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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition

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May 31, 2000

How Well Do You Know Your 401(k) Plan?
Excerpt: "According to Barstein, employees whose funds are invested in 401(k) plans should be informed on their investment, and he encourages consumers to use the site to conduct research. Barstein wants consumers to ask questions about their 401(k) plans, find the answers, and discover how their 401(k) compares and make a change." (401kExchange.com)

What Fiduciary Liabilities Arise From Offering Personal Brokerage Accounts in a 401(k) Plan?
See this interesting discussion on our 401(k) plans message board. Excerpt: "I have a client that is interested in choosing a provider that offers personal brokerage accounts in their 401(k) plan. Can anyone share any experiences with this type of 401(k) specifically with regard to the fiduciary liability?" (BenefitsBoards.net)

Phased Retirement in 401(k) Plans
Excerpt: "Recent Social Security reform related to retirement earnings has opened the door for phased retirement, a method to keep valuable employees in the workforce." (Martha Priddy Anderson of Deloitte & Touche)

The Fleecing of 403(b) Participants
Excerpt: "If you're one of the six million teachers or six million other public-sector and non-profit employees eligible for annuity-based 403(b) plans, you may be saddled with a plan that critics say is fleecing you out of a large share of your retirement savings." (Thanks to Tim Younkin for recommending the link!) (CBS Marketwatch)

Senators Aim to Reduce Retirement-Asset Protections
Excerpt: "A law before Congress may give creditors limited access to IRA accounts, in the event that you declare bankruptcy. This proposal would mark a fundamental change in the direction of federal retirement policy. Some financial planners and retirement plan advocates are seeing red. Others say it's about time Americans took responsibility for their financial habits." (401Kafe.com)

Investigating Pension Conversions
Excerpt: "Conversions to cash balance pension plans may result in benefit reductions for workers, particularly older workers, but companies making those conversions don't always make that clear to their employees, warns a retirement expert at the College for Financial Planning." (Associated Press)

Teachers File Suit Over 403(b) Annuity Contracts
Excerpt: "[Retired teacher Elsa] Cabello isn't happy about the annuity she bought--and neither are seven other Laredo teachers. They are suing College Life Insurance Co. of America, the Laredo and United County school districts, along with 17 insurance and marketing companies in Webb County district court for deceptive practices in the marketing of the annuities and for refusing to sell them products offered by more than one company." (San Antonio Express-News)

Treasury Reviewing Whether Retirees Receive Adequate Information On Payout Options
Excerpt: "The Treasury Department is reviewing whether companies are providing early retirees with adequate and accurate information about the value of various pension distribution options." (Spencernet)

Tyco's Kozlowski, a Mix of Greed and Performance
Excerpt: "If Tyco International Ltd. Chief Executive L. Dennis Kozlowski's latest pay package were air dropped on Bermuda, the conglomerate's nominal corporate home, the island might very well disappear into the Atlantic. Kozlowski's collection of salary, bonus, options and free stock in 1999 weighed in at $157 million by my estimates." (Graef Crystal, on Bloomberg.com)

NRTA Previews Results of COLA Study
Excerpt: "The National Retired Teachers Association, a division of AARP, has previewed a study on cost-of-living adjustments for state teacher retirement systems. Reported in BNA, the study's findings could provide a valuable resource for public plan representatives seeking to ensure that their benefits keep pace with inflation and with those of other public pension systems." (Cypen & Cypen)

It's Time to Dump the Death Tax
(Art Linkletter)

Vanguard Founder John C. Bogle Chides Mutual Fund Industry for Excessive Marketing Expenses
Excerpt: "This industry has lost its way,' he said in a recent speech in New York. 'A half-century ago it was far more an investment business than a marketing business. Today the reverse is true.'" (Associated Press)

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