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January 10, 2006
Today's sponsor: ASC & The ASC Institute

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for ASC & The ASC Institute

ASC - YOUR PREMIER SOURCE FOR RETIREMENT PLAN SOFTWARE, DOCUMENTS & EDUCATION

Even if you haven't made a final decision on a document vendor for EGTRRA, you need to be on a list. ASCi will submit to the IRS a list of all sponsors who register for the ASCi prototype/ volume submitter plans by January 15, 2006. ASCi is waiving all registration costs (except the IRS fee), and when you sign up with ASCi, you are not committing to purchase ASCi's document system now or in the future. Signing up with ASCi today guarantees your prototype/volume submitter status at no additional cost to you! Click above to learn more and enroll or email your questions to asci@asc-net.com.

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

Overview: Final Regulations on Roth 401(k)s Issued
Excerpt: "The U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS issued final regulations Dec. 30, 2005, on establishing and offering Roth 401(k)s to employees. The final regulations took effect Jan. 1, 2006 and made few revisions to rules proposed in March 2005." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Separately Managed Accounts Face 401(k) Barriers
Excerpt: "Getting separately managed accounts into 401(k) plans will take some technological changes, clarity from regulators about the limits of fiduciary responsibility and changes in fees, industry participants say." (Defined Contribution & Savings Plan Alert)

New Calculations Triple UK Pensions Misery
Excerpt: "The UK's massive pensions black hole could actually be three times worse than feared according to new calculations from a report commissioned by the UK actuarial industry's Pensions Board." (Insurance Business Review Online)

Current Defined Benefit Pension Plans Legislative Outlook as of December 2005
Excerpt: "[CCA Strategies reviews] the PBGC premium provisions in the budget bill and House DB reform bill. [They also include] an updated comparison of the House and Senate DB reform proposals. Finally, [they] briefly discuss the outlook for passage of a final ... bill." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

Overview: House Passes Pension Reform Bill, Enactment Not Likely Until 2006
Excerpt: "Pension reform moved ahead Dec. 15, 2005, as the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pension Protection Act (H.R. 2830). The measure establishes new funding rules and disclosure requirements for defined benefit plans, imposes benefit restrictions on underfunded pension plans and increases the premiums plan sponsors pay to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Thrift Savings Plan Broadens Flexibilities for Federal Employees Hit by Hurricanes
Excerpt: "Federal employees affected by hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma can withdraw more Thrift Savings Plan funds until the end of March, the TSP board announced [January 9, 2006]. The board removed some restrictions on financial hardship withdrawals from the 401(k)-style retirement savings account for hurricane victims." (GovExec.com)

Iowa Lawmakers Would Eliminate State Taxes on Social Security and Pension Benefits
Excerpt: "Retirees would avoid state taxes on pensions and social security under a plan Iowa House Republicans said they would push this legislative session. The GOP wants to phase out the tax over five years to give incentives for older Iowans to stay in the state, keeping their money and charity here." (The Des Moines Register)

ESOP Malpractice Claim Against Investment Firm not Preempted by ERISA
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the District of Nebraska has rejected the argument that employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) participants' malpractice claim against an investment firm that undervalued the plan's stock is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

How to Define, or Recognize, Fiduciary Excellence
Excerpt: "When the Foundation for Fiduciary Studies began to formally define investment fiduciary practices five years ago, an environmental engineer suggested we develop our practices following the global standardization procedures defined by the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization, shortened to 'ISO,' which is Greek for 'equal.'" (Investment News; registration or subscription required)

Portugal's State Pension Fund in Trouble
Excerpt: "Portugal's state pension fund may be unable to meet payouts in 10 years' time, a senior government official said." (AP via MSN.Money)

Chile's Presidential Candidates Agree on Pension Woes
Excerpt: "The Chilean system of personalized accounts managed by private funds has inspired a score of other countries since the pioneer effort to create it here 25 years ago. It is endorsed by President Bush, who has called it 'a great example' from which the United States can 'take some lessons.' Here at home, though, dissatisfaction with the system has emerged as one of the hot-button issues in the election, a runoff that will take place on Sunday." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Book Review: The Number -- A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life
Excerpt: "[The author] uses the device of the Number -- that uncertain sum of money we'll need to live well during the golden years -- to write a meditation on retirement planning as a journey and a quest." (BusinessWeek Online)

Capital Market Update: Review of Pension Fund Financial Results for 2005 (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "Mediocre portfolio returns and a decline in discount rates during 2005 combined to cause a 2.6 percentage point drop in our benchmark plan's funded ratio, from 85.1% to 82.5%. This continues a pattern of relative stability in the pension plan financing environment . over the past three years, the funded ratio for our benchmark plan has generally remained within the 80-85% range." (Towers Perrin)

IRS Weighted Average Interest Rate Table Updated for January 2006
Weighted average for January 2006: 4.85% (U.S. Internal Revenue Service)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Policy/Plan Provisions Trump Marital Settlement Agreement in Florida Case
Excerpt: "The Florida Supreme Court has held that without specific reference in a property settlement agreement to life insurance proceeds or proceeds of retirement plans, the beneficiary is determined by looking only to the insurance contract or retirement plan. While it may be possible in a marital settlement agreement to waive one's right as a beneficiary, that waiver can only be accomplished if the waiving party specifically gives up his or her rights to the 'proceeds' or the 'benefits.'" (Cypen & Cypen)

District Judge Rules No Benefits for G.ay Couples
Excerpt: "A Colorado Springs judge has ruled that the city did not act illegally when it abruptly canceled benefits for the partners of g.ay and les.bian employees. Fourth Judicial District Judge Richard Hall cited a 1994 ruling that said denying benefits to unmarried same-sex couples is acceptable as long as a city also denies them to unmarried heterose.xual partners." (365G.ay.com)

The Best Benefits at the Best 100 Companies To Work For in 2006
Excerpt: "From generous health care plans to subsidized cars, these companies are standouts when it comes to the great perks they offer employees." (Fortune via CNN Money)

2006 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Multiemployer Plans
Excerpt: "The Segal Company's 2006 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Multiemployer Plans summarizes compliance requirements for multiemployer plans. To see a brief description of each requirement and information about such details as the plan(s) affected, filing requirements and due dates, click on any item listed [on the target page]." (The Segal Company)

2006 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "The Segal Company's 2006 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Benefit Plans summarizes compliance requirements for qualified, single employer benefit plans. To see a brief description of each requirement and information about such details as the plan(s) affected, filing requirements and due dates, click on any item listed [on the target page]." (The Segal Company)

Listing of Published Guidance for January -- December 2005
Guidance published by the Service relating to retirement plans. (U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

Opinion: 2006 -- A Crisis Year in the Making
Excerpt: "I'm going out on a limb with a prediction: 2006 will be a crisis year in financial security for Americans. Of course, the crisis really began several years ago, but 2006 will be a turning point in recognizing the serious nature of what we have wrought. ERISA was born out of a crisis as well--the unfunded promises for pensions. Sound familiar?" (Richard D. Quinn, Views & Vents via BenefitNews.com)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Testing in 2006: Basics and Beyond
Nationwide on February 2, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Control and Affiliated Service Group Determinations
Nationwide on February 16, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman

Employee Benefits in Mergers & Acquisitions
in New York on April 27, 2006
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

ERISA Basics 20th National Institute
in Illinois on May 10, 2006
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Form 5500 Update
Nationwide on March 28, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman

McKay Hochman First Quarter 2006 Update
Nationwide on February 9, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman

The Roth 401(k) Final Regulations
Nationwide on February 1, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman

Working with the Final 401(k) and 401(m) Regulations
Nationwide on January 18, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Fiserv Expands Solutions for HSAs, HRAs and FSAs
(Fiserv, Inc.)

Labor Department Issues Rules on Multiemployer Pension Plan Funding Notices
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Pension Advisors Introduces AdviseMe!TM to Help Participants Achieve Their Dreams
(Pension Advisors)

Labor Unions at AA Voice Concern over Executive Bonuses
(Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA))


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Qualified Plan Services
for Pension Professionals of St. Louis
in ANY STATE

Account Executive - Client Relationship Development
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in MA

Retirement Plan Analyst (2 positions)
for Invesmart, Inc.
in WA

CRS Account Manager III
for Wilmington Trust
in DE

Defined Contribution Administrator
for PenSys, Inc.
in CA

401 (k) Administrator
for Compliance/Administration Company
in NJ

401(k) Administrator - Analyst
for The Pension Group, Inc.
in CA

401(k) Administration position in San Diego
for Means & Associates, LLC
in CA

Defined Contribution/401(k) plan administrator
for Suburban Maryland TPA
in MD

Assistant Manager - Supply Center
for 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund
in NY

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Qualified Plans, LLC
in GA

Health and Welfare Specialist
for Administaff
in TX

Pension Clerical Assistant
for 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund
in NY

Strategic Planning Director
for Transamerica
in CA

Business Analyst Needed for Pension Administrative Software!
for Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.
in IL




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