Retirement Plans
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April 25, 2006
Today's sponsor: ASC & The ASC Institute

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ASC helps retirement plan professionals increase efficiency and profitability through its software systems, documents and education. Software includes DC 401(k) administration & valuation, Defined Benefit, Compliance Testing, DV Direct daily valuation, AIM case management and more. With ASCi plan documents you can quickly and easily create customized prototype/volume submitter plan documents, efficiently maintain historical plan information, create complete amendment packages for all your clients at one time and more. Click to learn more or email

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

This Time is the Sky Really Falling on DB Plans? Has FASB Administered the Coup de Grace? (PDF)
7 pages. Excerpt: "[T]here are presently four matters any one of which has the clear and present potential to destroy what's left of the defined benefit pension scheme: the pending pension reform legislation ... the revised rules of accounting for pension liabilities proposed by [FASB] ... the decision of the 7th circuit court of appeals in the IBM cash balance litigation ... and ... Code section 409A ... ' (Expanded version of an article previously published on Leimberg Information Services.) (Alvin D. Lurie)

Pension Conferees Get Back to Work with Clock Ticking
Excerpt: "An agreement may be reached by the end of May on a final bill that likely will require businesses to fund 100 percent of their pension promises. One of the major sticking points is the use credit ratings to determine whether a company must increase payments to its pension plan." (Workforce Management)

Overview: Pension Reform Update (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "[T]he [conference committee] staff has been instructed to refrain from speaking or meeting with any outside sources, groups or individuals." (Buck Consultants)

Treasury Official Cautions Legislators on Pension Reform Bill
Excerpt: "As congressional negotiators resume work this week to try to come up with a compromise pension funding reform bill, the Bush administration is urging legislators to keep special interest provisions out of the final bill.... Special interest provisions ... cited as 'troubled' include: A provision in the Senate-passed pension bill that would allow commercial airlines to fund pension plan liabilities over 20 years ..." (Business Insurance; one-time registration required)

NPR Report: Capitol Hill Pension Debate
Excerpt: "Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are squabbling over legislation that regulates the amount of money corporations must pay into pension funds. Madeleine Brand talks to Tess Vigeland of Marketplace about what's at stake and why negotiations are so tense." (National Public Radio)

Unions' Advice on 403(b) Products Is Failing Teachers
Excerpt: "Some of the nation's largest teachers unions have joined forces with investment companies to steer their members into retirement plans with high expenses that eat away at returns.... The National Education Assn., the largest teachers union in the country with 2.7 million members, collected nearly $50 million in royalties in 2004 on the sale of annuities, life insurance and other financial products it endorses." (Los Angeles Times)

Educator Travels Country Educating Teachers About 403(b) Fees
Excerpt: "[Dan Otter] thinks district administrators, who often take a hands-off approach to the supplemental plans they offer, should use their leverage to negotiate lower fees. And in one school system, Otter has found an unlikely ally: a former employee of a financial services firm who's helping winnow out the district's higher-priced vendors." (Dan Otter in Teacher Magazine via; free registration required)

Text of PBGC Semiannual Regulatory Agenda (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "The agenda lists regulations that are currently under development or review or that PBGC expects to have under development or review during the next 12 months. The effect of this agenda is to advise the public of PBGC's current and future regulatory activities." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)

Some California Firefighters Get Paid More in Retirement Than While Employed
Excerpt: "[S]ome supervisors qualify for pensions under two separate sections of the law, each with its own 90 percent limit." (Sacramento Bee)

AARP Starts Selling Mutual Funds
Excerpt: "The three funds-- conservative, moderate and aggressive-- are designed to simplify investment choices for seniors, AARP Financial said in a news release issued Monday. Each fund, carrying the AARP brand, invests in a diversified mix of stocks, bonds and other securities, with the allocation based on the level of risk, it said." (AP via Washington Post; one-time registration required)

DOL Grants Exemption for Broker-Dealer to Sweep Uninvested IRA Funds to Free Credit Balance Account (PDF)
3 page overview. Excerpt: "In its first individual prohibited transaction exemption published in 2006, the Labor Department conditionally authorized a broker-dealer to sweep uninvested IRA funds to a Free Credit Balance account, permitting the broker-dealer the use of those funds in its operations. PTE 2006-1, 53 Fed. Reg. 14005 (March 20, 2006)." (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Text of CFO Trade Group Comments to SEC on Proposed Executive Pay Disclosure Rules (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "Under the proposed rules, there is the possibility that some compensation would be double counted.... [T]here can be double counting of option and restricted stock awards." (Financial Executives International)

Minnesota Attorney General Keeps Heat on UnitedHealth
Excerpt: "Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch, stepping up his attack on huge stock options at UnitedHealth Group Inc, urged pension funds to withhold votes for four directors seeking re-election to the health insurer's board next month, the Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday." (Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Text of DOL Semiannual Regulatory Agenda (PDF)
47 pages. Includes regulations of the Employee Benefits Security Administration in the prerule, proposed rule and final rule stages as well as 'long-term action' projects. (U.S. Department of Labor)

We thank and invite your attention to our additional sponsor: International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

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Banner ad for International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Convenient, affordable training courses from the International Foundation

Ideal for those new to benefits and compensation, courses include
  • Introduction to Retirement Plans
  • Introduction to Health Care and Group Benefit Plans
  • Introduction to Compensation
Developed by industry professionals, courses can be taken at any time from any computer within a six-month period. Content is updated continuously. These courses are an ideal way to economically train your support staff.

(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!)

Plan Loans - Basics and Beyond
Nationwide on May 23, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Benefit Software's Fringe Facts® Communicator 7.0 Introduces "FastFacts" Setup Wizard: Speeds Deployment of Employee Benefit Statements for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
(Benefit Software Inc.)

Interested in More Advice, Employees Call for Improved Benefits Communications Based on Life Stage

Aetna Disability Claims Analysis Shows Connection Between Depression and Increased Disability Durations

New Online Course Helps Prevent Smoking-Gun E-Mails in the Workplace
(Interactive Employment Training, Inc.)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Employee Benefits Associate
for Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP
in IL

Processing Specialist, Non-Qualified Retirement Plans
for The Newport Group, Inc. (Charlotte, NC location)
in NC

Retirement Plan Administrator
for MVP Plan Administrators Inc
in NC

Operations Delivery Leader
for Fidelity Investments
in NC

Retirement Services Shared Resource Center Conversion Specialist
for SunTrust Banks, Inc.
in GA

Manager, Benefits & Payroll
for United States Golf Association
in NJ

Death Claims Processor
for Laborers' National Pension Funds
in DC

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

Published by:, Inc.
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(407) 644-4146
Fax: (407) 644-2151

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