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March 21, 2006
Today's sponsor: ASPPA • Working for America's Retirement™

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for ASPPA • Working for America's Retirement™

DOL Speaks: The 2006 Employee Benefit Conference

This is the conference for Title I ERISA issues. DOL Speaks is co-sponsored by The Department of Labor/EBSA and ASPPA.
Discuss employee benefits issues with colleagues. Interact with local, regional and national government employees from the Department of Labor.

Register Today!


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

Automatically Enrolling Employees into a 401(k) Plan Is Not Right for Every Employer
Excerpt: "The reasons for not embracing automatic enrollment -- withholding money from employee pay and investing it in a retirement savings plan without first obtaining a signed enrollment form -- are readily cited. Employees could subsequently, and with perfect 20/20 hindsight, conclude their plans were not performing well -- and sue for damages." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Autopilot for Retirement
Excerpt: "You simply buy an age-appropriate fund, forget about the market, and get on with your life. The only thing to consider is raising your contributions." (Newsweek via MSNBC.com)

Research Report: Making Maximum Use of Tax-Deferred Retirement Accounts (PDF)
34 pages. Excerpt: "The results in this paper reinforce earlier findings that increases in the maximum allowable contribution may have little effect on retirement security for most workers." (The Urban Institute)

457 Plan Take-Up Rates Trail Private Sector, but Exhibit Similar Patterns, According to New Survey
Excerpt: "In 2005, 457 programs had a participation rate of only about 34%, according to a report by the Nationwide Retirement Education Institute. While that was better than the 30% rate noted in 2003, it speaks to the differences in this market vis-à-vis the private sector." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Blog: IFRIC on Effect of Minimum Funding Requirement on Asset Ceiling
Excerpt: "In its meeting earlier this month, the International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee discussed a staff draft Interpretation addressing the effect of a statutory minimum funding requirement on the asset ceiling requirement under IAS 19." (Pensions & Benefits Weblog)

Remarks by PBGC's Bradley D. Belt before the National Association for Business Economics 3/13/06
Excerpt: "While we need to carefully balance often competing interests, we also must recognize that the status quo results in the misallocation of capital, does a poor job of protecting the benefits earned by employees, does a poor job of protecting responsible companies from shouldering the costs of companies that terminate underfunded pension plans, and exposes taxpayers to the risk of having to bail out the federal pension insurance program." (U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)

Remarks by PBGC's Bradley D. Belt at the University of Texas School of Law VALCON Conference
Excerpt: "Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today about the PBGC's role in corporate restructurings and bankruptcies. Unfortunately, it is an increasingly visible and important role, for two main reasons: the growing number of companies struggling to meet the costs of the promises they have made to their workers and retirees, and the growing incidence of companies seeking to renege on such promises." (U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)

Senators and Representatives Dispatch Letters to Pension Conferees
Excerpt: "Three key letters are making the rounds on Capitol Hill as Senators and Representatives press their concerns with pension conferees." (The ERISA Industry Committee)

No Immediate Relief in Sight for Underfunded Pension Plans
Excerpt: "Employers with underfunded defined benefit retirement plans will have to make bigger contributions to their own plans this year, and also to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. as the agency struggles to close a yawning deficit. Worse, pension relief measures that reduced employers' contribution to their plans expired this year. The measures were in effect for the past two years." (Pittsburgh Business Times via bizjournals.com; one-time registration required)

ESOP Redemption Costs Not Deductible (PDF)
Page 2 of 2 pages. Excerpt: "The Sixth Circuit upheld the Tax Court's holding that Chrysler could not treat redemption costs incurred in conjunction with the termination of its employee stock ownership plan ('ESOP') as deductible compensation expenses." (Miller & Chevalier Chartered)

Prudence in Plan Advice Selection
Excerpt: "'[M]any mutual fund companies, brokerage houses, insurance companies, and independent recordkeepers that market 401(k) plans have added investment advice to their offerings, either at the plan or at the participant level. Where a plan decides to use those advisory services, the fiduciaries need to engage in a prudent process -- for selecting the investment advisor and for periodically reviewing, or monitoring, its activities." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Advisors Working with Retirement Plans Today Are Not the Investment Advisors of the Past,
Excerpt: "'The definition has been pulled in different directions by the plan sponsor; today's advisors need to know legislation, ERISA, plan design, and investments. The [retirement plan] advisors of tomorrow need to be much more well-versed because much more is going to be demanded of them.'" (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

15 Million Brits Losing Savings in Blair's Supposed Safe Bet
Excerpt: "Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown forced the U.K.'s 760 billion pound ($1.3 trillion) pension industry to increase investments in sterling-denominated bonds starting in 2004 after the collapse of funds left tens of thousands of workers without retirement savings." (Bloomberg News)

Revenue Effects of Provisions of H.R. 2830, As Passed by the House and As Amended by the Senate (PDF)
6 pages. COMPARISON OF THE REVENUE EFFECTS OF THE PROVISIONS OF H.R. 2830, THE 'PENSION PROTECTION ACT OF 2005,' AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND H.R. 2830, THE 'PENSION SECURITY AND TRANSPARENCY ACT OF 2005,' AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE [March 20, 2006] (Joint Committee on Taxation)

Understanding Social Insurance: The 'Modernization' of Social Security and Medicare
21 pages. Excerpt: "The economic, social, and political logic of social insurance must be the foundation of reforms, to continue these programs' success." (Health Affairs)

New Web Site: Know Your Pension
Excerpt: "This web site is designed to help you understand your pension plan, so you can ensure that your retirement nest egg is safe. We all work very hard to have a financially secure retirement. Most of us are counting on our pension plans to be there when we finally get to kick off our boots for good. But too often today, pension plans are under funded. People retire, and the money they thought would be there for them simply isn't." (Know Your Pension)

Plan Sponsor Magazine Feature Article: Total Retirement Outsourcing Buyer's Guide
Excerpt: "Many of the same dynamics that underlie the logic behind HRO apply to TRO's appeal as well: the desire for greater efficiencies by dealing with or through a single provider contact; the ability to wrest a more competitive fee or service package by leveraging a larger relationship; the inability or, in some cases, a lack of willingness to continue to invest in costly administrative infrastructures; and a desire to expand and/or enhance the services available to plan participants." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Insurers Continue to Press Points on Pension Bill
Excerpt: "Insurers continue to press on points the industry feels are critical in shaping a pension reform bill in Congress. But action on key provisions sought by the insurance industry in the pension benefit reform bill will not occur until late March because of a congressional recess." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Text of Notice 2006-33: Transition Relief for Deferred Comp Arrangements Under 409A(b) (PDF)
Excerpt: "Section 409A(b) generally applies to the use of offshore trusts in connection with amounts payable under a nonqualified deferred compensation plan, and also the use of restrictions on assets to protect the payment of benefits under a nonqualified deferred compensation plan in connection with a change in the service recipient's financial health.... This notice addresses the application of certain technical corrections made ... in GOZA, (which was enacted on December 21, 2005) ..." (Internal Revenue Service)

Common Compensation Arrangement and Section 409A Trap
Excerpt: "An arrangement that offers a participant a choice among various forms of compensation must comply with the deferral election requirements of IRC § 409A if one of the forms offered is deferred compensation subject to section 409A, even if the employee chooses a form that is otherwise exempt. In essence, the choice should be timed such that any choice of section 409A deferred compensation would be timely." (Deloitte's Washington Bulletin via BenefitsLink.com)

Welcome to BenefitsLink advertiser Findmissingpeople.com
Excerpt: "Have you lost contact with former employees who may be entitled to pension plan benefits? Are mailings to the contact addresses that you have on your records being returned to you as addressee unknown?Our service helps fund sponsors and administrators exercise due diligence and locate missing pension fund participants. If you need to locate fund participants, we can provide a fast, reliable and inexpensive service. And for simple searches, our policy is 'no find, no fee.'" (BenefitsLink.com)

Delta Seeks to Nix Employee Stock Options
Excerpt: "Delta Air Lines Inc., which is operating under bankrup.tcy protection, asked a judge Monday to allow the nation's third-largest carrier to void roughly 93 million stock options held by 70,000 current and former employees and directors." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)


Additional sponsor: ASPPA • Working for America's Retirement™

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for ASPPA • Working for America's Retirement™

ASPPA's Exam Registration for Spring and Fall Exams Now Open

ASPPA’s exam registration is open for the 2006 spring and fall exam windows. The Spring window runs from May 15-June 30. Learn more about our exams at http://www.asppa.org/education/ed_ed.htm,
or register at http://www.asppa.org/exam.
New exams include the Plan Financial Consulting (PFC-1 & PFC-2) exams that represent the advance level curriculum for the new Qualified Plan Financial Consultant (QPFC) credential. Register today!

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

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Plans
in Ohio on May 23, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in Georgia on June 6, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Administering Plans Under the Final 401(k) Regulations - Presented by Craig Hoffman
in Ohio on March 28, 2006
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Greater Cincinnati

Cafeteria Plans
in Ohio on May 24, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in Georgia on June 7, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Ohio on May 26, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Georgia on June 9, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Ohio on May 25, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Georgia on June 8, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Ohio on May 26, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Georgia on June 9, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Ohio on May 25, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Georgia on June 8, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Rule 22c-2 and the Impact on TPAs, Trust Companies and RIAs Webcast
Nationwide on April 6, 2006
presented by McHenry Consulting Group


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

The Pension Channel hosted by Nick Paleveda MBA J.D. LL.M
(401(k) Link Association)

Mental Health Parity Act Extended to End of Year
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Employee Benefits Conversion Specialist II
for Union Bank of California
in CA

Defined Contribution Client Account Manager
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Back Office Operations Manager
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Retirement System Financial Manager
for City of Tacoma
in WA

Actuary
for Prestigious mid-Long Island New York Firm
in NY

Sales Vice President Insurance and Specialty Markets
for ING US Financial Services
in MI

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

New Business Account Manager
for The Standard Insurance
in OR




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Copyright 2006 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.; except that you may reprint this newsletter in full (including this sentence) without obtaining our permission.

Published by:

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

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