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Retirement Plans
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November 22, 2002 - 12,959 subscribers
Today's sponsor: NCEO

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

   Our Bookstore now carries books published by the NCEO!

   The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), a nonprofit
   membership and research organization that provides information on
   broad-based employee stock plans, now has over a dozen of its
   most popular publications available for purchase in the
   BenefitsLink bookstore. Topics range from employee stock
   ownership plans (ESOPs) to stock options to employee stock
   purchase plans (ESPPs).

Worksheet for Determining GUST Amendment Deadline, Updated for Rev. Proc. 2002-73
3 pages, by Robert M. Richter, J.D., LL.M. (SunGard Corbel)

A Guide to 403(b) Fees
Excerpt: "It's in your best interest to be sure you understand what you are paying, and why, and to see whether you can reduce your fees.... You will always pay a fee for the services provided by your 403(b), like you would for any service. But the amounts vary widely.... Following is a list of common fees in 403(b) investments. Not all investments charge all fees." (mPower Cafe)

Analysis: Automatic Health Plan Enrollment May Trigger Need for 401(k) Amendment
Excerpt: "Those employers who require employees to accept their health care coverage and pay a share of the cost may need to amend their 401(k) plans before the end of the year. Failure to amend could mean that employee deferral limits for prior years have been incorrectly calculated, and may result in plan disqualification.... Rev. Rul. 2002-27 contains a model amendment to implement the change." (Thompson Publishing Group)

Retirement Daze: What's a 401(k) Plan Sponsor To Do?
Excerpt: "Plan sponsors, aware of the rising number of pension-related lawsuits filed by employees, are focusing on modest reforms: less risky investment options, educational seminars that explain risk, easier rules on shedding company stock. These changes aim to limit the impact of market volatility, encourage appropriate diversification and compensate for participants' limited investment savvy. But is that enough?" (Institutional Investor)

ERIC Provides Comment on DOL Interim Final Regs on Blackout Period Notices
Press release, with link to full text of comments. Excerpt: "ERIC called on the Department to recognize that it is virtually impossible for companies -- particularly major employers -- to state in their blackout notices to employees a precise start and end date for the blackout period -- the time when all company employees are prohibited from buying or selling company securities." (ERISA Industry Committee)

The First Summer After Enron, or, Honey, Who Shrank Our Retirement Account Balance? (PDF)
Excerpt: "This column takes a look at a number of issues that are of particular importance to fiduciaries who administer 401(k) plans and to the employers that maintain those plans, including timely 401(k) deferrals and Enron-inspired legislation on blackout periods." (David R. Levin of Wiley, Rein & Fielding)

American Bar Association's Tax Section Asks Legislators to Drop Cash Balance Provision from Bill (PDF)
Excerpt: "I am writing on behalf of the Section of Taxation of the American Bar Association to urge that a provision in the House-passed Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill (H.R. 5120), dealing with so-called 'cash balance plans,' not be included in the final appropriations bill." (American Bar Association, Section of Taxation)

IRA Inheritance Rules are Complex for Spouses; Wrong Choice Costly
Excerpt: "The IRS has recently tried to simplify the IRA withdrawal rules. In many respects it has succeeded. But, for spouses who inherit an IRA, the rules remain tricky. A seemingly simple choice today can have costly repercussions in the future.... A surviving spouse has three basic options: ... Leave the IRA in the deceased spouse's name and take distributions as needed. The account becomes known as a decedent IRA." (mPower Cafe)

Company Stock Choices When Leaving Your Job: Tax Break vs. Diversification
Excerpt: "[M]any Americans may leave their jobs with substantial holdings of company stock. When they do, they will need to decide whether to exchange the shares for cash and roll the money into an IRA, roll the stock shares into an IRA, or to take the stock shares out of the tax-deferred account.... If you take the shares, you may be able to take advantage of a tax break the IRS makes available only to holders of company stock." (mPower Cafe)

SEC Proposes Rules On Ban On Insider Trading During a Pension Plan Blackout Period
The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued proposed regulations to implement Sec. 306(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which prohibits the directors and executive officers of an equity issuer from purchasing, selling, or otherwise acquiring or transferring any equity security of the issuer during a pension plan blackout period. Sec. 306(a) becomes effective on Jan. 26, 2003, which is 180 days after the date of enactment of the 2002 law. (SpencerNet)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Accounting for Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits 2002
Excerpt: "Watson Wyatt Worldwide analyzes disclosures under Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Statements 87 and 106 (FAS 87 and FAS 106), as amended by FASB Statement 132 (FAS 132).... The report summarizes the assumptions used by companies in the calculation of pension expense and obligations, the disclosure of pension assets and obligations under FAS 87, and disclosures regarding postretirement benefits other than pensions, primarily health and life insurance benefits." (Watson Wyatt)

Legal and Institutional Impediments to Partial Retirement and Part-Time Work by Older Workers
Link to executive summary, which contains link to full 111-page report. Excerpt: "[T]here are a large number of legal and institutional barriers to more flexible employment arrangements for older workers.... While it was often not appropriate to erect these barriers then, now the imminent, drastic change in demographic conditions creates a much more urgent need for reform.... One of the most important barriers to longer work comes from privately negotiated defined benefit pension plans." (Rudolph G. Penner, Pamela Perun, C. Eugene Steuerle, published by the Urban Institute)

Links to Full Text of IASB Documents on Accounting for Stock Options
Excerpt: "Here are links to the recently released IASB proposals on Share Based Payments. Entire report ... Basis for conclusions ... [and] Draft implementation guidance ..." (National Association of Stock Plan Professionals)

Announcement of Option Expensing Has No Impact on Share Price, Towers Perrin Study Finds
Press release. Excerpt: "The study provides substantial support for the view that accounting portrayal of incentives does not influence stock prices." (Towers Perrin)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Group Benefits Analyst
for Small But Growing Insurance Agency Specializing In Group Benefits
in NY

Senior Pension Administrator/Consultant
for Accrued Benefit Administrators, Inc. ["ABA"]
in CA

Sales Account Executive
for Neighborhood Health Plan
in MA

Account Executive
for Principal Financial Group
in TX

Retirement Administrator
for Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.
in NV

Pension Administrator
for Providence Health System
in WA

Senior Plan Administrator
for Matthews Benefit Group, Inc
in FL

Product Marketing Manager #12172BR
for American Express
in MN

Issues Resolution Associate
for ICMA Retirement Corporation
in DC

Newly Posted Webcasts
(Post Yours!)

Pension Funding: Weathering the Current Crisis
on December 18, 2002
presented by Watson Wyatt and Financial Executives International

Prescription Drugs: Effective State Approaches to Extending Coverage and Controlling Costs
on November 18, 2002
presented by Kaisernetwork.org

Pitfalls, Perils and New Approaches to Making Health Insurance More Affordable
on November 18, 2002
presented by Kaisernetwork.org

Newly Posted Conferences
(Post Yours!)

Davis Bacon Plans e-Seminar
December 12, 2002
McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Online Class - CEBS Course 9, Health Economics
January 27, 2003

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