If this message looks garbled to you or if the headlines in this message don't connect you to Web pages when you click on them, please request the "plain text" version of this newsletter ("Retirement Plans Edition") by emailing your request to publisher Dave Baker
Jobs | Today's Messages | Topical News | Q&A Columns | Services & Products | Search | Reference

The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
To BenefitsLink home page Fill your job openings fast by advertising on BenefitsLink

January 22, 2002 - 12,921 subscribers
Today's sponsor: ASPA

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)

   Advance your career with the retirement industry's only
   certification program devoted exclusively to 401(k) plans. QKA
   is available only from ASPA-- the education leader for qualified
   plan issues. You can add the prestigious QKA designation to your
   name by passing five invaluable courses. QKA training is essential
   for completing day-to-day work, and for realizing a promising
   future. Start earning your QKA designation today-- and watch your
   career soar tomorrow.

   Click on the banner above or visit
   http://www.asppa.org/qka/n16d/index.html for more information.

(Help BenefitsLink to provide this newsletter at no charge to you -- our sponsors pay our way. Remember to visit them periodically; we try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

ASPA Solicits Speedy Help from Plan Administrators in Gathering Data on Plan Blackout Periods
Excerpt: "In light of the Enron bankruptcy, Congress is considering rules that would restrict the ability of plan sponsors to lockdown (or more commonly known as 'blackout') a plan for administrative reasons. As you know, a lockdown is used to restrict participants from changing investment options for a certain period of time. To effectively address this issue on Capitol Hill, we need your feedback on typical experiences with lockdowns." (American Society of Pension Actuaries)

Questions and Answers About DC Plan Lockout Periods
Excerpt: "The Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (PSCA) is pleased to provide answers to the most frequently asked questions about defined contribution transaction suspension periods, also know as blackout periods and lockouts. The Q&As will answer questions about the purpose, operation and frequency of transaction suspension periods." (Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America)

Prescription for 401(k) Problems: First Do No Harm
Excerpt: "Enron may turn out to be the Studebaker of the 21st Century--a bankrupt company that, years later, casts a giant shadow over how financially comfortable average Americans will be after retiring from their jobs.... But as the reformers begin drafting changes to protect workers' retirement plans, they had better make sure they don't 'fix' the problem by making it worse. These plans are voluntary." (Chicago Tribune via the Baltimore Sun)

Court Approves QDRO Entered After Participant's Death
Patton v. The Denver Post Corp. (D. Colo. 2002). Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: ... [S]ome courts have found that the participant's interest in a defined benefit plan ceases upon death and cannot be resurrected by a post-death QDRO. In recognizing such an order retroactive to before the participant's death, this court parts company with some other courts that have addressed this issue." (EBIA Weekly)

Tax Impasse Could Harm Retirees
Excerpt: "Efforts in Sacramento that would allow Californians to take full advantage of new federal retirement savings incentives may be too late to help some of the state's taxpayers. Retiree Beth O'Brien, for one, is facing a $3,000 tax bill ... The 2001 federal tax law allows her to roll the [457 plan] distribution into another retirement plan, thereby avoiding an immediate income tax bill. But because state law hasn't yet been changed to allow these rollovers, she's stuck." (Los Angeles Times)

DOL Obtains Consent Judgments Against Two Firms For Misuse of Profit-Sharing Plan Assets
The Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment that requires the Miami law firm of Bailey, Hunt, Jones & Busto, P.C., now known as Bandsawe Residual Corporation, to restore $135,233 to its profit-sharing plan as restitution for making improper loans from the plan. The consent judgment was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in Chao v. Bailey (Civil Action No. 3914). (Spencernet)

Aggregated Reporting of Self-Directed Brokerage Account Investments to Be Permitted on 5500
Excerpt: "In response to a request by Charles Schwab & Co., the DOL announces in this Information Letter a modification of the instructions to the 2001 Annual Report/Return (Form 5500) to permit reporting of certain investments made through participant-directed brokerage accounts as part of a single line item on Schedule H." (EBIA Weekly)

Lump Sum Payment Option Prompts Many Senior Employees to Leave
Excerpt: "County Board members are exploring whether the county really needs to replace all the administrators who are taking advantage of what many consider overly generous pension benefits ..." (StarTribune.com)

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

The HR View for 2002: Employee Benefits in the New Year (PDF)
Includes brief descriptions of New Claims Procedure Rules; HIPAA Privacy Rules and Implementation Tasks in 2002; EGTRRA Changes Effective for Plan Years Beginning after 12/31/2001; IRS Safe Harbor Rollover Notice; more. (Gardner, Carton & Douglas)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
401(k) Daily Valuation Administrator for Ingham Group in Miami, Fl
Employee Benefits Attorney for Thompson Hine LLP
Junior Account Executive for The Paragon Alliance Group, LLC
Fast Growing Company for Benefits Manager
Benefits Analyst for Bloomberg LP
Pension Administrator for Compensation Systems Northwest, Inc.
Client Service Manager for Fidelity Investments - Marlborough, Massachusetts

Subscribe to the Welfare Plans Edition, too (click)

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.