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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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February 22, 2002 - 12,350 subscribers
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IRS Corrects Rollover Notice Issued in Late December; Corrections Appeared in I.R. Bulletin Version
Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service initially released a 'Safe Harbor Explanation' to the public in late December ... But after that initial release, several minor corrections were made by the IRS to the text of the Safe Harbor Explanation.... If your firm downloaded the initial release of Notice 2002-3 from the IRS web site or from a press site (such as BenefitsLink), you will want to make a note of the corrections, which are detailed [in the linked article]." (BenefitsLink)

White Paper: Retirement Security and Employee Ownership-- Policy Reform After Enron (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "Recently, eighteen experts in pension and retirement programs, law, finance, accounting and corporate management convened in a 'Thought Leader Session' to discuss and assess the ramifications of the Enron situation. This paper sets forth the observations, conclusions and recommendations that emerged ... It is the intention of FED that this work ... assure that the great benefits of employee ownership ... are not lost or forgotten in the clamor to respond." (Foundation for Enterprise Development)

BenefitsLink Adds New 457 Plans Message Board
We have a new message board on this site. The 457 Plans message board deals with issues relating to nonqualified deferred compensation plans (both 457(b) and 457(f)) of tax-exempt and governmental entities. These plans have recently become far more popular, as EGTRRA permits contributions to be made to them even on behalf of employees who are also having maximum contributions to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan. Please join us on the new board! (BenefitsLink)

DOL to Provide Live Webcast of National Summit on Retirement Savings February 28
Excerpt: "The Summit will be a forum for identifying and encouraging new ways to promote employee retirement savings and security.... There will be a live Webcast featuring the major Summit speakers including Secretary Chao and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan on February 28 beginning at 9:00 am EST.... A replay of the Webcast will also be available following the event." (U.S. Department of Labor)

401(k) Lawsuits Can Proceed Against Enron Despite Bankruptcy Filing
Excerpt: "Enron employees scored a victory Wednesday when a bankruptcy court judge in New York lifted a stay and allowed the 401(k) lawsuits to proceed despite the company's bankruptcy filing. Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Arthur Gonzalez ruled that the Enron 401(k) lawsuits can proceed starting June 21." (USA Today)

Mack Truck Inc.'s Failure to Rehire Workers Not Actionable Under ERISA, Third Circuit Rules
Excerpt: "An employer does not violate ERISA when it refuses to rehire workers in order to avoid increased pension liability, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.... The ruling upholds a December 2000 decision by U.S. District Judge Franklin S. Van Antwerpen which held that hiring decisions -- even when they involve former employees -- can never fall within ERISA's definition of prohibited conduct." (Law.com)

Employee Ownership Update for February 21, 2002
NCEO executive director Corey Rosen discusses the SEC's recently finalized disclosure rules for equity compensation plans. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Milwaukee County Executive Resigns; Implemented Controversial Pension Enhancement
Excerpt: "He and several County Board members were targeted for recall after it was learned that the enhanced pension plan they approved in 2000 would give Ament and other top politicians big lump-sum payments-- $1 million or more, in some cases-- in addition to monthly checks when they retire." (Associated Press via Lycos News)

Highlights of Selected Legislative Proposals to Change Current Retirement Plan Law
3 pages; chart format. (National Association of Manufacturers)

Talking Points on Retirement Benefits, from National Association of Manufacturers
Excerpt: "The NAM is extremely concerned that hasty legislative action in response to the collapse of Enron will have a negative impact on our voluntary retirement system, widespread stock ownership among employees and the 401(k) assets and retirement security of millions of employees. It is imperative that Congress and the Administration fully investigate the facts surrounding the Enron case before making any changes to current retirement policy or regulation." (National Association of Manufacturers)

Wellstone Holds Hearing on Protecting Pensions, 401(k)s
Excerpt: "Horror stories about vaporized pensions filled a packed State Capitol hearing room for two hours Thursday morning. Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., conducted a field hearing of a Senate subcommittee he chairs to revamp federal laws that are supposed to protect workers' retirement accounts." (StarTribune.com)

Gephardt Proposal for Universal Retirement Savings Accounts (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "The Universal Retirement Savings Account proposed by Democratic Leader Gephardt is designed to put people in charge of their own retirement savings and provide the basis for an economically secure retirement. It simplifies and consolidates a number of the confusing options that people face now and gives them more control over their retirement funds when they change jobs." (U.S. House Democratic Policy Committee, republished by American Benefits Council)

Worries About Pensions Show a Rise
Excerpt: "Sharply growing public interest in the collapse of the Enron Corporation has spurred widespread fear about retirement accounts but has not increased hostility to business generally or generated support for greater regulation, according to a national poll released today by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press." (New York Times; free registration required)

Congressman Says Video Shown Enron Exec Urging Employees to Invest All in Employer Stock
Excerpt: "Rep. Henry Waxman said Thursday a video from 1999 seems to conflict with recent Senate testimony by Enron executive Cindy Olson, who testified Feb. 5 that the company was legally prohibited from giving investment advice to employees." (AP via International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans)

UK Pension Funds Reluctant to Divest on Ethical Grounds
Excerpt: "Pension funds in Britain are increasingly taking companies' environmental, social and ethical policies into account in making investment decisions, but few are likely to follow the lead of US fund CalPERS in pulling out of markets or stocks on moral grounds." (Reuters.co.uk)

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

Controversy Tags Paperless Trend
Excerpt: "A growing number of brokers, insurers and employers predict that electronic capabilities eventually could eliminate the need for many time-consuming face-to-face enrollment meetings. Fewer agree that would be a good thing." (BenefitNews.com via CareerJournal.com)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Manager, Insurance Plans for United Airlines - SBVG020178
Experienced 401 (k) Administrative Consultants for Polycomp Administrative Services, Inc.
ASSOCIATE COUNSEL for Clark/Bardes Consulting
Enrollment Specialist for Diversified Investment Advisors
Pension Administrator for Fast Growing Firm

Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)
2002 National Summit on Retirement Savings on February 28, 2002
presented by U.S. Department of Labor

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Retirement Distributions: Estate & Tax Planning Strategiesin CT on May 21, 2002
presented by Professional Education Systems Institute, LLC

Subscribe to the Welfare Plans Edition, too (click)

Copyright 2002 BenefitsLink.com, Inc., but you may freely distribute this email newsletter in whole. This newsletter is edited by David Rhett Baker, J.D.