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Retirement Plans
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December 19, 2002 - 12,880 subscribers
Today's sponsor: ASPA

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

   ASPA--The Association for Retirement Plan Professionals

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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)
Bankruptcy Judge Refuses to Allow United Airlines ESOP to Sell More Shares
Excerpt: "Fallout from the bankruptcy of United Airlines continued yesterday as a bankruptcy judge refused an emergency request from the trustee for the United Airlines employee stock ownership plan for permission to sell up to $40 million of the company's stock to secure some value from the embattled shares." (The Boston Globe)

Confrontation Brews Over United ESOP
Excerpt: "A confrontation between United Airlines and some of its employee owners is intensifying in the wake of a U.S. bankruptcy court decision barring more sales of their company shares for at least two weeks. Judge Eugene Wedoff said on Tuesday he would reconsider the unusual issue at a Dec. 30 hearing because he needed more time to study how additional sales by United's employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, could affect the airline." (Chicago Business)

American Bankers Association Comments on N.C. Bar's Position on Unlicensed Practice of Law (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "[M]aster and prototype plans increase access to qualified plans for smaller employers by creating a more cost-effective alternative to providing retirement benefits for their employees. There is potential great harm to widely accepted practices regarding the qualified plan process if the North Carolina State Bar brushes such a broad stroke against work on retirement plans." (American Bankers Association)

Employee Ownership Update for December 18
NCEO executive director Corey Rosen discusses the first IRS ruling to address S corporation ESOP abuses--here, the use of shell corporation ESOPs that were set up before the March 14, 2001, grandfathering deadline for the anti-S corporation abuse rules in EGTRRA, and later sold to companies for use as tax avoidance mechanisms. The update also covers a study of declining stock option use in California's Silicon Valley. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Vanguard Reports Results of Test of 'SMarT' Program for Encouraging 401(k) Deferrals (PDF)
12 pages. Excerpt: "A Vanguard recordkeeping client recently tested the SMarT automatic savings program with defined contribution plan participants at two U.S. divisions. Designed by two behavioral economists ... the SMarT program encourages participants to sign up for systematic increases in their plan deferral rates over time. The test yielded impressive results, as measured by increases in both participant enrollment and aggregate savings rates ..." (The Vanguard Center for Retirement Research)

Benefits of Conducting Regular Reviews of DC Plan Design and Service-Provider Performance (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "Sponsors of public sector defined contribution and deferred compensation plans are reaping substantial rewards by conducting regular reviews of the design of their Section 401(a) qualified plans, §457 deferred compensation plans and §403(b) tax-sheltered annuities, as well as the performance of these plans' service providers ..." (The Segal Company)

Global Pension Crisis Creeping Up
Excerpt: "The British government [on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2002] unveiled proposals for reforming the U.K. pension system. To counter the phenomenon of growing numbers of British citizens facing old age in poverty, it suggested improving the system by simplifying both the range of retirement savings products available and taxes on them." (Bloomberg)

Overview: Age Discrimination Proposal Affects Cash Balance and Other Plans
4 pages. Excerpt: "In this Alert we will explain how IRS has sought the middle ground by conditioning age discrimination relief upon compliance with minimum plan design requirements. In addition, we highlight other proposed changes that could increase the complexity of plan administration and require redesigned benefit formulas for traditional defined benefit plans." (Aon Consulting)

FASB Decides to Study Pension Accounting Rules Further
Excerpt: "The officials who set U.S. accounting standards on Wednesday sought more time to decide whether to overhaul rules on how companies account for pension plans and stock options; issues that have moved centerstage among corporate America's list of worries." (Reuters)

What the Physicians Are Reading: You Can Profit from the 'New Comparability' Options
Excerpt: "Although a bit more expensive to run, new comparability plans can pay off handsomely. Properly structured, they could allow you to retain at the physician level 85% of each dollar contributed as opposed to 65% or less ..." (Financial Management Strategies for Medical Offices, published by Medscape; free registration required)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Demographic Trends in the 20th Century (PDF)
222 pages (!) Fun facts about your country's development over the past 100 years, summarized and charted under these categories: Population Size and Geographic Distribution; Age and Sex Composition; Race and Hispanic Origin; Housing; Households. (U.S. Census Bureau)

Overview: PWBA Releases Semiannual Regulatory Agenda
Excerpt: "Items in the final rule stage are ... definition of 'collective bargaining agreement' ... regulations implementing the Health Care Access, Portability and Renewability Provisions of [HIPAA] ... reporting requirements for multiemployer welfare arrangements (MEWAs) providing medical care benefits ... prohibiting discrimination against participants and beneficiaries based on health status ... blackout notice regulations and civil penalty ..." (CCH News & Information Library (Pension/Benefits))

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Plan Administrator
for weaver partners, inc.

Retirement Plan Professionals
for Pyramid Digital Solutions
in AL

Sr. Benefits Compliance Specialist
in VA

Pension Administrator
for Actuaries Unlimited, Inc.
in CA

New Business Associate
for RSM McGladrey, Inc.
in MN

Enrolled Consulting Actuary-LLY
for Los Angeles-area Employer
in CA
Newly Posted Webcasts
(Post Yours!)

Employer Coverage: Mounting Challenges, New Approaches
on December 16, 2002
presented by KaiserNetwork.org
Newly Posted Conferences
(Post Yours!)

NCEO/Beyster Institute Joint Annual Conference 2003
in CA
March 26, 2002
National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) and the Beyster Institute for Entrepreneurial Employee Ownership
Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Can Quality Health Care Contain Health Costs? New Book Investigates the Possibilities of Value-Based Purchasing
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

SunGard Corbel's 5500 Software is First for EFAST
(SunGard Corbel)

Komornicka to Serve as President of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists Governing Council
(International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS))

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