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April 12, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Defined Contribution Implementation Analyst
for Milliman in TX

Senior Consulting Actuary
for Milliman in TX

Senior Actuarial Analyst
for The Segal Company in NY

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Capella, Inc. in ANY STATE, SD

Legal Counsel
for Fidelity Investments in TX

Senior Account Manager/DC Administration Consultant
for National Actuarial Pension Services in TX

Service Specialist
for Envoy Financial in CO

Investment Consultant
for Milliman, Inc. in CA

Compliance Consultant
for AUL/OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc. in IN

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Webcasts and Conferences

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Cincinnati
in Ohio on May 9, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Indianapolis
in Indiana on May 10, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

Ethics in Employee Benefits
Nationwide on May 9, 2012 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators


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[Official Guidance]
Text of PBGC Final Regs: Benefits Payable in Terminated Single-Employer Plans: Interest Assumptions for Paying Benefits (PDF)
"This final rule amends the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's regulation on Benefits Payable in Terminated Single-Employer Plans to prescribe interest assumptions under the regulation for valuation dates in May 2012. The interest assumptions are used for paying benefits under terminating single-employer plans covered by the pension insurance system administered by PBGC." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)


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[Guidance Overview]
IRS's Surprising Position on 415 Limits Could Mean Lower Pension Benefits
"A new IRS interpretation of Section 415 limits could sharply reduce pension benefits for some defined benefit plan participants whose distributions begin before normal retirement age or are paid as a qualified joint and survivor annuity." (Mercer)

[Guidance Overview]
Target Date Fund Disclosures: SEC Reopens Comment Period on Proposal
"The Securities and Exchange Commission has reopened the comment period on its 2010 proposal to require additional disclosures in connection with target date funds. The new opportunity is being provided in light of a study commissioned by the SEC on investor understanding of the funds and their related marketing materials." (Deloitte)

[Guidance Overview]
Adapting and Complying in the New 403(b) Environment (PDF)
Recorded webcast. "Like many plan sponsors, Michigan State University ... used the resources offered by NAGDCA and others to help focus on the important and urgent issues that needed to be addressed: Creating a 403(b) Plan Document; Understanding and applying Universal Availability; Reviewing and deciding on the future of Loans and Hardship Withdrawals[.]" (National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators, Inc.)

[Guidance Overview]
Supreme Court Denies Certiorari; D.C. Court of Appeals Decision Stands; PBGC Must Pay Interest to Participants in Terminating Plan
"Though limited to the D.C. Circuit, Stephens v. US Airways now stands as a warning that delayed payouts of ERISA benefits may draw claims for interest — unless those delays are tied to administrative processes." (Morgan Lewis)

Former Chief Fiduciary of Several 'Multiple Employer' Pension Plans Indicted on Charges of Misappropriation of Funds
"Matthew Hutcheson, former Chief Fiduciary of several multiple employer plans, was arrested [on April 11], charged with 17 counts of wire fraud and 14 counts of misappropriating pension funds. The indictment seeks to recover more than $5 mil.lion which the federal government claims Mr. Hutcheson misappropriated from the plans and spent making renovations to his house and buying two SUVs, a BMW convertible, two motorcycles, and a John Deere tractor, along with spending $3 mil.lion in a failed attempt to buy the Tamarack Resort in Donnelly, Idaho." (The Pension Protection Act Blog)

Plan Sponsor Hit for $35 Mil.lion in 401(k) Excessive Fee Case
"In the first class action over 401(k) fees to be tried and decided on its merits, a Missouri federal district court ruled on March 31 that manufacturer ABB Inc. breached its ERISA fiduciary duties. The court's opinion is a must read for all plan sponsors and service providers." (CFO.com)

Appeals Court in California Sides with Unions on San Jose Pension Reform Ballot's Wording
"Measure B is the June ballot measure that would reduce pension benefits for [San Jose] employees. Unions say that's illegal. The mayor says it's necessary to keep the city afloat.... The Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled in the unions' favor saying the wording on the ballot measure was unlawfully biased. The court took exception to the phrase 'pension reform' saying it implicitly characterized the existing pension system as defective. It suggested the phrase 'pension modification' instead, which the city has agreed to." (ABCNews)

IRS Auditing Efforts Focus on 401(k) Compliance Problems
"EP has performed 401(k) plan examinations in three market segments: (1) the Accommodation & Food Services Industry, (2) the Administrative & Support, Waste Management & Remediation Industry, and (3) the Wholesale Industry. In each of these three projects, the two most common errors found were ADP/ACP discrimination testing results and untimely deposit of employee elective deferrals." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

Social Security by Choice: The Experience of Three Texas Counties
"Galveston County opted out of Social Security in 1981, and Matagorda and Brazoria counties followed suit in 1982. County employees have since seen their retirement savings grow every year, including during the recent recession. Today, county workers retire with more money, and have better supplemental benefits in case of disability or an early death. Moreover, the counties face no long-term unfunded pension liabilities. If state and local governments — and Congress — are really looking for a path to long-term sustainable entitlement reform, they might consider what is known as the 'Alternate Plan.'" (National Center for Policy Analysis)

Constitutional to Cut Annual Pension Increases for South Dakota Employees, Court Rules
"The ruling ... rejected a retiree's claims that a 2010 cut in the annual inflationary adjustment was an unconstitutional violation of a contract between the state and members of the South Dakota Retirement System." (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

Failed Municipal Pension Loan Tied to Alleged Bribe in Detroit
"The allegations offer insight into a secretive, ongoing FBI investigation of the city's pension funds, which in February resulted in the indictment of former city Treasurer Jeff Beasley. The allegations emerged as [a man] and his wife were on the run and holed up at a Caribbean resort while federal investigators and lawyers hunted for the South Carolina couple and the pension fund's money." (The Detroit News)

Making the Most of the Retirement Plan Match (PDF)
"An employer match has a clear value to employees, but how do employers maximize that value? Match amounts, match formulas, and vesting schedules vary widely across plans. The match formula may affect safe harbor, participation, non-discrimination testing, contribution rates, automatic features, employee retention, and, perhaps most importantly, retirement outcomes. [Arnerich Massena looks at some of the options and how they're currently used, and then explores] the ways that you and your employees can reap the greatest benefit from a match." (Arnerich Massena, Inc.)

Stable Value Funds, Version 2.0: Fewer Investor Guarantees
"Insurers who guarantee the principal in [stable value] funds have significantly limited the type of investments they will insure in the last several years. Fund providers such as J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Pacific Investment Management Co, have responded by offering stable value funds that no longer guarantee principal or make it harder to get out of funds quickly. Some 401(k) plans have switched to funds that only guarantee a portion of a participant's investment, exposing them to the market volatility the funds used to shield them from." (Reuters)

Tech Nerds Create 'Fantasy League' for Investments by Federal Thrift Savings Plan Participants
"'The 2008 market crash pretty much led us into doing the site because people are out there looking for answers, and it's almost mind-boggling the number of federal employees who don't understand TSP,' said [a] federal employee. Participants create anonymous usernames and fake accounts and compete in groups to see whose TSP posts the highest returns.... As in fantasy sports, players make trades and transfers under the same rules as the real TSP[.]" (Government Executive)

Federal Thrift Savings Plan Sets May 7 Start Date for Roth Option
"The Roth TSP option offers an important new tool for federal civilian employees and uniformed service members in managing their retirement income by providing greater flexibility in the tax treatment of contributions now and in the future[.]" (Pensions & Investments)

Lack of Job Security Keeps Many Workers Worried About Retirement Savings
"Concerns about future employment are leading to low retirement confidence levels ... [W]orkers who are confident about continued employment are confident they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement. But with 42 percent of workers identifying job uncertainty as the greatest concern for American workers today, it was no surprise that confidence in retirement remains at historically low levels." (Insured Retirement Institute)

Employee Financial Well-Being and Retirement Survey Finds Employees Feeling Pinched
"Competing financial issues are pressuring employees to deprioritize retirement funding by saving less or in some cases, not saving at all ... Key findings[:] Employee stress levels related to financial issues are on the rise; Cash flow issues continue to top financial concerns for employees; Retirement confidence is eroding despite more people putting at least some money away for retirement[.]" (PwC)

Young Investors Using New Tools to Weight Equities More Heavily in Asset Allocation
"Despite concerns about the global financial crisis and its impact on the willingness of younger investors to enter the stock market, twentysomethings actually have higher equity allocations in defined contribution (DC) plans than previous generations had at the same age." (Vanguard)

DB Plan Underfunding Means Investment Management Remains Challenging Despite Recent Stock Gains
"Despite the strong rally of equity markets in the first quarter of 2012 the financial status of pension plans has improved only slightly ... The median pension solvency funded ratio of a large sample of pension plans has increased from 68% at the end of 2011 to only 69% at the end of March, 2012. About 97% of pension plans in this sample had a solvency deficiency as at that date." (Aon Hewitt)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
SEC Issues First Guidance on JOBS Act
"[SEC] has published Frequently Asked Questions to provide initial guidance on the implementation and application of the law." (Ballard Sphar LLP)

Certain Executive Pay Mandates Eased for 'Emerging Growth' and Private Companies
"The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, signed into law April 5, eases executive pay compliance for a new category of issuers: 'emerging growth companies.' Qualifying companies that go public after Dec. 8, 2011, are temporarily exempt from the Dodd-Frank Act's shareholder say-on-pay mandates and its pay-for-performance and internal pay equity disclosures. While exempt, these start-ups can follow the limited executive pay disclosure rules for 'smaller reporting companies.' The act also eases registration triggers for private companies issuing equity awards under employee pay plans." (Mercer)

Executives Should Beware the Dark Side of Clawbacks
"[A recent Wall Street Journal article entitled] 'For Feds, "Lying" Is a Handy Charge,' illustrates the alarming increase in cases of prosecutorial abuse against executives. These are not clawback cases -- yet. However, they show why executives are rightfully concerned about the existence of unchecked clawback power in the hands of the board of directors or anyone else." (Winston & Strawn)

Obama Declines to Order Ban on Anti-g.ay Bias by Employers with Federal Contracts
"The executive order, which activists said had support from the Labor and Justice Departments, would have applied to g.ay, bisexual and transgender people working for or seeking employment from federal contractors. Current law does not protect against discrimination based on se.xual orientation or gender identity, and legislation to do so, which Mr. Obama endorses, lacks sufficient votes in Congress." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Press Releases



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