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April 5, 2006
Today's sponsor: ASPPA • Working for America's Retirement™

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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)

Highlights from the State and Local Government Pension Forum held February 28, 2006
Excerpt: "Presenters offered a wide range of perspectives on trends affecting pension funding and solvency, as well as discussing the potential impact that recognizing future OPEB liabilities will have on government finances. [The target page presents impressions of the discussions and] ... a brief description of each presentation [with] a link to the relevant Powerpoint or speech." (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

West Virginia Teachers Vote to Return to Defined Benefit Pension Plan
Excerpt: "West Virginia teachers voted to leave their DC accounts behind and return to a secure retirement provided by a defined benefit plan. The vote was 61% in favor of the DB plan." (National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems)

Conference Committee on Pension Reform Legislation under Tight Deadline
Excerpt: "A constricted Capitol Hill calendar and a looming deadline for pension plan payments may combine to force Congress to do something unusual -- work out a compromise on a complicated bill in a timely way." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Defined Contribution Plan Options Can Relieve Employees of Decisionmaking
Excerpt: "A report from Greenwich Associates (GA) points out that US companies are shifting their focus from providing education and advice to offering products and utilizing plan features that simplify the decisions their employees must make about their defined contribution plan." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Overview: Final Regs Amending 2003 Regulations on Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuity Explanations
Excerpt: "Many 401(k) plans do not offer the QJSA form of distribution, but those that do will need to comply with the applicable provisions in the 2003 regulations, as modified by the amendments in these final regulations. Alternatively, 401(k) plans that offer the QJSA form might be able to eliminate that particular form of benefit if certain requirements are met." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Wilshire Report Shows Public Pension Funding Ratios Flat for 2005
Excerpt: "US public pension funds saw their funding ratios stay nearly flat last year as compared with the year before. Wilshire Consulting's 2006 Wilshire Report on State Retirement Systems: Funding Levels and Asset Allocation said that the ratio of pension assets to liability in 2005 was 87% - up from 2004's level of 86%." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

America's Pensions in Peril-- Or Gone
Excerpt: "Throughout the Northwest and around the nation, workers have discovered their employer can unexpectedly shut down a healthy pension plan, or 'freeze' it to exclude new hires and halt the growth of benefits for existing employees." (The Seattle Times)

AT&T Cleared in Cash Balance Notification Suit
Excerpt: "A federal judge has cleared AT&T of allegations it violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by not providing employees 15 days notice it was converting its defined benefit pension to a cash balance plan." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

International Update: Recent Developments in Foreign Public and Private Pensions March 2006
Included in this issue: Europe -- Belgium, Netherlands; The Americas -- El Salvador; Asia & the Pacific -- Taiwan, Turkmenistan; Reports and Studies -- The Impact of Ageing on Public Expenditure: Projections for the EU25 Member States on Pensions, Health Care, Long-term Care, Education, and Unemployment Transfers (2004-2050) (U.S. Social Security Administration)

Ukraine Legal Alert: Taxable Base for Levying Mandatory State Social Insurance (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "This Legal Alert deals with the new maximum taxable base for levying mandatory state social insurance payments." (Baker & McKenzie)

Turner Commission Calls for UK Pension Changes
Excerpt: "In the long-awaited release of the UK Pensions Commission's final report, the panel has urged the British government to support a retirement age increase from 65 to 68 and to offer a more generous state-backed pension benefit." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

An Interview with Bradley Belt As He Prepares to Leave the PBGC
Excerpt: "Late last month, Bradley Belt, the executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and a point man for the Bush Administration on retirement policy, picked an extremely inopportune time to announce that he would step down from the PBGC at the end of May." (CFO.com)

Lawmakers Mull Pension Aid Beyond Airlines
Excerpt: "Congressional negotiators are considering expanding pension relief for U.S. airlines to other troubled industries such as autos and steel, senators involved in the talks said [yesterday]." (Reuters via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

How Do You Answer the Coverage Question on the Schedule R?
Excerpt: "The most significant change made to the 2005 Form 5500 was the elimination of the Schedule T. Rather than completing a Schedule T, a preparer now simply addresses the coverage issue by checking a box on line 9 of the Schedule R." (SunGard Corbel)

Defined Benefit Plan Fund Managers Are Considering Diversification and Liability-Driven Investing
Excerpt: "In the third quarter of 2005, pension plans worldwide were at their highest funding level in two years. How are investment managers planning to keep the trend line growing in 2006, aside from relying on contributions?" (Employee Benefit News)

IRS Weighted Average Interest Rate Table Updated for April 2006
Weighted average for March 2006: 4.82% (U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

Will More of Us Work Forever? -- The 2006 Retirement Confidence Survey (PDF)
28 pages. Excerpt: "This Issue Brief reports findings from the 16th annual Retirement Confidence Survey(r) (RCS), which suggests that many American workers are not ready to undertake the task of financial planning for their own retirement and face the prospect of having to work far longer than they expect." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Federal Worker Employee Buyouts on the Rise
Excerpt: "Buyouts -- cash incentives of up to $25,000 for employees to voluntarily leave their jobs in order to reshape the workforce -- are increasingly common in federal agencies, government auditors have found." (National Journal Group Inc. via GOVEXEC.com)

Multinational Employers Adapting Pay and Benefit Strategies to Suit Regional Trends
Excerpt: "Employers operating in multiple nations are learning the importance of 'doing as the Romans do' when it comes to structuring pay and benefits for employees spanning the globe, new research from Towers Perrin shows." (Employee Benefit News)

Military Leave Compliance May Make Your Head Spin, But It's in Service of a Higher Purpose
Excerpt: "While the DOL presents the regulations in a question-and-answer format to make them accessible and understandable, they are still painfully complicated in some areas. This article teases out some of the tangles for employers and suggests ways to craft straightforward compliance policies. Not a primer on USERRA generally, the article assumes a general understanding of USERRA and some familiarity with the regulations." (HR Magazine)

An Introduction to the IRS's EP CPE Texts
Excerpt: "Have you discovered the IRS's EP CPE texts? The Employee Plans Division of IRS annually publishes a series of articles known as the Employee Plans Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Technical Instruction Program, which are apparently written and designed for training of IRS personnel." (Attorney B. Janell Grenier via BenefitsBlog.com)

Overview: New Mailing Address for DFVC Program
Excerpt: "The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a news release in which it provided a new address for plan sponsors filing under the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance (DFVC) program." (SunGard Corbel)

New Accounting Rules Raising Cost of Stock Options, Other Equity-Based Incentives Offer Alternatives
Excerpt: "While most companies aren't expected to ditch options entirely, HR professionals have a number of alternatives for employees' long-term incentives. The most popular include time-vested restricted stock, performance shares and long-term cash incentive plans." (HR Magazine)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Texas on May 2, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Texas on May 3, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Georgia on May 3, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Illinois on May 4, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Illinois on May 2, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Louisiana on May 2, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Illinois on May 3, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in New Mexico on May 3, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Colorado on May 4, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Georgia on May 4, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Texas on May 4, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Health and Welfare Plan Fundamentals - A One Day Seminar
in New York on May 25, 2006
presented by New York Metropolitan Area Chapter - ISCEBS

LM-10/LM-30 Update - Teleweb
Nationwide on April 20, 2006
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Washington Legislative Update
in Ohio on April 18, 2006
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Cleveland


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

PensionOnline.com Announces Powerful New Software Tool For Complying With GASB 45 - OPEB Liabilities
(PensionOnline)

The Principal Financial Group is Filling the Demand for Consumer Driven Dental; A National Tour Educates Brokers on New Plans for the Consumer Driven Market
(Principal Financial Group)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Enrolled Actuary
for National Retirement Services, Inc.
in CA, NC

Senior Benefits Administrator
for Aerojet
in CA

Pension Administrator / Consultant (Gaithersburg MD)
for Martin Retirement Services, Inc.
in DC, MD, VA

ERISA Transactional Associate
for Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., an AmLaw 100, International Law Firm
in MO

ERISA Litigation Associate
for Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., an AmLaw 100, International Law Firm
in MO

Attorney - Counsel: Retirement Plans
for Transamerica
in CA

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Benefit Consultants
in AL

Senior Benefits Compliance Representative
for Aerojet
in CA




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