The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
November 16, 2000
Today's sponsor is 2e Corporation
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Pension Officials Sued for Mismanaging Illinois Pension and Welfare Plans
Excerpt: "According to the lawsuit, the defendants violated [ERISA] when they: (1) failed to timely deposit employee contributions and loan repayments into the pension plan's accounts... ; (2) retained employee contributions and loan repayments with the general assets of the corporation; (3) failed to pay $3,055 in participant claims with respect to the cafeteria plan despite collecting $6,666.84 in employee contributions... " (U.S. Department of Labor)
Keeping 401(k) Contributions Alive
Excerpt: "A recent IRS ruling enables funds to keep flowing into retirement accounts after employees are disabled." (CFO magazine)
American Express Launches Streaming 401(k) Video on the Web, Called Real Tal(k)
Excerpt: "American Express Retirement Services today launched Real Tal(k), an award-winning 10-minute educational video that answers general questions about 401(k) plans and how to get the most out of . The video is available on American Express's Web site at http://www.americanexpress.com/retirement or http://www.realtalkonline.com - Visitors can view Real Tal(k) via streaming video or download it free of charge." (PRNewswire, via Yahoo! Finance)
7th Circuit Dismisses "Frivolous" Claim Against TIAA-CREF Over Form of Distribution
Excerpt: "The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has dismissed a 'frivolous' claim filed by the beneficiaries of a trust against the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association/College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) over the form of a pension distribution. The case is Lehmann, et al. v. Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association/College Retirement Equities Fund and Timothy K. Brown." (Spencernet)
German Pension Aims for Reforms
Excerpt: "Recognizing that Germany's cherished national retirement system is running out of money, the government Wednesday endorsed a plan that would promote private retirement savings for the first time and cut benefits in the next few decades." (New York Times; free registration required)
Another Question is Answered in the Correcting Plan Defects Q&A Column
A 401(k) plan was top-heavy for the plan year ending 10/31/98, and the minimum top-heavy contribution has not yet been made. Can the plan sponsor correct the top-heavy violation at this time under the "significant defect" portion of the Administrative Policy Regarding Self-Correction ["APRSC"], by measuring the two-year correction period from 10/15/99, which was the plan sponsor's extended due date for filing its 1998 tax return and, thus, the last day for making its 1998 contribution? (BenefitsLink.com)
Is it possible to have too many classes of employees in a cross-tested profit-sharing plan?
Pension Plans Now Can Buy Lower-Rated Asset-Backed Securities
Excerpt: "The Labor Department published and enacted a long-pending proposal allowing private pension plans to buy lower-rated asset-backed securities. The changes are formal today as the proposal was published in the Federal Registry, said Ivan Strasfeld, a director at the Department of Labor. The changes take effect retroactively as of Aug. 23." (Bloomberg)
Gender Pension Gap Narrows Slightly, EBRI Says
Excerpt: "The pension gender gap between women and men has narrowed slightly in recent years, but women still need to be more aggressive with their investments, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington. Much of women's improvement is due to middle-aged women saving more for retirement, but women continue to invest their retirement assets more conservatively than men, said the institute, a private nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization." (Knight Ridder/Tribune)
Participant puts $10,000 into each of two 401(k) plans; when must excess be returned?
(Following also appears in Welfare Plans Edition)
San Francisco Domestic Partner Benefits Law Likely to Pass Muster
Excerpt: "What remains of San Francisco's domestic partners benefits law looks as if it will fly with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The three-judge panel hearing challenges to the historic ordinance on Tuesday seemed inclined to let a lower court ruling stand, despite arguments that federal law pre-empts requirements that companies doing business with the city of San Francisco provide benefits to domestic partners of employees, including gays and lesbians." (Law.com)
San Francisco Domestic Partner Benefits Law Challenged
Excerpt: "San Francisco's 1997 Equal Benefits Ordinance, requiring city contractors to give unmarried workers' domestic partners the same benefits as married workers' spouses, was on trial once again November 14, this time before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals." (Planet Out, via Yahoo! News)
SEC Approves Auditor Independence and Market Structure Rules
From Chairman's statement: "Specifically, the rule would reduce the number of audit firm employees and family members whose investments in, or employment with audit clients would impair the auditor's independence. The rule also identifies certain non-audit services that, if provided to an audit client, would impair independence.... Firms would also be allowed to perform up to 40 percent of a client's internal audit work, with no restriction for smaller companies with assets under $200 million." (Securities and Exchange Commission)
New SEC Rules Requiring Public Disclosure of Order Execution
Excerpt: "[B]y making more visible the execution quality of the securities markets, the rules are intended to spur competition among market centers and broker-dealers to provide the best possible price and speed of execution for investor orders. " (Securities and Exchange Commission)
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