9300 or

Governor Brown Announces Appointments

Ian Altman has been appointed to the California Actuarial Advisory Panel
December 30, 2013

Governor Brown Announces Appointments SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the following appointments.

Ian Altman, 54, of Tiburon, has been appointed to the California Actuarial Advisory Panel. Altman has been a managing partner at Altman and Cronin Benefit Consultants LLC since 1996. He held multiple positions at William M. Mercer Inc. from 1980 to 1996, including principal, associate and consultant. Altman is a fellow at the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries and the Western Pension and Benefits Council.

Information about the CAAP
The California Actuarial Advisory Panel (CAAP) was created by Senate Bill 1123 and chaptered in State law in September 2008.

The CAAP is required to provide public agencies with impartial and independent information on pensions, other post employment benefits, and best practices, and report those recommendations to the Legislature on or before February 1 of each year.

The CAAP consists of eight actuaries, appointed by various public officeholders and agencies. The appointees generally serve terms of three years.

Immediate Action Required in Response to Revenue Ruling 2013-17

Immediate Action Required in Response to Revenue Ruling 2013-17
August 30, 2013

On August 29th, the IRS issued a ruling granting broad recognition of same-sex marriages for purposes of Federal tax law. The US Treasury Department and the IRS stated that same-sex couples legally married in any state, US territory or foreign country will be recognized for tax purposes, even if the state of the couple’s residence does not recognize the marriage. This ruling follows the recent US Supreme Court decision that invalidated the provision of Federal law that prohibited the recognition of such marriages under Federal law. (Yesterday’s pronouncement is Revenue Ruling 2013-17.) (The recognition of a same-sex spouse for Federal tax purposes does NOT extend to registered domestic partners or those in a civil union.).

Tax Treatment of Affected Employees
The IRS will apply the ruling prospectively effective September 16, 2013. For 2013, legally married same-sex couples will have to file their Federal tax returns reflecting their married status. Affected taxpayers will be permitted to amend prior year tax returns for any year the statue of limitations hasn’t run, which for most will be back to 2011 (or 2010, if the amended return is filed before the end of the three-year period beginning on the date the 2010 return was filed.) Employers may rely on the ruling retroactively for the same period to amend returns or claim credits or refunds of any overpayment of employment taxes (FICA and FUTA) for health and welfare benefits provided to such married employees. Any after-tax payments made by an affected employee to pay for health coverage of a same-sex spouse may be treated as pre-tax payments To read the full article, click on the link below.

Immediate Action Required in Response to Revenue Ruling 2013-17 (pdf download)

Get Ready -- Your Form 5500 Must Be Filed Electronically for 2009

Get Ready -- Your Form 5500 Must Be Filed Electronically for 2009
by Contance Hiatt

For years beginning on or after January 1, 2009, Form 5500 for benefit plans must be filed electronically. Plan sponsors have two options for electronic filing. The first is through IFILE, which is available to file a Form 5500 through the DOL website. The second option is to use an approved, third-party vendor software program.1 Altman & Cronin will use approved third-party vendor software, which will minimize complications for our clients. All plan sponsors must use their Federal Employer ID number on the Form 5500. No social security numbers should be included anywhere in the Form 5500 filing. Additionally, Schedule SSA, which historically was used to report terminated deferred vested participants, is no longer included with the Form 5500 filing. Instead, this information will be filed separately with the IRS. (The IRS expects to introduce a new form to replace the Schedule SSA soon.) The Form 5500 filings will be made public so sponsors should be careful to avoid disclosing social security numbers and other sensitive information.

EFAST2 Credentials
Preparers and signers of Form 5500 will need access to the EFAST2 system in order to prepare and sign returns as discussed below. Access is controlled by requiring users to register with the DOL for “credentials” to use the EFAST2 system. Credentials are obtained by registering at the DOL website - The DOL has established five user types under EFAST2, which are explained below. Parties will need to register for the specific credentials that allow the access for their areas of responsibility for a Form 5500. In other words, users will need to designate the credential for which they are registering. For example, Altman & Cronin staff will have a credential as “Transmitter” to be able to prepare and submit clients’ Form 5500s. Although a total of five types of credentials or users are included by the DOL, many Altman & Cronin clients will only need a credential as the Filing Signer. Somelients who will transmit the Form 5500 will also need a credential as “Transmitter”. The five types of credentials established by the DOL are as follows: 1. Filing Author-can complete Form 5500 and schedules, submit the filing and check on its status. This status is only needed if a plan is using the DOL IFILE program, which is not necessary for Altman & Cronin clients. Filing Authors must also register separately as Filing Signer if they will sign the return. To read the full article, click on the link below.

Get Ready -- Your Form 5500 Must Be Filed Electronically for 2009 (pdf download)

Are you Ready for Schedule C?

Are you Ready for Schedule C?
by Contance Hiatt

The Department of Labor (DOL) is among those that have recently focused on the fees paid by 401(k) plans and plan participants. Plaintiff’s attorneys and Congress are also interested in this topic. The concerns about fees include whether total fees paid under many 401(k) plans are unreasonable, a suspicion that plan fiduciaries and participants do not know the total fees nor understand how fees affect long-term investment returns, and a concern that fees paid to third parties may improperly influence advice from service providers to plan sponsors.

The DOL has recently introduced a revised Schedule C as part of the 2009 Form 5500, which requires new disclosures about fees paid to service providers of a plan. The schedule applies to all plans governed by ERISA, but the impact will be perhaps most visible for 401(k) plans, given the variety of ways that services to such plans are paid for with plan assets. The DOL considers this disclosure of fees as part of a fiduciary’s ongoing responsibility to know, understand and monitor fees paid under a plan.

Why Does It Matter?
Plan sponsors will likely find it more difficult than expected to gather information and determine how to report the necessary information. Sponsors who have previously relied on service providers to provide all of the necessary information for Form 5500 may need to be more involved with the Schedule C disclosures. Also, service providers will likely use a variety of methods to report information to plan sponsors and inconsistency should be expected. Some providers may cross reference fund prospectuses and service agreements as the source documents for fee disclosure. Given the significance of the changes to Schedule C, plan sponsors should start planning now for the information gathering and evaluation for the upcoming Form 5500. Finally, plan sponsors who do not receive the necessary information from service providers will need to decide whether the service provider has submitted sufficient information for the sponsor to rely on the transition rule for 2009 (discussed below under “Reporting of Unresponsive Providers”).To read the full article, click on the link below.

Are you Ready for Schedule C? (pdf download)

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