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May 26, 2006
Today's sponsor: InvestLink

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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)

Legal and Legislative Uncertainty Continues for Hybrid Plan Sponsors
Excerpt: "As Congress entered its April recess, hybrid plan sponsors remained in a state of sustained uncertainty about the legal status of their plans. Legislation that would prospectively clarify their status is pending before a pension reform conference committee ..., but the House and Senate provisions differ significantly and negotiations are expected to be contentious. " (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Chile to Revamp Private Social Security System
Excerpt: "When Chile implemented its private social security system in 1980, it was considered something of a revolution in Latin America, where poorly financed, often broke, state-controlled systems were the rule." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Overview: IRS Releases Final Revisions to Relative Value Regulations
Excerpt: "Under the relative value regulations, plan administrators must compare the relative values and monthly payments for each available optional form of benefit, using the plan's QJSA (or universally available single-life annuity) as the benchmark. The QJSA explanation given to participants before they make their benefit election must disclose the comparisons so participants can make a fully informed choice." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Colorado Governor Signs Bill To Cover $11 Billion Pension Plan Shortage
Excerpt: "A newly-signed bill will protect 68,000 retirees and 175,000 active workers in state and local governments who are enrolled in the state's pension plan. That's what Edie Sonn, spokeswoman for the Colorado Coalition on Retirement Security, said of the proposal that was signed into law by Gov. Bill Owens [yesterday]. It covers a projected $11 billion shortfall in the Public Employees Retirement Association. " (thedenverchannel.com)

Pension Reform Negotiations Continue in Congress
Excerpt: "Both the House-approved Pension Protection Act (PPA, H.R.2830) and the Senate approved Pension Security and Transparency Act (PSTA, S.1783) would impose additional funding requirements on plans that are considered a greater risk to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). But the bills use different criteria for determining at-risk status." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Retirement Plan Distribution Land Mines
Excerpt: "You've built up a nice nest egg and are closing in on the date when you plan to retire. You have a lot of decisions to make about your retirement plan accounts. For example, should you roll over money from your 401(k) plan into an IRA? To figure that out, all you need to do is call up your financial adviser, who will know exactly what to do, right?" (Bankrate.com)

Illinois Teachers' Pension Chalks Up Sudan Divestiture
Excerpt: "Clearing your conscience is not without a price, the Teachers' Retirement Service of the State of Illinois is learning, as the cost of complying with a new state law to dump Sudanese investments hit $1.2 million and continues to rise." (BenefitNews Connect)

Pioneer Institute Study Says Massachusetts State Pension Loopholes Cost $3B
Excerpt: "The Massachusetts state pension system is riddled with 'abuses, loopholes, and exceptions,' that produce an estimated $3 billion in added pension liabilities. The manipulation that leads to inflated pensions increases the required payment into the system by $125 million a year, the think-tank contends." (Boston Herald)

Eager to Boost Your Retirement Fund? Believe It or Not, a Pension Might Be the Answer
Excerpt: "Many moons ago, the term 'pension plan' evoked images of avuncular corporate bosses handing out gold watches, and lifetime benefits, to retirees. Now the old-fashioned retirement vehicle is making a comeback--not with big corporations, but with smaller private companies." (Inc. Magazine)

Savings, Portfolio Choice, and Retirement Expectations (PDF)
24 pages. Excerpt: "Studying household investment behavior is essential for understanding the full consequences of old age social security benefits. Using data from six waves of the Health and Retirement Study, we analyze the dynamics of portfolio composition before respondents start claiming social security benefits. We consider ownership as well as amounts held of several types of assets and debts." (University of Michigan Retirement Research Center)

Large Canadian Pension Plans Might See Some Relief from Solvency Requirements
Excerpt: "An Educational Note issued by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries in April 2006 could alleviate solvency requirements for pension plans with at least $1 billion in solvency liabilities and for smaller plans that provide indexed retirement benefits." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Security in Retirement: Towards a New Pensions System in the United Kingdom
Excerpt: "The White Paper 'Security in retirement: towards a new pensions system' is a large document. To make access to the PDF version of the White Paper easier, it has been split into a number of separate files. The 'Contents' file gives more detail on what information is included in each file. The Executive Summary is a shortened version of the full document." (Department for Work and Pensions, United Kingdom)

Government Proposes Significant Changes to Social Security Benefits in Portugal
Excerpt: "On May 1, 2006, Prime Minister JosÚ Socrates laid before parliament his plans for reforming pension provisions, including linking the retirement age to average life expectancy and tying increases in pension payouts to the growth in the gross domestic product. The government is in discussion with the largest trade unions and the services and commercial employer federations concerning the proposed changes." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Attorney Sherwin P. Simmons Dies
We are saddened to learn of the death on May 24, 2006 of highly-esteemed lawyer Sherwin P. Simmons. He was a frequent speaker at ALI-ABA conferences. He had more than 50 years of experience with compensation and benefits, business tax and transactional practice, estate and trust planning, executive compensation and benefits, pension, ERISA, and benefit plan controversies and litigation, qualified plans and welfare benefit plans, and other areas of legal practice. He will be missed! (Buchanan Ingersoll PC)

Overview: FASB's Phase 1 Proposals Contain Several Controversial Provisions
Excerpt: "On March 31, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) released its exposure draft of proposed phase 1 changes to accounting for defined benefit pensions and other postretirement benefit plans. Some of the more controversial changes could significantly affect corporate financial statements and impose new administrative burdens on some companies." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Lawmakers Address Issue of Executive Pay
Excerpt: "Lawmakers [yesterday] addressed an issue that rankles company shareholders and the public -- executive pay packages and perks -- at a time when revelations of excess surface almost daily. A senior Democrat, Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, wants Congress to give shareholders a greater say over executive compensation." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Reminder: Deadline for Bonus Deferral Election Is June 30
Excerpt: "Advisers will want to inform their clients that they have until June 30 to defer bonuses earned during the 2006 calendar year and paid in 2007, allowing highly compensated employees to save even more money for retirement." (The Advisor)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated as of May 23, 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)

The BenefitsLink Newsletters Will Not Be Published on Monday, May 29
We'll be observing Memorial Day on Monday, May 29. (BenefitsLink)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

The Hartford Details High Business Interest in Roth 401(k)
(The Hartford)

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Of New Jersey Offers Self-Insured Employers Resolution Health's Direct-To-Member Communications Suite
(Resolution Health)

UnumProvident Research Points to Value of Integrated Claim Management
(UnumProvident)

Benefit & Risk Management Services Launches Vbas« V3
(Benefit & Risk Management Services, Inc.)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Investment Education Consultant
for Fidelity Investments
in NJ, WI

Conversion Specialist
for Fifth Third Bank
in OH

Installation/Conversion Technical Analyst
for WySTAR
in MN

Account Manager
for Buck Consultants
in GA

Tele Sale Professionals (Inside Sale - Business to Business)
for Corporate Synergies Group, Inc.
in NJ

Benefits Manager
for TIAA CREF - Fortune 100 Financial Services Company
in NC

Benefit Consultant (Sales Agent)
for Corporate Synergies Group, Inc.
in NJ

Retirement Member Services Manager, Communications
for San Diego County Employees Retirement Association
in CA

Licensing & Commission Analyst
for Corporate Synergies Group, Inc.
in NJ

Consultant
for Louis Kravitz & Associates
in CA

Pension Plan Administrator - 401K/Profit Sharing
for Alan T. Nahoum, Inc.
in NY

Vice President
for Lockton Dunning Benefits Company
in TX

Account Executive
for Lockton Dunning Benefits Company
in TX

Sr. Account Executive
for The Principal Financial Group
in CA




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