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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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January 25, 2002 - 12,921 subscribers
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(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)

In Notice 2002-7, IRS Extends Deadlines for Minimum Funding
All plans whose Code section 412(c)(10) deadline was between September 11 and September 23, 2001 have until September 24, 2001 to have made the contribution; plans directly affected by the terrorist attacks (defined in the notice) whose deadline is between September 11, 2001 and February 11, 2002 have until February 12, 2002. (Internal Revenue Service)

Pension Funds Seek Key Role in Enron Actions
Excerpt: "Public retirement funds, burned by huge losses on Enron Corp. , are pressing to play a lead role in the shareholder lawsuits against the company -- and are hoping the fallout over Enron's downfall will help spur corporate governance reforms at other U.S. companies." (Reuters via Yahoo! Finance)

Court Upholds Conviction of Pension Plan Trustees For Embezzling $1.6 Million
The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of two pension plan trustees on charges of embezzling $1.6 million in plan assets and filing false annual reports. The cases are U.S. v. Wiseman (No. 00-10325) and U.S. v. Mett (No. 00-10341). (Spencernet)

Financial Executives Responsible for Employee Benefits Invited to Participate in Online Plans Survey
The survey was developed by the FEI (Financial Executives International) Research Foundation and the FEI Committee on Benefits Finance and co-sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). (Financial Executives Online)

Enron's Fall Piques Congress' Interest In 401(k) Rules
Excerpt: "Some lawmakers and pension specialists are wondering if the Enron case will be for the 401(k) plan what the Studebaker case of nearly 40 years ago was to more traditional company pension plans. In the Studebaker case, workers were shocked to find their pension benefits were not guaranteed when the company terminated the plan in 1963. That case prompted Congress to eventually pass the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ..." (Chicago Tribune)

Kmart Dive Reveals Risks of Betting On Company Stock
Excerpt: "Employees at Kmart Corp. have about 14 percent of their 401(k) pension money in the company's stock, a smaller chunk than workers at the average company. But the retailer's bankruptcy has cost its 240,000 employees millions of dollars, and may even force some of them to postpone retirement." (Reuters via Yahoo! Finance)

Beware the 401(k) Gamble
Excerpt: "Working people have turned the stock market into their retirement system, and themselves, rather than their corporate employers, into retirement money managers. Individuals are now responsible for making the basic investment decisions for half the nation's non-Social Security retirement savings ..." (Los Angeles Times via Sunspot.net)

Another Question is Answered in the Stop, Look & Listen: Railroad Retirement Q&A Column
I retired at 62 on a reduced 60/30 benefit. My wife started to receive a spouse benefit at 60. She is now over 62. What percentage of her spouse Tier 1 benefit is considered to be above the Social Security benefit? (BenefitsLink.com)

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

New Options in Nonqualified Retirement Plans
Excerpt: "What limits do executives and middle managers face when saving through their qualified retirement plans? For 2002 covered compensation is capped at $200,000, 401(k) elective deferrals at $11,000, and annual additions from all sources at $40,000. In addition, qualified retirement plans may impose their own restrictions ..." (The Vanguard Group, Inc.)

Enron Executives' Benefits Kept Flowing
Excerpt: "According to company filings, Enron will pay Lay a pension estimated at $475,042 a year for life. In addition, as part of an agreement Lay signed with the company in 1996, it agreed to pay a total of $1.25 million in insurance premiums through 2001 on a $12 million life insurance policy. Other executives have similar pension or insurance agreements with Enron." (Wall Street Journal via MSNBC.com)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Pension Attorney for Sheridan and Associates, Inc.
Pension Administrator for Danziger & Markhoff LLP
Sr. Benefits Analyst for Lyondell Chemical Company
Account Manager for Vinings Management Corporation
Compliance Specialist for The Segal Company

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
2002 Mid-Atlantic Benefits Conferencein PA on May 16, 2002
presented by IRS and ASPA
2002 Northeast Key Benefits Conferencein MA on June 13, 2002
presented by IRS and ASPA
2002 Northeast Key Benefits Conferencein NY on June 14, 2002
presented by IRS and ASPA
Communicating Employee Benefits: Fundamentals, Opportunities and Toolsin MD on February 21, 2002
presented by The Baltimore Chapter of ISCEBS
2002 Business Leadership Conferencein NV on May 4, 2002
presented by ASPA
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Richmondin VA on April 2, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Cincinnatiin OH on April 2, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
2003 Los Angeles Benefits Conferencein CA on January 30, 2003
presented by IRS and ASPA
U.S. Defined Contribution Plans Overview Coursein FL on March 4, 2002
presented by Society of Professional Administrators and Recordkeepers (SPARK)

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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.