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Retirement Plans Edition

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June 14, 2000

DOL Finds Some Employers Mishandling Employees' Retirement Funds
Excerpt: "The biggest complaint is that ... the money deducted from an employee's paycheck is not deposited quickly enough in the retirement account, said Virginia Smith, director of enforcement for the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration in the Labor Department. The law requires that the money be deposited as soon as it can be reasonably segregated from the employer's general assets." (Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business News)

Software Problems Postpone Federal Thrift Savings Plan's New Options
Excerpt: "Those would-be TSP day-trippers will just have to keep on waiting. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board announced yesterday that numerous software defects will delay again the launch of a new record-keeping system for the Thrift Savings Plan." (Washington Post)

Conference Agreement Reached on E-Signature Legislation (PDF)
Excerpt: "House and Senate conferees have reached an agreement on S. 761, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act. The conference agreement was filed in the House on June 8, 2000. The bill has broad bipartisan support and the Administration has indicated that the President would sign the bill." (Financial Executives Institute)

The New Retirement Players: InvestorForce.com (One in a Series)
Excerpt: "New tech plays come in two flavors: the exchanges popping up to rationalize the retirement plan distribution system and the online recordkeepers. One of the most interesting of these companies, because of the size of the bet it has made, the prominence of its backers, and its efforts to find a winning business model on the Net is Investor Force." (401kWire.com; free registration required)

Morningstar Retirement Conference in Chicago To Include Panel Discussion of Online Investment Advice
Excerpt: "Retirement plan sponsors searching for answers on online advice can attend the Morningstar Retirement Conference in Chicago for a special discussion with investment industry leaders on the role investment advice plays in helping investors plan their retirement. The expert panel discussion will take place 8:30 a.m., CST, Tuesday, June 26, 2000 at Hyatt Regency on the Riverwalk." (Morningstar)

Digital Signatures Headed for a Vote
Excerpt: "After months of partisan wrangling over clauses on consumer protection and data storage, Congress this week hopes to pass an electronic-signature and record-keeping bill designed to make it easier for companies and consumers to do business in the digital age." (New York Times; free registration required)

New York Life Pension and 401(k) Litigation Website
Excerpt: "This site, created by the law firm of Sprenger & Lang DC, PLLC, provides information concerning the federal class action lawsuit filed in Philadelphia on June 14, 2000 against New York Life ('NYL') and the trustees and administrator of its Employee and Agent Pension and 401(k) Plans. The suit, filed on behalf of tens of thousands of current and former Pension and 401(k) Plan participants, alleges that NYL improperly manipulated the Plans for corporate gain." (Sprenger & Lang DC, PLLC)

Plans Risk Loss of Qualified Status by Limiting Participation of Contractors Reclassified as Employees
Excerpt: "After Vizcaino many employers amended their retirement plans to try to guard against the uncertainty of a retroactive determination that workers are employees rather than contractors. These plan amendments usually provide that workers engaged as independent contractors, or those not paid through the payroll system, are not eligible to participate in the plan even if their classification as independent contractors is later determined to be erroneous." (RIA Pension & Benefits Week)

Long-Time 'Temps' Sue SmithKline for Benefits in ERISA Class Action
Excerpt: "SmithKline Beecham Corp. was hit with a class action ERISA suit Monday by workers who say the pharmaceuticals giant avoids providing benefits by improperly classifying hundreds of its employees as 'temporary' even though they've held their jobs for years." (Law.com)

New York Senate Approves Pension Credit of Up to Three Years for Wartime Veterans
Excerpt: "A bill approved by the state Senate Monday will give public employees who are wartime veterans up to three years of credit toward their pensions when they retire." (Binghamton [NY] Press & Sun-Bulletin)

Federal Thrift Savings Plan Delays Availability of Small Cap, International Funds Again
Excerpt: "The TSP is a retirement savings plan for Federal employees that is similar to the 401(k) plans offered by many private employers. It was created by the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986.... The new record keeping system will support investment options and benefits in addition to those now available to TSP participants." (Federal Thrift Savings Plan)

Investment Adviser Selection by State and Local Pension Plans Should Be Influence-Free, Says GFOA
Excerpt: "A Government Finance Officers Association committee on Saturday recommended that state and local pension plans develop policies and procedures to ensure that the selection of investment advisers is merit-based and free from influence." (Government Finance Officers Association)

San Diego Board of Supervisors Pushes to Remove Tobacco Stocks From County's Retirement Investments
Excerpt: "Supervisor Ron Roberts, a mayoral candidate, urged county officials to make the unprecedented moral divestiture, calling it hypocritical to spend millions on anti-smoking campaigns while also banking on Big Tobacco for county employees' retirement funds." (Yahoo News!)

Stock Option Issues for Hourly Workers
Excerpt: "On May 18, 2000, President Clinton signed the Worker Economic Opportunity Act, P.L. 106-202. The Act makes stock options more readily available to hourly workers by exempting employees' profits on stock options, stock appreciation rights, and employee stock purchase plans from the employees' 'regular rate' of pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act." (Hughes & Luce LLP)

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