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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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July 12, 2002 - 11,391 subscribers
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Finance Committee Unanimously Approves Pension Reform Bill
Excerpt: "[T]he U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Thursday approved legislation to protect workers' pension plans, as well as tighten rules on executive compensation and company loans to top officials." (Reuters via Lycos News)

Finance Committee Describes Pension Reform Bill (PDF)
Excerpt: "The bill establishes a checklist that, once successfully completed by the employer, relieves him/her of liability for any losses that result from the investment advice given.... The modification includes several provisions included in the Senate version of the pension section of EGTRRA, but not included in the final legislation due to concerns about the application of the Byrd Rule to those provisions." (U.S. Senate, Committee on Finance)

Thrift Savings Plan Provides Online Calculator to Help Federal Employees Receive Full Matches
Excerpt: "Highly paid FERS employees who elected the 12% TSP statutory limit for 2002 ... will reach the elective deferral limit before the end of the year. Consequently, their contributions and their attributable agency matching contributions must also stop ... The dollar amount determined by using this calculator distributes employee contributions over the entire year ... and thus allows these employees to receive the maximum attributable agency matching contributions for the year." (Thrift Savings Plan)

San Diego Seeks to Lower Municipal Plan's Funding Requirement
Excerpt: "Without the change, officials fear the city could have to pay up to $25 million more than it has budgeted into the pension fund in the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2003. That is because the existing funding formula is partially tied to stock market performance, which has been abysmal recently ..." (The [San Diego] Union Tribune)

Summary of Women's Pension Protection Act of 2002; Text of Kennedy/Snowe 'Dear Colleague' Letter (PDF)
Excerpt: "Gives spouses the option of a 75% survivor benefit in addition to the current 50% survivor payment.... Gives spouses the right to consent to lump sum payments of [401(k)] plan benefits.... Gives divorced spouses the ability to receive a share of their former spouses' pension benefits after a divorce ... even if the orders are issued long after the divorce. Gives widows and widowers of former federal employees the right to receive survivor benefits." (U.S. Senators Edward M. Kennedy, Olympia J. Snowe)

Statement of Sen. Kennedy on Introduction of Women's Pension Protection Act of 2002 (PDF)
Excerpt: "The Retirement Equity Act of 1984 requires defined benefit pension plans to pay survivor benefits unless a spouse waives this protection. But this protection does not extend to 401(k) and other defined contribution plans. The Women's Pension Protection Act offers simple, common sense improvements in our private pension system to ensure that retirement savings programs better respond to the realities of women's working lives." (U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy)

Benefits Council Says Kennedy-Snowe Bill Deters Plan Sponsorship, Puts Plans Into Domestic Affairs (PDF)
Excerpt: "S. 2707 would fundamentally change the way defined contribution plans (such as 401(k) plans) operate. It would impose on these plans the complicated spousal consent regime ... S. 2707 would upset the carefully developed QDRO regime by requiring employers to obey court orders that are (1) issued subsequent to divorce proceedings, (2) may not originate from the same court that considered the divorce and the original QDRO, and (3) do not follow the QDRO format." (American Benefits Council)

Another Question is Answered in the Who's the Employer Q&A Column
My client is a partnership of four professional corporations. Each P.C. has one employee (the doctor who owns it). There are no employees of the partnership. The partnership has a 401(k) profit sharing plan on a basic prototype document, and each P.C. cosponsors the plan. Each P.C. determines its own discretionary contribution. Do the ASG rules force each P.C. to contribute equal amounts in a given year, or is it okay as-is, with different allocations to different doctors? (BenefitsLink.com)

Employer Stock in Retirement Plans: Investment Risk and Retirement Security (PDF)
July 2002. Excerpt: "This report describes the development of defined contribution plans as the dominant form of employer-sponsored retirement plan in the [U.S.]. It provides statistics on the extent to which defined contribution plans hold employer securities, discusses the provisions of [ERISA] that apply to employer securities in retirement plans, and concludes with a summary of bills introduced in the 107th Congress that would amend these provisions of ERISA." (Congressional Research Service of the U.S. Library of Congress)

Judge Refuses to Drop Criminal Complaint Against Former Milwaukee HR Director
Excerpt: " A judge refused Wednesday to dismiss charges against the lead architect of a pension plan that would have given some Milwaukee County officials lucrative payouts. Gary Dobbert, 54, was charged May 14 with three counts of misconduct in public office stemming from the pension controversy that erupted early this year and shook Milwaukee County government." (The [Janesville WI] Gazette)

Tips for Finding Deceased Participants in Pay Status on the Pension Plan Rolls
Excerpt: "One reader explains, 'The best tool we have is an annual affidavit process. We require everyone receiving an annuity to submit a notarized statement basically stating they are still alive and entitled to receive the annuity ...'" (PLANSPONSOR.com)

Insights on America's Attitudes Toward Retirement
Excerpt: "Perhaps no one knows more about American attitudes toward retirement than [Mathew Greenwald]. Vanguard(R) spoke with him recently to get his views and insights on a topic that's meaningful to us all." (The Vanguard Group)



Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General
(These items appear in both editions of the BenefitsLink Newsletter)

Stock Options Vote Blocked in Senate Reform Debate
Excerpt: "U.S. Senate Democrats blocked an attempt to have a vote on the controversial issue of stock options on Thursday as the chamber haggled over what should be added to a massive corporate-reform bill." (Reuters via Yahoo! News)

Older Workers Stay in the Work Force
Excerpt: "Senior citizens aged 65 and older will account for 2.9 percent of the work force in 2010, according to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's up from 2.4 percent in 2000, 2.3 percent in 1990 and 2.4 percent in 1980." (The Augusta Chronicle via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Overview: Proposed Regs Issued on Split-Dollar Life Insurance (PDF)
Excerpt: "When [the final regulations are] published, the Revenue Rulings that have effectively governed tax treatment of split dollar life insurance arrangements for almost 40 years will become obsolete." (Vinings Management Corporation)




Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Employee Benefits Attorney for Thompson Hine LLP
in OH
Benefits Administrator for Nixon Uniform Services, Inc.
in DE
Pension Consultant for Baden Retirement Plan Services, LLC
in IN
Pension Administrator for Price Reinhardt Price, Inc.
in CA
Deputy Human Resources Director for Riverside County Human Resources Department
in CA
Benefits Plan Administrator for Constellation Energy Group
in MD
Pension Administration Team Leader for Sentinel Benefits Group
in MA
Benefits Specialist for The Benefits Group, Inc.
in CA



Newly Posted Press Releases (Post Yours!)
Riverside County Office of Education goes "live" with web-native technology from Novantus Corporation (NOVANTUS CORPORATION)

Subscribe to the Welfare Plans Edition, too (click)


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Editor and Publisher: David Rhett Baker, J.D.