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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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March 27, 2002 - 11,962 subscribers
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Nontechnical Overview of Current 401(k) Reform Proposals
Excerpt: "Company stock is the issue attracting the most attention. The two main concerns are the amount of stock employees hold and the length of time they are required to hold it." (mPower Cafe)

American Benefits Council Publishes Full Text of Kennedy Committee-Approved Pension Reform Bill
Excerpt: "This new version of the bill reflects the last-minute changes by the Kennedy office in preparation for committee consideration as well as the amendments adopted during the committee's mark-up procedure." (American Benefits Council)

Overview: Ways and Means Pension Bill Would Add New Notice Requirements
3/27/2002 news item. Excerpt: "The Employee Retirement Savings Bill of Rights (H.R. 3669), approved by the House Ways and Means Committee on March 14, 2002, would require employers to furnish participants with investment education notices and advance notices of any blackout periods during which participants are unable to liquidate or divest assets in their plan accounts." (CCH News & Information Library)

Commentary: Ways and Means Pension Reform Bill Would Require Governmental Plans to Provide Notices
Excerpt: "The Committee approved, on March 14, 2002, a bill that will require governmental 457 and 403(b) plans, as well as certain private plans, to follow new disclosure requirements ... 1) a quarterly statement describing generally accepted investment principles, including risk management and diversification; and 2) notification of at least 30 days whenever a 'blackout' takes place in order to allow employees an opportunity to change investment options before any restrictions are imposed." (National Council on Teacher Retirement)

Government's Thrift Savings Plan Enjoying Wide Popularity Among Federal Employees
Excerpt: " Nearly 90 percent of government employees who qualify for matching contributions to their Thrift Savings Plan are investing in the federal 401(k) program, a significantly higher percentage than in the private sector, where 401(k) enrollment hovers around 60 percent." (Washington Times)

Nontechnical Explanation: What Happens If You Contribute Too Much to Your 403(b) in 2001?
Excerpt: "If you contributed too much to your 403(b) in 2001, you may receive a refund by April 15. If this happens, you'll likely need to declare part or all of the money on your 2001 tax return. (The rules, a bit complicated, are explained lower down.)" (mPower Cafe)

Opinion: the Great Texas (and California) 403(b) Distribution Channel Fight
Excerpt: "[T]he universe of vendors has not been narrowed, expenses will remain high, and low cost distribution channels will continue to be shut out." (Scott Burns of The Dallas Morning News)

Another Question is Answered in the Who's the Employer Q&A Column
How is an LLC treated for purposes of the affiliated service group rules? If it makes a difference, my client's LLC is taxed as a corporation. (BenefitsLink.com)

Overview: Guidance Issued on Applying Pension Plan Provisions of U.S.-Canada Income Tax Convention
Excerpt: "The procedure applies to individuals who are citizens or residents of the U.S. and beneficiaries of one of the following Canadian plans: a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP); a registered retirement income fund (RRIF); a registered pension plan; or a deferred profit-sharing plan." (CCH)

Institutional Pension Plan Trustees Mull Wider Role on Boards of Companies in Which They Invest
Excerpt: "The Council on Institutional Investors, emboldened by post-Enron openness to greater corporate accountability, has asked its policy committee to study a proposal aimed at allowing shareholders to put forward one member of a management slate of board of director nominees.... Whether the members of the CII, who represent many of the nation's largest pension funds and manage more than $2 trillion in retirement assets, adopt such a resolution remains to be seen." (Washington Post)

Report on Social Security Adds 3 Years to Fund's Life
Excerpt: "With no change in current law, the government now estimates that the Social Security trust fund will run out of money in 2041, three years later than estimated in last year's report." (New York Times; free registration required)




Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Chief Pension Actuary for QBC, Inc.
in MO



Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
401(k) Plansin CA on June 4, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
401(k) Plansin OH on May 21, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
Cafeteria Plansin OH on May 22, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
Cafeteria Plansin CA on June 5, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plansin OH on May 24, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plansin CA on June 7, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plansin CA on June 6, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plansin OH on May 23, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
HIPAA & Other Federal Mandates for Group Health Plansin OH on May 23, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
HIPAA & Other Federal Mandates for Group Health Plansin CA on June 6, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

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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.