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December 22, 2006


Sponsored by: International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

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Banner ad for International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Get answers to your health, retirement and compensation questions. Join today.

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is a comprehensive resource for those working with benefit plans. Members enjoy personalized secondary research services, informative publications and online information, as well as discounted educational programs, books and distance learning options. Known as the cosponsor of the CEBS designation, the International Foundation also offers numerous ways to keep current with benefit issues, so you are prepared to answer your participants' questions.

Full Text: Winter 2007 Edition of 'Employee Plan News' from the Internal Revenue Service (PDF)
21 pages. Excerpt: "This edition contains . . . All I Want for Christmas is Some Pension Protection Act Guidance . . . Critical FewPoints by Director, EP Examinations . . . EGTRRA List of Master and Prototype and Volume Submitter Defined Contribution Plans is Posted!! . . . Interim and Discretionary Amendments for 2006 . . . SIMPLE IRA Relief for EGTRRA Set to End December 31, 2006 . . ." (Internal Revenue Service)

IRS Notice 2007-6: IRS Begins Determination Letters and Exams for Cash Balance Plan Conversions (PDF)
17 pages. Excerpt: "[T]he Service is beginning to process determination letter and examination cases [involving] an amendment to change a traditional defined benefit plan into a cash balance plan . . . . This notice also provides transitional guidance on the requirements of [the Code that were] added by section 701(b) of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 . . . . This notice also requests comments on certain issues raised by 411(a)(13) and 411(b)(5)." (Internal Revenue Service)

Overview: IRS Lifts Moratorium on Cash Balance Conversion Letter Requests
Excerpt: "Facing a backlog of about 1,200 requests for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determination letters on cash balance conversions, the agency announced [yesterday] that it had lifted a 1999 moratorium on processing the requests." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

2006 Plan Year: Year-End Compliance Reminders for Defined Contribution Plans subject to ERISA (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "This information applies to qualified defined contribution plans and 403(b) plans that are subject to Title I of ERISA. Every year, plan sponsors must make sure their plans meet certain compliance requirements, including those listed [in this document]. This publication identifies the materials you need to review and will help you prepare for year-end." (Prudential Retirement)

2006 Year-End Compliance Reminders: For Defined Contribution Plans Not Subject to ERISA (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "This information applies to defined contribution plans, such as qualified governmental plans (including grandfathered' 401(k) plans), qualified church plans that do not elect to be covered by ERISA ('non-electing church plans'), 403(b) programs, and section 457 plans that are not subject to Title I of ERISA." (Prudential Retirement)

Overview of IRS Additional Anti-Cutback Guidance (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "These rules apply to qualified defined benefit and defined contribution plans that are subject to ERISA. Governmental plans and plans sponsored by churches that do not elect to be covered by ERISA ('non-electing church plans') are not subject to these rules. However, these rules do apply to employer contributions made to 403(b) plans that are covered by ERISA." (Prudential Retirement)

The Roth 401(k): Giving Employees a Choice (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "This Client Briefing will provide you with frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Roth 401(k) in question and answer format to help you decide whether it should be added to your plan." (National Benefit Services, Inc.)

Focus on 401(k): Information and Ideas for 401(k) Decision-Makers (PDF)
4 pages. This edition of the newsletter contains articles titled: Portfolio Risk; The Participant's Plight and the Fiduciary's Dilemma; and, Baby Boomers in Retirement: Don't Worry, Be Happy. (The 401(k) Company)

DOL's QDIA Proposal Prompts 98 Comment Letters
Excerpt: "The Department of Labor's . . . September proposal governing qualified default investment alternatives (QDIAs) evoked applause from the retirement industry, but that approval was soon followed by a flood of suggestions on ironing out the kinks before a final proposal is inked." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Report Says Pension Practices Are Generating Corporate Risks
Excerpt: "Pension reforms adopted this year are generating a new set of risks that could surpass, at least in the financials involved, the recent highly publicized options backdating scandals, according to a report from financial research firm Audit Integrity LLC." (SmartPros Ltd)

Overview of Relief from Diversification Notice Requirements from the Department of Labor (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The DOL guidance provides that, until other guidance is provided, benefit statements for plans that permit participant-directed investments are due no later than 45 days after the end of the first quarter of the 2007 plan year, and 45 days after the end of the year for defined benefit plans and individual account plans that are not participant-directed." (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)

Book Review: Restructuring Retirement Risks
Excerpt: "David Blitzstein, Olivia Mitchell, and Stephen Utkus, the editors of this impressive collection and all affiliated with the Pension Research Council of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, have gathered together an outstanding set of papers from top-notch thinkers in this area." (Society of Actuaries)

PBGC Agenda Proposes Cap on Variable Rate Premium, in Some Cases
Excerpt: "In addition to the limited cap on the variable-rate premium, the rule change would affect the flat premium rate and create a new 'termination premium' that would be payable in connection with certain distress and involuntary plan terminations." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Hewitt Global Report: China -- Supplementary Pension Plans (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "Employers in China with a supplementary pension plan comprised of voluntary contributions to the local labor and social security authority must note that the bureaus are no longer permitted to accept these contributions." (Hewitt Associates)


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

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: Interim Guidance, 2005 and 2006 Reporting & Withholding Requirements under Section 409A (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service ('IRS') has issued Notice 2006-100, which provides interim guidance to employers and payors on their reporting and wage withholding requirements for calendar years 2005 and 2006 with respect to deferred compensation and amounts includible in gross income under section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code . . . ." (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)

Overview of Guidance Issued on Reporting and Wage Withholding under Code § 409A
Excerpt: "While this guidance provides some welcome relief (e.g., the requirement that 2005 deferrals not be reported is extended to 2006), there is a premium placed on compliance for other purposes (e.g., the waiver of certain late filing and payment penalties). This client advisory explains the key features of this recent guidance and the steps that plan sponsors need to take in response." (Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo P.C.)

Chart: Cost of Benefits for State and Local Government Employees, September 2006
Excerpt: "A major component of benefit costs is paid leave, including vacations, holidays, sick leave, and other leave such as personal leave, military leave, and funeral leave. The average cost for paid leave was $2.98 per hour worked for state and local government employees in September 2006." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

20th Annual Cincinnati Employee Benefits Conference
in Ohio on June 14, 2007
presented by Cincinnati Bar Association

Benefits Conference of The South
in Georgia on September 20, 2007
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

SWBA/IRS Plan Administration Skills Workshop
in Texas on February 2, 2007
presented by SouthWest Benefits Association

SWBA/IRS Plan Administration Skills Workshop
in Oklahoma on February 16, 2007
presented by SouthWest Benefits Association

SWBA/IRS Plan Administration Skills Workshop
in Texas on February 23, 2007
presented by SouthWest Benefits Association


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

IRS To Begin Processing Suspended Cash Balance Plan Conversion Applications
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Steelworkers File Class Action Lawsuit Against Continental Tire for Altering Retiree Health Care Benefits
United Steelworkers of America (USWA)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Enroller - Retirement Specialist
for MassMutual Financial Group
in CA

Enroller - Retirement Specialist
for MassMutual Financial Group
in MI

Enroller - Retirement Specialist
for MassMutual Financial Group
in IL

Regional Service Coordinator
for Standard Insurance Company
in CA

Senior Account Manager - Micro/Small Market
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Kibble & Prentice
in WA

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Valley Forge Pension Management, Inc.
in PA

Defined Contribution Plan Manager
for The Angell Pension Group, Inc.
in RI

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

Government Reporting Specialist
for New York Life Investment Management - Retirement Plans Services
in MA

401K Call Center Supervisor
for New York Life Investment Management - Retirement Plans Services
in MA

Account Executive
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in GA

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Kibble & Prentice
in WA

Senior Benefits Specialist
for Genentech, Inc.
in CA

Retirement Plan Services (RPS) Education Specialist
for First National Bank of Omaha, Wealth Management Group
in NE




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