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June 14, 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™

Don't miss the 2006 Western Benefits Conference!

The famed Bellagio Hotel is the site of this year's WBC, held July 16-19. Sponsored by the Western Pension & Benefits Conference and ASPPA, there are more than 50 educational sessions on retirement, health, welfare, fiduciary issues and more plus networking activities such as an exhibit hall, golf outing, Sunday reception and entertainment on Monday evening.

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

Pension Reform Law Not Likely to Provide Firms Protection from Older Workers' Lawsuits
Excerpt: "The legislative effort stems from a change in the pension plans offered by many American businesses. More than 1,800 companies have switched their pensions from defined-benefit plans to so-called hybrid plans." (The Philadelphia Inquirer; one-time registration required)

Opinion: Strange Bedfellows Undermining Private Pensions (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "It might not surprise many Americans to learn that there are two powerful camps that have vastly different ideas about how to deal with what is left of the voluntary employer-sponsored 'defined benefit' pension system. But it might surprise some to learn that although the philosophies underlying these approaches differ greatly, the result of implementing either one will be the same: to undermine the current pension system." (Buck Consultants)

Audio: Pension Chief Departs with Words of Warning
Excerpt: "Bradley Belt took over the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. as big companies began dumping retirement plans on the federal government. Now he's leaving with dire warnings about the private retirement system." (Morning Edition via National Public Radio)

Opinion: Addressing the Insolvency of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "The inherent structural risks of having the government insure -- through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) -- the future commitments of defined benefit pension plans has resulted in a reported deficit of $23 billion. The present value of the long-term cash deficit has been estimated at $92 billion." (Alex J. Pollock via American Enterprise Institute)

Bankrup.tcy Judge Upholds Termination of United Pilots' Pension Plan
Excerpt: "The Pilots' plan will be terminated as of December 30, 2004, and handed over to the PBGC, ...." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Retirement Savings Plan Unveiled by Vermont Lawmakers
Excerpt: "The proposed Vermont Voluntary Retirement Savings Program would make it easier for small businesses to offer their employees 401(k) types of plans, which are pre-tax savings options, Spaulding said. The proposed savings program also might offer individuals the opportunity to open Individual Retirement Accounts if they are self-employed or work for an employer who doesn't offer a retirement savings plan." (Burlington Free Press)

Overview: Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) Updated and Expanded
Excerpt: "This update replaces the 2003 version of the program and the new guidance is generally effective September 1, 2006 (with certain provisions becoming effective May 30, 2006) although plan sponsors may choose to begin applying any of the new rules on May 30, 2006." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

FedEX Plea to Dismiss ERISA Claim in Drivers' Class Action Suit Denied
Excerpt: "A federal judge rebuffed [yesterday] a request by FedEX lawyers to throw out the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) claim in the nationwide class action suit against the carrier by some of its drivers. who charge that the package delivery service has unlawfully denied them pension benefits." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Two U.S. Pension Funds Sue Over Stock Options Backdating
Excerpt: "Two more large US pension funds filed suits against companies that are tied up in the mounting investigation over stock option backdating. According to the London's Financial Times, Heavy & General Laborers' Pension and Annuity Funds sued security software company McAfee in a federal court in the Northern District of California on Monday, alleging 'constructive fraud' through the backdating of stock options." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Backdating of Options Might Spur New Rules
Excerpt: "Regulators may not yet be finished with the string of rules affecting how companies determine and disclose executive compensation, thanks to the recent scandal involving companies that have allegedly backdated their stock option grants to executives." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Stock Option Questions May Hit Close to Home (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The backdating of stock option grants by public companies continues to be a focus of news stories and law enforcement investigations. What initially appeared to be an issue associated with some technology companies may in fact be more widespread, possibly extending to hundreds of companies." (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)

Insurers May Pay for Misuse of Stock Options
Excerpt: "Insurers providing liability insurance to corporate directors and officers may have to pay for legal expenses -- and perhaps even multimillion-dollar damage awards -- for company officers that manipulated stock options to benefit their managers, industry executives said." (Reuters via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

SEC to Clarify Rules on Lucrative -- and Potentially Abusive -- Backdating of Options
Excerpt: "The Securities and Exchange Commission is to issue a statement, possibly as early as next month, clarifying the agency's view of when current law allows backdating of stock options -- picking a date when the stock was at a low point to be the date of the award, thereby immediately guaranteeing a profit." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

HMO Rate Increases Continue to Decline for Fourth Consecutive Year, According to Hewitt Associates
(Hewitt Associates LLC)

Statement of PBGC Acting Executive Director on U.S. District Court Decision Concerning United Airlines Pilots' Pension Plan
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Compliance Team Analyst
for Administaff
in TX

Global Compensation Consultant
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Legal Consultant
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Health Benefits Analyst
for Segal Company
in NY

Paraplanner & Retirement Plan Specialist
for Jones & Roth, PC
in OR

Benefits - COBRA / FSA Administrator
for CheckPoint HR
in NJ

New: Exclusive In-House Employee Benefits Counsel Opportunity - Heathrow, Florida
for McCormack Schreiber Legal Search Inc.
in FL

Business Analyst - Outsourced Benefits Administration
for Workscape
in ID, MA

Project Manager
for Workscape
in ID, MA

Sr Pension Analyst - Retirement Plan Services
for T. Rowe Price
in MD

Defined Contribution Consultant
for Mercer Human Resource Consulting
in DC




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