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November 21, 2006
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How Democrats Plan to Beef Up Your 401(k)
Excerpt: "Part of a Democratic proposal known as AmeriSave could match up to the first $1,000 put into new and existing retirement accounts annually by low-income and middle-class workers, funded partly by reducing a current tax credit." (The Boston Globe)

The Unified Fiduciary Monitoring Index: 2006 Update (PDF)
35 pages. Excerpt: "Long term successful investing requires both proper asset allocation and high asset quality. In this paper we focus on factors useful in identifying and maintaining high asset quality for each asset allocation subgroup. While no researcher can offer an infallible system, Unified Trust Company has found it is possible to identify specific investment criteria to better define asset quality." (Unified Trust Company, NA)

Opinion: Looking Back on 25 Years of Retirement Savings
Excerpt: "Reducing the complexity and cost of administration encourages many businesses, especially small and medium-sized companies, to offer retirement benefits. Simplicity also can help bolster IRAs, both for workers who lack an employer-sponsored plan and for covered workers who want to save more. Universal tax deductions for IRA contributions in the 1980s generated a great influx of savings dedicated to retirement, but that impetus was lost when IRA rules became restrictive and complex." (Paul Schott Stevens, InvestmentNews via Investment Company Institute)

Overview of Study: 401(k) Participation Rates and Asset Allocations Remained Steady in 2005
Excerpt: "Participants invested a majority of their assets in equities in 2005: 50% in diversified equity funds, 14% in balanced funds, 13% in company stock, 6% in bond funds, and 17% in short-term reserves. These figures remained steady in 2003, 2004, and 2005, after a lower equity allocation in 2002." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

A Syntheti(k) Pension Plan -- The Codification of Defined Contribution Developments
Excerpt: "The pension profession would probably be in a frustrated state of indecision and static practices had it not been for the emergence of the new field of behavioral finance. . . . The result of melding the disciplines of psychology and economics is facilitating a more functional way of managing defined contribution plans." (Stephen J. Lansing, Journal of Pension Benefits via 401khelpcenter.com)

Teachers Need to Do Homework on Their 403(b) Plans
Excerpt: "Only 19 percent of teachers' 403(b) cash, according to a Spectrem Group survey, is invested in mutual funds. In this $607 billion market, the vast majority of teachers have embraced expensive annuities." (The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Opinion: A Challenge to the Democratic Congress
Excerpt: "First, recognize the truth about the housing bust, the pension crisis, the Medicare disaster, and the record-smashing trade deficits. No more patches. No more palliatives. Second, end the retirement deception. Stop telling us you're going to fix these problems when you know, based on an objective review of the facts, that they're unfixable -- by any government." (Martin Weiss via Money and Markets)

Push to Add Real Estate Funds to Federal Thrift Savings Plan Is Rebuffed
Excerpt: "A consultant hired by the TSP said yesterday that the retirement savings program for government employees is generally comparable to 401(k) and similar plans offered in the private sector and did not recommend any changes." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Opinion: Face the Facts, then Solve the Pension Crisis in Alaska
Excerpt: "Alaska is the first state in the nation to implement . . . far-reaching and progressive public pension reform, and you can expect other states to follow our lead. It's going to take all of us working together, with the facts, to find the best solutions." (Senators Bert Stedman and Lyda Green via Stories in the News)

How Mutual Funds Use Monte Carlo Modeling to Help Your Retirement Planning
Excerpt: "Monte Carlo modeling is the name given to a statistical process that models multiple variables to get a range of probable results. Monte Carlo modeling is done on very sophisticated computer programs, which take into account the extreme ranges of potential results based on interactions with historic data. These results are far better than using historic 'averages' to make decisions, because real life is never average." (Chicago Sun-Times)

Technology Will Be Key to Insurers' Compliance with the Pension Protection Act of 2006
Excerpt: "Designed to help Americans save for retirement, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 also may influence insurers to make more investments in sales illustration tools, predictive modeling, business tracking applications, Web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA) to facilitate communication with customers . . . ." (Insurance & Technology)

Boomers to Younger Workers: Save Like we Say, Not as We Have Done
Excerpt: "Baby Boomers may not have been the best role models when it comes to retirement savings, and the overwhelming majority recognizes that and wishes they had done better. That was a key finding of a new nationwide survey of pre-retirees by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans about what Baby Boomers would do if they could turn back the clock and restart their retirement planning process, according to a news release." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: FASB Final Statement on Accounting Reform for Postretirement Benefits
Excerpt: "Sponsors must implement the balance sheet and the measurement date changes prospectively as of their first effective reporting date. They need not restate any financial statements for prior years on account of these changes." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Impact of Planned Accounting Changes for Pensions & Other Postretirement Benefits: An Updated Analysis (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "This paper updates [towers Perrin's] earlier analysis of the potential impact of the FASB proposal on the balance sheets of the U.S. Fortune 100 companies that sponsor DB plans to reflect year-end 2005 data, and comments on how that impact has changed during the first half of 2006. [Published July 2006]" (Towers Perrin)

Overview: PPA of 2006 Changes Affecting Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "Two provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) directly affect nonqualified deferred compensation plans that are subject to Internal Revenue Code (Code) section 409A. One provision expands participants' ability to take distributions from these plans. The other provision limits plan sponsors' ability to make contributions to these plans in certain situations." (The Prudential Insurance Company of America)

Overview: Principal Aspects of the Summary Compensation Table and the Director Compensation Table (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "In an effort to offer shareholders a clearer picture of each NEO's compensation package, the SEC added a new Total Compensation column to the SCT. This column represents the sum of the values set forth in the columns preceding the Total Compensation column of the SCT." (Powell Goldstein LLP)

Options Backdating Gains Focus in Institutional Shareholder Services 2007 Policies
Excerpt: "Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), provider of corporate governance and proxy voting services, said it is adopting a case-by-case analysis approach to the options backdating issue in its 2007 US, Canadian and international proxy voting policy updates, released [yesterday]." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Opinion: SEC Enforcement Practices Regarding Director Liability for Backdated Stock Options (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "As all law students learn, directors act as fiduciaries of the corporation's shareholders and owe duties of care and loyalty to the corporation and the shareholders. But American corporate law explicitly recognizes that, although directors are properly viewed as stewards, they are not compliance cops or hallway monitors." (Legal Times via Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Direct Contract and Provider Contracting in a P4P Environment
in California on December 14, 2006
presented by Healthcare Web Summit

What Stakeholders Should Expect from Medicare Part D in 2007
in California on December 6, 2006
presented by Healthcare Web Summit


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Project Manager - Human Resources and Retirement Outsourcing
for Fidelity Investments
in NC

Defined Contribution Conversions Project Leader
for New York Life Investment Management - Retirement Plans Services
in MA

Defined Benefit Client Account Manager
for New York Life Investment Management - Retirement Plans Services
in MA

AVP, Equity Compensation Underwriting Specialist
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

Senior Retirement Plan Administrator
for Tofias PC
in MA

Senior Plan Administrator
for American National Insurance Company
in TX

Retirement Plan Administrator
for MVP Plan Administrators, Inc.
in NC

Pension Administrator
for S. G. Raven & Associates
in PA

Benefits Analyst
for Vanguard
in PA

Benefits Analyst
for ADP Brokerage Services
in NJ

Manager Core Operations
for Vanguard
in PA

Manager Benefits
for ADP Brokerage Services Group
in NJ

Senior Pension Administrator
for American Fiduciary Corporation
in MA

Legislative Manager, Investment Products Division
for Hartford Life
in CT

DC Conversion Analyst
for Retirement Alliance, Inc.
in NH

Pension Administrator
for Pension Professionals, L.L.C.
in AZ

Assistant 401(k) Administrator
for Ingham Group
in FL




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