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April 25, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Part Time On Call Participant Counselor
for Diversified in AR, CA, DC, GA, HI, MI, MN, NC, NY, OH, UT

401k Wholesaler
for AXA Equitable in OR, WA

Participant Counselor - Retirement Services
for Diversified in AL

DC Plan Administrator
for TPA Firm in Maryland in MD

Defined Benefit Pension Plan Administrator
for The Angell Pension Group, Inc. in ANY STATE

VP, Sales
for Prudential in IL

Sr Market Risk Analyst, Quantitative Methods - Capital Markets Hedging
for Prudential in NJ

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Webcasts and Conferences

NY CLE Program: Form 5500: Lessons Learned, New Issues and Best Practices for the 2011 Filing Season
in New York on May 17, 2012 presented by WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefits Network ), New York Chapter

Annual Benefits Fair and Trade Show
in Massachusetts on June 6, 2012 presented by New England Employee Benefits Council

Annual Best Practices Conference
in Massachusetts on December 6, 2012 presented by New England Employee Benefits Council


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[Guidance Overview]
Considerations for Plan Sponsors and Fiduciaries in Minimizing Potential Fiduciary Liability After Tussey v. ABB, Inc.
"[The Tussey v. ABB, Inc. case] suggests that plan sponsors and fiduciaries should press service providers/recordkeepers to provide enough information about revenue sharing arrangements to allow them to: [i] Calculate total revenue sharing paid to service providers; [ii] Determine the plan administrative costs that would be charged in the absence of revenue sharing; [iii] Compare to the level of plan administrative costs paid by plans of comparable size; [iv] Determine whether revenue sharing payments provide the service providers/recordkeepers with compensation beyond the administrative cost in the absence of revenue sharing (i.e., beyond the "market rate"); and [v] Negotiate rebates of revenue sharing that exceed the market rate." (Porter Wright)


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[Guidance Overview]
Ninth Circuit Rejects Claim for Equitable Relief under ERISA in Dispute Over Summary Plan Description
"In Skinner, the plaintiffs sued under ERISA, claiming the terms of their SPDs were misleading and that the administrative committee issuing the SPDs failed to provide them with an SPD that was sufficiently accurate and comprehensive. After the Supreme Court's decision in Amara foreclosed their primary theory of relief (damages under ERISA), the plaintiffs sought to obtain equitable relief under ERISA Section 502(a)(3). Specifically, the plaintiffs asked the court to reform the terms of their retirement plan's master documents to be consistent with the terms of the SPD they received." (Ford & Harrison LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Fee Disclosure Wasn't Enough to Shield Retirement Plan Fiduciaries from $35 Mil.lion Judgment
"[T]he [Missouri District] court ruled that the corporate fiduciaries of a 401(k) plan violated their fiduciary duties by failing to monitor third-party administrative costs, negotiate plan rebates and prudently select and monitor investment options. The court held the fiduciaries liable for $35 mil.lion in damages, concluding that, although the fiduciaries' actions conformed to DOL regulations relating to fee disclosure, their failure to follow their investment policy statement, understand the payments being made under the plan and to investigate the best available investment alternatives resulted in a breach of fiduciary duties." (Littler)

[Guidance Overview]
Puerto Rico Tax Amnesty Program Extension Could Help Retirement Plans Correct Failures with Former PR Code's Withholding and Reporting Requirements (PDF)
"[The] Tax Amnesty Program is ... available to Puerto Rico qualified retirement plans, both Puerto Rico-only qualified plans and dual-qualified plans (i.e., plans qualified both in Puerto Rico and the U.S.), that may have failed to comply with the 1994 PR Code's tax withholding (i.e., 5%, 10%, 20% Puerto Rico income tax withholdings, as applicable depending on the type and time of distribution) and reporting requirements (i.e., Forms 480.6A and 6B, and Form 480.7C, as applicable depending on the type and year of distribution) on distributions to participants in Puerto Rico." (Groom Law Group)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Takes Steps to Resolve Issues Related to Normal Retirement Age Under Governmental Plans
"Entities should carefully review Notice 2012-29 and the intended changes for the possible impact on their plans, and then consider if they want to submit comments, which are due by July 30, 2012.... If the IRS approves plans with normal retirement ages consistent with the announced changes, we expect that many determination letter requests that had been pending with the IRS would move forward." (Cherion)


Learn, Network and Sell at SPARK National Retirement Industry Conference   [Advert.]

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[Guidance Overview]
Changes Announced for Normal Retirement Age in Governmental Plans
"[T]he Notice announces that the effective date of the 2007 NRA regulations for governmental plans will be changed to 'annuity starting dates that occur in plan years beginning on or after the later of: (1) January 1, 2015, or (2) the close of the first regular legislative session of the legislative body with the authority to amend the plan that begins on or after the date that is 3 months after the final regulations are published in the Federal Register.' Governmental plan sponsors are entitled to rely on this announced extension until the 2007 regulations are amended." (Deloitte)

'Can't We All Just Get Along?' — Combining DB and DC Retirement Plans to Minimize Longevity Risk (PDF)
"Based on average life expectancy statistics, [half] of the population will survive beyond its life expectancy and half of the population will not. This creates challenging circumstances for people to manage withdrawals from their retirement accounts. In addition, there is the added challenge of managing investments. This article is not meant to compare the advantages and disadvantages of DC and DB plans; rather, it is meant to promote a new retirement paradigm where both types of plans can coexist and complement one another. This paper offers this new retirement model as a solution to the longevity risk problem." (Milliman)

Michigan Legislature Eyes Pension Changes to Narrow $45 Bil.lion Gap in Teacher Retirement Fund
"Of the $45 bil.lion in unfunded liability, the state estimates about $17 bil.lion comes from the pension side of the benefit package. Such pensions are constitutionally protected. The rest comes from health care, which is not funded actuarially, i.e., pre-funded according to statistics and estimates of demand, but on a pay-as-you-go basis, a decision made in the 1990s during the administration of Gov. John Engler." (Bridge Magazine)

Public Pensions Won't Work Until Hard Structural Impediments Are Solved
"If reform is to succeed, it must tackle head-on the following structural factors that caused pension costs to explode in states across the nation: ... Pension payouts based on final year pay. ... Collective bargaining and binding arbitration. ... Politicized pension fund boards. ...[and] Faulty accounting standards." (The American)

South Carolina Senators 'Working Through' State Pension Underfunding Problem
"[W]orkers are eligible for full benefits after working at least 28 years for the state, regardless of their age. The problem, [State Senator Danny Verdin] said, is people are getting jobs in state government as young as age 17, meaning they can retire with full benefits at age 45 and 'live to 95,' he said—a long time to earn a state retirement check." (The State)

Real Estate Investments Gaining Popularity as Self-Directed Investment Option
"If your employer-sponsored plan has a real estate investing option and you're trying to decide whether to include real estate in your asset class allocation, you'll need to do some research. Use your risk tolerance, investing timeline, personal preferences, and the economic climate to determine how aggressive or conservative your allocation should be." (U.S. News & World Report)

Examining Exchange-Traded Funds (PDF)
"ETFs [Exchange-Traded Funds] don't work in the same way as mutual funds. What are ETFs really, and how do they work? [T]his paper ... review[s] the history and construction of ETFs which, although hugely popular, are little-understood by most investors ... [and] explore[s] in greater depth the potential risks and advantages of exchange-traded funds." (Arnerich Massena, Inc.)

How Retirement Plan Sponsors and Participants Can Make the Most of Matching Contributions (PDF)
"[M]ore than 93 percent of companies make some sort of contribution to employees' retirement savings, and nearly 40 percent use a matching formula in order to do so. 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. [The authors] take a look at some of the options and how they're currently used, and then explore the ways that you and your employees can reap the greatest benefit from a match." (Arnerich Massena, Inc.)

Palm Beach Lowers Employee Retirement Benefits
"Each employee's pension payments are computed based on his or her final pay, length of employment and a multiplier that sets the benefit level. The town was able to drive down its costs largely by lowering the multiplier, freezing employee pay for three years and reducing average pay increases going forward. Overtime and special duty pay will no longer be counted when calculating final average pay. Automatic survivor benefits and cost-of-living increases have been eliminated. Public safety employees, who have been able to draw their pensions upon retirement (after as few as 20 years of employment) will have to wait until age 65 to collect them." (Palm Beach Daily News)

Teachers' Union-Supported Proposal to Ohio Legislature Would Raise Employee Contributions, Lower Benefits
"Under the new plan, unanimously OK'd last week by the board of the 470,000-member State Teachers Retirement System, teachers could retire at any age until mid-2015 and get a full benefit if they have worked 30 years. The years-of-service requirement would gradually rise, though, so that after mid-2026, teachers could not stop working and receive a full benefit until they are 60 and have 35 years in." (The Columbus Dispatch)

Senate Votes Down Forced Retirement for Postal Service Employees
"A measure that would have required eligible postal service employees to retire without buyout incentives failed in the Senate.... The amendment ... would have reduced the cash-strapped agency's expenses by reducing its large percentage of retirement-eligible workers. It failed in a 33–65 vote." (Government Executive)

Putting Social Security's 2012 Financial Outlook in Perspective (PDF)
"The Social Security actuaries project the system's financial outlook over the next 75 years under three assumptions—high cost, low cost, and intermediate. This brief focuses on the intermediate assumptions.... The 2012 Trustees Report confirms what has been evident for two decades—namely, Social Security is facing a long-term financing shortfall which now equals 2.67 percent of taxable payroll or 0.9 percent of GDP." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

[Opinion]
Text of U.S. Chamber of Commerce White Paper: 'Private Retirement Benefits in the 21st Century: A Path Forward'
"[T]his white paper [offers] a path on initiatives and reforms that build on existing institutions and approaches to bolster the voluntary employment-based retirement benefits system and enhance retirement security for workers. The ideas in this paper represent a long-term view of retirement changes that are needed. While some steps can be implemented immediately, ... other steps may require additional time.... [R]ecommendations include ways to encourage employers to create and maintain retirement plans, to encourage workers to save more, and to identify ways to make retirement assets last for future retirees. " (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

[Opinion]
Text of Pension Rights Center's Criticism of U.S. Chamber's White Paper on the Private Retirement Plan System
"Like the Chamber, the Center is committed to financial literacy, but financial literacy is not just teaching people about compound interest and asset allocation. It is also about empowering employees and retirees by providing them with timely and plain-English information that helps them understand the terms of their plan the amount of benefits they have earned and how much they are paying in administrative and investment management fees. Hence, [the Center finds] it a bit of a contradiction that the Chamber recommends greater financial education, while at the same time advocating for the reduction or elimination of information—such as quarterly statements in 401(k) plans—that is necessary for people to be financially literate." (Pension Rights Center)

[Opinion]
American Benefits Council Letter to IRS Requesting Guidance for Frozen Plan Transition Approaches (PDF)
"Pursuant to IRS Notice 2012-25, [the American Benefits Council asks Treasury and the IRS to] consider adding a regulatory project to the 2012-2013 Guidance Priority List. Very generally, the project would involve modifying the current nondiscrimination and minimum participation regulations to protect older, long-service participants from very adverse and unintended effects." (American Benefits Council)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Trends in Proxy Statement Disclosure for the 2012 Season (PDF)
"Disclosure in proxy statements is evolving, reflecting efforts by boards to strengthen communication on topics of investor interest.... [S]ome boards are maximizing proxy statement disclosures and maintaining ongoing communication with investors. Boards must balance these trends with the obligation to ensure that the company's governance practices are appropriate for its specific circumstances." (Ernst & Young LLP)

Stock Compensation at Facebook: What Its SEC Registration Statement Reveals
"The move to granting restricted stock units instead of stock options may have been better for the company for many reasons, including the prospect of minimizing share dilution, along with the relief of having fewer post-IPO multi-millionaire employees to retain and motivate. Depending on the size of the RSU grants relative to previously made stock options grants at Facebook, a basic calculation shows that, given the stock-price appreciation, employees with RSUs would be sitting on much larger gains if they had received stock options." (myStockOptions.com)

Press Releases



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