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Retirement Plans Edition

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October 12, 2000

DOL Dings Employer Using Weekly Payrolls for Failure to Deposit Elective Deferrals Within 7 Days
Practitioners discuss the DOL's enforcement position on the "plan assets" definition in ERISA -- how soon must elective deferrals from employees' paychecks be placed in a plan's trust account? (BenefitsBoards.net)

Keep Eye on Fees of 401(K), Experts Say
Excerpt: "Most 401(k) participants have ignored for years the fees paid by their plans while enjoying double-digit returns. That may change. The stock market is down, and if it remains so or winds up flat for the year, workers may turn their attention to fees that have further eroded returns, benefits experts said. 'It's when returns aren't so robust it becomes a significant issue,' said Ted Benna, president of the 401(k) Association, a Pennsylvania benefits consulting firm." (Des Moines Register)

Your Employer's 401(K) Plan May Not Be As Good As Hoped
Excerpt: "No retirement savings plan gets as much hype - in the workplace and in the news media as the 401(k). You'd think these plans were universally popular, with workers shoveling every cent into their accounts. But a new study by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics points out something that the news media and the 401(k) fanatics in the workplace often ignore: 401(k) plans can have drawbacks, too." (Neil Downing, in the Providence Journal)

Another Question is Answered in the Stop, Look & Listen: Railroad Retirement Q&A Column
Would a person who worked for the New York Central in the early 1940's have been covered by a pension plan? (BenefitsLink.com)

401(K) Advice Moves Into The Fast Lane
Excerpt: "The way things are developing, [Ted Benna] predicts, 'the question that employees and their lawyers will one day ask the plan sponsor is, Why didn't you offer advice?'" (National Underwriter Company)

Financial Engines To Provide Advice on Non-Retirement Plan Investments
Excerpt: "Until now, while it has considered non-tax-advantaged assets in its allocation modeling, it has not provided actual advice on those assets. Financial Engines is offering the new services as a part of a deal struck with eAdvisor , is a joint venture of E*Trade and Ernst & Young targeted at E*Trade customers and individuals seeking financial planning." (401kWire.com)

ERISA Advisory Opinion 2000-12A Issued to Aetna
Excerpt: "You request an opinion that ... the amended Group Annuity Contract will qualify as Transition Policies within the meaning of the Department's regulation at 29 C.F.R. 2550.401c-1(h)(6). Section AC)(1)(A) of ERISA ... provides that the Secretary of Labor must issue regulations to provide guidance for the purpose of determining ... which assets held by the insurer (other than plan assets held in its separate accounts) constitute assets of the plan ..." (U.S. Department of Labor)

Another Question is Answered in the Stop, Look & Listen: Railroad Retirement Q&A Column
I retired in August 2000 and now I have to calculate the part of my railroad retirement benefit that is based on my own contributions. I plan to use the "Simplified General Rule," but I have some questions about filling out the IRS worksheet. Can you help? (BenefitsLink.com)

Opinion: Gore's War on Retirement Security
Excerpt: "Imagine for a moment that your stockbroker told you he could only get you a 2 percent rate of return on your mutual fund, IRA or 401(k) plan for the rest of your life. You'd fire him in a heartbeat, wouldn't you? Of course you would. Me, too. So why accept less from the next American president?" (New York Post)

Overview Of Federal Income Tax Provisions Relating To Employee Stock Options (PDF)
(Joint Committee on Taxation)

BLS Pilot Survey On The Incidence Of Stock Options In Private Industry In 1999
(Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor)

Stock Options Hearing To Take Place Today
Excerpt: "The focus of the hearing is to examine the Federal tax treatment of stock option plans under current law and proposals to strengthen incentives for employers to offer such plans." (Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives)

(Following also appears in Welfare Plans Edition)

Third Circuit Rules Supplemental Benefits Must Stay in Plan
Excerpt: "In yet another pro-employee ERISA ruling, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that plant shutdown benefits are retirement-type subsidies at the time added to the plan, and as a result, they are accrued benefits subject to the anti-cutback rules under ERISA and the tax code. The case is Harry Bellas v. CBS, Inc.; Westinghouse Pension Plan." (Thompson Publishing Group)

Federal government opens new Web site with information on laws, regulations, cases, etc.
First government website to provide the public with easy, one-stop access to all online U.S. Federal Government resources. (Firstgov.gov)

Graef Crystal: Boskin, Tyson Find Rich Public-Service Afterlife
Excerpt: "You know how satellites heading to the far reaches of space are sent out of their way around an intermediate planet so they can pick up extra thrust towards their long-term goal? Humans can use a similar technique to give their pay a rocket boost." (Graef Crystal, on Bloomberg.com)

IRS Amends Regulations Defining Employee Benefit Plan Trusts As "Domestic Trusts"
(Internal Revenue Service)

Job Openings Newly Posted or Reposted on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

Executive Benefits Consultantfor Clark Bardes Consulting/Compensation Resource Group, Inc.
in CA, GA, IL, NY, TX
Defined Contribution Plan Administrator/Compliancefor an investment management company
in NY
Communications Consultantfor May, McGiboney & Associates, Inc.
in GA
Account Administratorfor American Express Financial Advisors
in MN
Defined Benefit Systems Analystsfor UNIFI Network/PricewaterhouseCoopers
in NJ
Benefits analystfor Paragon Consulting Group
Project Manager--001670for Providian Financial
in CA
Communication Consultantfor Fidelity Investments
in MA

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