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Retirement Plans Edition


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June 6, 2000

SEC Issues Warnings to Investors on Variable Annuities
Excerpt: "Federal regulators are warning investors to be wary about variable annuities, an increasingly popular way to save for retirement that combines features of mutual funds and insurance." (Associated Press)

Variable Annuities: What You Should Know
Excerpt: "Before you buy a variable annuity, you should know some of the basics--and be prepared to ask your insurance agent, broker, financial planner, or other financial professional lots of questions about whether a variable annuity is right for you." (Thanks to Tim Younkin for recommending the link!) (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)

Statement of the ERISA Industry Committee for the Select Committee on Aging
Excerpt: "The issues involved are complex and have been made more complex by a debate characterized more by heat than light. At stake is whether employees will continue to have defined benefit plans available to them as part of their retirement portfolio." (ERISA Industry Committee)

Link to All Testimony Provided at June 5, 2000 Hearing
Statements of the witnesses have been published online by the Committee. (U.S. Senate Committee Special Committee on Aging)

Statement of Karen W. Ferguson, Director of the Pension Rights Center
Excerpt: "To put today's hearing in perspective, I would like to start by noting that never in the 24-year history of the Pension Rights Center have we seen such an outpouring of employee anger, frustration and bewilderment as that occasioned by the conversion of traditional defined benefit plans to cash balance arrangements." (U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, 6/5/2000 Cash Balance Conversions Hearing)

C-SPAN Provides Online Downloadable Video of Yesterday's Cash Balance Committee Hearing
Requires "RealPlayer" (www.real.com) to view, after downloading; the hearing was about 2-1/2 hours long. (C-SPAN)

APPWP Urges Committee to Avoid Harsh Cash Balance Legislation
Excerpt: "The Association of Private Pension and Welfare Plans ... testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging [yesterday], urging Congress to consider the many benefits of cash balance pension plans and recommending judicious disclosure legislation to remedy employee concerns." (Association of Private Pension and Welfare Plans)

Grassley Urges Caution On Cash Balance Legislation
Excerpt: "'Legislators should proceed cautiously in trying to fix problems with cash balance pension plans, lest their well-meaning action cause unintended difficulties, Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, said today. 'Whatever we do, we have to make any changes carefully,' Grassley said. 'We're not doing the American people any favors if we suffocate what's left of the defined benefit pension system.'" (Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa)

Congressional Committee Hears Complaints About Cash Balance Pension Plan Conversions
Excerpt: "'It seems to me that something somebody is entitled to is lost,' said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the panel." (Associated Press)

U.S. Subsidiary of Foreign Corp Avoids Excess Compensation Deduction Limit
Excerpt: "A U.S. corporation was not subject to the Code Sec. 162(m)(1) $1 million deduction limit on compensation paid to top executives because it was the subsidiary of a foreign company that is not required to file a summary compensation table with the SEC, IRS has privately ruled." (RIA Pension & Benefits Week)

Philip Morris Shouldn't Be Granting Raises Now
Excerpt: "Your industry is under fire and your stock is in a tailspin. Is that the time to be handing out raises? At Philip Morris Cos., the board of directors seems to think its primary mission is not to protect the interests of shareholders during bad times but rather to insulate the company's executives from those very same bad times." (Graef Crystal, on Bloomberg.com)

Pensions Dying Out in New Economy World?
Excerpt: "But as people and economies change, so do pension plans. In today's bullish, tech-driven economy, the pension plan suddenly seems passe. The reasons are many. Younger workers are unlikely to spend their careers at one company, some experts say. Others point to the enormous administration costs of a pension plan." (Seattle Times)

Principal Picks Financial Engines
Excerpt: "The Principal Financial Group(R) and Financial Engines, Inc. today announced that the Financial Engines Investment Advisor(sm) service will be available to defined contribution plan members serviced by the Principal Financial Group." (Business Wire)


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