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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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January 18, 2002 - 12,869 subscribers
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Enron Debacle Spurs Proctor & Gamble To Examine ESOP Investment Options
Excerpt: "Changes to P&G's plan probably would allow employees even more diversity of investment choices, officials at Cincinnati-based P&G said this week.... The P&G plan is an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, which includes a 401(k) feature.... The 401(k) feature in the P&G plan was added in 1996." (The Cincinnati Inquirer)

Enron Case Puts Spotlight on Other Plans Invested Heavily in Employer Stock
Excerpt: "At Textron Inc., 70 percent of employees' retirement savings are in company stock that, in the past three years, has plummeted from $98 to less than $40 a share. At Coke, more than 81 percent of the 401(k) is in company stock that has fallen from a high of more than $70 to less than $45." (Associated Press via Lycos News)

Pension Panic Over Enron Collapse
Excerpt: "Some worry that embarrassed lawmakers, busily returning campaign contributions from Enron and Arthur Andersen, may rush overly restrictive legislation that could scare companies away from offering retirement plans-- or push them toward looser alternatives like stock option plans." (The Boston Globe)

Enron Scandal Spurs Debate On Plan Sponsor's Role As Investment Adviser
Excerpt: "The Enron bankruptcy scandal has done one thing for sure. It has heightened the debate about who should advise workers on investments in their 401(k) plans." (PioneerPlanet.com)

Opinion: Enron May Help Save Social Security
Excerpt: "After the Enron scandal, you'd have to be pretty dense to fall for the Bush administration's dream of transforming the Social Security system from a government-guaranteed program into a plan under which workers could use some of their retirement savings to play the stock market." (Marianne Means in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

22% of Pension Plan Sponsors Provide Investment Advice To Participants, PSCA Finds
The Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America has released its 2001 Investment Advice Survey. In preparing the survey, the PSCA collected data on the investment advice practices of 141 member companies. According to the survey, 22% of the respondents provide investment advice to the participants in their pension plans. (Spencernet)

District Court Erred In Awarding Attorneys' Fees To Employer In Withdrawal Liability Dispute
The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that a federal district court improperly awarded attorneys' fees to an employer in a dispute over withdrawal liability payments to a multiemployer pension fund. The ruling came in Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund v. Hunt Truck Lines, Inc. (No. 00-3922). (Spencernet)

Bush Signs Bill Lowering SEC Fees
Excerpt: "President Bush signed into law Wednesday a measure that reduces fees paid for stock registrations, transactions and mergers ... The measure, called the Investor and Capital Markets Fee Relief Act, is expected to lower fees paid to the market-regulating Securities and Exchange Commission." (Reuters via Yahoo! News)

(Following items are in both editions of the BenefitsLink Newsletter)

Analysis: IRS Announces Proposed Regulations for ISO's and ESPP's
Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service ... has issued proposed regulations, which clarify current law regarding the Federal Insurance Contributions Act ('FICA') and the Federal Unemployment Tax Act ('FUTA'). The proposed regulations ... generally provide that an individual who exercises certain statutory stock options may realize 'wages' for purposes of FICA and FUTA." (Pillsbury Winthrop LLP)

Nasdaq's Shareholder Approval Rules for Stock Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "As of mid-December 2001 when we spoke with a Nasdaq staff attorney, the following rules apply in 2002 until further Nasdaq notice ..." (Mark Poerio, Esq. of Paul Hastings)

Overview: FASB Update re Cancellation of Underwater Stock Options
Excerpt: "On December 27, 2001, FASB released an expansion of its EITF Issue No. 00-23 regarding the financial accounting rules that apply to stock compensation. This EITF addresses questions arising under FASB's Interpretation 44 (issued 3/31/2000)." (Mark Poerio, Esq. of Paul Hastings)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Financial Writer for INVESCO Retirement, Inc.
Employee Benefits EE Educator for AmSouth Bank
Implementation Client Service Manager for Black Mountain Management, Inc.
401(k) Sales Consultant for Pension Specialists, Inc.
Benefits Consultant for CBIZ Business Solutions of St. Louis, Inc.
Employee Benefits Attorney for Dean, Mead, Egerton, Bloodworth, Capouano & Bozarth, P.A.
Benefits Administrator for ALLTEL Communications
Call Center Manager for Hewitt Associates
Senior Plan Administrator for Strong Investments, Inc.
401(k)/Pension Administrator for Contemporary Pensions, Inc. in Walnut Creek, CA for Contemporary Pensions, inc.

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
What Should I Do With My Lump Sum Distribution?in PA on March 21, 2002
presented by Nadav Baum @ Salomon Smith Barney

Newly Posted Press Releases
Has ENRON Made Being A Fiduciary Even More Frightening? (Bruce Ruud & Associates)

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Copyright 2001 BenefitsLink.com, Inc., but you may freely distribute this email newsletter in whole. This newsletter is edited by David Rhett Baker, J.D.