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April 13, 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™

Attend the 2006 ASPPA Mid-Atlantic Benefits Conference!

On May 8-9, the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown Hotel will be the site of this valuable conference, sponsored by the IRS and ASPPA.

Attorneys can earn Ethics Credits and ASPPA members can earn 15 CE credits. Register NOW at http://www.asppa.org/reroute/mabc/mabc06-001.htm


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

Pension Rule May Wipe Out Equity -- Accounting Change Moves Costs onto Balance Sheets
Excerpt: "Pending changes in the way corporations are required to account for the costs of their pension plans would have wiped out more than $220 billion in shareholder equity at the nation's largest companies and reduced the 'net worth' of some them, including General Motors Corp., to less than zero had they been in effect last December, according to a study released yesterday." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Charges Dismissed Against Directed Trustee in Company Stock Case
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio dismissed a claim against Putnam Fiduciary Trust Co. as directed trustee of Cardinal Health employees' retirement plan in a case involving company stock investments." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Editorial: The Trojan Pension Bill
Excerpt: "Pension reform was among the unfinished business left behind last week when Congress adjourned for a two-week recess. The Republican leaders' self-imposed deadline for completing the pension bill had been April 7. But long before that, the bill -- laden with special interests -- had ceased to be only about pensions." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

A Cure That Could Kill Pensions
Excerpt: "Though Congress and the Bush administration are both pushing legislation to protect the traditional pension system, their efforts actually could lead to companies shutting down more of the relatively few plans that remain." (Newsday Inc.)

Opinion: Retirement Savings Permanence Bulletin No. 3: Matching Contribution Vesting (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "Making retirement savings provisions, including faster vesting, permanent in the final pension reform bill means employees can accumulate more retirement savings and vesting schedules are kept simple and consistent." (American Benefits Council)

Defined Benefit Plan Survey Shows Better than Expected 2005 Returns for Pensions
Excerpt: "The picture of US defined benefit pension plans was a largely rosy one in Milliman's sixth annual survey of 100 large plans that showed beefed up funding due to above projected annual returns for the third straight year." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

The Basics: Public Policy in an Older America (PDF)
44 pages. Excerpt: "It is unquestionably true that the nation is 'graying' and that the share of the population in the workforce will decline relative to the retired portion, posing significant economic and social challenges. Debate has already begun over the future of government programs such as Social Security and Medicare, .... But while the aging of the population is inevitable, a financial crisis arising from that process is not." (The Century Foundation)

Opinion: Working to Fix Our Fiscal Woes
Excerpt: "Work may be a four-letter word to some citizens in slow-growing Western European economies, but Americans know better. .... Ironically, projections about how much Americans will work are now at the heart of worries about emerging crises in U.S. public finances whether government deficits or imbalances in Social Security's bankbook." (The Urban Institute via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

AARP Amicus Brief in Register v. PNC Financial Services Group (PDF)
43 pages. Excerpt: "This brief addresses Appellants' age discrimination and backloading claim1 s. AARP supports Appellants' position on the disclosure claims but has not addressed them due to space." (AARP via The ERISA Industry Committee)

Worker's Early Retirement Not ERISA Violation
Excerpt: "US District Judge David Doty of the US District Court for the District of Minnesota rebuffed plaintiff Rodney Fischer's contention that his employer had a practice of forcing employees over the age of 40 to retire early, BNA reported." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Distress Termination of Pension Plans in Ch. 11 (PDF)
Excerpt: "The [journal article] is a primer on the methods by which a troubled company may free itself of its pension obligations under ERISA in a chapter 11 case." (ABI Journal via Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Anglican Communion Network Announces New Retirement Plan
Excerpt: "Ordained clergy members of the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) who are not in or otherwise eligible for the Church Pension Fund of the Episcopal Church may now enroll in a new defined contribution plan effective April 1." (The Living Church Foundation)

Overview: Final Rules Regarding Funding Notice Requirement for Defined Benefit Multiemployer Plans (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "On January 11, 2006, the Department of Labor (DOL) published final rules regarding these notice requirements, including a model notice. This publication provides a brief summary of the DOL rules, which are effective February 10, 2006, and highlights key provisions. It also includes a link to the model notice. For plans with calendar plan years, the first notice will have to be provided by September 30, 2006, at the earliest." (Prudential Financial)

Overview: Tax Withholding on Qualified Plan Distributions
Excerpt: "In general, the payor of benefits from a qualified retirement plan is required to withhold income tax from the portion of such distribution that is includable in the participant's gross income. Unless the distribution is an 'eligible rollover distribution', the participant has the option to waive or request a different amount of income tax withholding." (McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Overview: GOZA Extends KETRA Relief to Victims of Hurricanes Rita and Wilma (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "This relief is available to sponsors of qualified plans, ERISA 403(b) plans, and governmental section 457 plans whose participants were directly affected by Hurricanes Rita and Wilma. It is also available to affected participants in non-ERISA 403(b) programs." (Prudential Financial)

Opinion: Social Security Treats Texas Teachers Unfairly
Excerpt: "Texas teachers are being treated unfairly - and so are many other government employees such as policemen and firemen. They get a rude awakening when they learn that, because of where they work, they will be denied Social Security benefits they or their spouse earned - benefits that others receive when they retire." (The Bryan-College Station Eagle)

Chart: Distribution, Reporting Requirements and Other Testing for Excess Deferrals
The chart is updated as of April 13, 2006. (McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Executive Summary of America's Retirement Voice: Trends of Public Sector Retirement Plans (PDF)
7 pages. Excerpt: "While public employees are making progress with their savings, there are still concerns about their retirement readiness. While participation rates have increased over the last two years, more than 65% of employees are still not taking advantage of their 457 plans." (The Nationwide Retirement Education Institute)

West Virginia Faces Lawsuit over Teacher Pensions
Excerpt: "A Harrison County teacher expects to file a legal challenge Thursday to the state's pension plan merger." (West Virginia Media via WOWK-TV)

Europeans Try to Protect Threatened Pensions
Excerpt: "Fearful that their governments are moving too slowly to ensure their retirements, many soon-to-be pensioners and younger workers are banding together and campaigning for measures to plug the pensions hole." (AP via JournalNow.com)

Chile's Senate Approves Plan to Increase Pensions for Poor
Excerpt: "Chile's Senate passed President Michelle Bachelet's plan to increase pension payments for the country's poor ...." (Bloomberg News)

Welcome to BenefitsLink advertiser WySTAR Global Retirement Solutions
Excerpt: "Designed for the workforce, WySTAR Global Retirement Solutions offers licensed software products and outsourcing services supporting financial services firms, insurance companies, actuarial firms and third-party administrators. Our products include: DBVAL - Defined benefit valuations and Web benefit projections; DCVAL - Defined contribution, balance forward recordkeeping, ESOPs and compliance; OPEVS - Post-employment benefits; GRT - Nondiscrimination testing" (BenefitsLink.com)

NBER Working Paper Abstract: Political Risk Versus Market Risk in Social Security
Excerpt: "In this paper, [the authors] carry out a detailed quantitative analysis of political risk in the U.S. Social Security system, as well as an overview of policy reforms in several European countries that demonstrate political risk more broadly across social security systems." (National Bureau of Economic Research; paid subscription or individual purchase required to retrieve full-text)

ERIC Amicus Brief in Register v. PNC Financial Services Group (PDF)
43 pages. Excerpt: "ISSUE ADDRESSED BY AMICUS Whether every cash balance plan in the United States is inherently unlawful under ERISA § 204(b)(1)(H)." (The ERISA Industry Committee)

Commentary: DB Plans -- Dead or Alive?
Excerpt: "If you took a poll of plan sponsors and policymakers, they'd probably tell you DB plans are dead. No one -- with the exception of some professional services firms -- is establishing new ones. And a significant number of current DB sponsors are voting with their feet -- freezing or terminating their plans." (Plan Sponsor magazine via CCA Strategies, LLC)

White Paper Emphasizing the Importance of Personal Financial Protection Submitted to Hearing (PDF)
10 pages. Statement submitted by: American Council of Life Insurers, American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies, and National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Long-Term Growth and Debt Reduction for the April 6, 2006, hearing, Saving for the 21st Century: Is America Saving Enough to Be Competitive in the Global Marketplace? (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Reducing Retirement Risk with Exchange Traded Funds
Excerpt: "Retirees and those close to retirement often share three basic concerns: 1) Fear of losing their money. 2) Fear of outliving their money. 3) Fear of making bad investments that crimp retirement." (Forbes.com)

U.S. Treasury Says Addressing IBM Pension Lobbying Issue, DOJ Not Pursuing
Excerpt: "The U.S. Treasury Department is addressing concerns raised by International Business Machines Corp.'s (IBM) lobbying effort on pensions, while the Department of Justice has decided not to pursue related civil and criminal charges, according to a report by the Treasury inspector general." (MarketWatch.com)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: Change in Pension and Other Post Employment Benefit Accounting Principles (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Under current accounting rules, actuarial gains and losses and gains and losses from prior service costs are amortized as a portion of the net periodic benefit cost, but disclosed in full in the footnotes to the financial statement. The exposure draft moves the full amount of these items from the footnotes to the accumulated other comprehensive income section of the shareholders' equity portion of the balance sheet while ...." (Powell Goldstein LLP)

G.ays' Job Benefits Weighed -- Michigan's 2004 Marriage Law under Appeal
Excerpt: "The future of employment-related benefits for the same-sex partners of public workers in Michigan remains up in the air indefinitely as a challenge to the voter-approved 2004 marriage amendment works its way through the courts." (Detroit Free Press)

Comments on SEC's Proposed Amendments to Executive Compensation and Related Party Disclosure (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "The Society for Human Resource Management ('SHRM') submits these comments to the Securities and Exchange Commission ... in response to the notice on the proposed amendments to the rules that govern public company disclosures of executive and director compensation." (Society for Human Resource Management)

Editorial: A Cozy Arrangement -- Corporate Boards and Executive Compensation Consultants
Excerpt: "To fix something, first you have to understand what went wrong. That's especially true for a problem as complex yet pervasive as sky-high executive compensation." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Overview: Foreign Trusts and Section 409A Compliance
Excerpt: "Since the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 ('AJCA') added new restrictions on trusts associated with deferred compensation arrangements, U.S. taxpayers' participation in foreign sponsored deferred compensation arrangements has received significantly more attention than in the past." (Deloitte's Washington Bulletin via BenefitsLink.com)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated as of April 11, 2006
Excerpt: "Hewitt's Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding health and welfare benefit plans, retirement plans, and human resources and employment law." (Hewitt Associates)

Overview: 2005 Plan Year Form 5500 Filing Requirements for Pension and Welfare Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "This article discusses the changes to the 2005 Form 5500: ...." (CCA Strategies, LLC)


We thank and invite your attention to our 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) Plan Workshop
in Washington on May 2, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Iowa on May 3, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Georgia on May 4, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Kansas on May 4, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Minnesota on May 5, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Texas on May 5, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Iowa on May 2, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Georgia on May 3, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Kansas on May 3, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Texas on May 4, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Minnesota on May 4, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

HIPAA Special Enrollment-- Who’s Entitled, Who’s Not, and What Documents Are Needed
Nationwide on May 4, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Houston ISCEBS Sponsors Retirement Plan Update Seminar
in Texas on April 20, 2006
presented by International Society of CEBS - Houston Chapter

Individual Health Insurance Policies in the Workplace-- Avoiding Pitfalls and Limiting Employer Obligations
Nationwide on April 6, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Interim Plan Amendments: the New IRS Requirements Webcast
Nationwide on April 20, 2006
presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

Subchapter S ESOPs: Key Issues in Washington, D.C.
Nationwide on May 31, 2006
presented by Employee Owned S Corporations of America


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

UnitedHealthcare, Hewitt Associates, Optima Health and Exante First to Offer Quicken for Health Care; Intuit and Ingenix Set to Develop Products That Will Revolutionize Health Care for up to 40 Million Americans
(Intuit Inc.)

New Report Shows More Government Workers Engaged in Retirement Planning
(Nationwide Financial)

Milliman: Defined Benefit Pension Plans Gain For Third Year
(Milliman USA)

Major Employer Group Urges Appeals Court to Uphold Cash Balance Plans: Cash Balance Plans Are Not Age Discriminatory, Says The ERISA Industry Committee
(ERISA Industry Committee)

White Paper: Employee Obesity is Number One Factor in Productivity Loss
(Leade Health)

Steelworkers File Lawsuit to Reverse Alcoa's Unilateral Change in Retiree Health Care
(United Steelworkers)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Investment Manager
for W.W. Grainger
in IL

ERISA Attorney
for Perkins Coie LLP
in WA

Client Benefit Representative - Health & Welfare
for ADP TotalSource
in NH

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Bolton Partners, Inc.
in MD

VP, Employee Benefits Manager
for Bank of the West
in CA




Handy Links:

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

Published by:

BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
https://benefitslink.com/about.html
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Winter Park FL 32789
(407) 644-4146
Fax: (407) 644-2151

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

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