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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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January 31, 2002 - 12,487 subscribers
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Enron Workers Press 401K Lawsuit
Excerpt: "A group of Enron workers asked a bankruptcy judge Thursday to let their lawsuit against the firm proceed, asserting that Enron has a $1 billion liability to its employees for losses in their 401(k) accounts." (AP via Yahoo! News)

Ex-Enron Workers Before Congress
Excerpt: "Laid-off Enron workers pressed for help Wednesday on Capitol Hill, putting faces to some of the stories of retirement nest eggs lost when the company collapsed. Organized by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, several dozen workers piled in buses to make the 25-hour trip from Houston ..." (AP via Lycos)

Enron Pensions Focus of Debate
Excerpt: "Thousands of Enron Corp. employees heavily invested in company stock were barred for weeks from selling it as their retirement plan changed administrators-- during which the value plummeted. Sinister plot or bad luck? That's the focus of a Labor Department investigation ..." (AP via Lycos)

N.J. Pension Fund Faces $1 Billion Gap By End of 2004
Excerpt: "New Jersey and municipalities across the state will have to spend $1 billion to plug a hole in the state's public pension fund by June 30, 2004, the end of the next fiscal year, a state official said on Wednesday." (Reuters via Yahoo! Finance)

Justice Department, Federal TSP Board In Turf Battle Over Failed Daily Val Software Lawsuit
Excerpt: "In 1997, the TSP board awarded AMS a $30 million contract to install a new system that would have managed TSP investments and allowed employees to more easily control their accounts. But the contract ran into frequent delays; costs had ballooned to an estimated $87 million with no completion date in sight when the board fired AMS and filed suit seeking $350 million in damages." (GovExec.com)

How Design of Pension Plans Influences Employee Investments
Excerpt: "Many corporate executives believe that once a plan is set up, employees should be left on their own. But it's not that simple, says Wharton finance professor Andrew Metrick. Even if the employer wants to sit on the sidelines, his choices in designing the plan will strongly influence the level of employee participation, the percentage of income employees contribute and the investment choices they make." (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania)

U.S. Chamber Launches Coalition For "Measured Approach" To Post-Enron Retirement System Overhaul
The United States Chamber of Commerce on January 29 launched a coalition with other leading business and employee-benefit groups to fight for a measured approach to possible retirement system overhaul and regulatory changes spurred by the Enron financial debacle. The founding members of the coalition include the Chamber, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Profit Sharing Council of America, the American Benefits Council, the ESOP Association, and the ERISA Industry Committee. (Spencernet)

Northrop's Pension Drags Down 4th Quarter Results
Excerpt: "Northrop Grumman Corp's 9% loss for the fourth quarter is yet another example of how a retirement plan can significantly drag down-- or boost-- the corporate bottom line." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

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

Andersen's Alert: U.S. Compensation and Benefits News Briefs for January 18, 2002
Excerpt: "Our January 18, 2002, issue includes these topics: Reimbursement of health premiums paid by pre-tax salary reductions ruled taxable; Revised guidance on split-dollar life insurance plans; Final regulations issued on the provision of DOL-requested plan documents." (Andersen)

Workers For Bakery Company Were Employees, and Not Independent Contractors
The U.S. Tax Court has ruled that the workers for a bakery products manufacturer were actually employees and not independent contractors and, hence, that the company was liable for the payment of employment taxes on behalf of the workers. The ruling came in Ewens and Miller, Inc. v. Commissioner (117 T.C. No. 22). (Spencernet)

What's Next for Executive Compensation?
Excerpt: "What are the smarter ways to retain mission-critical talent without incurring the ire of shareholders, employees, and customers alike? In this article, we'll briefly review approaches for addressing some of the compensation challenges that have arisen as a result of the current environment." (Aon)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Sr Benefits Analyst for Amerada Hess Corporation
Manager, Benefits Administrator for American Chamber of Commerce Executives
Retirement Services Project Coordinator for Segal Co.
Benefits Communication Specialist for Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Newly Posted Announcements of Promotions and New Personnel (Post Yours!)
Karen R. Miller (Catskill Benefit Consultants, LLC)

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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.