To EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com To BenefitsLink home page

BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter

February 27, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

401k Wholesaler
for AXA Equitable in OR, WA

Account Manager
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

Employee Benefits Attorney
for Quarles & Brady LLP in IL

Pension Consultant/Administrator
for Third Party Administrators, Inc. in NH

Operations Specialist
for Verisight, Inc in CA

Retire Secure Employee Benefit Specialist
for Principal Financial Group in MA

Project Manager, Defined Contributions
for The Newport Group in NC

Post Your Job on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

View All Jobs

RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed: All Jobs


Webcasts and Conferences

2012 Fall Forum in Chicago, IL
in Illinois on September 17, 2012 presented by Ascensus

2012 Fall Forum in Orlando, FL
in Florida on October 22, 2012 presented by Ascensus

2012 Fall Forum in San Diego, CA
in California on October 1, 2012 presented by Ascensus

2012 IRA Institute in Clearwater Beach, FL
in Florida on October 29, 2012 presented by Ascensus

2012 IRA Institute in San Antonio, TX
in Texas on April 30, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Half-Day HSA Workshop
in Wisconsin on March 23, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Half-Day HSA Workshop
in Florida on May 3, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Half-Day HSA Workshop
in California on May 9, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Half-Day HSA Workshop
in Oregon on May 10, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Half-Day HSA Workshop
in Virginia on May 17, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Half-Day HSA Workshop
in Wisconsin on May 17, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Half-Day HSA Workshop
in Minnesota on June 7, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Half-Day HSA Workshop
in Texas on June 7, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials and Advanced IRAs
in Georgia on March 6, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials and Advanced IRAs
in Kansas on March 6, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials and Advanced IRAs
in Massachusetts on March 8, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials and Advanced IRAs
in Wisconsin on March 19, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials and Advanced IRAs
in Texas on March 20, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials and Advanced IRAs
in Wisconsin on March 21, 2012 presented by Ascensus

IRA Essentials and Advanced IRAs
in Oklahoma on March 22, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Two-Day IRA Workshop
in Florida on May 1, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Two-Day IRA Workshop
in California on May 7, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Two-Day IRA Workshop
in Oregon on May 8, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Two-Day IRA Workshop
in California on May 10, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Two-Day IRA Workshop
in Virginia on May 15, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Two-Day IRA Workshop
in Wisconsin on May 15, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Two-Day IRA Workshop
in Minnesota on June 5, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Two-Day IRA Workshop
in Texas on June 5, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Choosing the "Right" Retirement Plan
Nationwide on February 28, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Basics
Nationwide on February 28, 2012 presented by Ascensus


We also publish the BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe

[Guidance Overview]
Treasury Department and IRS Release Initial Lifetime Income Guidance
"The decline of traditional defined benefit pension plans and the increasing prevalence of defined contribution retirement plans ... has created significant interest in providing lifetime income for participants in defined contribution plans ... This initial round of Treasury and IRS guidance on lifetime income focuses primarily on how the minimum distribution rules, joint and survivor rules, and disclosure rules apply to longevity annuity contracts." (McDermott Will & Emery)


Avoid the Common Mistakes Affecting Plan Loans Webcast   [Advert.]

Sponsored by ASC

Earn CE credit while ERISA expert, Charles Lockwood, JD, LLM, explains the administrative issues that affect plan loans. Have questions? Charles will address them either during or after the webcast. March 22nd at 2pm EST. Click here for more info.


[Guidance Overview]
Sixth Circuit Rules that Presumption of Prudence Should Not Be Applied on a Motion to Dismiss
"The Sixth Circuit issued a ruling on February 22, 2012 in Pfeil v. State Street Bank and Trust Co. ... that distinguishes itself from other Circuit Courts concerning the application of the presumption of prudence that applies to an ERISA plan fiduciary's decision to invest in an employer stock fund." (Proskauer)

408(b)(2) Poses Concerns for Broker/Dealers, Small-Plan Advisers
"Some industry experts are concerned that covered service providers will misinterpret [DOL']) 408(b)(2) regulation guidance about using ranges to estimate indirect compensation." (PLANADVISER.com)

Underfunded Pension Plans Could Become Political Issue
"None of the four Republican presidential candidates' campaigns responded to a request to address pension reform, or Obama's risk-based premium plan. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum both endorse raising the Social Security retirement age for younger workers and means-testing benefits on their campaign websites but do not address private pensions. The websites of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul don't address retirement issues at all." (TCPalm)

Study on Pension Options Worries Wisconsin Public Workers
"A major study is due June 30 on whether there should be options to the defined-benefit pension system for public employees. The study likely will reignite the emotional debate over whether the compensation of government workers is too generous." (GazetteXtra.com)

DC Industry Relieved over Final Fee Disclosure Rules
"In some cases, what industry members call the 'final-final' regulations exclude provisions that they had feared. In other instances, some elements of the interim final rules were softened in the 'final-final' version, which takes effect July 1." (Pensions & Investments; free registration required)

Eight Points to Consider before Rolling Over a 401(k) to an IRA
"[S]ometimes it does make the most sense to leave your money in the old plan. Listed [in this article] are eight possible reasons that you might want to do just that." (Forbes)

How DC Annuitization Works; Using the QLAC
"[Attorney Robert Toth has] attached a graphic of how DC annuitization works to help explain why the Treasury guidance is so fundamental and crucial to the next steps.... [The chart illustrates] how your basic mutual fund 401(k) plan can serve as an annuity processing platform; how the distribution of annuities from the plan works; and why things like spousal consent and annuity starting date are so important to making it work." (Business of Benefits)

The Decision to Delay Social Security Benefits: Theory and Evidence
"We find no evidence of a consistent relationship between claiming behavior and factors that influence the actuarial advantage of delay, including gender and marital status, interest rates, subjective discount rates, or subjective assessments of life expectancy." (The National Bureau of Economic Research; paid subscription or individual purchase required to retrieve full text)

Financial Sophistication in the Older Population
"We show that financial sophistication is deficient for older respondents (aged 55+). Specifically, many in this group lack a basic grasp of asset pricing, risk diversification, portfolio choice, and investment fees." (The National Bureau of Economic Research; paid subscription or individual purchase required to retrieve full text)

California Democrats Propose Requiring Private Sector Pensions
"[Bill SB 1234] would require businesses with five or more employees to enroll them in a new 'Personal Pension' defined benefit program. Or the private employer would have to offer an alternative employer-sponsored plan." (Cal Watchdog)

Public and Private Pension Plans Can't Fund Retirement
"In an eye-opening report, Credit Suisse says that of the 341 companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index with defined-benefit pension plans, 97 percent are underfunded. In the US, unfunded pension obligations increased to $2.9 tril.lion." (New York Post)

Amid Retirements, North Carolina Lawmakers Benefit from Pension Perks
"A North Carolina law that allows the state's part-time lawmakers to add an expense stipend to their base salary when calculating retirement benefits boosts their pensions by more than 30 percent ... The percentage of salary lawmakers receive as an annual payout also is more than double the rate afforded most state workers." (NewsObserver.com)

Decision to Dump 5:1 Match Approved by Wayne County, Michigan Employee Retirement System
"A perk that pays appointees of [the county executive] $5 for every $1 they contribute to their retirement plan may soon end — more than four months after [the executive] said the county could no longer afford it." (Detroit Free Press)

White-Collar GM Workers to See Pensions Pinched
"Under a new program, the expected monthly pension check is going to be slashed for about 19,000 GM salaried employees now on the payroll.... [S]ome rough estimates indicate some employees in their early 50s could see cuts by nearly 35% or so, compared with what they expected if things remained on track and they retired at 62[.]" (Detroit Free Press)

Defined Contribution Plan Getting Income Options
"With the continued descent of the number of defined benefit plans, employers are becoming more concerned about workers having enough money to sustain their retirement. Defined contribution plans, when first introduced, were supposed to be a supplement and not the main driver for retirement savings. Now that these plans are in the front seat, employers are looking at guaranteed defined benefit-like investment options, mostly referred to as 'retirement income solutions,' to help employees have more secured savings to tap throughout retirement." (Business Insurance; free registration might be required)

Perry's Working Retirement Sheds Light on a Texas Perk
"[Gov.] Rick Perry — and an elite group of other veteran politicians — can thank Government Code 813.503 for the lucrative pension benefits they are allowed to collect without leaving office." (The New York Times; free registration required)

DOL Cracks Down on Retirement Plan Advisors for Fiduciary Negligence
"So far this year, the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has significantly raised its enforcement efforts in what ... should serve as a wakeup call to advisors who advise retirement plans and plan sponsors." (AdvisorOne)

The Pension Health Checkup
"How can you check the health of your pension plan? ... [R]eaders concerned about their plan asked for ways to check up on it and ascertain its true value." (The Wall Street Journal)

Appellate Court Reopens Case Against State Street by GM Participants
"In reversing a lower court ruling, the appellate court recognized that Moench v. Robertson ... established that a fiduciary's decision to remain invested in employer securities is presumed to be reasonable, but a plaintiff may rebut the presumption 'by showing that a prudent fiduciary acting under similar circumstances would have made a different investment decision.'" (PLANADVISER.com)

Positioning New Investment Committee Members for Success
"Because joining an investment committee for the first time can be a daunting experience, it's important that committee leaders help new members get off to a smooth start.... Perhaps the biggest challenge for new members is recognizing what it truly means to be a fiduciary." (Vanguard)

U.S. Labor Department Concludes Settlement Restoring $32 Mil.lion to Tribune Co. Employee Stock Ownership Plan
"[I]nsurance carriers have completed funding of a global settlement in the amount of $32 mil.lion to be allocated among the Tribune Employee Stock Ownership Plan's participants, and to pay for legal and administrative expenses.... The department [had] claimed that the company failed to act prudently and in participants' best interests when it engaged in the ESOP transaction. Additionally, the department [had] claimed that the ESOP transaction was prohibited, a claim consistent with the findings of the district court in the private plaintiffs' action." (Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Dems Seek State-Run Pensions for Private Workers
"California Democrats introduced legislation Thursday that attempts to provide retirement savings for private-sector workers of modest means, creating a government-run program for private-sector workers whose employers do not offer pensions or 401(k) plans[.]" (USA TODAY)

New York Budget Talks Dominated by Pension Fight
"[Proposals include increasing] contributions from 3 percent of a new employee's salary to as much as 6 percent. The retirement age would increase from 62 to 65.... [O]vertime and other lump-sum payments [would be excluded] from an employee's final average salary -- cracking down on the pension padding that has been widely criticized. [The] plan is estimated to save governments outside of New York City $83 bil.lion over 30 years." (stargazette.com)

[Opinion]
Understanding the True Cost of State and Local Pensions
"[W]hen correctly discounted using the Treasury yield curve, total unfunded liabilities for public-sector pensions as of October 2011 [have been estimated to be] roughly $4.4 tril.lion, sharply higher than the 2009 figure of $660 bil.lion computed under standard actuarial valuation. This amount exceeds total outstanding state and local government debt and is equal to nearly 30 percent of annual gross domestic product. These figures are so large that it is difficult to put them into context." (Freedom Politics)

[Opinion]
The Pitfalls of Investing Retirement Funds in Your Employer's Stock
"[O]nly about 40% of 401(k) plans offer the company's stock as an option. But employees in those plans are still investing between 16% and 19% of their plan portfolios, on average, in their employer's stock. At the same time, they have been shrinking their overall equity exposure dramatically. One dollar in your employer for every two dollars spread across all the other companies out there? It makes no sense." (The Wall Street Journal)

[Opinion]
Retiree Organization's Letter to Senate Finance Committee on Companies' Lobbying for Pension Funding Relief (PDF)
"Congress should require the PBGC to use the same ... assumptions as plan sponsors for the purpose of allocating plan assets to pay non-guaranteed benefits.... [T]he PBGC's artificially low discount rate causes tens of thousands of retirees to permanently lose earned and vested benefits that would be paid at least in part if the PBGC used the ERISA discount rate for the purpose of allocating plan assets for benefit payments." (National Retiree Legislative Network)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Summary Judgment Rulings in ERISA Retained Asset Account Cases (PDF)
"U.S. District Courts in Pennsylvania and Maine ruled on summary judgment motions in two putative class actions challenging the use of retained asset accounts in connection with ERISA-governed plans." (Sutherland)

Adding Protections to Your Company's Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Plan
"Some NQDC plan documents contain features that can increase the likelihood you will receive your benefits even if the company suffers financial difficulty." (myNQDC; free registration required)

Workers Would Trade Pay for Better Retirement Benefits or Lower Health Care Costs
"According to more data released from the 2011 Towers Watson Retirement Attitudes Survey, more than half of the 9,000-plus respondents said they would readily trade a slice of their pay for better retirement benefits or health care costs that don't explode on each annual renewal." (BenefitsPro)

EEOC: Asking Employees To Explain Medical Absences Violates the ADA
"Asking an employee to explain the nature of an illness that has kept them out of work violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is arguing in an ongoing California case." (Thompson SmartHR Manager)

Press Releases



BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
Phone (407) 644-4146
Fax (407) 644-2151

Jeanette Hull, News Editor
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher <davebaker@benefitslink.com>
Lois Baker, J.D., President <loisbaker@benefitslink.com>
Holly Horton, Business Manager <hollyhorton@benefitslink.com>

Copyright © 2012 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All rights reserved.

All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

Links to Web sites other than those owned by BenefitsLink.com, Inc. are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of BenefitsLink.com, Inc. was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

More useful links: