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January 4, 2006
Today's sponsor: APSCREEN, Employee Locator

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
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"APSCREEN's employee locator service makes our lives so much easier. Our industry desperately needs this service!" --Judy Simons, TRI-AD, Escondido, CA


(Please visit our sponsors. We try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Overview: Final Roth 401(k) Regulations
Excerpt: "Unfortunately, the regulations do not include guidance on the more pressing issues of distributions and taxation. The IRS indicated that they would soon issue regulations addressing these issues under Code §402." (SunGard Corbel)

PBGC Head Urges Changes in Pension Accounting Standards
Excerpt: "Effective reform of the pension system will require changes in pension accounting standards, in addition to the legislative changes currently under discussion in Congress, according to Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Executive Director Bradley D. Belt." (CCH INCORPORATED)

U.S. Accounting for Pensions: FASB Addresses Technical Issues
Excerpt: "In a meeting earlier in December, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) addressed some technical issues with regard to their comprehensive review of FAS 87 and FAS 106. These will have an impact on most plan sponsors who apply U.S. accounting; the most important of these issues are summarized [on the target page]." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Judge Signals OK for Steel Company ESOP Case
Excerpt: "A federal judge has decided that former employees of Havens Steel Co. have a case against and can sue former officers of the company for allegedly causing their accounts in the company's employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) to lose their value.' (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Employee Ownership Center Receives $500,000 Federal Grant
Excerpt: "A Vermont nonprofit that promotes employee ownership of companies received a $500,000 federal grant to help spread the word, offer help for owners who want to sell their businesses to their workers, and develop ways to keep the operation funded. The Vermont Employee Ownership Center will use the money to extend its outreach and offer more technical assistance to companies considering employee ownership, said Don Jamison, executive director of the center." (Burlington Free Press)

Research Reports: Reforming Social Security -- Lessons from Abroad
Excerpt: "Are there lessons to be learned from countries that have introduced elements of privatization to their pension systems? To attempt to answer that question, AARP's Public Policy Institute ... hosted a seminar on pension reform abroad in May 2005 and invited pension experts to discuss reforms that five countries have implemented .... The five papers ... examine in detail a variety of reforms that shift some of the pension burden away from the public sector." (AARP)

Overview: IRS Failure to Apply Actuarial Equivalence May Cause Testing Issues for Smaller DB Plans
Excerpt: "In recent years, many such employers have adopted, or considered adopting, plan designs that use a normal retirement age that is younger than age 65. The problems these employers can have with the minimum participation rules may have been exacerbated by a recent, yet-to-be-published Tax Advice Memorandum ('TAM')." (Faegre & Benson LLP)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview Update: New Transition Relief for Valuing Private Company Stock under Section 409A
Excerpt: "On December 23, 2005, the Internal Revenue Service provided guidance that allows many privately-held employers to have greater confidence that stock options issued in the past and in the near future will not violate Code Section 409A. In short, the guidance in Notice 2006-4 provides that: ...." (O'Melveny & Myers LLP)

Wooing SOX-Savvy Auditors Poses New Challenge for Companies
Excerpt: "When non-compliance with a federal law could mean fines and jail time for a company's CEO and CFO, it stands to reason that a high priority would be recruiting cream of the crop employees with the skills to keep their employer on the right side of the law. Which is why, when it comes to a company's compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley, top-notch benefits management plays a big part." (Employee Benefit News)

Podcasting -- A New Frontier for Benefit Communications
Excerpt: "Podcasts aren't just for employees, either. Ameriprise, a Minneapolis-based financial planning company, is offering podcasts on retirement and financial education, geared toward plan sponsors. The podcasts are taken from a symposium in October, featuring industry experts talking about trends in the retirement benefits arena. Ameriprise plans to release segments of the symposium on a weekly basis." (Employee Benefit News)

Overview: Changes to Section 409A Made by the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act
Excerpt: "The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 (H.R. 4440), which was signed into law on December 21, (P.L.109-135.) contains some provisions amending section 409A slightly. [The target page contains] some helpful info regarding the changes made: ...." (Attorney B. Janell Grenier via BenefitsBlog.com)

Transcript: Practitioner's Forum Discussion on Proposed Regs on Nonqualified Deferred Comp Plans
Excerpt: "The following is a transcript of an informal discussion of employee benefit practitioners held in Washington, D.C., on November 21, 2005. The topic involved the proposed new restrictions on nonqualified deferred compensation plans that would apply if a plan sponsor maintains an 'at-risk' qualified pension plan." (BNA's Tax Management)

To Fund or Not to Fund: That Is the Question for Deferred Compensation Plan Sponsors
Excerpt: " Unlike qualified plans, no requirement exists that companies fund their nonqualified deferred compensation plans. In fact, one of the more difficult decisions for those more accustomed to the qualified plan design arena is that a nonqualified plan can have a trust representing millions of dollars of benefits and still be 'unfunded.'" (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Article Abstract: When Are Releases of Claims for ERISA Plan Benefits Effective?
Excerpt: "This Article proposes the following principles determine if a release may deprive an individual of the right to a court review of the denial of a claim to an ERISA plan benefit entitlement: ...." (John Marshall Law Review via Social Science Research Network)

New Year's Resolutions for the Benefits Professional
Excerpt: "It's high time that our organizations appreciated the host of complex elements involved in managing a suite of benefit plans. This must be the year for long-overdue recognition of the unique balance of qualitative and quantitative skills we use every day! There are reasons why the Princeton Review lists our job as one of the 'Top 10 Careers For People Who Want To Keep Learning,' right? (http://www.princetonreview.com/cte/articles/plan/tenjobs.asp )" (Employee Benefit News)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

PenServ - Silver & Bronze Academy
in Texas on June 20, 2006
presented by PenServ, Inc.

PenServ Diamond I & II
in Florida on August 1, 2006
presented by PenServ, Inc.

Roth 401(k) Tools and Technology Demonstration
Nationwide on January 4, 2006
presented by ERISA Expertise LLC


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Watson Wyatt Appoints Ted Nussbaum Director of Group and Health Care Consulting in North America
(Watson Wyatt)

Segal Announces New President & CEO
(The Segal Company)

New AMT Assistant Debuts on IRS.gov
(Internal Revenue Service (IRS))

Arizona Employers Partner with Gilsbar, Inc. to Control Health Plan Costs
(Gilsbar, Inc.)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Analyst/Administrator
for Snyder Cohn
in MD

Senior DC Plan Administrator - Signing Bonus!!
for Berlin Ramos & Company
in DC, MD, VA

Plan Administrator for Retirement Plan & ERISA Specialists
for Small Chicago TPA & law firm
in IL

Pension Administrator
for Jordan & Andrews
in CA

Pension Professionals
for Associated Pension Consultants
in CA

401(k) Junior Administrator
for Benefit Equity Inc.
in CA

TPA Relationship Manager-Western Region
for Transamerica
in CA

Group Account Manager
for McGraw Wentworth
in MI

Sr. Copywriter
for Transamerica
in CA

Pension Administrator
for Third Party Administrator/CPA Firm
in MD

Pension Administrator I
for Flynn, Shojinaga & Associates, Inc.
in CA

Junior Pension Plan Administrator
for Robin S. Weingast & Associates, Inc.
in NY




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