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February 11, 2008

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


Today's sponsor is International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Be Smart by Association with the International Foundation

Smart is not a permanent state of being. What's your maintenance plan? Take advantage of the education and information available through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, a nonprofit educational association, and find out why over 35,000 industry professionals like Larry Beebe rely on the Foundation to stay informed and educated. Make sure you have the most comprehensive information on health, pension and compensation issues. Be smart by association. www.ifebp.org/memberkit

[Guidance Overview] Electronic Delivery of Proxy Materials to Plan Participants
Excerpt: "If you sponsor an employee benefit plan that holds employer securities with pass-through voting rights, you may have received an alert from your plan provider recently. Plan providers are notifying employers of a potential conflict between new Securities and Exchange Commission electronic delivery rules for proxy materials and Department of Labor rules regarding electronic delivery of plan materials to participants." (Faegre & Benson)

[Guidance Overview] IRS Validates Most 'Greater-Of' Pension Formulas (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "If eligible for relief, plan sponsors that relied on testing each formula separately should be prepared to demonstrate that the separate formulas can pass one of the tests (or if eligible to do so, retroactively amend the plan to correct the offending formula(s)). If ineligible for relief, plan sponsors should . . . ." (Milliman)

[Guidance Overview] Overview: Department of Labor Issues Guidance on Delinquent Contributions
Excerpt: "The FAB was issued in response to Department of Labor investigations of pension plans that were comprised of plan and trust documents drafted in such a way as to absolve all parties from the responsibility to track and collect delinquent contributions. In other cases, the underlying plan and trust documents were silent or ambiguous as to which plan fiduciary was responsible for delinquent contributions." (Baker & Daniels LLP)

Employers Winging It on Phased Retirement Programs
Excerpt: "Even though the Pension Preservation Act of 2006 eased some restrictions on keeping on older employees while they draw on pensions, companies have been reluctant to give up the relationships they have formed with third-party providers. Companies with established ties to staffing firms are happy with an arrangement that's familiar and fulfills their need for additional help on an as-needed basis." (Workforce Management)

Partially Prefunding the Canadian Public Pension Plans: Lessons for the United States?
Excerpt: "During the 1990s, both Can.ada and the United States were facing many of the same challenges to their Social Security programs. But while the United States has continued on the same course, with no changes made -- despite continued projections of severe shortfalls ahead -- Can.ada began partially prefunding its public pension plans with real assets in 1998. Would a similar approach be possible or appropriate for the financially challenged Social Security program in the United States? " (Watson Wyatt)

Video from IRS: Stopping Abuses in Retirement Plans
EP Examinations director describes reasons for enforcement actions against 'most abusive' tax avoidance programs. (Internal Revenue Service)

Video from IRS: Fixing Plan Mistakes Found During an IRS Audit
Directed to employers. Excerpt: "IRS EP Examinations Director discusses what happens when EP Agents find mistakes while examining retirement plans.' (4:45 min.) (Internal Revenue Service)

Video from IRS: Self-Correction of Qualified Retirement Plan Mistakes
Directed to employers. Excerpt: "[A] discussion on using the Self-Correction Program for a common plan mistake.' (1:59 min.) (Internal Revenue Service)

Video from IRS: Maintaining Your Qualified Retirement Plan
Directed to employers. Excerpt: "Tips on what employers/sponsors need to do to keep their retirement plan healthy.' (6:45 min.) (Internal Revenue Service)

DOL Seeks Hewitt Contempt Order over Enron Fund Disbursement
Excerpt: "The U.S. Department of Labor . . . wants Hewitt Associates to be held in civil contempt for its failure to follow a court-approved disbursement formula for paying Enron employees. . . . In a statement issued Thursday after the DOL announced its action, Hewitt insisted it continues to try to rectify the problem." (PLANSPONSOR)

Employers Offer New 401(k) Option: Annuities
Excerpt: "It's a simple, but controversial approach. Buying an annuity within a retirement account is typically a terrible idea. Not only are annuities expensive (investors pay an additional layer of fees for the income guarantee), but buying one within a tax-deferred account is simply unnecessary, as annuities already have tax-deferred growth built in. So why, then, are employers introducing these to their 401(k) plans?" (SmartMoney)

[Opinion] 401(k) Debit Cards Are Worst Idea Ever
Excerpt: "It is indeed a terrible idea, no doubt concocted by those evil spirits who seduced lenders into making shaky mortgage loans and who even now whisper in our ears to 'go ahead and buy that large-screen HDTV' we can't afford." (The Motley Fool)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview] DOL Releases Guidance on Fiduciary Responsibilities Under ERISA to Monitor and Collect Delinquent Contributions
Excerpt: "The plan has a claim against the employer for delinquent employer contributions, and that claim is a plan asset. [FAB 2008-1] states that participant contributions are delinquent if they become plan assets while still in the employer's hands." (Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA))

[Guidance Overview] Golden Handcuffs or Bronze Boot? Severance Pay Promises Under ERISA
Excerpt: "The trump card of the written plan requirement over oral or 'informal' written promises has so often provided the means of victory to the plan fiduciary. The Egan case develops this defense in its several aspects." (Health Plan Law Blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

[Guidance Overview] IRS Ruling Creates Uncertainty Regarding What Constitutes Performance-Based Compensation Under Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m)
Excerpt: "It is believed that the Ruling is incorrect. The mere presence of the involuntary and good reason termination provisions should not be treated as sufficient to indicate that the employee would absolutely receive the compensation in each year regardless of whether the performance goal is attained and regardless of whether a termination occurs. . . . It is recommended that companies give serious consideration to modifying their plans and/or agreements to comply with the Ruling on a going-forward basis." (McDermott Will & Emery)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in Kansas on March 5, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in New Mexico on March 5, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in Texas on March 7, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in Florida on March 7, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in California on March 12, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in Louisiana on March 12, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in California on March 14, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in Georgia on March 14, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in Wisconsin on March 26, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in California on March 26, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in California on March 28, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in Wisconsin on March 28, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in Kansas on March 4, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in New Mexico on March 4, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in Texas on March 6, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in Florida on March 6, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in Louisiana on March 11, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in California on March 11, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in Georgia on March 13, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in California on March 13, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in Wisconsin on March 25, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in California on March 25, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in California on March 27, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in Wisconsin on March 27, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: Beyond the Essentials
in Arizona on March 7, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Midwinter Tour: IRA Essentials
in Arizona on March 6, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Web/Telephone Seminar: 403(b)) Plans
Nationwide on March 20, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Web/Telephone Seminar: Comparing Roth & Traditional IRAs
Nationwide on March 20, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Web/Telephone Seminar: Conversions & Recharacterizations
Nationwide on March 13, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Web/Telephone Seminar: Establishing and Amending IRAs
Nationwide on March 27, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Web/Telephone Seminar: IRA Contributions
Nationwide on March 6, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Web/Telephone Seminar: IRA Required Minimum Distributions
Nationwide on March 11, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Web/Telephone Seminar: PPA Update
Nationwide on March 11, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Web/Telephone Seminar: QRP Nonspouse Beneficiary Rollovers to Inherited IRAs
Nationwide on March 4, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Web/Telephone Seminar: SIMPLE Plans
Nationwide on March 18, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2008 Web/Telephone Seminar: Understanding & Processing Transfers & Rollovers
Nationwide on March 25, 2008
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Can We Contain Health Care Costs Without Compromising Quality? - Webcast
Nationwide on February 12, 2008
presented by Alliance for Health Reform

State Health Benefit Requirements - What's a Multi-State Employer to Do?
Nationwide on March 6, 2008
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Two Step Software And Industry Experts Alert Financial Executives To Latest Equity Compensation Compliance Updates
Two-Step Software, Inc.

Transamerica Offers New, Easy-to-Use Fiduciary Management Program Featuring a Fiduciary Warranty
Transamerica Retirement Services

Craig J. Davidson Of Davidson Marketing Group To Present On The Future of Employee Benefits At The 109th Annual Independent Insurance Agents Of Wisconsin Convention
Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

Newly Published Study Demonstrates Return on Investment for Employee Wellness Program
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

PetFirst: Pet Insurance To Be More Popular in 2008; More Companies To Offer As Employee Benefit
PetFirst Healthcare


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Pension Administrator
for Estate & Pension Advisory Board, Inc.
in PA

Signing Bonus / Senior DC Plan Administrator
for Berlin, Ramos & Company
in MD

Benefits Specialist
for CareerBuilder.com
in GA

Pension Administrator
for Retirement Planners
in VA

Client Services - Account Manager
for ExpertPlan, Inc.
in NJ

Pension Manager
for Apex Systems, Inc.
in FL

CRTNJ - Marketing Coordinator
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Pension Compliance Specialist
for Laiken Associates, Inc.
in NY

Sr Analyst HR - Benefits
for Philip Morris USA
in VA

Defined Benefit Plan Administrator
for The Senex Group
in CA

Employee Benefit Associate
for Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, LC
in KS




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