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July 18, 2006
Today's sponsor: www.ftwilliam.com

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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: Pressure Builds for Pension Reform by August
Excerpt: "According to information provided to ERIC, discussions last week centered on transition rules to the new 100 percent funding target that appears in both bills." This overview also reports on various other tentative agreements regarding pension funding among the conference leaders as understood by ERIC. (The ERISA Industry Committee)

Text of Letter from Participants' Advocates to Pension Bill Conferees Concerning Cash Balance Plans (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "Here are our specific concerns: Unlike the Senate bill, the House bill provides no protections for older employees.... The House bill would encourage practices that adversely impact older employees.... The House bill's design language is so broad it could lead to a range of new abuses.... The House bill would sanction new forms of discrimination.... [and the] House bill would adversely affect lower-income and shorter-service employees." (Pension Rights Center, National Retiree Legislative Network, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare)

Al Lurie Comments on the Decline in Defined Benefit Plans: 'The Canaries Sing But They Sing Not To Thee'
Excerpt: "The subject is pensions. The mine is the deepening descent of defined benefit plans as they continually plunge in popularity, with a corresponding decline in numbers; while the canaries are the signs of danger in the mine. Thee are all those who can play a role in digging pensions out of this hole, but do not heed the warnings." (Alvin D. Lurie on BenefitsLink.com)

Roth 401(k) Picking Up Speed?
Excerpt: "Once the rules were cleared up and employers' concerns were eased, adoption of the product sped up in the second quarter, according to some observers." (Investment News; registration or subscription required)

Work: The New Retirement Plan
Excerpt: "Americans may need or want to work longer. But do employers want older employees? The answer, unfortunately, is a tad murky, according to a new Center for Retirement Research at Boston College report. Some do and some don't." (MarketWatch.com via Human Resource Executive Online; one-time registration required)

Opinion: Simplifying the Transfer of Defined Benefit Plan Assets to Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "In its monograph, The Future of Retirement Security: Challenges Facing Working Americans and the Companies They Work For, HR Policy recommended legislation that would simplify the process of terminating a fully funded DB plan by permitting employers to automatically transfer the accrued benefit into the employee's defined contribution account." (HR Policy Association)

Federal Employees Ill-Prepared for Retirement, Survey Finds; One Expert Notes Why They Shouldn't Be
Excerpt: "Federal workers are paid exceedingly well compared to most Americans, and they have extraordinary benefits compared to most Americans,' [Dallas] Salisbury said. Federal employees can save the equivalent of 60 percent of their annual take-home salary and, 'given that they have retiree medical [coverage], they have a near assurance of never running out of money.'" (FederalTimes.com)

New York State's Pension Sweeteners Top $189 Million
Excerpt: "New York state's Legislature is extending a trend of approving costly pension bills, adding to at least $64 million of obligations from 2005. [The] Legislature is extending a trend of approving costly pension bills, with this fiscal year's pension sweeteners carrying a total price tag of at least $189 million, according to a pension memo from the Manhattan Institute's Empire Center for New York State Policy." (NewYorkBusiness.com)

Overview: Distribution, Reporting Requirements and Other Testing for Excess Contribution Correction
The chart covers an Excess Contribution Corrected Within 2-1/2 Months. (McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Chart: Comparison of Age-Weighted, Defined Benefit and Cash Balance Plans
The plans are compared by their features. (McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Richard Hochman Testifies at IRS Hearing on Proposed Regs Governing Practice before the IRS
Excerpt: "[Mr.] Hochman endorsed the creation of the Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) designation, at the June 21st Hearing at IRS Headquarters. The ERPA designation had previously been suggested by the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt/Government Entities (ACT), but was left out of the Proposed Regulations. [The testimony is at http://www.mhco.com/Commentary/2006/Rich_ERPA_Testimony_062106.htm.]" (McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Appendix: Additional Data on the U.S. Retirement Market in 2005 (PDF)
16 pages. Excerpt: "This Appendix provides supplementary tables and charts with additional detail for the July 2006 Fundamentals [report, 'The U.S. Retirement Market, 2005']." (Investment Company Institute)

The U.S. Retirement Market, 2005 (PDF)
12 pages. Excerpt: "Americans' retirement assets reached a record $14.5 trillion in 2005, a 7 percent increase over 2004. Retirement assets now account for more than one-third of all household financial assets." (Investment Company Institute)

UK Firms Say DB Contributions Shaving Profits, According to Survey
Excerpt: "UK companies funnel an average of 19.6% of their employees' salaries into defined benefit pension plans, and 17% of firms say the payments are hurting profit gains, according to a survey released [yesterday]." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

U.K. Firms Commit to Pensions, According to Survey
Excerpt: "U.K. companies are pumping large slices of workers' salaries into workplace pensions and these payments are biting into profits, according to a survey published [yesterday]." (Reuters Limited via Business Insurance)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Draft Abstract for EITF Issue No. 06-5: Accounting for Purchases of Life Insurance (PDF)
9 pages. Excerpt: "Life insurance policies are purchased by entities for a variety of purposes, including funding the cost of providing employee benefits and protecting against the loss of 'key persons.' These types of policies have generally been known as corporate-owned life insurance (COLI) or bank-owned life insurance (BOLI)." (Financial Accounting Standards Board)

Overview: IRS Identifies Common Errors in Form 5500 Filing
Excerpt: "After analyzing Form 5500 data, the IRS's Employee Plans Multiemployer Compliance Planning Group has determined that there are three common errors being made when multiemployer plan sponsors complete Form 5500. All three errors involve completion of Part 1 -- Annual Report Identification Information." (CCH Pension & Benefits)

Overview: Employee Benefits Security Administration Release of Advance Copies of 2006 Form 5500
The target page provides a short review of the changes. (CCA Strategies LLC)


We thank and invite your attention to our additional sponsor: The Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits at The John Marshall Law School

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You Have the Potential. We Have the Programs.

Are you working in human resources? Are you dealing with health insurance plans or pension benefits? Learn how you can broaden your experience with an M.S. degree (for non-lawyers) or LL.M degree (for attorneys) in employee benefits from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago during an information session from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, August 2. Learn how these unique programs can help advance your career.

(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!)

Guns and Hoses 2006 Conference
in Nevada on September 17, 2006
presented by Institute for International Research

Labor Department Hosts Free Workshop to Help Michigan Employers Understand and Meet Private Sector Employee Benefits Law
in Michigan on August 9, 2006
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Two Quarterly Interest Rates Set
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))

Disaster Relief Announcements
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))

Legal Assistant Today Declares Corporate Focus Will Change Your Professional Life
(Two-Step Software, Inc.)

NASD Foundation Study Examines What Makes Elderly Susceptible to Investment Fraud
(NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers))

White Horse Advisors VP Selected to Lead Industry Panel
(White Horse Advisors, LLC)

Tips for Cutting Health Insurance Costs From the National Association for the Self-Employed
(National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE))


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Senior Plan Administrator
for WESPAC
in CA

Signing Bonus / Senior DC Plan Administrator
for Berlin, Ramos & Company
in ANY STATE

Project Analyst 3 - Retirement Plan Services Product Management
for U.S. Bank
in MN

Executive Compensation Consultant
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Daily 401k Plan Administrator
for The Newport Group
in NC

Senior Pension Administrator/Consultant
for Chambers Benefit Group, APC
in NM

Wanted: Employee Benefits Broker
for Boutique Benefits Firm for New York Metro Area
in NJ

Defined Contribution 401(k) Specialist -- Administration and Conversions
for American Pensions, Inc.
in SC

Sr. Defined Benefit Consultant and Administrator
for WESPAC, a BenefitStreet company
in CA

ERISA Attorney
for Schloss, a BenefitStreet company
in NY

Global Benefits Analyst
for Towers Perrin
in CT




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