Retirement Plans
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October 16, 2006
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ASPPA Fall 2006 Exams – Early Registration Ends September 30

ASPPA’s 2006 fall proctored examination window will be November 1 - December 15. Early registration ends September 30, and the final registration deadline is October 31.
Register online at To learn more about ASPPA exams, visit the Education and Examination Web page at Complete your exams this year. Sign up today!

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

Overview: Pension Protection Act -- Rollovers, Hardship and Other Retirement Plan Distributions (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "This [Update] examines key changes to the rules governing distributions from defined contribution retirement plans." (Lockton Benefit Group)

Sample Letter to Send to Employer with Fee Disclosure Worksheets for the Company 401(k) Plan
Excerpt: "The completed worksheets should reflect the total actual or estimated fees for the Plan and any revenues which your organization receives related to your servicing relationship with the Plan." (Prudence Mann via Fiduciary Investor)

NCTR's Federal E-News, October 2006 Edition
This edition includes: Treasury Told of Implementation Issues with New Pension Bill; Section 403(b) Final Regs Delayed Until 2008 at the Earliest; Health IT Bill Stuck in Limbo: No Action on Conferees; Use of Stock Options Continues to Attract Congressional Interest; GPO/WEP Repeal; and, Sarbanes-Oxley Four Years Later: Prestigious New Group to Suggest Reforms. (National Council on Teacher Retirement)

Advisory Opinion Offers Clarity on Liability-Directed Investing for Pension Funds
Excerpt: "While some of the wording in the opinion was characteristically 'obtuse,' in Advisory Opinion 2006-08A, the DoL said that plan fiduciaries would not violate their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) 'solely because the fiduciary implements an investment strategy for a plan that takes into account the liability obligations of the plan and the risks associated with such liabilities and results in reduced volatility in the plan's funding requirements.'" (; one-time registration required)

Pension Markets in Focus, issue 3, October 2006 (PDF)
16 pages. Excerpt: "The third issue of this newsletter focuses on an overview of the financial wealth accumulated under funded pension arrangements, trends in pension fund assets, pension markets of selected non-OECD members, asset allocation, pension reserve funds and the OECD classification." (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Financial Affairs Division)

Retirement Plan Fees Settlement Could Create Cost Disclosure Standard
Excerpt: "New York officials are hoping an agreement they have hammered out with a large insurer will establish a model for retirement program fee disclosures." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Will the 'For Life' Concept In Annuities Last?
Excerpt: "[I]s the use of annuities for lifetime income planning purposes here to stay? There is certainly development activity in this area. For instance, in the last year, the 'guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit for life' (GMWB for life) feature has stirred 'for life' interest in many quarters, starting with variable annuities last year and now moving into index annuities (IAs)." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Overview: Pension Protection Act of 2006: Enhanced Distribution Provisions (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "This issue [of Regulatory Briefs Alert] discusses enhancements to the retirement plan distribution rules." (The Vanguard Group, Inc.)

New Jersey Assembly Leader Vows to Implement Government Pension Reforms
Excerpt: "Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. said reports of lawmakers making large salaries off of multiple government jobs 'undermines the public's confidence in the Legislature' and vowed . . . to implement reforms." (GANNETT STATE BUREAU via

Court Rules Plan Must Comply with Posthumous QDRO
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has ruled that a pension plan administrator erred in denying benefits to the spouse of a deceased participant who submitted a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) after the participant's death." (; one-time registration required)

Employee Ownership Update for October 13, 2006
NCEO Executive Director Corey Rosen discusses a delay in the final regulations, and their effective date, on deferred compensation under Internal Revenue Code Section 409A. In other news, most companies in the 'Best Bosses' competition held by Winning Workplaces share ownership broadly, and new research confirms that employee stock ownership (through an ESOP, etc.) affects corporate performance mainly when paired with employee involvement programs. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

ING to Give New York Teachers Refunds on Retirement Investments
Excerpt: "Insurance giant ING Group has agreed to refund $30 million to educators who were steered by their union into retirement funds that carried high fees and little-disclosed payments to union coffers." (Los Angeles Times; one-time registration required)

PSCA Survey Finds Lower Company Stock Holdings, More Investment Options
Excerpt: "The participation rate in 401(k) plans has crept up from 77.3% in 2004 to 77.7% for the 2005 plan year, according to the 49th Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plans conducted by the Profit Sharing/401k Council of America (PSCA). Plans with 1-49 participants reported the highest participation rate (84.6%), while plans with 1,000-4,999 participants reported the lowest participation rate (73.0%)." (Spencer's Benefits Reports)

WP Abstract: Baby Boomer Retirement Security: Roles of Planning, Financial Literacy, Housing Wealth
Excerpt: "Instrumental variables estimates show that planning behavior can explain the differences in savings and why some people arrive close to retirement with very little or no wealth." (National Bureau of Economic Research; paid subscription or individual purchase required to retrieve full-text)

Some Random Reflections on the PPA and Cash Balance Plans
Excerpt: "The PPA has some interesting cash balance provisions, including a prohibition on cash balance plans whose interest credits exceed market rates of return." (Pension & Benefits Blog)

2006 Winners in the Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security
Excerpt: "It's the fifth year that The Principal has sponsored the program that honors growing businesses (five to 1,000 employees) that offer excellent benefit programs that give employees an edge on achieving long-term financial security." (; one-time registration required)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Comments: Reduction in Equity from Implementation of FAS 158 for Pensions & OPEBs of the S&P 500
Excerpt: "[The blogger has] been reading with interest Merrill Lynch's Market Impact of Pension Accounting Reform, which features an estimate of FAS 158's projected hit to equity due to come this yearend for most U.S. sponsors of pension and other postretirement retirement benefits." (Pensions & Benefits Weblog)

Preparing for an Aging Workforce: A Focus on New Hampshire Employers
Excerpt: "Of the 826 businesses with at least three employees that responded to the questionnaire... 66 percent say its is important to retain institutional knowledge lost when employees retire or leave, but only 21 percent have a formal process in place" (AARP)

Employee Benefits Developments, September 2006 Edition, Covers Rulings, Opinions, and Cases
Excerpt: "This edition provides information on regulatory updates; tax-free medical benefits must exclude unrelated beneficiaries; federal rule blocks state taxation of nonresident partner benefits; Eighth Circuit 'pushing the envelope' on evidence of mailing COBRA notice; Seventh Circuit rules in favor of cash balance plan designs; fiduciaries did not use employee contributions for improper purposes; and, Improper notarization invalidates spousal waiver." (Hodgson Russ LLP)

Tax Urgency for Backdated (or Misdated) Stock Options: 409A Penalties Absent Action in 2006 (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "On October 4, 2006, the Treasury Department and the IRS signaled their intent to apply penalties under Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code to those who have received stock options or stock appreciation rights (aka SARs) that were backdated or mis-dated, granted to Section 16 reporting persons, and not subject to corrective amendments before the end of 2006." (Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP)

Executive Compensation Consultant, Frederic W. Cook & Company, and Wealth Creation for Executives
Excerpt: "Concerns about shareholder value, corporate governance and the economic and social impact of soaring C.E.O. pay has led to mounting criticism of compensation practices across the nation." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

2nd Annual Care Continuum Implementation and Cost Benefit of Workplace Weight Management Strategies
in Illinois on June 28, 2007
presented by World Congress

3rd Annual Care Continuum Innovation in the Cost-Appropriateness of Behavioral Health & Wellness
in Georgia on July 12, 2007
presented by World Congress

3rd Annual World Health Care Congress-Europe
Nationwide on March 26, 2007
presented by World Congress

4th Annual World Health Care Congress
in District of Columbia on April 22, 2007
presented by World Congress

DC Aspects of the Pension Protection Act with Ted Benna
in Ohio on November 2, 2006
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Cleveland

The 2nd Annual Executive Forum on Rx Benefit Management
in California on July 16, 2007
presented by World Congress

The Public Health Congress
in District of Columbia on July 16, 2007
presented by World Congress

The World Congress Leadership Summit on Medicare
in District of Columbia on May 7, 2007
presented by World Congress

World Health Care Congress - Asia
Nationwide on July 16, 2007
presented by World Congress

World Health Care Congress - Middle East
Nationwide on November 12, 2007
presented by World Congress

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

IRS Names New Head for Employee Plans Rulings & Agreements
(Internal Revenue Service (IRS))

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Actuarial Consultant
for RSM McGladrey Retirement Resources
in IL

Sr. Operations Manager
for CitiStreet
in FL

for Interactive Retirement Systems, Ltd.
in MN

Retirement Services District Manager
for ADP Retirement Services
in MO, NC, OH, PA, TX

Retirement Plan Assistant
for North Dallas Law Firm
in TX

Retirement & Investment Services Manager
for WEA Trust Member Benefits
in WI

Client Relationship Manager-Mid Market
for Great-West Retirement Services
in IL, NY, OH, TX, WI

401(k) / Profit Sharing Administrator
for Hackett Pickering & Associates, Inc.
in FL

Benefit Calculation Developer
for Vanguard
in PA

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