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October 14, 2002 - 12,057 subscribers
Today's sponsor: Actuarial Systems Corporation

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


   For over 20 years ASC has provided complete automation for the
   pension office, including DC/401(k) and DB administration and
   valuation systems, as well as sophisticated Compliance Testing
   and DV Direct, a revolutionary solution for daily valuation
   functions.  All ASC Technical Support Members had experience as
   practicing Pension Administrators or Actuaries before joining
   ASC-- and most have been with ASC for over 10 years.

(Help BenefitsLink to provide this newsletter at no charge to you -- our sponsors pay your way. Remember to visit them periodically; we try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Overview: Sarbanes-Oxley Act Affects Retirement Plans (PDF)
Excerpt: "The provisions discussed in this publication apply primarily to qualified defined contribution plans sponsored by private employers. The information regarding the increase in criminal penalties under ERISA also applies to qualified defined benefit plans sponsored by private employers. These rules also apply to funded nonqualified plans." (CIGNA's Pension Analyst)

Enrolled Actuaries Report, Fall 2002 Issue, Now Online; Cash Balance Plan Scenarios Discussed (PDF)
Excerpt: "Last fall, we published a letter from a group of pension actuaries seeking guidance from the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD) on consulting issues related to cash balance conversions.... [T]he authors this summer revised their letter to provide additional facts. The revised letter, and the ABCD's response, are printed on Pages 4-8 ..." (American Academy of Actuaries)

Opinion: Corporate Scandal Outrage, Part III
Excerpt: "Here are issues I think regulators and the more thoughtful and influential general-interest media will get up in arms about next.... The pension fund as profit center. Do most people know that thousands of American companies can raise or lower their reported profits just by turning a dial on their pension funds? I suspect not." (Geoffrey Colvin on Fortune.com)

Analysis: IRS Issues Final Minimum Required Distribution Regulations (PDF)
7 pages. Excerpt: "The final rules adopt the proposed rules issued in early 2001, with some additional changes that further simplify and clarify the rules. In general, these rules should make it easier for plan administrators and participants to comply with the MRD requirements. The changes include the following ..." (CIGNA's Pension Analyst)

Simplified Employee Pension Plans: Comparing the IRS Model Form and an IRS-Approved Prototype
Excerpt: "[W]e will look at the differences between the IRS model SEP plan operation and a prototype SEP plan operation and how their amendment processes differ." (Bankers Systems, Inc.)

CalPERS Wears a Party, or Union, Label
Excerpt: "The California Public Employees' Retirement System ... some critics say [has] a board so activist, so eager to promote social change through investing, that its effectiveness as a corporate watchdog and its ability to provide for the 1.3 million public employees whose pensions it guarantees are in question." (New York Times; free registration required)

Opinion: Screw You! You With the 401(k). Yeah, I'm Talking to You.
Excerpt: "We just lost the whole ballgame on corporate reform -- without the news even making it to the front page. The sick, sad tidings were tucked away discreetly on the business pages: 'SEC Chief Hedges on Accounting Regulator.' Now there's a sexy headline.... The Sarbanes bill set up a new five-member board to oversee the accounting industry. Biggs was the much-touted choice to head this board ... when, oops, the accounting industry weighed in." (Molly Ivins on WorkingForChange.com)

Opinion: Social Security Hypocrisy
Excerpt: "The Democrats are getting desperate as Election Day looms, which means it's time for them to play the Social Security fear card." (The Washington Times)

Opinion: Neither Party Has Social Security Solution
Excerpt: "In the final weeks of this year's election campaign for control of Congress, voters around the country are hearing plenty about Social Security. The one thing they aren't hearing is what the two major political parties would do to fix the system." (Knight Ridder News Service via the Pioneer Press)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Clark Bardes Publishes 2002 Executive Benefits Survey of Current Trends
Excerpt: "Our extensive annual survey of executive benefits reflects data compiled from over 225 Fortune 1000 companies." (Clark Bardes Consulting; free registration required)

Controversial Repricings of Stock Options On the Rise
Excerpt: "Stock-option repricings are surging as companies replace worthless holdings with lower-priced options, providing employees a better chance to cash in if share prices rebound." (USA Today via Yahoo! News)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad

Qualified Plan Administrator
for Lane Gorman Trubitt, L.L.P.
in TX

Benefits and Compensation Accountant - Sr. Consultant - New York City
for PricewaterhouseCoopers
in NY

401(k) / Pension Administrator
for Ingham Group
in FL

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

Great-West v. Knudson Teleconference
October 21, 2002
ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

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