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March 28, 2006
Today's sponsor: ASC & The ASC Institute

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

Court Clarifies Responsibilities Regarding Company Stock Investments
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed some defendants and left intact charges against others in a case charging fiduciary violations with regards to company stock investments in a defined contribution pension plan." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Speech by Edward Siedle: Murders and Pensions -- The Need for Forensic Investigations
Excerpt: "What are we looking for in our investigations? We are looking for (1) Conflicts of interest; (2) hidden financial dealings; (3) fraud and other forms of wrongdoing. These are NOT matters reviewed by accounting firms in their audits. In fact, audit firms would be subject to conflicts of interest in accepting such an assignment since they have already opined as to the accuracy of the financial statements." (Benchmark Advisory Services, Inc., and Benchmark Financial Services, Inc.)

Opinion: A Numbers Game In Congress Stalls Pension Reform and Cash Balance Legislation
Excerpt: "For a while last month it seemed like pension reform and cash balance relief were caught in an intractable struggle in Congress from which they would not escape. Not over the substance of the underlying issues, but over the relative numbers of Republicans and Democrats to be appointed to the conference committee convened to resolve the conflicts between the House and Senate legislation." (Pension & Benefit Power)

Opinion: Congress Must Protect Workers, Taxpayers with Pension Reform
Excerpt: "[Congress] is working to shore up the remaining traditional pension plans. Key objectives for lawmakers are to ensure that workers counting on those retirement checks in the future aren't left in the lurch, and that taxpayers aren't left holding the very costly bag when companies default on underfunded plans. " (Newsday Inc.)

Audio: 'Pension Envy' for the Golden Years
Excerpt: "According to a congressional report, U.S. businesses are almost half a billion dollars short in their pension obligations to current and future retirees. Brian Unger examines the growing numbers of workers with 'pension envy', and offers a solution for those who face their golden years without a golden parachute." (Day to Day via National Public Radio)

Pension Impact Seen for Bankrup.tcy Case Seeking Certiorari
Excerpt: "Morton Klevan, senior policy adviser to the assistant secretary for employee benefits security, said a case currently seeking certiorari before the United States Supreme Court, Pereira v. Farace, could be the most important legal case affecting pension law in the last year." (The ERISA Industry Committee)

2005 ERISA Advisory Council Working Group Reports -- Communications to Retirement Plan Participants
Excerpt: "The 2005 ERISA Advisory Council formed a Working Group on Communications to Retirement Plan Participants to assess whether plan participants understand their rights and benefits under retirement plans and if existing ERISA-required communication tools are accomplishing the goal of full disclosure." (Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans)

Pension Survivor Annuity Only for Spouse at Retirement
Excerpt: "ERISA's interest in protecting surviving spouses does not extend so far as to require that retirement plans ensure continued benefit payments to anyone whom a plan participant might marry after his retirement and after the death of his spouse." (Pensions & Benefits Weblog)

2005 ERISA Advisory Council Working Group Reports -- Retirement Distributions and Options
Excerpt: "The Working Group on Retirement Distributions & Options undertook three issues for study, all of them related to participant retirement. The balance of this report will address the scope of the Working Group, the questions for witnesses, dates of testimony and list of witnesses, current environment for the scope of inquiry, consensus recommendations to the Secretary of Labor and summary of testimony from the witnesses." (Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans)

California Judge Drops Some Aguirre Suit Targets
Excerpt: "A California state judge has tentatively excused five of eight former city and pension officials from a lawsuit accusing the group of illegally receiving pension benefits." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Overview of Benefit and Retirement-Related Sections of the UK Spring Budget 2006 Report
Excerpt: "On 22 March 2006, the UK Chancellor announced the details of the UK Budget for 2006 / 2007. Highlights of some of the more significant benefits and retirement-related points are available in [a] Watson Wyatt summary ...." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Mexico's CONSAR Bulletin on Retirement Plans (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "The CONSAR Bulletin 18-2, which establishes the general rules regarding the requirements that have to be met by the retirement plans granted by employers or derived from collective bargaining agreements, to consider the amounts contributed to such plans as excluded from the salary basis for computing social security contributions, were published in the Federal Official Gazette on February 14, 2006." (Baker & McKenzie)

Prediction: EGTRRA Provisions to Be Made Permanent in Final Pension Reform Bill
Excerpt: "Bipartisan support exists in Congress to make permanent the retirement savings provisions contained in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA, P.L. 107-16), according to Jan Jacobson, director of retirement policy for the American Benefits Council." (CCH Pension & Benefits)

Derivatives: The $270 Trillion Gorilla
Excerpt: "I will devote considerable time to the topic of derivatives and pensions in this blog. For now, I will make a few introductory comments to hopefully whet your appetite." (Pension Risk Matters)

Overview: IRS Focuses on Part-Time Staff
Excerpt: "On February 14, 2006 the IRS issued a Quality Assurance Bulletin (QAB) entitled Part-Time Employees Revisited ... which requires sponsors of qualified retirement plans that exclude part-time, seasonal or temporary workers to revisit their plan language to ensure the plan document complies with the tax rules governing the tax qualified status of the plan." (Janich Law Group)

Study Says Employee Savings Habits Will Delay Retirement
Excerpt: "An Aon Consulting survey of 1,071 US employers found that 39% believe half or more of their workforce will not have enough savings to retire between the ages of 62 and 65." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: Guidance Regarding 409A: Use of Offshore Trusts & Financial Health Trigger Arrangements
Excerpt: "Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code imposes new restrictive Federal tax rules governing 'nonqualified deferred compensation plans' and provides significant taxes on individuals who violate them." (Orrick)

G.M.'s Jobs Bank Looms as Major Obstacle on Road to Company Survival
Excerpt: "The Jobs Bank is one critical burden that G.M. has to carry as it embarks on one of the biggest challenges -- and biggest balancing acts -- of its corporate survival. To become a leaner, more profitable company, it needs to persuade the right number of workers to take the buyouts, without chasing away its best people. If not enough people leave, G.M. is stuck with excess workers, who will swell the ranks of the Jobs Bank." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Overview: New Mailing Addresses for Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program
Excerpt: "The DFVC Program is available only to plans that have not been notified by the DOL in writing of a failure to file a timely Form 5500." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

ERISA Litigation Forum: ERISA Section 510 Plant Closing Claims
Nationwide on April 4, 2006
presented by Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

Measuring the Clinical Effectiveness of Disease Management Programs
in Georgia on April 20, 2006
presented by Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB) - Atlanta Chapter


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Contact Your Members of Congress Today: Urge Permanent Enactment of EGTRRA Pension and Savings Provisions
(American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA))

BLAZE SSI Releases .Net and Win32 ActiveX Components for the Pension Industry
(BLAZE SSI Corp.)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Senior Benefits Analyst
for Chugach Alaska Corporation
in VA

401(k) / Tiered Plan Administrator
for The Pension Group, Inc.
in CA

Pension Analyst
for BeneTrends, Inc.
in PA

401(k) Marketing Specialist
for The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
in NY, PA

401(k)/Retirement Plan Specialist
for Pension Specialists, Inc.
in CA




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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.

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

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