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January 30, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Plan Administrator
for Growth-oriented TPA Firm in MD

Recordkeeping Specialist
for AKT Retirement Plan Services in OR

Defined Contribution Implementation Analyst
for Milliman in TX

Senior Consulting Actuary
for Milliman in TX

401(k) Sales Consultant
for Retirement Revolution, LLC in ANY STATE

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Webcasts and Conferences

Design and Taxation of Low and No Cost Fringe Benefits: De Minimis, No-Additional-Cost, Transportation, and Other Budget-Friendly Benefits
Nationwide on January 26, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Workshop with Sal Tripodi
in California on February 16, 2012 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators - San Francisco Bay Area Chapter


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[Guidance Overview]
Effective Date of DOL's Fee Disclosure Regulations Near: Plan Sponsors Should Not Procrastinate
"Plan sponsors should ensure that service providers are complying with their regulatory disclosure requirements. The steps to follow are (in some respects) similar to the participant fee disclosure steps . . . ." (Ice Miller LLP)


The Hottest Ticket in Town!   [Advert.]

Sponsored by ASPPA

ASPPA co-sponsors several regional conferences each year with the IRS to provide discussion opportunities with colleagues and local, regional and national government representatives from IRS and DOL. Check to see when we're coming to your region!


[Guidance Overview]
District Court Must Order Plan Committee to Apply Correct Legal Standard to Top-Hat Plan Issue
"A district court erred when it failed to order a retirement plan committee to use the correct legal standard to determine whether the plan met ERISA's requirements for a top-hat plan, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati . . . has ruled. The appellate court reversed the district court's ruling that, because the plan was not a top-hat plan, the employer had violated ERISA's vesting and other substantive requirements." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

[Guidance Overview]
Practitioners' Forum Discussion: Loomis v. Exelon Corp.
"[T]he Seventh Circuit affirmed a lower court's holding that the plan fiduciary did not breach its duties under ERISA . . . by offering retail mutual funds as part of the investment options in a participant-directed defined contribution plan." (Compensation Planning Journal via The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Extension of Transition Relief for Puerto Rico Qualified Plans to Participate in U.S. Group Trusts and Deadline to Transfer Assets
"There are now two separate deadlines: First, in recognition of the fact that Puerto Rico adopted a new tax code in 2011 with significant changes to the requirements for qualified retirement plans, the IRS has extended the general deadline to December 31, 2012, for dual-qualified plans to make transfers to Puerto Rico-only plans, in order to give plan sponsors time to consider the effect of the changes made by the new tax code." (The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.)

Annual Survey of Public-Employee Retirement Systems: 222 State-Administered Defined Benefit Public Employee Retirement Systems
"The [survey] provides revenues, expenditures, financial assets, and membership information for defined benefit public employee retirement systems." (U.S. Census Bureau)

Social Security Annual Statistical Supplement, 2011
"Data are preliminary and subject to revision until the entire 2011 edition is complete. Subsections are posted as they are completed." (U.S. Social Security Administration)

Four Retirement Plan Features Employers Need to Emphasize
"Employees are in need of simple, straightforward guidance regarding their retirement plans, a survey . . . by State Street Global Advisors found." (BenefitsPro)

A Primer on 401(k) Plan Design Alternatives (PDF)
"Many times a Plan Sponsor simply wants to make a 401(k) plan available to employees so that the employees have the ability to do personal salary deferrals on either a Roth or traditional pre-tax basis. This might be necessary because employees are demanding it or the company needs the 401(k) plan for recruiting purposes." (Plan Design Consultants, Inc.)

Morningstar Readers Rate Their 401(k) Plans
"In assessing the quality of their plans, the investment lineup was the biggest determinant of participant satisfaction." (Morningstar, Inc.)

Learn to Make Market Swings Work for Your Retirement Investments, Professor Says
"[A new book, 401k Day Trading,] tells investors how to take control of their own future through easy-to-implement retirement strategies. 'The overlying philosophy relates to how you can use market volatility to your advantage,' . . . . 'In the past 10 years, you've been able to do 25 percent better than the market,' through this process. Put simply, '401k day trading comes down to buying low and selling high every day,' . . . ." (The NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc.)

Stable-Value Funds Are Shaky 401(k) Options
"Stable-value funds are available only in 401(k) and other types of retirement savings plans. These are non-public funds — meaning the investor typically has a hard time researching them — that are supposed to hold a high-quality diversified, fixed-income portfolio which protects against interest-rate volatility." (MarketWatch, Inc.)

Participants: How to Take Advantage of New 401(k) Fee Disclosures
"With this new information about the 401(k) fees you are paying, you will have an opportunity to reduce the costs of your retirement investments." (U.S. News & World Report LP)

The Sonoma County, California, Pension Crisis (PDF)
"As a result of its overly generous salaries and pension benefits, Sonoma County now has the highest pension debt per capita of any county in California and maybe the nation. And even with all this debt, which stands at over $500 mil.lion, the pension fund is underfunded by $380 mil.lion and the health insurance fund is underfunded by $250 mil.lion. In the last 4 years alone, due to the poor performance of its investments, the unfunded liability has increased by $600 mil.lion." (Sonoma County Tax Payers Association)

Many Defined Contribution Plan Executives Unclear on Plan Data
"A review by Pensions & Investments . . . of recent surveys on DC plan management, behavior and governance shows the percentages of 'don't know' or 'not sure' answers from financial and human resources executives can reach high double digits." (Business Insurance)

Boomer Retirements Likely to Boost IRA Share of Retirement Market
"Total IRA assets represent 29.7% of total retirement market assets currently, and as large defined contribution (DC) plan rollovers continue to fuel asset levels, IRAs will encompass 33% of the total retirement market by 2016." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Pension Accounting Changes Negatively Affecting Earnings Statements
"The Boeing Company, AT&T, UPS, Windstream Corp. and FirstEnergy Corp. all announced that lower discount rates and a change to recognizing pension gains and losses in the year in which they occur, rather than amortizing them over time, has resulted in a charge for pensions." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

AMR Retirees Ask to Participate in Bankrup.tcy Case
"A group of non-union AMR retirees asked a federal bankrup.tcy judge to let them participate in the bankrup.tcy case of AMR, American Airlines and other AMR subsidiaries." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Ann Combs Previews Retirement and Investment Issues Facing Washington This Year
"From congressional initiatives such as the debt ceiling and tax reform to the 2012 regulatory agenda, Ms. Combs discusses many topics vital to retirement plan sponsors — and how you can benefit from Vanguard's voice in Washington." (The Vanguard Group, Inc.)

Lawmakers Wary of Military Retirement Commission Plan
"The DOD proposal calls for authority similar to what has been provided to past base closure and realignment commissions, so that Congress could only give an up-or-down vote on the commission's final recommendations, with no ability to make any changes." (Gannett Government Media Corporation)

Low-Cost Entries Shake Up Small Retirement Plan Market
"If you own a small business, the time to comparison-shop for 401k plans has never been better. Low-cost plans are cropping up, as new federal regulations kicking in this year call for greater disclosure of fee information to plan participants and sponsors." (Thomson Reuters)

Romney May Cost Private Equity as Pensions Warn of Backlash
"Mitt Romney's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination may be costing his private- equity backers a lot more than they bargained for. Attacks by opponents portraying Bain Capital LLC, Romney and other buyout managers as corporate looters who enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary workers have put a spotlight on the industry that will affect negotiations about future investments, according to officials and trustees at public pensions." (Bloomberg L.P.)

The Number of Working Americans Covered by a Workplace Retirement Plan
"One of the more pervasive statistics bandied around about the voluntary retirement system is that only about half of working Americans are covered by a workplace retirement plan. It's a data point that is widely and openly presented as fact — not only by those inclined to dismiss the current system as inadequate, but even by some of its most ardent champions, who see that result as a call to action for expanded access to these programs. There's only one problem: It doesn't tell the whole story." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

[Opinion]
The Striking Impact of Transparency, the Prohibited Transaction Rules and the Exclusive Benefit Rule
"If we step back for a minute, we can see the extraordinary policy underlying 408(b)(2), the prohibited transaction rules and the exclusive benefit rules (which apply even to non-ERISA plans). These rules seek to set aside and protect from others the individual wealth of those who accumulate benefits under these plans." (Robert J. Toth, Jr., Business of Benefits)

[Opinion]
Comments to DOL on Disclosure of Compensation Arrangements to Plan Fiduciaries by Broker-Dealers (PDF)
"[I]f broker-dealers feel the need to disclose every potential compensation arrangement for a brokerage account, plan fiduciaries will likely be overwhelmed by such information, rendering it virtually useless. . . . One possible way to eliminate this burdensome disclosure is to limit the 408b-2 compensation disclosures for brokerage accounts to the disclosures required under applicable securities laws." (Drinkle Biddle & Reath LLP)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Significant Compensation and Benefit Due Dates for 2012 (PDF)
"This Compliance Calendar assumes a plan administered on a calendar year basis by an employer with a calendar fiscal year." (Aon Hewitt)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS's 2012 Maximums for Valuing an Employer-Provided Vehicle's Personal Use
"If a company car is used for commuting or other personal uses that are more than de minimis, the employee will recognize income on the value of the personal use. That value may be determined using a general valuation rule or one of three special valuation rules: the automobile annual lease valuation rule, the cents-per-mile rule, or the commuting valuation rule." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Legislative Background of Expiring Federal Tax Provisions, 2011-2022
"The legislative background provided for each expiring provision includes: A brief description of the provision, The public law in which the provision was originally enacted with the original expiration date, A brief description of substantial modifications to the provision, if any, and The public law in which the provision was most recently extended, if any, with the current expiration date." (U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation)

The State of Broad-Based Employee Ownership Plans 2012
This report details the extent and growth of employee ownership through ESOPs, 401(k) plans, stock options, ESPPs, and other vehicles; summarizes the leading research on employee ownership and corporate performance; and discusses current challenges and prospects. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Press Releases



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