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June 30, 2006
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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)

Overview: Mandatory PBGC e-Filing Begins Now
Excerpt: "For plans with at least 500 participants at the end of the prior plan year's Form 5500, PBGC filings must be made electronically on and after July 1, 2006 for plan years beginning on and after January 1, 2006.... In preparation for the mandated electronic PBGC filings, plan sponsors should consider taking the following steps ..." (The Segal Company)

Stride Rite Freezes Pension Plan and Will Add to 401(k)
Excerpt: "Stride Rite said it will on Dec. 31 stop the accrual of future benefits in its traditional pension plan. It will increase matching contributions to its 401(k) plan beginning Jan. 1, 2007, and match the first 6 percent of an individual's salary deferrals dollar for dollar. It said the changes affect most employees and senior management." (Reuters)

403(b) Book Author Learns 403(b) Regs Probably Delayed Until Fall
Excerpt: "I have it on good authority (Source at the IRS) that the 403(b) proposed regs that were supposed to be released and finalized [on June 30th] will be delayed till the fall. In addition, the effective date of the regs will be delayed by at least a year as well. When the proposed regulations become finalized they won't be effective until January 1st, 2008 (they were due to become effective January 1st, 2007)." (Scott Dauenhauer of Meridian Wealth Management)

GM Might Get PBGC Pension Waiver on GMAC Sale
Excerpt: " General Motors Corp. may receive U.S. government approval before September for an agreement to sell a majority of its finance unit for $14 billion, people familiar with the matter said. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., a federal agency that insures U.S. pensions, will likely approve the sale without putting conditions on how GM uses proceeds from the transaction, said the people, who didn't want to be identified because the agreement isn't final." (Bloomberg News)

Opinion: $1 Trillion Shock Awaits States, Local Governments: Joe Mysak
Excerpt: "How much is it going to cost states and localities to pay for public employees' health care and insurance after they retire? Try between $700 billion and $1 trillion, say two new reports on the subject." (Joe Mysak via Bloomberg News)

Massachusetts Could Face $13.3b Retirement Benefit Gap
Excerpt: "The figure, released this week by the state comptroller's office, is the first-ever tally of the total cost of all future healthcare, life insurance, dental, and vision benefits -- known collectively as unfunded liabilities -- for retired state employees." (The Boston Globe)

Editorial: Airline Lobbyists Aim to Gut Pension Reform.
Excerpt: "The airlines and their allies argue that they need special treatment to keep their pension plans afloat; they don't have the money to fund their promises properly, so if forced to do so they will terminate their pension plans and dump them on the taxpayer-backed insurance system." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Employee Ownership Update for June 29
NCEO Executive Director Corey Rosen reports on another angle in the stock options backdating controversy: Microsoft and other companies had policies to grant at the lowest price in a 30-day period for fairness reasons. In other news, a Credit Suisse study examines cases where option expensing affected the stock price. A Harvard Business Review study on executive pay argues that companies adjust pay, including equity grants, so managers are paid in line with their peers. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Testimony on Automatic IRAs before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Finance on June 29, 2006
'Pursuing Universal Retirement Security Through Automatic IRAs' is the joint written Statement of David C. John and J. Mark Iwry given as testimony before the Subcommittee on Long-Term Growth and Debt Reduction of the Committee on Finance of the United States Senate on June 29, 2006. (The Heritage Foundation)

Another Question is Answered in the Who's the Employer Q&A Column
If you have a controlled group situation with only the owner in both organizations, must the compensation from each entity be used for plan purposes? Or, because there are no NHCEs, can one of the entities establish a plan and not include the compensation from the other entity? (BenefitsLink.com)

No Breach of Fiduciary Duties in Airlines' Company Stock Cases
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals have each ruled that plan fiduciaries did not breach their fiduciary duties by allowing company stock to remain as an investment option in two separate airlines' retirement plans." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Testimony at Hearing on 'Small Business Pension Plans: How Can We Increase Worker Coverage?'
The hearing was held on June 29, 2006. Panelists: Dr. Craig Copeland, Employee Benefit Research Institute; Steve Bjerke of Edward Jones; Daniel Hall, StanCorp Equities, Inc.; Paula Calimafde, Small Business Council of America; David C. John, The Heritage Foundation; and J. Mark Iwry, The Retirement Security Project and The Brookings Institution. (Senate Committee on Finance, Subcommittee on Long-Term Growth and Debt Reduction)

Model Letter for Companies to Congressional Offices on Hybrid Plan Provision in Pension Bill
2 pages. Excerpt: "Re: Final Pension Legislation Must Provide Comprehensive Design-Based Clarification for Hybrid Plans and Avoid Onerous Mandates and Litigation Carve-outs" (American Benefits Council)

Overview: DC Court of Appeals Strikes Down 'Hedge Fund Rule' (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "Last week, on June 23, 2006, the D.C. Court of Appeals unanimously vacated the Hedge Fund Rule and remanded it to the SEC for further review. The Court, however, also stayed the effectiveness of its ruling pending the SEC's decision to appeal its ruling." (Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Working Paper: Earnings and Women's Retirement Security (PDF)
41 pages. Excerpt: "By and large, those who continue to work until their mid-60s or beyond do not end up poor. The question ... explored in this study is what determines women's labor force activity at older ages and what determines when they retire." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

IRS Clarification: No Signature Required on Form 5558 (Form for Extension of Form 5500 Deadline) (PDF)
Reader Chris Trapatsos of Benefits Management, Inc. (Fairport NY) points out that, at page 3 of the most recent edition of IRS Employee Plans News, the IRS clarifies that no signature is required on a Form 5558, which is the form used to obtain an extension of the deadline for filing Form 5500 ('Annual Return/ Report of Employee Benefit Plan') or Form 5500-EZ. A signature is required if the extension is for the filing of Form 5330 ('Return of Excise Taxes Related to Employee Benefit Plans'). (Internal Revenue Service)

Same-Gender Marriage Developments Force Benefit Plan Sponsors to Reconcile Conflicting Messages
Excerpt: "Federal and state courts, legislatures, and voters in the United States have recently weighed in on the debate surrounding the legal recognition of same-gender marriage. Unfortunately, those voices give employers a number of mixed messages with respect to how they should treat same-gender couples under their benefit plans." (McDermott Will & Emery)

Stock Options Possibly Mishandled at Apple
Excerpt: "Without providing details, the Cupertino, Calif.-based maker of personal computers and the iPod music player said [yesterday] its own internal investigation had uncovered ''irregularities'' in employee stock options issued between 1997 and 2001. The problem threatens to raise questions about the accuracy of past financial statements." (AP via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

More Companies Ensnared in Options Furor
Excerpt: "In expanding investigations, at least 51 public companies are under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Justice Department for possible manipulation of options grants to boost their value to the recipients." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Fall Forum 2006
in Illinois on September 18, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Fall Forum 2006
in Georgia on October 2, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Fall Forum 2006
in Maryland on October 23, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Fall Forum 2006
in California on November 13, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Health Law Compliance Seminar August 2 and 3 in Des Moines, Iowa
in Iowa on August 2, 2006
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Qualified Plan Document Issues-- Keeping Plans Current (and Qualified) Under the New IRS Procedures
in Georgia on July 27, 2006
presented by ABC of Atlanta

Web/Telephone Seminar: 403(b) Plans
Nationwide on August 31, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Advanced Distribution Issues and Plan Loans
Nationwide on August 23, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Amending and Restating Qualified Plans for EGTRRA
Nationwide on August 30, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Comparing Roth and Traditional IRAs
Nationwide on August 10, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Coverdell Education Savings Accounts
Nationwide on August 8, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: General Traditional IRA Distributions
Nationwide on August 22, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Introduction to Qualified Retirement Plan Distributions
Nationwide on August 9, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: IRA Beneficiary Distributions
Nationwide on August 17, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: IRA Required Minimum Distributions
Nationwide on August 16, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Roth IRA Distributions
Nationwide on August 15, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE) Plans
Nationwide on August 29, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Plans
Nationwide on August 24, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

News from USW: New Benefit Is Latest Innovation in USW's Continuing Commitment to Retirees' Security
(United Steelworkers of America (USWA))

Employee Fiduciary Corp. Offers Free Plan Design Analysis
(Target Marketing Solutions, Inc.)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Retirement Rotation Advisor
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

EAS Executive Trading Plans Manager
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

Pension Compliance Analyst (9830)
for Securian Financial Group
in MN




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