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December 6, 2006


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ERISA-Based Class Actions on Fees Charged to 401(k) Plans: Are They Really Just Excessive Fee Cases? (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "Rather than focus solely on the fees a particular plan service provider actually received from the plan and third parties, the complaints also attack the mutual fund expense ratios that generated revenue sharing payments. The complaints allege that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties by 'foregoing' or failing to 'capture' revenue sharing payments that were never paid to the plan's service providers." (Steptoe & Johnson LLP)

PBGC Deadlines Disaster Relief Announcement 06-25 Relating to Storms & Flooding in Louisiana
Excerpt: "The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is waiving certain penalties and extending certain deadlines in response to the severe storms and flooding beginning October 16, 2006, in Louisiana." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)

Overview: New Diversification Requirements for DC Plans Holding Employer Securities
Excerpt: "Publicly traded employer securities. Code Sec. 401(a)(35)(G)(iv) provides that the term 'employer security' has the meaning given such term by ERISA 407(d)(1). Under Code Sec. 401(a)(35)(G)(v), the term 'publicly traded employer securities' means employer securities which are readily tradable on an established securities market." (Pension & Benefits Week via RIA News Briefings)

Overview: IRS Guidance on Employer Securities Diversification Requirements (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The diversification and notice requirements do not apply to employee stock ownership plans ('ESOPs') if the ESOP (i) does not hold any employee elective deferrals or employer matching contributions, and (ii) the ESOP is a separate plan. Defined contribution plans that already permit greater diversification of employer securities than imposed by these new requirements are not exempt from these new rules or the diversification notice requirement." (Haynes & Boone LLP)

Opinion: Few 401(k)/403(b) Participants Understand Impact of Being Solely Responsible for Retirement
Excerpt: "The rules of the retirement game have changed, yet, many (if not most) 401(k) / 403(b) participants remain unaware. If this trend continues, the long term result could be unhappy workers, lawsuits, and increased costs related to protecting fiduciaries from liability." (Actium's Managed 401(k) / 403(b) Blog)

Investment Confidence No Assurance Retirement Savings Will Last
Excerpt: "A recent survey from New York Life Investment Management (NYLIM) found participants confident in their 401(k) investment decisions, but still not sure their savings will last in retirement." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Workers Give Minimal Attention to Retirement Funds, According to Survey
Excerpt: "The majority of workers polled by AllianceBernstein admitted they are unprepared or reluctant to monitor and manage their retirement plan investments." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Banks Are Learning to Serve Retirees in the Final Stages of Life
Excerpt: "The retirement market is prompting banks to rearrange internal structures, with new retirement czars at the helm and new products on the offer. After all, customers don't want to outlive their money." (U.S. Banker and SourceMedia, Inc.)

Some Ideas for Addressing Plan Termination Contingencies in Divorce Settlements
Excerpt: "The solutions, in many cases, are unwieldy and will be refined as we learn more about how plans are redefining their retirement plans and what will be acceptable to their administrators. But for the time being there is no easy, one method fits all, solution to address every possible contingency." (www.divorcenet.com)

Descendant's Life Expectancy Not Used to Determine Minimum Required IRA Distribution
Excerpt: "The life expectancy of a surviving spouse's son could not be used to determine the Code Sec. 401(a)(9) minimum required distributions from an individual retirement account (IRA) for years subsequent to the year of his mother's death, the IRS has privately ruled." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

The ABCs of ESOPs
Excerpt: "The ESOP doesn't affect a company's management operations. The company will rely upon a trustee, selected by its board of directors, who represents the workers when votes are required. Only in rare cases, such as the sale of the company or its recapitalization, would workers typically get a direct say." (Registered Rep)

Who is Responsible for Handling Employee Benefits in the Sponsoring Employer?
Excerpt: "A question that arises again and again centers on who 'owns' the benefits issue at a particular organization. There is increasing evidence that board members and C-level executives are becoming more involved, if not so already. [Target page notes a panel titled, 'Strategies for Managing Diverse Constituencies: Shareholders, Employees, Beneficiaries and Management,' which is part of an upcoming risk management conference, sponsored by Pensions & Investments.]" (Pension Risk Matters)

Pension Issues Create Need for Talent in Asset Management
Excerpt: "A report from executive search firm Russell Reynolds & Associates indicates the impact of pension reform, increased interest in liability-driven investing, and a heightened awareness of fiduciary responsibility has made the chief investment officer (CIO) role of plan sponsors, endowments and foundations more difficult and more complex." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

European Pension Complexity Driving Up Costs for Multinationals, According to Survey
Excerpt: "The complexity of Europe's diverse national pensions system is driving up costs for multinationals in the region, according to the first ever pensions survey of multinational companies published by Netherlands-based life insurance and pensions firm Aegon." (Insurance Business Review Online)

Italian Parliament Considers Allowing Supplementary Pensions
Excerpt: "Employers would be able to bypass national sectoral pensions and set up company supplementary pensions for their workers under a new law Parliament is considering. The government approved the draft finance law on September 29, 2006, and Parliament must examine and adopt it no later than December 31, 2006." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

UK: Consultation on Possible Inclusion of Investment Risk as Risk Factor in the Risk Based Levy (PDF)
79 pages. Excerpt: "The Board has considered this choice carefully, and has concluded that, at the present time, it would not be proportionate to introduce an investment risk factor into the risk based levy." (Pension Protection Fund)

Opinion: Treasury Secretary Paulson's Deal-Making Skills Face Test on Social Security Plan
Excerpt: "Paulson . . . will attempt to revive talks next year on President George W. Bush's proposal to restructure Social Security. To succeed, he will have to bridge the gap between two irreconcilable positions: Bush's demand for the creation of private investment accounts to fund the program, which the Democrats . . . adamantly oppose, and the Democrats' requirement that any change to the federal retirement system include a tax increase, which the president rejects." (Bloomberg)

Opinion: High Hopes for the Clinton-McCain Commission to Fix Social Security
Excerpt: "As the front-runners for their parties' presidential nominations, Sens. Clinton (D-N.Y.) and McCain (R-Ariz.) have a shared interest in getting Social Security off the presidential plate before January 2009." (The Washington Post; free registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: Requirements for Sec. 409A Reporting/Withholding & for Employer Securities Diversification (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "On November 30, 2006, the Treasury Department and IRS issued two important pieces of guidance. Notice 2006-100 provides guidance under Code section 409A on the reporting and withholding requirements for 2005 and 2006 with respect to deferrals and amounts includible in income under that provision. Notice 2006-107 provides transitional guidance on the new diversification requirements under the [PPA] for employer securities held by defined contribution plans." (Miller & Chevalier Chartered)

City of Columbia, Missouri, Plan Would Offer Domestic Partner Benefits
Excerpt: "The city of Columbia would become one of four governments in the state that offer health care benefits to domestic partners, including same-sex couples, if the City Council follows through with a recommendation from the Employee Benefits Committee." (Columbia Missourian)

Public Employee Same-Sex Benefits in Alaska Proving to Be No Issue and Little Cost
Excerpt: "Never mind the legal chaos at the state level, confused further by the swearing in of a new governor Monday. The municipality, the Anchorage School District and the Alaska Railroad are all moving ahead with plans to provide benefits for same-sex partners of employees." (The Anchorage Daily News)

Hay Group's Executive Edition, No. 3, 2006
Excerpt: "In this issue: Regulatory - Executive Employment Agreements: Why, When, and What - Addressing the Challenge of the New Executive Pay Disclosure Rules; Data - 2006 Survey of Executive Severance Policies; Trends and Hot Topics - Increasing Accountability for Executive Compensation within Not-for-Profit Organizations." (Hay Group)

Principal Survey Finds Concern about the Future
Excerpt: "Almost three-quarters of employees (71%) and half of retirees (50%) said they were very concerned about their long-term financial future, according to the latest Principal Financial Well-Being Index." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Lawmakers Expected to Target Stock Option Tax Laws
Excerpt: "Capitol Hill watchers expect the new Congress to try eliminating a corporate-tax deduction that encourages companies to award executives with stock options . . . ." (Investment News; free registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Do-It-Yourself Compliance Reviews for Cafeteria Plans and Health Plans -- Ten Ways to Identify and Fix Problems Before They Cost You
Nationwide on November 30, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Basics Series #2: Working With Employee "Cash or Deferred" Arrangements -- What You Need to Know About Section 401(k)
Nationwide on January 30, 2007
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

U.S. Labor Department Announces Availability of 2006 Form M-1 for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements Online Filing Available
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

U.S. Labor Department Sues Baltimore Co. for Failing to Distribute 401(K) Funds After It Went Out of Business
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

U.S. Labor Department Obtains Default Judgment Appointing Independent Trustee for Abandoned Cincinnati 401(k) Plan
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

U.S. Labor Department Obtains Agreement Restoring Assets to Abandoned Utah 401(k) Plan
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

2007 Health Care Purchasing Coalitions Directory Now Available
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

International Foundation Announces 2007 Executive Committee
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

CitiStreet Assures Customers PPA is Beneficial and Manageable
CitiStreet

More Employees Will Take Home a Gift or Bonus this Year, BNA Survey Finds, But Will Have Less Time Off to Enjoy It
BNA, Inc.

NAM Advocates FMLA Reform To Protect Employee Benefits
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

Top Advisors Take A Stand For Employers and Employees
PrimeTRUST Advisors


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Actuarial Consultant
for RSM McGladrey Retirement Resources
in IL

Retirement Plan Administrator
for PEN-CAL Administrators, Inc.
in CA

Sr. Operations Manager
for CitiStreet
in FL

Retirement Compliance Testing Manager
for Vanguard
in PA

Plan Review Consultant
for Vanguard
in AZ

Consulting Associate-Temporary
for McCready and Keene, Inc.
in IN

ERISA Consultant
for BISYS Retirement Services
in MN

Relationship Manager
for MassMutual Financial Group
in MD

Retirement Sales Consultant/Sales Executive
for BenefitStreet, Inc.
in NY

Business Development - Retirement Coordinator
for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA

Supervisor - Plan Reconciliation
for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA

Relationship Manager - Client Service
for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA

Senior Benefits Analyst
for Affiliated Computer Services
in NJ

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in NC

Senior Benefits Administrator
for Sodexho
in MD

Pension Administrator
for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
in NJ

Defined Contribution Pension Plan Administrator
for The Angell Pension Group, Inc.
in ANY STATE




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