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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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January 21, 2002 - 12,921 subscribers
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Sale of Polaroid ESOP Shares Causes Confusion, Consternation
Excerpt: "Some former employees say Polaroid had directed the sale to remove the threat of an angry, cohesive group of shareholders. 'If the ESOP still had its 15 percent interest, it could have joined with the activist equity group and created major problems for present management,' said Gerald Dicker, a former vice president who left the firm in 1996. 'Polaroid blocked this by killing the ESOP for its own interests.'" (Boston Globe)

James Delaplane of American Benefits Council Provides Employers' Perspective on Stock Controversy
Target page includes links to audio and video clips. Excerpt: "Council Vice President of Retirement Policy James Delaplane appeared on two television programs tonight, Friday, January 18, to discuss the retirement plan aspects of the Enron fallout." (American Benefits Council)

Pension Bubble Loses Some Air
Excerpt: "The late 1990's was a golden age for stocks -- and for Americans' potential retirement incomes. Assets in private pension funds doubled from 1995 to 1999, to $5 trillion. Workers plowed big portions of their high salaries of a booming economy into tax-deferred 401(k) accounts. What a difference a couple of years can make." (New York Times; free registration required)

Experts Say Diversify, but Many Plans Rely Heavily on Company Stock
Excerpt: "Most economists and financial planners recommend against holding much stock in the company that pays one's salary. But Enron was not the only company that offered incentives to do the opposite." (New York Times; free registration required)

Opinion: the Rich Are Different. They Know When to Leave.
Excerpt: "The Enron Corporation is the showcase. Its top executives are walking away with money in their pockets for their own retirement, while their employees have watched their pension savings disappear because Enron's stock price plunged." (New York Times; free registration required)

CalPERS Makes No Apologies for Missing Enron Accounting Problems
Excerpt: "[S]hareholder activists say corporate governance officials at the big funds only start pressing for changes on a board when a company's stock is performing poorly. Enron's stock, until 2001, performed dazzlingly well." (Washington Post)

As Companies Tumble, So Do 401(k)s
Excerpt: "The Enron situation is a warning signal to workers whose companies match their 401(k) retirement plans with company stock ... While the ride can be exhilarating when times are good, a bankruptcy or other cataclysmic event can wipe out years of saving." (StarTribune.com)

Growth of 401(K) Plans Breeds Mobile Work Force
Excerpt: "Here's a chicken-and-egg question: Which came first, a 401(k) plan or a job-hopping work force? Or does one complement the other? Over the last two decades, fewer companies offered traditional pension plans while 401(k) and similar plans have boomed." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Changes To 403(b) Plans Help Teachers Save
Excerpt: "403(b) plans, which are offered to teachers and other non-profit workers, have been dogged by high expenses and C-minus performance. And even teachers with doctorates have been baffled by the Maximum Exclusion Allowance, a complicated set of rules that governed how much they could contribute every year. Fortunately, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act contained some big changes in 403(b) rules, effective Jan. 1." (USA Today)

States File Lawsuit Against Enron
Excerpt: "Others seeking to lead the class-action suit include agencies overseeing pension funds in Florida and New York City, and the university pension fund in California. The U.S. District Court in Houston has yet to decide who will lead the suit ..." (StarTribune.com)

Survey Results: Employer Reaction to EGTRRA Legislation
Excerpt: "Hewitt's 2001 Employer Reaction to EGTRRA Legislation survey shows that employers are beginning to take advantage of the new regulations as an opportunity to enhance existing benefit plans. Over 160 companies participated in the email survey that was conducted in November and December 2001." (Hewitt Associates)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Pension/401(k) Administrator for Cache Pension Services, Inc.
Benefits Manager for International Industrial Manufacturer
Benefits & Compensation Tax Manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers
Employment Paralegal Needed In DC!!! for TEN - The Employment Network, Inc.

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Hot Topics Update Seminarin FL on June 12, 2002
presented by SunGard Corbel
Emerging Health Benefit Solutionsin MA on February 28, 2002
presented by Greater Boston Chapter International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists
Overview of Current Legal Decisionsin MA on April 22, 2002
presented by Greater Boston Chapter, International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists
Fundamentals of Retirement Plansin MA on May 16, 2002
presented by Greater Boston Chapter, International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists

Newly Posted Press Releases

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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.