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April 18, 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)

Labor Department Updates Voluntary Fiduciary Compliance Program
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Pension Freeze Fact Sheet: Why Are Healthy Employers Freezing Their Pensions? (PDF)
22 pages. Excerpt: "This brief reviews the major pension freezes during the last two years and explores the impact on employees at different stages in their careers. It then offers four possible explanations why employers are shutting down their plans." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College via Pensions & Investments)

Uncovering and Understanding Hidden Fees in Qualified Retirement Plans
Excerpt: "Modern fee structures, as they relate to qualified retirement plans, are a relatively new phenomena, having been developed over the last thirty years. This paper will explore the five specific types of fees that are frequently considered to be 'hidden' because of their difficulty in being recognized, quantified and monitored. It will also address their historical genesis and development, significance to a retirement plan's overall operational structure, ...." (Matthew D. Hutcheson via 401khelpcenter.com)

Defined Contribution Investments: Education and Advice Become More Personalized and Active
Excerpt: "The sad truth about most education programs for 401(k) plans is that they appear not to have reached -- or at least not moved -- large numbers of participants. Despite the tens of millions of dollars that have been spent on colorful and glossy education materials, countless seminars, and sophisticated e-mail campaigns, most still ignore the messages. This perceived failure is a major reason investment advice has become increasingly popular." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Thinking About Adding Automatic Features to Your 401(k) Plan? Ask Yourself These Questions First
Excerpt: "1. Can you afford it? .... 2. What is your goal? ...." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Head of Colorado State Retirement Plan Says Changes Needed
Excerpt: "The director of the troubled state pension fund said Monday a projected $11 billion shortfall could mushroom to $70 billion in 30 years unless a fix is found." (cbs4denver.com)

Thousands of Clergy in This Country Fill Their Retirement Years with More Ministry
Excerpt: "'If there is a heartache,' says David E. Clippard, the convention's executive director, 'it's churches that don't automatically make contributions to their pastor's retirement fund. We have many who don't. Many of our pastors of small churches live on basically a survival wage. Many of them don't even start (saving for retirement) until their 50s, but it's too late then. We need our churches to be more active in making direct contributions for them.'" (Knight Ridder Newspapers via TimesLeader.com)

Appeals Court Voids Last Minute Pension Transfer
Excerpt: "A federal appellate court has thrown out a pension plan change made just before the company's bankrup.tcy that pumped up benefits for certain participants by 200% to 500%." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Selecting and Monitoring Pension Consultants: Tips for Plan Fiduciaries
Excerpt: "To encourage the disclosure and review of more and better information about potential conflicts of interest, the Department of Labor and the SEC have developed [a] set of questions to assist plan fiduciaries in evaluating the objectivity of the recommendations provided, or to be provided, by a pension consultant." (401khelpcenter.com)

Using a Fiduciary Charter as the Framework for Your Plan Operations
Excerpt: "The author believes that a significant problem in retirement plan governance is going undetected and growing unchecked. This article does not propose an ultimate solution, but hopes to continue the dialogue toward establishment of a more formal, structured approach to fiduciary knowledge and practices." (Robert J. Higgins via 401khelpcenter.com)

Defined Contribution Investments: Sponsors Might Be Overpaying for the Products
Excerpt: "Revenue sharing, which allows for the transfer of fee-based compensation from investment fund providers to recordkeepers or plan administrators, often obscures the level of fees that plans are paying and what those fees actually cover." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Getting a Grip on Fiduciary Responsibilities
Excerpt: "The changing legal landscape of retirement plans makes staying abreast of fiduciary responsibilities a complex task. EBN Associate Editor Leah Carlson Shepherd asked Bob Arnoff, a fiduciary audit specia.list, to share his thoughts on newly hoisted red flags." (Employee Benefit News)

House Panel and the Thrift Savings Plan Board Could Clash Over Real Estate Fund
Excerpt: "A House subcommittee plans to hold a second hearing on the contentious issue of adding a real estate investment fund to the Thrift Savings Plan and follow the hearing with a vote on whether to add the option, congressional aides said yesterday." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

CalPERS and CalSTRS Launch Database
Excerpt: "The nation's two largest public pension funds plan to build a 'first-of-its-kind' database of emerging managers and financial service providers. The effort by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) is being led by New York-based Altura Capital. It will target money managers, private equity funds, private equity fund of funds, private real estate investments firms, REITs, hedge funds, ...." (Los Angeles Business via bizjournals.com; one-time registration required)

Multinationals Find Pension Pooling Works Swimmingly
Excerpt: "Multinational companies are realizing that the rules surrounding swimming pools can also apply to pensions: It's best to use the buddy system." (Employee Benefit News)

Welcome to new BenefitsLink advertiser Consulting Actuarial Group, Inc.
Excerpt: "Consulting Actuarial Group provides design and compliance services for all types of qualified plans, including Defined Benefit, 401(k) and Profit Sharing Plans. We offer a high level of service at a reasonable cost. We are a hands on Actuary and Third Party Administrator for approximately 300 clients ranging in size from one life to over 4,000 lives. We provide all compliance services with the exception of recordkeeping for individual 401(k) accounts." (BenefitsLink.com)

Fee Transparency + Revenue Sharing = Good Deal
Excerpt: "There is a new but growing trend in the defined contribution 401k marketplace known as 'Revenue Sharing Pricing' and for middle market plan sponsors looking for a way to control and reduce the long-term costs of their defined contribution retirement plans, it represents a significant positive development." (Matt Gnabasik via 401khelpcenter.com)

DOL Fiduciary Opinion Should Help Protect Employees from Some Breeds of Financial Planning Sharks
Excerpt: "A recent advisory opinion from the Department of Labor should help employers protect their retirement plan participants from financial planners who will no doubt continue to circle as 401(k) assets swell." (Employee Benefit News)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Editorial: Corporate Governance: Clean Up Books
Excerpt: "The accounting profession has funny rules. It remains legal, ethical and routine for companies to operate two sets of books, one for government tax collectors and another set for investors." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Sixth Circuit Addresses Fiduciary Status of Third-Party Administrator
Excerpt: "On April 13, 2005, the Sixth Circuit ruled that a third-party administrator may be considered an ERISA fiduciary even though it does not exercise discretionary control over plan assets." (erisa on the web)


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!)

24th Annual Creative Pension & Benefits Seminar
in Ohio on May 5, 2006
presented by Ohio State University Office of Continuing Education (CEd), The

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Alabama on May 10, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Illinois on May 10, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in California on May 10, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in California on May 11, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in California on May 11, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in California on May 11, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in California on May 16, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Pennsylvania on May 16, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Texas on May 16, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Pennsylvania on May 17, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Florida on May 17, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Ohio on May 17, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in New Jersey on May 18, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Ohio on May 18, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Texas on May 18, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Missouri on May 9, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Alabama on May 9, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Illinois on May 9, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in South Carolina on May 9, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in North Carolina on May 10, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Illinois on May 11, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in California on May 16, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Texas on May 17, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Florida on May 18, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

The National Scene: Implications for the Employer Agenda
in Ohio on April 27, 2006
presented by WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefits Network) Cleveland Chapter


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Aetna Statement in Support of Massachusetts Law to Cover the Uninsured
(Aetna)

Chicago ASPPA ABC to Host Sal Tripodi
(ASPA Benefits Council of Chicago)

Founder of PensionRiskMatters.com to Moderate Expert Panel about Financial Impact of Pensions on Corporate America
(Eastern Finance Association)

National Survey Reveals Parents Need to Be Educated on Health Insurance Risks, Options for their College Grads
(Assurant)

Total Value/Total Return(TM) Tells the Pitney Bowes Experience: Healthier Employees Translate into a Healthier Bottom Line
(GlaxoSmithKline)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Employee Benefits Tax Senior or Manager
for Deloitte
in CA

VP-Employee Benefits Product Service Quality
for CUNA Mutual Group
in WI

Life & Health Agent - Group Benefits
for Hancock Insurance Agency
in LA

Director of Corporate Benefit Plans
for Shelter Insurance Companies
in MO

Sr Client Communication Specialist/Sr. (Defined Contribution Plan Administration)
for Standard Insurance Company
in OR

Defined Benefit Calculation Analyst
for Diversified Investment Advisors, Inc.
in MA

Financial / Investment Specialist
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in NY




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

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