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December 28, 2006


Sponsored by: International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

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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.

Court Makes Citigroup Cash Balance Suit a Class Action
Excerpt: "A federal judge in New York, who declared that Citigroup's cash balance plan was age discriminatory, has now given the go-ahead for the lawsuit against the company to move forward as a class action." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Opinion: On the Rebirth of Cash Balance Plans
Excerpt: "The recent decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in the IBM cash balance litigation, reversing the notorious trial court decision, was like a breath of fresh air, blowing away the fetid odor that has been suffocating the development of cash balance pension plans ever since, three years ago, the lower court had ruled such plans inherently age discriminatory . . . ." (Attorney Alvin D. Lurie in Pension & Benefit Power)

Opinion: Universal 401(k) Accounts Would Bring the Poor Into the Ownership Society
Excerpt: "A fiscally responsible universal 401(k) plan would not make everyone happy. Libertarians and conservatives would be suspicious of government-created accounts. Liberals might not like freezing or reducing future expenditures on Medicare and Social Security." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Opinion: Expect New Congress to Focus on 401(k) Fees, Medicare Drug Costs, and Social Security
Excerpt: "[W]hen the new, Democrat-controlled Congress convenes next year, what is it likely to do on issues that could affect your retirement? Conversations with key Capitol Hill staff and lobbyists in the last days of the 109th session suggest that at least three retirement issues are likely to surface on the Congressional agenda between now and the rush to the 2008 elections." (BusinessWeek.com)

Retired Oregon Public Employees' Incomes Decreasing and Some Even Owe Money to the State
Excerpt: "All over Oregon, thousands of retired public employees have begun to receive letters explaining how their pension benefits have been recalculated. Some won't know for many months how much their checks will be reduced. Some are being told they owe the state money." (The Mail Tribune)

Disney Accepts Pension Fund's Director Election Bylaw Proposal
Excerpt: "The Walt Disney Company, the site of a bruising 2004 battle over corporate leadership, will amend its bylaws to provide that directors running without opposition will need a majority vote." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Banks to Settle an Enron Suit
Excerpt: "Citigroup, J. P. Morgan and other defendants have agreed to pay Ohio state pension funds $4.5 million to settle any liability related to the fraud that destroyed Enron five years ago." (Bloomberg News via The New York Times; free registration required)

Overview of the Work-to-Retirement Ratio
Excerpt: "Alex Pollock, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, suggests a simple tool for thinking about retirement savings: the work-to-retirement ratio." (National Center for Policy Analysis)

Letters to the Editor: Social Security Reforms for Everyone's Good
Excerpt: "I propose that we look at reducing the payroll tax rate and raising the cap at the same time. If done carefully, this combination could provide needed funds for Social Security solvency and give an immediate boost to small businesses (which pay a matching amount mostly for employees earning less than the cap now) and to many self-employed professionals." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Access, Participation, and Take-up Rates in Private Defined Contribution Retirement Plans for 2006
Excerpt: "Employee participation rates for defined contribution retirement plans vary widely among groups of workers and their employers, primarily reflecting how frequently the employers provide access for employees to participate in these plans." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Overview: DOL Permits Good-Faith Compliance for New Pension Benefit Statement Requirements
Excerpt: "On December 20, 2006, the U.S. Department of Labor issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2006-03 permitting temporary good-faith compliance with newly enacted requirements to provide periodic pension benefit statements to participants and beneficiaries of ERISA-covered pension plans." (Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP)


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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: EBSA's Semiannual Regulatory Agenda
Excerpt: "Items in the final rule stage are actions for which EBSA plans to publish a final or interim rule as the next step in the rulemaking process. Final rules generally affecting both pension and welfare plans include: Revision of the Form 5500 Series and regulations to conform to electronic filing of annual reports requirement; and, Default investment alternatives under participant-directed individual account plans." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

GE to Disclose Compensation Consultant's Work for First Time
Excerpt: "General Electric Co., the world's second-largest company by market value, will go beyond a new federal disclosure rule on executive pay and tell shareholders for the first time the full extent of its compensation consultant's work for the company." (Bloomberg News)

SEC Change of Rules for Disclosing Executive Pay Rules Criticized
Excerpt: "A recent change by the Securities and Exchange Commission in its new executive pay disclosure rules has been greeted with a mix of concern and praise, reviving a debate about corporate pay 'transparency' that seemed to be over." (Cox News Service via theday.com)

Overview: Backdated Stock Options under Code § 409A
Excerpt: "The application of Code § 409A to backdated options will require immediate action (i.e., before year end), which in some cases will be either infeasible or impossible. Where this is the case, the employer or contractor will need to follow the tax treatment prescribed by Notice 2006-100." (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.)

New SEC Pay Rule To Benefit Executives -- About-Face on How To Report Options
Excerpt: "On the Friday before Christmas, without advance notice or a public vote, the SEC announced an amendment that generally would make top executives' annual pay appear smaller than it otherwise would have." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Ready to Retire? Readers Offer Advice to Their Federal Colleagues
Excerpt: "With so many members of the federal workforce becoming eligible for retirement in the near future, where do our readers stand in terms of retirement planning and when do they plan to retire?" (FedSmith Inc.)

Government Insurance Inquiries Expand to Include Benefits Advisors
Excerpt: "Government investigations into intermediary compensation practices, which focused initially on property/casualty placements, have expanded into the employee benefits arena and have resulted in divergent industry expectations." (Business Insurance via Workforce Management; free registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Testing Techniques Workshop
in California on February 1, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Testing Techniques Workshop
in Washington on February 2, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

Participant Forms and Notices Workshop
in California on February 1, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

Participant Forms and Notices Workshop
in Washington on February 2, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

Pension Protection Act Developments Conference
in District of Columbia on February 7, 2007
presented by Investment Company Institute

Plan Design Workshop - Strategies for PPA
in Ohio on January 24, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

Plan Design Workshop - Strategies for PPA
in Kansas on January 25, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

Plan Design Workshop - Strategies for PPA
in Colorado on January 26, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

The New SEC Proxy Disclosure and Pension Accounting Rules
in California on January 16, 2007
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Los Angeles Chapter


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Benefits Changes to Continue in 2007
Watson Wyatt

Edward Jones Survey Shows Health-Care Cost No. 1 Retirement Concern
Edward Jones


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Client Service Manager
for Merrill Lynch Retirement Group
in CO

Trust Administrator II or III
for Associated Pension Consultants
in CA

DC / 401(k) Compliance Consultant
for The Savitz Organization
in PA

Defined Benefit Administrator
for Associates in Excellence
in CA

Installation Administrator
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in CA

Senior Attorney – Benefits/M & A
for Pitney Bowes
in CT

NA Benefits Manager
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Vice President Client Services
for New York City based financial services software firm
in NY

Relationship Manager - Small Market (TX)
for Fidelity Investments
in TX




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