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October 17, 2006
Today's sponsor: ASPPA • Working for America's Retirement™

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2006 ASPPA ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Join us on October 22-25 at the Washington Hilton & Towers! Attend special sessions specifically related to the Pension Protection Act ’06. Hear the "Washington Update" from Brian Graff and the popular "Keeping Current" session given by Sal Tripodi. Visit over 80 vendors with new ideas and products in the Spacious exhibit hall. Register NOW @ www.asppa.org.

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

Text of DOL Advisory Opinion 2006-08A on ERISA Sec. 404(a) on Behalf of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Excerpt: "[DOL was asked] Whether a fiduciary of a defined benefit plan may, consistent with the requirements of section 404 of ERISA, consider the liability obligations of the plan and the risks associated with such liability obligations in determining a prudent investment strategy for the plan." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Overview of Important Action Items Regarding Plan Amendments and Restatements for 2006
Excerpt: "This article is both an update and a reminder of plan amendments and restatements that employers may need to adopt by the end of 2006 or early in 2007 in order to keep their plans qualified. The applicable actions, if any, that an employer must take vary based on the type of qualified plan . . . as well as the type of plan document being used . . . ." (SunGard Corbel LLC)

Federal Employees' Thrift Savings Plan Board Reviews Legislative Agenda
Excerpt: "With less than a month left before the midterm elections, the board of the Thrift Savings Plan has started crafting a legislative agenda for the next Congress that may include requests for new rules for automatic enrollment and for default investments." (GovExec.com)

Comments on the PPA Provision for Qualified Default Investment Alternatives
Excerpt: "Once again, the Department of Labor has chosen to make a directed investments rule too complex. This time, it is the QDIA. Section 624 of the Pension Protection Act amended ERISA 404(c) to create the QDIA concept and required that the Department of Labor issue regulations defining a QDIA by 2/1/2007. The DOL has now issued proposed regulations." (403(b)-457 Plans Blog)

First Steps in Building a 401(k) Investment Menu
Excerpt: "The first step in selecting investments for a 401(k) plan is to evaluate the needs of your plan and your participants. The number and types of investments, as well as the investment services, should be 'prudent and suitable' for your employees to use effectively for accumulating ­retirement benefits." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

DOL Seeks Better Fee Disclosure from Retirement Plans
Excerpt: "Ever since mutual funds became the investment option of choice for 401(k) plans, figuring out who gets paid what for running those plans has been a challenge. Many recordkeepers and other service providers no longer are compensated directly from the plan or via a check from the plan sponsor. Instead, they take a cut of the various asset-based charges -- 12b-1 fees, sub-agent transfer fees, and such -- built into the cost structure of those mutual funds." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Account Balances in the Thrift Savings Plan Could Grow to $200 Billion by Year's End
Excerpt: "TSP participants, like many other investors, are benefiting from the recent run-up in the stock market." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Agway Company Stock Suit Cleared for Further Proceedings
Excerpt: "401(k) participants have won approval to proceed with their fiduciary breach lawsuit against their employer alleging the plan improperly made matching contributions with company stock when the employer's financial health was deteriorating." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Bankrup.tcy Court Allows 401(k) Plan Loan Repayments Deducted from Income
Excerpt: "The US Bankrup.tcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio has ruled that a debtor's payment to repay a 401(k) loan does not qualify as disposable income in determining whether the debtor's filing for relief is considered abuse." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Why Risk-Based Funds Fell Out of Favor in 401(k) Plans, and Target-Date Funds Got Very Hot
Excerpt: "Some purists still prefer risk-based funds for 401(k) plans, says Dick Davies, senior managing director, institutional defined contribution services at AllianceBernstein L.P. 'They believe it is overly simplistic to treat all similarly aged participants the same. With the risk-based portfolio, you can at least tailor it broadly for participants,' he says." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

ERIC Files Amicus Brief in Hurlic v, Southern California Gas Co.
Excerpt: "ERIC October 11 filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals urging affirmance of a district court grant of summary judgment in favor of Southern California Gas Co. and rejecting the appellants' contention that cash balance plans violate ERISA's age discrimination provisions." (The ERISA Industry Committee)

IRA Owner Permitted to Pursue Claim of IRA Exclusion in Bankrup.tcy
Excerpt: "The Bankrup.tcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that a woman whose claims that an individual retirement account (IRA) was exempt from the bankrup.tcy estate were denied, may now pursue her claim that the IRA was not property of the estate." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Overview: Upcoming IRS Guidance Will Include Rules on Electronic Notices
Excerpt: "Final regulations on electronic notices to plan participants are expected to be issued by the end of the year, according to Alan Tawshunsky, IRS Assistant Chief Counsel for Employee Benefits." (CCH Pension and Benefits)

Comments on Pension Fund Risk Management
Excerpt: "Applied to pension funds, the issue of a risk culture and taking steps to act before the fact is huge. ERISA fiduciary breach litigation is skyrocketing as are ERISA liability insurance costs, not to mention the economic urgency for mitigating risk in the presence of large and growing liabilities." (Pension Risk Matters)

Pension Protection Act of 2006 Resource Center
Excerpt: "This webpage is intended to be a resource for legal developments pertaining to H.R. 4, The Pension Protection Act of 2006, signed into law on August 17, 2006. [The page was created by B. Janell Grenier.]" (Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP)

Opinion: Boomer Retirees Are Safe But Later Generations May Face Financial Struggles
Excerpt: "The more than 78 million baby boomers approaching retirement face a financial landscape that offers reasons for hope, but the generations following them have reasons to worry. There are signs of trouble on the horizon: Retirement costs are going up as life expectancy increases; the long-term solvency of Social Security is in question; traditional pension plans are disappearing; and the national savings rate has been negative since early 2005." (CNN.com)

U.S. Senator Is Alarmed at Hedge Fund Risk to Pensions
Excerpt: "U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley said in a letter to federal agency heads on Monday that he is alarmed at risks posed by hedge funds to pension funds." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Second Circuit Defers to SEC in Determining How to Distribute Funds Under Sarbanes-Oxley (PDF)
Excerpt: "The Second Circuit's opinion also highlights the tension between the priority assigned to claims under the Bankrup.tcy Code and the SEC's broad discretionary authority under the Fair Funds provision. The Second Circuit's decision effectively resolves that tension in favor of the SEC by providing that the SEC does not have to follow the Bankrup.tcy Code's claim priorities when developing a distribution plan." (Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP)

Extensive Overview of Tabular Disclosure of Executive Compensation (PDF)
21 pages. Excerpt: "This legal alert specifically addresses general information regarding the revisions to the tabular disclosure rules for executive compensation." (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

Old Stock Options Still Haunt an Insurer
The article examines the granting of stock options at UnitedHealth Group. (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Overview of Equity Compensation Design: Market-Based Restricted Stock
Excerpt: "One particularly attractive feature of market-based restricted stock is that it generally has a significantly lower grant date fair value than restricted stock that is subject to only service vesting conditions." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

Survey Says Companies Scaling Back on Equity Awards
Excerpt: "Companies are scaling back on equity compensation awards and stock options and are not filling the gap with other types of incentive compensation, according to a recent survey of mid-sized employers." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Benefits Boot Camp
in Ohio on November 9, 2006
presented by Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB) - Cleveland Chapter

Cash Balance Plans: Back on the Table
Nationwide on October 17, 2006
presented by Business Insurance Magazine

Legislative Update
in District of Columbia on November 14, 2006
presented by Capital Chapter ISCEBS

The Pension Protection Act 2006-- Planning for small businesses under the act.
Nationwide on October 19, 2006
presented by Executive Benefits Design Group

Trends in Transparency: SEC Disclosure Requirements and 409A Update
in Ohio on October 19, 2006
presented by WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefits Network) Cleveland Chapter


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Consultant 401(k)
for Qualified Benefits, Inc - QBI (a wholly owned subsidiary of BenefitStreet, Inc.)
in CA

Sr Account Manager, Regional Services (Defined Contribution Plans)
for Standard Insurance Company
in OR

Integrated Benefits/BOL/SDB/Small Business Project Mgr.
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

Training Specialist
for Defined Contribution Retirement Plans
in VA

Adjustment Specialist
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Team Leader for the Research and Adjustment Department
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Principal Analyst
for University of California
in CA

Regional Vice President - Carolinas
for BISYS Retirement Services
in NC, SC, VA

Regional Vice President
for BISYS Retirement Services
in ANY STATE

Client Service Manager
for Mammini Company
in CA

Senior Administrative Analyst
for University of California
in CA

Senior Benefits Administrator
for Milliman, Inc.
in WA

Retirement Plan Consulting Manager
for Invesmart, Inc.
in TX

Plan Consultant
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in NY




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