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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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August 14, 2002 - 11,391 subscribers
Today's sponsor: Actuarial Systems Corporation

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)


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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)

Fund Fees: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You
Excerpt: "Sooner or later, it had to happen. A participant in your 401(k) plan brings suit against your plan, company executives, and you, alleging that your actions have placed her retirement at risk.... [Y]ou have just been sued for limiting investment choices to funds that, thanks to unreasonably high expense ratios, have constricted the growth of investment dramatically compared with comparable fund offerings." (PLANSPONSOR.com)

Asset Valuation Methods under ERISA (PDF)
54 pages. Excerpt: "When calculating the required contributions for a plan subject to ERISA's minimum funding requirements, it is permissible to set the value of the plan's assets to a figure other than the fair market value of those assets. This paper describes a variety of methods (called asset valuation methods) that are used to determine these values. The paper also discusses the statutory and regulatory requirements for asset valuation methods under ERISA." (Paulette Tino, ASA and Edward Sypher, FSA, published by the Society of Actuaries)

Oregon Decides to Update Life Expectancy Tables for Public Employees Retirement System
Excerpt: "The board's decision means pension checks for thousands of future retirees will not be as large as they would have been if PERS continued to use outdated life-expectancy tables. But the board's decision also seeks to guarantee that the projected size of future retirees' pension checks won't shrink. The change does not affect current retirees or employees who retire before the new tables are put into use." (The Oregonian)

California Public Employees' Retirement System Sees Long-Term Gains in Market
Excerpt: "In the last two years, California's major public pension system has lost $34 billion in assets during an unmerciful stock market crash. Later this month, the 13 members of the California Public Employees' Retirement System board will meet in a biennial exercise to decide how to divide up investment dollars among stocks, bonds and real estate. They aren't likely to change much at all." (The Sacramento Bee via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Take Real Reform Action Against 401(k) Collapses, Says Pension Rights Center
Press release. Excerpt: "The Pension Rights Center is calling on President Bush to support ironclad 401(k) protections against Enron- and WorldCom-style fiascos ... Although the President is right that 'we've got to do more to protect worker pensions' he is backing the wrong horse, according to Karen Friedman ... 'If President Bush truly cares about protecting workers then he should support the Kennedy bill....'" (U.S. Newswire via Yahoo! News)

U.S. Steel Says It Could Take Charge of Up to $700 Million on Pension Fund
Excerpt: "The pension plan for United States Steel Corp.'s union employees is unfunded by $400 million. U.S. Steel said it may record a charge against equity of up to $700 million at the end of the year to reflect the pension plan's change from overfunded to the current underfunded status." (Dow Jones via Yahoo! News)

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

SHRM Workplace Forecast: a Strategic Outlook, 2002-2003 (PDF)
44 pages. Discussions include Demographic Outlook; Economic Outlook; Social Outlook; Technology Outlook; Political Outlook; International Outlook; Employment Outlook; and 'Top 10 workplace trends as seen by human resource professionals." (Society for Human Resource Management)

How Expensing of Stock Options Might Affect Your Salary
Excerpt: "As companies begin expensing options, they are almost certain to get stingier about handing them out because it will hurt their bottom line. That will have major implications for how a wide array of employees negotiate their compensation packages. What will replace stock options isn't yet clear." (StarTribune.com)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Client Advisors for CIGNA Retirement and Investment Services
Operations Supervisor for ICMA Retirement Corporation
in DC
Retirement Plan Consultant for Invesmart
in TX
Benefits & Compensation Tax Manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers
in DC

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Guns & Hoses 2002in FL on September 22, 2002
presented by The Institute for International Research
Designing and Administering Flex Plans -- How New DOL and IRS Requirements Affect Your Planin ALL STATES on September 12, 2002
presented by Thompson Publishing Group, Inc.

Newly Posted Press Releases
Standard Insurance Company Adds Documents and Plan Profile to its PlanNet(R) Retirement Plan Sponsor Web Site (Standard Insurance Company)

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