BenefitsLink
Retirement Plans
Newsletter
To BenefitsLink home page Fill your job openings fast by advertising on BenefitsLink

August 1, 2006
Today's sponsor: Benefit Software Inc.

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for Benefit Software Inc.

Do your employees know the value of their employer paid benefits?

Chances are they don't. We can help.

Benefit Software has over 25 years of experience helping thousands of employers communicate the full value of their benefits.

From traditional personalized printed statements to secure 24/7 employee benefits communication portals, we have the right solution for your organization.

Email sales@bsiweb.com or call 800-533-1388 to request free samples.


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

Report: House Passes Broad Pension Bill; Senate Outlook Uncertain (PDF)
13 pages. Excerpt: "The pension bill largely mirrors the benefit-related provisions in a long-stalled House-Senate conference report on HR 2830. These include comprehensive pension funding reforms and other significant changes affecting hybrid, defined contribution, nonqualified deferred compensation, and health plans. Most funding reforms would take effect for the 2008 plan year . . . It's unclear whether the Senate will act on the bill before its scheduled adjournment on August 4." (Mercer Human Resource Consulting; reprinted by permission)

Mercer's GRIST Report: House Passes Broad Pension Bill; Senate Outlook Uncertain (PDF)
13 pages. Excerpt: "The pension bill largely mirrors the benefit-related provisions in a long-stalled House-Senate conference report on HR 2830. These include comprehensive pension funding reforms and other significant changes affecting hybrid, defined contribution, nonqualified deferred compensation, and health plans." (Mercer Human Resource Consulting via The ERISA Industry Committee)

Overview: Pension Reform Bill on the Road to Becoming Law (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The bill is a stand-alone pension bill based on provisions agreed to by the House and Senate conferees. . . . It is anticipated that H.R. 4 will be considered by the Senate later this week before its summer recess begins. It is uncertain whether the Senate will pass this stand-alone bill as is. If any amendments are made in the Senate, then H.R. 4 will have to be reconciled in a conference committee after Congress returns from its recess in September." (Buck Consultants)

Paginated Table of Contents for HR 4, Prepared by ERIC (PDF)
6 pages. (The ERISA Industry Committee)

Detailed Summary of Tax, Trade and Other Provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The bill includes a number of significant tax incentives to enhance retirement savings for millions of Americans . . . ." (U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means)

Frist Plans Talks on U.S. Airline Pension Relief
Excerpt: "Concern about airline relief included in a final bill to overhaul the U.S. private pension system will soon be discussed by key senators, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said [yesterday]." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Pension Bill Stirs Talk on Retiree Risk
Excerpt: "Some retirees in Colorado think hedge funds are too risky a place to invest their pension assets, no matter what Congress decides on a pending pension bill." (The Denver Post)

How Does a Roth 401(k) Compare to Other Plans?
The overview provides background on the Roth 401(k) and a chart comparing it to the Roth IRA and the traditional 401(k) plan. (The McHenry Group, LLC)

Extending Self-Directed Retirement Plan Investment Options beyond Mutual Funds
Excerpt: "It is certainly not unusual these days for retirement plans to include a lot more than just traditional mutual funds as investment options. In the case of Smithfield Foods, which labored to coordinate its 17 401(k) plans, the new kid on the block was an annuity product, Mary Fisher, corporate benefits manager, Smithfield Foods, told attendees at a discussion panel on alternative investment options for larger plan sponsors." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

FASB Gets an Earful As CFOs Protest Key Details of Pension-Accounting Reform
Excerpt: "Most CFOs appear ready to accept the concept that future pension obligations should be reflected on today's balance sheet -- 87 percent agreed with that statement in an April survey conducted by Grant Thornton. But if the devil is in the details, so too is the ire, and CFOs say that the manner in which FASB proposes to address the issue is unworkable." (CFO.com)

After Defined Benefit Pension Plan Freeze, HR Still Must Meet Plan Participant Obligations
Excerpt: "Knowing what continuing work HR must do to manage a defined benefit plan after a freeze is essential if employers are to meet their employees' needs and the organization's ongoing obligations. Experts say any defined benefit plan freeze gives rise to legal, practical, communication and employee relations issues." (Society for Human Resource Management)

Overview: Final Regs that Exclude Employees of Certain Tax-Exempt Entities from Coverage Testing
Excerpt: "The only substantive modification made in the final regulations was to track EGTRRA's statutory language to refer not to the 501(c)(3) employer sponsoring the 403(b) plan, but rather to any 501(c)(3) employer in the controlled group, when describing how to determine which employees are excludable -- a change that might be more restrictive than the proposed regulations." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Defined Benefit Pension Plans: To Freeze or Not to Freeze?
Excerpt: "A growing number of larger companies have moved to freeze their defined benefit plans with the hopes of decreasing risk and cost, but whether those goals can be realized remains a controversial issue." (PLANSPONSOR.com)

Britain's Answer for Future Retirement Income: Possible Lessons for the United States (PDF)
Pages 1-4 of 12 pages. Excerpt: "Although Congress is not about to overhaul U.S. retirement policy, Britain has very significant changes on the table, with the prospect of action later this year: The government is moving to raise the eligibility age for state pensions, create a new mandatory system of private savings accounts, and require both employer and worker contributions to the accounts." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

An American Perspective on the Chinese Pension System (PDF)
Pages 5-7 of 12 pages. Excerpt: "[T]he Chinese government established a new pension system in 1997 for urban workers based on combined payroll taxes of 28 percent-- with normal retirement at age 60 for men and 50-55 for women. Employers now pay approximately 20 percent of the wages of all their employees toward a specified schedule of benefits." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Stock Options Update: Indictments and IRS Investigations (PDF)
3 pages. (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)

Overview: DOL Proposes Expanded Reporting of ERISA Plan Service Provider Compensation (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "While service providers are not required to file anything with the DOL under the proposed rule, their ERISA plan clients will ask service providers to provide the required information and are required to report service providers that fail or refuse to do so." (Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP)

Overview: Proposed Revisions to Form 5500 Would Add New Short Form 5500
Excerpt: "A key part of the proposed forms revision is the establishment of a new 2-page Form 5500 -- SF Annual Return/Report (Short Form or Short Form 5500) as a new simplified report for certain small plans." (CCH Pension & Benefits)

Employment Costs Rise 0.8 Percent from March to June, 2006
Excerpt: "Private sector benefit costs rose 0.7 percent for the June quarter, following a 0.4-percent gain in the previous quarter." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Plans
in Washington on September 26, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in Colorado on October 10, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in Kansas on October 17, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in Washington on September 27, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in Colorado on October 11, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in Kansas on October 18, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Washington on September 29, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Colorado on October 13, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Kansas on October 20, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Washington on September 28, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Colorado on October 12, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Kansas on October 19, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Washington on September 29, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Colorado on October 13, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Kansas on October 20, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HSA Benefits Implementation
in Massachusetts on September 26, 2006
presented by IQPC

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Washington on September 28, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Colorado on October 12, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Kansas on October 19, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HSAs: New Rules for Employer Contributions-- A Practical Guide to Comparability and the Cafeteria Plan Exception
Nationwide on August 17, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Web/Telephone Seminar: 72(t) Payments
Nationwide on September 26, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Conversions and Recharacterizations
Nationwide on September 19, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

ftwilliam.com Announces Its Competitive Upgrade Program
(ftwilliam.com)

ShareBuilder(R) Expands Retirement-Savings Options With First ETF-Based Roth 401(K) Plan
(ShareBuilder)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Regional Director
for HEREIU Trust Funds
in NJ

Director, Client Services
for Actuarial Consultants, Inc.
in CA

Plan Administrator for Retirement Plan & ERISA Specialists
for Dana Consulting Group
in IL

Compliance and Communication Administrator
for Vanguard
in PA

Supervisor / Senior Plan Administrator
for Howard Simon & Associates, Inc.
in IL

Pension Administrator
for The Senex Group
in CA

Documentation Specialist
for The Senex Group
in CA

Pension Administrator (all experience levels)
for Benetech, Inc.
in AZ, CA, CO

Senior Compensation Analyst
for SONY BMG Music Entertainment
in NY

Employee Benefits Tax Manager
for Deloitte Tax LLP
in VA

Client Service Rep
for Milliman
in TX

Senior 401(k) Plan Administrator Guru
for The Pension Group, Inc.
in CA

HRIS Analyst - Benefits
for Charles W. Cammack Associates, Inc.
in NY




Handy Links:

NOTE TO AOL MEMBERS: PLEASE DO NOT REPORT THIS EMAIL AS SPAM. This email is not unsolicited. We do not send unsolicited email. This email is coming to you because you asked to receive it by entering your email address on our web page at

https://benefitslink.com/newsletter/

These emails are sent each workday except federal holidays.

This email has been published by:

BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park FL 32789
(407) 644-4146
Fax: (407) 644-2151

David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor

Copyright 2006 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.; except that you can forward this email in full (including this boilerplate part) or otherwise reprint this email in full (including this boilerplate part) without obtaining our permission.

Anyone can receive these emails; just have them sign up at this Web page: https://benefitslink.com/newsletter/

Housekeeping: