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October 22, 2002 - 12,057 subscribers
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(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: Blackout Period Notice Required by Sarbanes-Oxley Act-- Interim Regulations Issued By DOL
Excerpt: "The blackout notice must include the expected beginning date and ending date of the blackout period.... If 30 days advance notice is not furnished, an explanation as to why the plan was unable to furnish at least 30 days advance notice must be included in the notice (this requirement is added by the DOL and was not in the statute)." (TRI Pension Services)

New 2003 Limits Added to Chart of Inflation-Adjusted Limits
The chart, showing 401(k), 415, 401(a)(17), 403(b), 457, Simplified Employee Pension ('SEP'), employee stock ownership plan ('ESOP'), highly compensated employee ('HCE'), Social Security, and Medicare limits for 2000-2003, also includes a link to a chart showing the limits for 1996-1999. (Calhoun Law Group, P.C.)

CRS Report Analyzes Retirement Trends, Including Phased Retirement (PDF)
25 pages. Excerpt: "The Congressional Research Service has issued its annual update of the CRS Report titled 'Older Workers: Employment and Retirement Trends.' This report describes the changes in the age-profile of the labor force that will occur as the baby boom generation reaches retirement age. It summarizes the historical trends in the labor force participation rates of older Americans and analyzes recent data on receipt of private pension benefits and Social Security." (U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service)

New Edition of Book on Stock Plans for Multinationals
The NCEO presents excerpts from the new (5th) edition of its book 'Equity-Based Compensation for Multinational Corporations.' The book concentrates on stock options and related plans, which are the most popular form of equity compensation for multinationals, and it includes a country-by-country overview of tax and legal issues for plans in 45 countries around the world. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Federal Thrift Savings Plan Considers Dividing Database to Conquer Daily Val Project
Excerpt: "TSP, a 401(k)-type plan that allows federal employees to save for retirement by investing in funds that track popular stock and bond indexes, has been working toward daily valuation of accounts since 1997. But the launch of a new record-keeping system, promised two years ago, has been delayed by software defects and other problems." (Washington Post)

Analysis: Proposed Regs Would Change Requirements for QJSA Explanation
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: The current regulations allow the participant to request a specific calculation but permit the plan to limit the participant to one such request. There appears to be no limitation on the number of requests that a participant may make under the proposed regulation." (EBIA Weekly)

Minimum Distribution Rules to Cause Predictable Crisis?
Excerpt: "Batten the hatches of your retirement ark! The perfect financial storm is coming. This is according to Robert Kyosaki and Sharon Lechter ... The biggest contributing factor to that catastrophe, they opine, is a flaw in ERISA [sic] ... the requirement that retirees begin making systematic withdrawals from their IRAs, 401(k)s and other direct contribution retirement accounts when they turn age 70 1/2." (The Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Senate Passes Several Benefits Bills for Federal Employees
Excerpt: "The Senate last Thursday approved three minor benefits bills that would affect injured federal workers, Smithsonian Institution employees and Overseas Private Investment Corporation employees. One bill, sponsored by Sen. George Allen, R-Va., would boost retirement benefits for federal workers who are injured on the job." (GovExec.com)

IRS Clarifies Issues Appropriate for Toll-Free Employee Plans Customer Account Services Number
Excerpt: "You may direct your technical and procedural questions concerning retirement plans to TE/GE Customer Account Services at (877) 829-5500 (toll-free number). The call center is open 8:00am to 6:30pm Eastern Time. Or you may write to us at: ... Or you may e-mail us at: RetirementPlanQuestions@irs.gov ... include your phone number in your message. The following issues are handled by EP Customer Account Services: ..." (Internal Revenue Service)

Labor Department Moves to Protect 401(k) Plans, But How Important Is It?
Excerpt: "At least one proponent of stronger consumer protections criticized the White House and Congress, saying much more needs to be done. The White House 'is trying to make this into a big deal. This is not a big deal. In fact, this is a red herring,' said Karen Friedman, policy director for the Pension Rights Center. 'The so-called blackout period is a very small part of the problems that were created in the fallout of Enron and WorldCom.'" (AP via Lycos News)

Golf's Generous Pension Plan
Excerpt: "How much will Tiger Woods' 2001 $9.1 million earnings translate to under his retirement plan when he's 60 years old?" (AskMen.com)

Help for Pension Plan Participants with Legal Questions or Problems
Excerpt: "If you are experiencing a problem with your pension, help is available. Regardless of the type of pension, a Pension Information and Counseling Project can help. If you or your pension are located within a Project's service area, call the number listed or click the underlined text to visit the Project's web site.... These non-profit programs are partly funded by the federal Administration on Aging, but have no formal federal government affiliation." (Pension Rights Center)

Issue Brief (Update): Raising the Retirement Age for Social Security (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "The law was changed in 1983 to increase the NRA gradually beginning in 2000, from age 65 to age 67 ... Raising the NRA further could significantly improve Social Security's financial status. Some reform proposals include an accelerated increase of the NRA to 67 and/or an increase in the NRA beyond age 67.... [S]uch a change could go a long way toward restoring the Social Security program to long-range actuarial balance (i.e., solvency for 75 years) and sustainability." (American Academy of Actuaries)



Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Canada to Force Companies to Expense Stock Options
Excerpt: "Canada's accounting regulator is planning to force companies to start treating employee stock options as a business expense, a rare instance of it setting tougher standards than its U.S. counterpart. The directors of the Accounting Standards Board (AcSB), Canada's standard-setter of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), approved the new rule at a meeting last week with it expected to take effect as early as next summer." (Reuters via Yahoo! News)




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

Pension Administrator
for Mid-Town New York City Pension Administration Company
in NY

Director, Medical Stop Loss Claims and Administration
for StarLine Group
in MA

Software Quality Assurance Specialist
for SunGard Corbel
in FL

Benefits Analyst
for Southeastern Employee Benefit Services, Inc., Winston - Salem, NC
in NC


Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)

Employee Benefit Plan Changes You Need to Make Before Year End
on October 29, 2002
presented by Winston & Strawn


Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

Employee Benefits Law and Practice Update
in
November 7, 2002
ALI-ABA

Employee Benefits Litigation
in CA
January 16, 2003
ALI-ABA

ERISA Insights
in MD
November 25, 2002
McKay Hochman

Public Fund Boards Forum - The Premiere Education and Networking Forum
in CA
November 9, 2002
Institute for International Research

Coordination of Leave Strategies Audio Conference
in
November 18, 2002
Thompson Publishing Group


Newly Posted Press Releases (Post Yours!)

Latest HIPAA Compliance Regulations Included in Revised Manual
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Subscribe to the BenefitsLink Welfare Plans Newsletter, too (click)


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