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Retirement Plans Edition

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July 18, 2000

7th Cir: Temporary Failure to Invest Plan's Assets During Black-Out Period Did Not Violate ERISA
Excerpt: "There was no breach of ERISA fiduciary duty where all of a 401(k) plan's assets were temporarily placed into a money market fund--instead of into accounts reflecting each participant's investment elections--during a period of about five months while the plan was being spun-off into a new plan, the Seventh Circuit held. (King v. National Human Resource Committee, Inc.)" (RIA Pension & Benefits Week)

Using 401(k) Savings Early Is Unlikely To Pay Off
Excerpt: "Some consumers may argue that it's better to use their 401(k) money to pay off high-interest credit cards, but that's not necessarily the case ..." (Dallas Morning News)

IRS Approves Automatic ("Negative") Elections for 457 Plans
Revenue Ruling 2000-33. Excerpt: "Will a deferred compensation plan fail to be an 'eligible deferred compensation plan' described in section 457(b) of the Internal Revenue Code merely because deferrals are made under an arrangement whereby a fixed percentage of an employee's compensation is deferred on the employee's behalf under the plan unless the employee affirmatively elects to receive the amount in cash?" (IRS says it won't fail.) (Internal Revenue Service)

Harkin Introduces Bill To Create an Office of Pension Participant Advocacy
Excerpt: "Currently, multiple federal agencies share jurisdiction over pension law. Time and time again, the needs of pension participants are ignored, and pensioners don't get help in navigating the government's pension bureaucracy. Harkin's bill would create one office whose sole duty is to advocate for pension participants." (Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa))

American Savings Education Council and DOL Retirement Savings Campaign Celebrating 5th Anniversary

Coverage Status Of Workers Under Employer Provided Pension Plans
Excerpt: "Data from Employee Benefits Supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS), conducted at approximately 5-year intervals from 1972 to 1993, found that the pension coverage rate of private wage and salary workers remained relatively stable over this period at about 50% for full-time workers. More recent data from the Contingent Work Supplements (CWS) to the CPS, conducted in 1995, 1997, and 1999 indicate that pension coverage may now be increasing." (DOL Office of Policy and Research)

Will Either Candidate's Proposal Really Save Social Security?
Excerpt: "This year's presidential candidates have promised to fix the baby-boomer anomaly. Yet, each one's proposed plan seems more reactionary than comprehensive, and neither one seems destined to solve the problem once and for all." (mPower)

(Following also appears in Welfare Plans Edition)

Courts of Appeal Consider Disclosure Duties to Participants or Beneficiaries
Excerpt: "In two completely different types of cases, the 3rd and the 6th Circuit recently held that plan administrators may breach their fiduciary duty under ERISA by failing to provide ERISA participants or beneficiaries with accurate information regarding plan benefits. This is particularly true when the participant does not know the proper questions to ask and/or the plan administrator knows that his or her silence on a particular issue could be harmful." (The Pension Plan Fix-It Handbook, by Thompson Publishing Company)

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