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August 25, 2006
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Now Online: Information Copy of 2006 Form 5500-EZ Instructions (PDF)
11 pages; Instructions for Form 5500EZ Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan. The IRS is eliminating the filing requirement for the Schedule P, Annual Return of Fiduciary of Employee Benefit Trust. (U.S. Department of Labor)

Now Online: Information Copy of 2006 Form 5500-EZ (Hand Print Version) (PDF)
6 pages; Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan. (U.S. Department of Labor)

Now Online: Information Copy of 2006 Form 5500-EZ (Machine Print Version) (PDF)
3 pages; Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan. (U.S. Department of Labor)

AARP's Automatic 401(k) Overview for Employers
Excerpt: "Automatic enrollment boosts participation among lower-income employees . . . . But keep in mind that if all you do is automatically enroll employees' contributions into a conservative fund, it does not move the dial for your employees' retirement security. It should be combined with sensible default funds other than conservative funds and if not a higher savings rate than 3%, then add an automatic escalation feature that will increase their savings on a periodic basis." (AARP)

Appendix: Additional Figures - EBRI/ICI Participant-Directed Retirement Plan Data Collection Project (PDF)
Excerpt: "The August 2006 issue of Perspective covers the year-end 2005 data gathered by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI) in their collaborative effort -- the EBRI/ICI Participant-Directed Retirement Plan Data Collection Project. This Appendix provides supplementary tables and charts for the August 2006Perspective." (Investment Company Institute and Employee Benefit Research Institute)

401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2005 (PDF)
20 pages. Excerpt: "The report includes two sections: the first focuses on account balance information for participants who consistently maintained accounts between 1999 and 2005; the second provides a snapshot of all 401(k) participants at year-end 2005, and reviews their account balances, asset allocations, and loan activity." (Investment Company Institute and Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Employees Working Longer Face Rewards and Drawbacks
Excerpt: "Employees who are considering working beyond the required retirement age must balance the rewards with the penalties, according to a new report from the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. 'Workers who delay retirement earn more money, accumulate additional Social Security, and build more wealth in employer-sponsored pensions,' the report notes." (BenefitNews Connect)

Pension Challenges in an Aging World
Excerpt: "Pensions are high on the policy agenda in many developed countries and, increasingly, in developing countries also. This reflects the challenges that demographic changes are creating for pension systems, whether pay-as-you-go (PAY) or funded. The broad directions of that demographic change are common, but the precise nature of the pension policy challenge in each country reflects two uncommon factors . . . ." (Finance & Development, International Monetary Fund)

Segal Company's 2005 Survey of the Funded Position of Multiemployer Plans (PDF)
16 pages. The 2005 Survey of the Funded Position of Multiemployer Plans found that average withdrawal liability funded ratio in the 2005 survey was 80 percent -- down from 83 percent in the previous survey. The 2005 survey also found that 11 percent of the surveyed plans were fully funded -- down from 17 percent in the previous survey. 'Segal recommends that Boards of Trustees may wish to consider the following actions in light of recent experience: . . . " (The Segal Company)

The Risk Pool -- American Pension History and Today's Crisis
Excerpt: "The key to understanding the pension business is something called the 'dependency ratio,' and dependency ratios are best understood in the context of countries." (The New Yorker)

Commentary: Age Discrimination in Early Retirement Incentives
Excerpt: "[O]ffering a 55-year-old worker the same incentive to retire early as you're offering [a 70-year old] is quite meaningless: the septuagenarian will be out taking cruises with what the younger retiree needs to penny-pinch just to hang on until Social Security kicks in. Or from the employer's perspective, age-neutral incentives simply are going to cost too much for the older workers to be of any value in encouraging retirement among the younger workers." (Pensions & Benefits Weblog)

Lay Estate Deal Near on Enron Retirement Fund
Excerpt: "The estate of the late Ken Lay is expected within days to reach a settlement in a lawsuit involving Enron's retirement fund that could bring thousands of former workers a step closer to receiving their share of a payout." (Houston Chronicle)

New Jersey Tax Reform Panel Wants More Data on Public Pension Double-Dippers
Excerpt: "A special task force last year determined basing pensions on a single government position -- along with other moves to limit pensions for those with multiple public jobs -- would save state government $2.7 million and local governments $4.5 million per year." (Asbury Park Press)

Overview: Pension Act Affects Public and Private Company Employee Stock Ownership Plans (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The Act provides much needed relief for combined ESOPs and 401(k) plans that use automatic enrollment, and creates a new nondiscrimination safe harbor for automatic enrollment plans that also provide for minimum employer contributions." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Panel Says New Jersey State Pension System Locked In
Excerpt: "The Office of Legislative Services, a nonpartisan agency comprising state workers, told the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform on Wednesday that any law the Legislature passes to diminish retirement benefits for retired or active workers with more than five years in the system would be unconstitutional." (CourierPostOnline.com)

Another Question is Answered in the Who's the Employer Q&A Column
Dutch Company owns 100% of a U.S. subsidiary; the subsidiary has a plan that excludes nonresident aliens. A Dutch national transfers to the U.S. subsidiary 1/1/06. An ERISA attorney tells me that the definition of 415 compensation includes income regardless of nature or location, and hence the Dutch national's compensation in Euros for 2005 will determine his HCE status for 2006. Correct? The plan defines compensation as Form W-2 compensation. (BenefitsLink.com)

Payment of 12b-1 Fees Out of Mutual Fund Assets Is Not Prohibited Transaction
Excerpt: "The payment of distribution-related expenses, known as 12b-1 fees, by a mutual fund, from mutual fund assets to an unrelated broker, is not the payment of a sales commission in violation of PTE 77-3 . . ., according to an Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) opinion letter." (CCH Pension and Benefits)

Issue Brief: The Value of Defined Benefit Plans (PDF)
6 pages. The executive summary of the issue brief is at http://www.actuary.org/pdf/pension/db_summary_july06.pdf. (American Academy of Actuaries)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Domestic Partner Benefits for All Couples?
Excerpt: "One of the first complaints under the state's new g.ay-rights law comes with a surprising twist: A former Honeywell employee is challenging employers' ability to provide domestic-partner benefits to same-sex couples but not unmarried straight partners." (The Seattle Times)

Overview: SEC's New Proxy Statement Rules for Executive Compensation (PDF)
9 pages. Excerpt: "The final rules provide additional guidance on determining when disclosure of target performance levels may be omitted if such disclosure would cause competitive harm for the registrant." (Dechert LLP)

National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in Private Industry in the U.S., March 2006 (PDF)
35 pages. This summary presents NCS benefits data for: Worker characteristics; Establishment characteristics; and, Geographic areas. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

ASPPA's Retirement Plan Fundamentals (RPF) Webcourses
Nationwide on August 11, 2006
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

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)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Labor Department Solicits Nominations for 2007 ERISA Advisory Council
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

External Wholesaler
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in PA

Compliance Analyst
for T. Rowe Price
in MD

Analyst - Health and Benefit
for Mercer HR Services
in MA

Client Relationship Manager
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in GA

Qualified Plan Administrator or Qualified Plan Actuary
for Midwest Benefit Consultants, Ltd.
in IL




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