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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition

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June 28, 2000

David Wray on Investment Advice: Making the Right Business Decision
Excerpt: "... when I asked how many were providing advice at their company, not a hand was raised. Why is there so much interest in participant investment advice and so little action?" (401kWire.com; free registration required)

Disclosure in 401(k) Plans: It's Cheaper to Communicate Than Litigate
Excerpt: "Recent court cases have shown that disclosure to plan participants can save costly litigation down the road." (The 401(k) Handbook, Thompson Publishing Company)

Austrian Transport Workers Protest Plans to Raise Retirement Age
Excerpt: "Although the action caused little disruption, it was significant because it was the first such move in more than 30 years in a country which has enjoyed industrial peace for more than a generation and has one of the lowest rates of strikes in Europe." (Associated Press)

Fact Sheet on SEC's Proposal To 'Modernize' Rules on Auditor Independence of Accountants
Excerpt: "[The rules] would also identify certain non-audit services that, if provided to an audit client, would impair an auditor's independence." (Securities and Exchange Commission)

Ireland Now Protecting Individuals' Pensions from Bankruptcy Creditors
Excerpt: "In the past the accumulated rights of bankrupts was forfeited to pay their creditors. [It was] believed this was unfair--particularly for older people who might not have the option of starting new pension plans after their bankruptcy." (The Belfast Telegraph)

Employee Benefits: The Top Ten Trends
Observe the top trends occurring in the private employment-based benefits system, such as the normalization of flexible work arrangements. An extensive list of Internet resources is included, in a new booklet available from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans ($10 non-members; free to IFEBP members). (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

HR-XML Consortium Demonstrates Draft Protocol at Conference
Excerpt: "'From this demonstration and from similar exchanges among member companies, we have learned that the existence of agreed-upon XML specifications makes the integration of heterogeneous systems extremely easy,' said Chuck Allen, HR-XML Director." (Business Wire)

Software Bugs Stall Thrift Savings Plan Move to Daily Valuation
Excerpt: "Federal workers will have to wait until at least next spring before they have access to new investment options through the government's retirement savings plan." (Federal Computer Week)

New Comparability Pension Plans Under IRS Scrutiny
Excerpt: "[Pension specialist Robert] Pennington says that although the IRS has not officially declared the end to new comparability plans, he believes it is 'fairly likely' that it will." (Associated Press)

Retirement Security Advice Act
Introduced June 26, 2000 by Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations. (Thomas (Library of Congress))

APPWP Applaud Boehner Bills on ERISA Reform
Excerpt: "The bills--the Retirement Security Advice Act, the ERISA Modernization Act of 2000, and the Comprehensive ERISA Modernization Act of 2000--will propose changes in the following areas..." (Association of Private Pension and Welfare Plans)

SEC Approves Massive Changes to Standards for Auditors
Excerpt: "A proposal to overhaul the accounting industry to help protect investors against fraud and ease investment restrictions for auditors and their families was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday." (Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business News)

You Are What You Save? Study Shows Personality Types Approach Retirement Savings Differently
Excerpt: "A new study shows that personality traits can influence how individuals approach financial planning and retirement saving." (News USA)

Canadian Government Pension Fund Racks Up 40% Return
Excerpt: "By focusing on top homegrown stocks, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board reported Tuesday that it racked up a 40.1% rate of return in its first year of operation." (SmallCapCenter.com)

Opinion: Al Gore Meets the Stock Market
Excerpt: "The federal subsidy would be in the form of a refundable income tax credit. That simply means that the rapidly increasing number of families that already pay no income taxes would qualify for the investment equivalent of a welfare payment in cash." (Washington Times)

Opinion: Gore's Retirement Plan Gimmick
Excerpt: "In contrast to the Bush proposal, what Mr. Gore has proposed is not a solution to the problems of Social Security, but a new, big spending, government entitlement program." (Washington Times)

High-Impact Tale of 'Offset' Law's Effect on Low-Income Retirees
Excerpt: "The offset was enacted in 1977 and applies to people who (1) receive pensions based on employment that was not covered by Social Security--such as federal employees in the Civil Service Retirement System [and] (2) receive Social Security benefits because they are the spouse or survivor of a person who was entitled to Social Security." (Washington Post)

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