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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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April 8, 2002 - 11,902 subscribers
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U.S., Massachusetts Still Out of Synch Over Retirement Savings Rules
Excerpt: "The federal government made it easier to save more for retirement last year, but Massachusetts and 16 other states haven't yet followed suit.... The problem arises not only because state tax rules don't conform to the new federal regulations, but because the punishments for running afoul of the state laws are unclear." (Boston Globe)

Law Firm Creates Global Crossing 401(k) ERISA Litigation Website
Includes copy of the complaint. Excerpt: "This class action was filed on behalf of all persons who were participants in or beneficiaries of the Global Crossing Ltd. Employees' Retirement Savings Plan.... The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period the defendants breached their fiduciary duties when executives officers of Global Crossing were made aware of numerous practices that made Global Crossing stock an inappropriate Plan investment during the Class Period." (Keller Rohrback LLP)

Commentary: Exposing 401(k)s ... Revisited
Excerpt: "What's happening when ... employers, the media, advisors and Congress link '401k' and 'retirement'-- sometimes even calling the plans '401k pensions?' Then expectations may change dramatically. In fact, however, 401(k) plans aren't necessarily intended to be retirement plans, even by employers that don't maintain traditional defined benefit pension plans. What's the result when employers do not clearly communicate the purpose of the plan and define the expectations for employees?" (Carl E. Johnson, Jr. of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson)

Another Question is Answered in the 401(k) Plans Q&A Column
The tax year for an employer's 401(k) plan ends each August 31. On September 1, 2001, the employer paid a bonus to an employee, which the employee deferred into the 401(k) plan. The employee quit two days later, apparently creating an excess annual addition under Code Section 415. Can this be corrected? If so, how should the plan handle investment losses that occurred after the contribution was made? (BenefitsLink.com)

Commentary: the 401(k) Could Prove a History-Making Fiasco
Excerpt: "It's starting to look like 401(k) plans will go down in history as a costly failure. In fact, the abandonment of old-fashioned pension plans is likely to leave many Americans poorer in their old age.... Now it's clear that many employees either can't afford to make adequate contributions or don't understand that they must." (TheStreet.com)

Commentary: Texas TRS Approves Criticized Regulations
Excerpt: "On March 28, 2002, the Texas Teacher Retirement System Board of Trustees approved staff recommended regulations implementing SB 273, a 403(b) cleanup bill passed by the Texas legislature in 2001. The revised regulations contain expense caps on 403(b) products that continue to allow most high cost, high fee products to be sold in Texas." (403bWise.com)

Opinion: Moving NYPD, FDNY Pension Formula to Single Highest Year's Earnings Would Be Mistake
Excerpt: "State Sen. Vincent Leibell (R-Brewster) has introduced a bill in Albany that would base pensions solely on the police officer's or firefighter's highest annual salary. Theoretically, that would remove the incentive for early retirement, since it locks in a high figure no matter when it's earned." (New York Post)

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

Opinion: PEOs and Payrolling-- a History of Problems and a Future without Benefits (PDF)
This 37-page white paper was published in December, 2001. Excerpt: "The Center for a Changing Workforce is a Seattle-based non-partisan, non-profit organization conducting research, education and policy development on issues affecting nonstandard workers." (Center for a Changing Workforce)

Commentary: Stock Options Accounting Loophole Inflates Earnings
Excerpt: "Earnings would have been 10% lower last fiscal year at the 50 largest companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 that have filed year-end results had they counted options as an expense, according to a USA TODAY analysis." (USA Today via Yahoo! News)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Marketing Manager for CitiStreet
in FL
Customer Service for BISYS
in PA
401(k) Manager for Genesis Consolidated Services, Inc.
in MA
Manager, Compliance Calcs/401(k)'s, etc. for Associated Pension Consultants - Third Party Administrator
in CA
401(k) Administrator for National Retirement Services, Inc. (NRS)
in CA
Pension Consultant, Employee Benefit Services for Tofias PC
in MA
Health & Welfare Senior Benefits Consultant for Towers Perrin
Health & Welfare Benefits Consultant for Towers Perrin
in CA, DC, IL, NJ, TX, WA
Health & Welfare Associate for Towers Perrin
in CT, IL, MO

Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)
Update on Potential Pension Legislation in Response to Enron on May 9, 2002
presented by ASPA

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Compliance With Cobrain NJ on April 16, 2002
presented by WEB NJ Chapter
Prototype Plans Seminarin IL on April 24, 2002
presented by McKay Hochman
Prototype Plans Seminarin PA on May 14, 2002
presented by McKay Hochman

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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.