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BenefitsLink
Retirement Plans
Newsletter
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December 6, 2002 - 12,959 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)
DOL Publishes Public Comments Received on Retirement Plan Blackout Regulation
Wow! Another new terrific public online service from the PWBA. Includes hypertext links to comments submitted by American Benefits Council, AARP, SPARK Institute, Summit Benefits Group, Fidelity Investments, Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America, America's Community Bankers, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the ERISA Industry Committee, Principal Financial Group and more. (U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration)

Guide to Federal Thrift Savings Plan Investments (PDF)
66 pages; August 2002 edition. Here's how the federal government communicates investment options to its TSP participants; the TSP is like a 401(k) plan for federal employees. (Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board)

Opinion: Pension Plan Funding Worries Are Overblown
Excerpt: "Investors have been flinching at bleak disclosures about the failing health of pension plans this fall. But the supposed pension crisis isn't something most shareholders need to be concerned about." (Wall Street Journal via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

PBGC Seeks Control of Pension Plans of National Steel
Excerpt: "The government's pension insurance program is seeking control of seven underfunded National Steel Corp. retirement plans covering more than 35,000 workers and retirees. The plans are underfunded by $1.5 billion, officials said. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. estimates it would have to cover more than $1.1 billion in retirement benefits, making it the second-largest claim in the history of the government insurer." (AP via Yahoo! News)

Another Question is Answered in the ERISA Benefit Claims Q&A Column
I am going through a divorce and want to receive part of my spouse's pension plan as a Joint & Survivor Annuity. How can this be accomplished? (BenefitsLink.com)

Can Cash Balance Pension Plans Improve Retirement Security for Today's Workers?
Excerpt: "This brief compares outcomes in traditional defined benefit plans and hypothetical cash balance plans for a sample of Americans near retirement with pension coverage. We compare the pension benefits workers can expect to receive ... under each plan.... We find that replacing traditional pension plans with cash balance plans would redistribute pension wealth from those who held long-term jobs to those with a series of short-term jobs." (Richard W. Johnson and Cori E. Uccello, published by the Urban Institute)

California State Teachers Pension Fund To Disclose Venture Capital Investment Results
Excerpt: "The move, which came in response to a request for the information from the Mercury News on Oct. 18, is significant because the pension's $3.8 billion in assets invested in private equity funds have been performing poorly over the past two years. CalSTRS, like other public pension funds, has resisted releasing information about the performance ... The Mercury News [also] sued [another fund, CalPERS,] in October, seeking similar information. So far CalPERS has resisted." (The [San Jose] Mercury News)

Analysis: Loan Regs Clarify Refinancings, Open Door To "Credit Card" Loan Transactions
Excerpt: "[W]here the term of the replacement loan ends later than the latest permissible term of the replaced loan, the sum of the amount of the replacement loan and the outstanding balance of the replaced loan (plus any other existing loans not being replaced) must no exceed the amount limitations under IRC §72(p)(2)(A), or the excess amount is taxed as a deemed distribution.... There is one exception ..." (TRI Pension Services)

United Airlines Employees Bitter About Past, Worried About Future
Excerpt: "'We spent six years involved in an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) with substantial pay cuts and minimal raises to put the company in a position where we'd be competitive,' [United Airlines mechanic Michael Sanft] said. 'The company earned billions of dollars and squandered it' pursuing an unsuccessful merger with US Airways and a failed business jet subsidiary called Avolar." (AP via Yahoo! News)

Opinion: How United Airlines ESOP Betrayed Employees
Excerpt: "United's ESOP was unique as the only publicly traded company in which the employees owned the majority of stock. It was also unusual in having a termination date, under which employees stopped getting stock in 2000. The plan's failure teaches valuable lessons, said Michael Keeling, executive director of the ESOP Association ..." (The [Chicago] Daily Herald)

Alabama Pension Fund To Take Controlling Interest In US Airways
Excerpt: "Alabama's pension fund will take a controlling interest on US Airways' board of directors after revising terms of a deal to buy more than a third of the bankrupt airline. The agreement with the Retirement Systems of Alabama increases the number of seats the fund will have from five to seven on the 13-member board, fund CEO David Bronner said Thursday." (AP via Yahoo! News)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Treasury Secretary O'Neill Announces Resignation
Excerpt: "Paul O'Neill, whose outspokenness won him praise as a captain of industry but often landed him in hot water as President Bush's treasury secretary, announced his resignation in a letter to the president Friday morning." (Washington Post)

For Some Companies, New Stock Options Accounting Rule Might Raise Profits
Excerpt: "[A] little-noticed provision of the proposed rule could produce the opposite effect-- sharply higher profits-- for some companies. That anomaly comes from a thorny issue related to the tax windfall American companies receive when options are exercised. The companies receive a tax deduction equal to the profit realized by employees who exercise options. The rule proposed by the [IASB] would let companies report higher profits in the year they realized those tax benefits." (New York Times; free registration required)

FASB Tightens Accounting Rules For Loan Guarantees
Excerpt: "The Financial Accounting Standards Board issued Interpretation No. 45 to improve disclosure requirements for guarantees.... [C]ompanies must recognize liabilities for the obligations they assume under guarantees at the time they make the guarantees.... Critics say the changes overcompensate for damage done in a few cases." (AccountingWEB)

Audio Excerpt: Most ID Thefts Occur in Workplace, Report Says
Excerpt: "New research shows that identity theft -- one of the country's fastest-growing crimes -- is often an inside job, committed by employees at companies with access to troves of personal data. NPR's Chris Arnold reports." (Dec. 5, 2002) (National Public Radio)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Administrator: Defined Contribution Retirement Plans - Part or Full Time
for BSW Benefit Plans Plus, L.L.C.
in MO

Retirement Plan Business Development Sales Professional
for RSM McGladrey, Inc.
in NC

Pension Administrator
for Brady Ware
in OH

Employee Benefits Auditor
for KraftCPAs, an accounting and consulting firm based in Nashville
in TN

Pension Consultant
for Fidelity Investments
in MA

401(k)/Pension Administrator
for ERISA Consultants
in NY

Pension Administrator
for EBC, Inc.
in CA

Implementation Specialist
for ExpertPlan, Inc.
in NJ


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