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January 3, 2008

Here are the Web's best new links about compliance and cost aspects of plan operation, design and policy.


Today's sponsor is DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc.

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
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(a) New Guidance Documents

Text of Proposed IRS Regs on Diversification Requirements for DC Plans Using Employer Securities (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "This document contains proposed regulations under section 401(a)(35) . . . . Under section 401(a)(35)(B), each individual must have the right to direct the plan to divest employer securities allocated to the individual's account that are attributable to employee contributions or elective deferrals and to reinvest an equivalent amount in other investment options meeting the requirements of section 401(a)(35)(D)." (Internal Revenue Service)

(b) News

Bush Signs Sudan Divestment Bill into Law
Excerpt: "President Bush signed legislation on Monday that makes it easier for mutual funds and private pension funds to sell their investments in companies doing business with Sudan." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Two Texas Public Pensions Could Soon Divest in Companies Doing Business in Sudan
Excerpt: "A 2006 state law is intended to put economic pressure on the government in Sudan, where militias allied with the government are accused of a campaign of atrocities against ethnic African civilians in the Darfur region. As required by the law, the comptroller Wednesday released a list of 27 companies that meet the law's definition of doing business in Sudan." (The Austin American-Statesman)

New Pension Program Approved in Israel
Excerpt: "On December 30, 2007, the government ratified a collective agreement that will ensure pension benefits for many employees who do not now have pension coverage. Employers and employees will contribute to the new program, which takes effect on January 1, 2008." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

(c) Summaries of Guidance; Filed Comments

Overview: IRS Proposed Regs Regarding Diversification Requirements for Defined Contribution Plans Using Employer Securities
Excerpt: "The proposed regulations would allow a restriction on the frequency of investment elections that was not in Notice 2006-107. Under Proposed Reg. 1.401(a)(35)-1(e)(3)(iii), a plan is permitted to impose reasonable restrictions on the timing and number of investment elections that an individual can make to invest in employer securities, provided the restrictions are designed to limit short-term trading in the employer securities." (CCH Incorporated)

Overview: DOL Final Regulations on Qualified Default Investment Alternatives
Excerpt: "While the final regulations are not effective until December 24, 2007, plan sponsors that comply with its annual notice requirement by December 1, 2007, can obtain fiduciary relief with respect to a QDIA investment made on a participant's behalf, on or after January 1, 2008." (The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Inc.)

Overview: PBGC Guidance on Calculating Present Value of Guaranteed Benefit, Issues 2008 Table
Excerpt: "The PBGC has provided guidance, in the form of a Technical Update, on determining the present value of the PBGC maximum benefit guarantee for purposes of the benefit restrictions imposed by Code Sec. 436(d)(3)(A)(ii) and ERISA §206(g) (3)(C)(i)(II)." (Wolters Kluwer Financial Services)

Overview: IRS Rules on 'Wash Sales' Involving IRAs (PDF)
Excerpt: "On January 22, 2008, the Internal Revenue Service will publish a revenue ruling addressing 'wash sales' involving IRAs and Roth IRAs. . . . Revenue Ruling 2008-5 considers (i) the sale by an individual of stock or securities for a loss, and (ii) the purchase of substantially identical stock or securities in the individual's IRA or Roth IRA within 30 days before or after the sale." (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

(d) Trends, Surveys, Research

Companies Looking for Better Returns on Default Options They Offer 401(k) Participants
Excerpt: "[P]roviders are starting to come forward with new funds specifically designed as QDIAs with an edge -- meaning on the lower side of the risk continuum but with enough exposure to equities to bring some meaningful long-term returns." (Treasury & Risk)

State Taxation of Social Security and Pensions in 2006
Excerpt: "Policymakers, public officials, and policy analysts will find this information useful in making state comparisons, and retirees can use it to help them make decisions on where to retire based on differences in tax treatment." (AARP)

(e) Policy, Opinion, Advocacy

Cash Balance Plans: What Do They Mean for Retirement Security?
Excerpt: "The conversion of traditional defined benefit plans to cash balance plans is among the most controversial aspects of pension policy today. Because the controversy has focused on the treatment of older workers, however, the debate has generally ignored the long-term implications for retirement security. In fact, cash balance plans can often provide more retirement security than traditional defined benefit plans or defined contribution plans, especially for workers who change jobs frequently." (Urban Institute)

Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Charts -- Retirement -- Updated December 31, 2007 (PDF)
10 pages. Excerpt: "These charts summarize selected federal legislation that would affect employee benefit programs. The bills included on the charts are based on judgments regarding the prominence of the issue, the likelihood of enactment, and the influence of the sponsors." (Towers Perrin)

Opinion: The Socially Responsible Investing Fiduciary Cop-Out
Excerpt: "For SRI to be incompatible with the duty of loyalty, the interests of society and investors would have to be inherently at odds. This is preposterous. The capitalist system is dependent upon a stable and sustainable society. This is not to say that all socially responsible investment strategies align with portfolio beneficiaries' interests, but there is clearly no reason to believe that none will." (Boomer Market Advisor)

Opinion: Growth and Guarantees Will Anchor the Next Retirement Products Trend
Excerpt: "The growing retirement needs of baby boomers are fueling the next megatrend in the industry -- tighter integration between insurance and investment management companies. And that's welcome news for financial advisors." (On Wall Street and SourceMedia, Inc.)


Sponsored by: University Conference Services

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for University Conference Services

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Presented by the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flager Business School in conjunction with leading retirement plan providers and advisors


(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

The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act Would Extend Domestic Partner Benefits to Federal Employees
Excerpt: "Under new legislation introduced in both houses of Congress on Dec. 19, 2007, a government employee and same-sex domestic partner would be eligible to participate in federal health benefits, family medical and emergency leave, group life insurance, long-term care, and retirement benefits." (GovExec.com)

Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Charts -- Human Resources -- Updated December 31, 2007 (PDF)
13 pages. Excerpt: "These charts summarize selected federal legislation that would affect employee benefit programs. The bills included on the charts are based on judgments regarding the prominence of the issue, the likelihood of enactment, and the influence of the sponsors." (Towers Perrin)

PowerPoint Presentation: Filing Revised Form LM-30 - An Overview of Union Officer and Employee Reporting
54 slides. A PowerPoint presentation on revised Form LM-30 used by the Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards was replaced with the presentation from an October 9, 2007, public seminar held at the DOL in Washington DC. (U.S. Department of Labor)

An Interview with the Man Behind The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947
Excerpt: "In an exclusive interview with Human Resource Executive®, [J. Mack] Swigert, author of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, a law designed to return some power to businesses in a tumultuous era of work stoppages and labor turmoil, recalls those times and their ripple effects on large employers." (Human Resource Executive Online; free registration required)

Hewitt Global Report: Asia-Pacific Monthly Legislative Update, December 2007 (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "Our monthly updates summarize recent legislative activity in the Asia-Pacific region, by country, for the following issues: labor environment, cost of employment, employment terms and conditions, retirement and social security, health care system, taxation of compensation and benefits, and issues for expatriate employees." (Hewitt Associates)

Hewitt Global Report: Latin America Monthly Legislative Update, December 2007 (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Our monthly updates summarize recent legislative activity throughout Latin America, by country, for the following issues: labor environment, cost of employment, employment terms and conditions, retirement and social security, health care system, taxation of compensation and benefits, and issues for expatriate employees." (Hewitt Associates)

What Americans Want from a Job -- Security (PDF)
19 pages. Excerpt: "A new poll shows that health insurance and security are at the top of Americans' list of desirables in a job, while pay ranked much lower. The national poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates for the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, surveyed 1,200 adults age 18 and older. Whether security comes from health insurance, job security, the promise of a retirement income, or clear work policies, Americans want a lot more than just a paycheck from their employment." (Center for State and Local Government Excellence )


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Experts' Guide to Employee Benefits Research
Nationwide on January 24, 2008
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Proposed IRS Regulations on Automatic Contribution Arrangements and Final DOL Default Investment Regulations - Webcast
Nationwide on January 4, 2008
presented by West LegalEdcenter


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Buck Consultants Finds Executive Retirement Plans Alive and Well After Final IRS Rules
Buck Consultants, an ACS Company

The Torch Is Passing Slowly At Fidelity
SPIseattle.com


We're one of the top 350 employment sites on the web!Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
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Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for Pension Plan Professionals, Inc.
in FL

Director of Fund Strategy
for MassMutual Financial Group
in CT

401(k) Product Manager
for ADP TotalSource
in FL

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator/Consultant
for W&W Actuarial Services, Inc.
in PA




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