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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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May 17, 2002 - 11,342 subscribers
Today's sponsor: The Plan Sales System

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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)

University of California Extends Retirement Benefits to Domestic Partners
Excerpt: "The University of California regents voted Thursday to extend retirement benefits to same-sex and domestic partners.... University officials expect about 2 percent of members in its retirement plan with same-sex partners and about 6 percent with opposite-sex domestic partners would qualify for the new survivor benefits." (AP via Yahoo! News)

ERIC Disputes Cash Balance Distributions Report from DOL Inspector General
Press release. Excerpt: "A recently released government report creates a false impression about benefit payments from employer-sponsored pension plans and should immediately be withdrawn, The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) said today. ERIC, the national trade association representing the employee benefit plan interests of major employers, urged prompt corrective action in a letter to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill." (ERISA Industry Committee)

401(k) Plan Investments in Company Stock: the Enron ERISA Litigation (PDF)
17 pages. Excerpt: "[T]he discussion herein is ... the obligation of fiduciaries where investment in company stock is a choice or is mandated by the plan.... Prevailing case law suggests that plaintiffs bear a heavy burden in seeking to hold fiduciaries responsible for not overriding the terms of a plan requiring investment in company stock or permitting plan participants to invest in company stock." (Steven J. Sacher, Esq. of Kilpatrick Stockton LLP)

Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries' Advisory Committee on Examinations Seeks New Members
May 17, 2002 news item. Excerpt: "Membership in the Advisory Committee on Actuarial Examinations is normally limited to actuaries previously enrolled by the Joint Board, but individuals having academic or other special qualifications of particular value for the Advisory Committee's work will also be considered for membership. The Advisory Committee will meet about four times a year ..." (CCH News & Information Library)

Overview: Proposed Regulations Under ERISA Section 204(h)-- Notification of Accrual Rate Reductions
Excerpt: "The recently proposed regulations under Code Section 4980F and ERISA Section 204(h) indicate that a 'reasonable time' generally means at least 45 days before the effective date of the plan amendment. However, the proposed regulations would permit Section 204(h) notices to be provided 15 days in advance for amendments adopted in connection with business mergers and acquisitions, and amendments of small plans (fewer than 100 participants with accrued benefits)." (Winston & Strawn)

Analysis: Class Exemption Provides Relief For Passive Cross-Trading
Excerpt: "Under the new exemption, which went into effect April 15, an investment manager must obtain prior approval of the participating ERISA plan and disclose certain information about the trade to the plan sponsor. This includes the triggering event that led to it, and the partners involved in the trade. Triggering events must be outside the money manager's control." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Opinion: America's Poor Accounting Standards
Excerpt: "On Tuesday Standard & Poor's, the private bond rating agency, announced that it would do something unprecedented: It will try to impose accounting standards substantially stricter than those required by the federal government. Instead of taking corporate reports at face value, S.&P. will correct the numbers to eliminate what it considers the inappropriate treatment of 'one-time' expenses, pension fund earnings and, above all, stock options ..." (Paul Krugman in the New York Times)

Lessons from Abroad for U.S. Social Security Reform
Excerpt: "This is the first in a series of Insider articles that will explore the reform experiences of other nations. This first article examines what Sweden has done, and future articles will discuss reforms in other nations ... Though they vary, the reforms share a common theme: some form of individual private accounts within the public pay-as-you-go system, a theme common to U.S. reform proposals as well." (Watson Wyatt)

Welcome to new BenefitsLink advertiser QDRO Solutions, Inc.
Excerpt: "Request your free copy of our latest publication, 'QDROs -- From Headache to Positive Employee Benefit' published by BNA."

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

Human Capital As a Lead Indicator of Shareholder Value
Excerpt: "Superior human capital practices are not only correlated with financial returns they are, in fact, a leading indicator of increased shareholder value. Further, we found that superior HR management leads financial performance to a much greater extent than financial outcomes lead good HR." (Watson Wyatt)

HIPAA, COBRA, Cash Balance Plans Included In Six-Month Agenda For DOL and PBGC
The Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation have issued their semiannual regulatory agendas. The agendas, both of which appeared in the May 13 Federal Register, set forth when proposed rules are scheduled to be issued and when final action is expected on proposed regulations. (Spencernet)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Employee Benefits Attorneys Needed for Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
in MI
Employee Benefits Attorney for Thompson Hine LLP
in OH
Flex Plan Services Manager for Pension Specialists, Inc.
in CA
Pension Marketing & Consulting for Simpkins & Associates
in TX

Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)
Assessing Retiree Health Legacy Costs: Is America Prepared for a Healthy Retirement? on May 16, 2002
presented by KaiserNetwork.org

Newly Posted Press Releases
Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc. Introduces "RMD Compliance Plus (TM)" for Mandatory Calculation and Reporting of Required Minimum Distribution Amounts for IRA Account Holders (Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc.)

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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.