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Retirement Plans Edition

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June 15, 2000

Life Expectancies Rising Faster Than Expected
Excerpt: "Life expectancy in major industrialized nations is increasing faster than their governments are predicting, which could strain pension plans and other programs in those countries, a U.S. researcher says." (Associated Press)

Electronic-Signature Bill Is Passed by U.S. House
Excerpt: "The legislation, passed 426 to 4, would give new technologies like fingerprint scans and encryption keys the legal weight of ink-and-paper signatures, making it easier for both companies and consumers to do business online." (New York Times; free registration required)

mPower To Provide PaineWebber With Retirement Plan Advice Services
Excerpt: "PaineWebber's retirement plan services currently reach 500,000 plan participants. PaineWebber has also made a strategic investment in mPower. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed." (Business Wire, via Yahoo! Finance)

5500 Database Searching Now Available in Pay-Per-Search Online Format
Excerpt: "Search for individual employers or conduct a detailed marketing project with access to the entire database (e.g. search by industry, location, plan type, participants, assets). Your results will appear on a separate screen enabling you to purchase the information you want or revise your search to further pinpoint your target." (BenefitFinder.com)

DOL Adv Op 2000-05A: Church Plan Under IRC 414(e) Is a Church Plan Under ERISA, But Fix Your SPDs
Excerpt: "... we note that benefit booklets included in your submission state that ERISA gives certain rights to participants of the Plans and imposes duties on fiduciaries of the Plans. ... We expect that appropriate actions will be taken to remove all erroneous references to rights and status under Title I of ERISA from plan documents and literature and that the Plans will promptly notify affected participants and beneficiaries that Title I of ERISA does not apply to the Plans." (U.S. Department of Labor)

New York Life Sued Over Fees on Its Pensions
Excerpt: "Top executives of the New York Life Insurance Company were accused in a racketeering lawsuit yesterday of enriching themselves by charging tens of millions of dollars in excess fees to the retirement plans that the insurer maintains for its workers and agents." (New York Times; free registration required)

Insurer Accused of Misusing Pension Funds
Excerpt: "A former New York Life Insurance Co. employee yesterday accused the giant insurer of using money from its employees' pension fund as 'seed money' to jump-start a group of institutional mutual funds that then charged the pension fund excessive fees." (Washington Post)

Former Exec Sues NY Life, Says Insurer Manipulated Pensions
Excerpt: "The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, contends the company used money from the pension and 401(k) plans to fund its own line of mutual funds, the MainStay funds, thereby collecting tens of millions of dollars in excess fees and expenses." (USA Today)

New York Life Faces Fraud Suit on Use of Pension Fund
Excerpt: "A former senior executive of New York Life Insurance Co. on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the No. 10 U.S. life insurer, alleging that it illegally invested hundreds of millions of dollars from its employees' pension plans in its own range of mutual funds." (Reuters via Yahoo! Finance)

DOL Adv Op 2000-06A: Collectively Bargained Plans for New York City Police Are Governmental Plans
Excerpt: "It is also the Department's view that the participation by a de minimis number of private sector employees in an otherwise governmental plan will not adversely affect the planís status as a governmental plan." (U.S. Department of Labor)

Advisory Opinion 2000-07A Blesses 'Government Plan' Status for Union-Run Plan for Ohio Civil Servants
Excerpt: "It is the view of the Department of Labor ... that the term "governmental plan" as defined in ERISA section 3(32) is not limited to plans established by the unilateral action of employers which are governmental agencies ... [but also includes] plans established or maintained pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement between a governmental entity and a labor union where such plans are funded by, and cover only employees of, governmental entities." (U.S. Department of Labor)

Advisory Opinion 2000-08A OKs Participation by 'De Minimis' Number of Private Employees in Govt Plan
Excerpt: "This responds to your request for an advisory opinion concerning the 'Employees Retirement System of the Government of Puerto Rico and its Instrumentalities' ... [specifically,] whether the status of the Retirement System as a 'governmental plan' under section 3(32) of ERISA would be adversely affected if the Retirement System were to allow participation by certain employees of General Telecommunications Electronic (GTE)." (U.S. Department of Labor)

Pension Enhancement Works Too Well; Atlanta Area Fire Department Pinched by Many Recent Retirements
Excerpt: "... the county adopted a retirement policy called the 'Rule of 80,' which means anyone from a policeman to a receptionist can retire when their age and years of service equals 80. That means a 49-year-old who started with the county 31 years ago, at the age of 18, can walk out the door this year with full benefits." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

UK Social Security Head Says Brits Need to Get Serious About Saving for Retirement
Excerpt: "Too many of today's workers are saving too little, too late for retirement, Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling said today. And many are in for a nasty shock, when their likely pension income is set out in black and white in the Government's new annual pensions statements ..." (M2 Communications)

Investing With Attitude: Socially Conscious Funds
Excerpt: "Since these funds are designed to consider not only a return on money but also how the potential return is made, they might, at first glance, lead to performance doubts." (IRAjunction.com)

German Political Parties Fail to Reach Deal on Pension Reforms
Excerpt: "State pension systems are in trouble in almost all western countries owing to ageing populations and the increasing numbers of pensioners, while the working population which makes payments into state pension funds decreases. The government, which is seeking to partly privatize the pension system, can pass legislation on pensions on its own, but there is a tradition in Germany of seeking consensus of on such socially sensitive issues." (Agence France-Presse)

Multimedia Clips of June 6 National Press Club Discussion of Bush's Individual Account Proposal
(The Century Foundation)

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