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February 19, 2008

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


Today's sponsor is ASC & The ASC Institute

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for ASC & The ASC Institute

Let ASCi be your 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plan document solution!

The IRS now requires that every employer with a 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plan must have a written plan document in place by December 31, 2008. Whether you maintain thousands or just a few 403(b) plans, the ASCi Document Generation and Management (DGEM) system can help you manage these plans efficiently and easily. Click here to learn more about how DGEM can help you meet the IRS requirements.

[Official Guidance] From PBGC: My PAA Planned Outage; e-4010 Planned Outage This Weekend
Excerpt: "My Plan Administration Account (My PAA), which is PBGC's premium e-filing application, will be unavailable from 7:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time) Friday, 2/22/2008, through 6:00 am (Eastern Standard Time) Sunday, 2/24/2008, for federally mandated system testing. [Also,] PBGC's e-4010 online application, which certain underfunded plans must use to report financial and actuarial information to PBGC, will be unavailable from 7:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time) Friday, 2/22/2008, through 6:00am (Eastern Standard Time) Sunday, 2/24/2008, for federally mandated system testing." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)

[Official Guidance] From IRS: 'Retirement News for Employers' Winter 2008 Edition (PDF)
Excerpt: "How Much Can You Deduct in Your Retirement Plan?; We're Glad You Asked!; New of the Web; Keeping Your Plan in Compliance; Using a Plan Amendment for Correction in the Self-Correction Program; Recent Guidance; The Filing Cabinet; IRS Employee Plans Videos - Now Available Online" (Internal Revenue Service)

[Guidance Overview] Waiver of 60-day Rollover Requirement Denied Where Taxpayer Mistakenly Rolled Over Funds Into a Non-IRA Account
Excerpt: "In a private ruling, the IRS refused to grant a waiver of the 60-day rollover requirement where the taxpayer mistakenly rolled over a 401(k) plan distribution into a taxable account." (CCH Pension and Benefits)

[Guidance Overview] ERISA Governed Dispute Involving Competing Claims to Participant's Retirement Benefits
Excerpt: "This [5th Circuit] case involves two former spouses' competing claims to a participant's retirement plan benefits. The participant's first spouse obtained a state court order placing a lien on the participant's plan distributions to collect child support arrearages. Declining to comply with the order, the plan administrator took the position that under ERISA it couldn't withhold the child support payments from the participant's distributions without a QDRO. Meanwhile, the participant and his second spouse divorced . . . ." (Employee Benefits Institute of America)

For New York City Schoolteachers, Enhanced Retirement Benefits Might Be Closer
Excerpt: "Because Mr. Bloomberg has agreed to the measure, which would allow teachers to retire five years earlier than they can now and still receive full pension benefits, Mr. Spitzer is likely to sign it." (New York Times (free registration required))

Who Values The Social Security Annuity? New Evidence on The Annuity Puzzle
Excerpt: "We examine individuals' self-reported willingness to exchange part of their Social Security inflation-indexed annuity benefit for an immediate lump-sum payment, using an experimental module in the 2004 Health and Retirement Study. Our first finding is that nearly three out of five respondents favor the lump-sum payment if it were approximately actuarially fair, a finding that casts doubt on several leading explanations for why more people do not annuitize." (National Bureau of Economic Research)

1 Man + 5 Jobs = Angry Long Island Taxpayers
Excerpt: "On Long Island on Friday there were calls for change in a system that's allowed one man to be considered a full-time employee of five different school districts. As CBS 2 HD has learned, the arrangement has earned the man a nice pension, as well as health benefits for life. (WCBS TV)

To Retire Better Off, Wait a Bit
Excerpt: "Could the secret to having enough money in retirement be as simple as working a bit longer? Writing in AARP magazine, Jonathan D. Pond, a financial planner, argues yes." (New York Times)

Sure, It's from AARP. But Is It a Good Deal?
Excerpt: "Andrew Tignanelli, president of Financial Consulate, a Lutherville (Md.) financial-planning firm, figured the retirement products AARP offered were sure to be winners. But after comparing the nonprofit's new mutual funds and annuity, plus older life insurance offerings, with those of rivals, Tignanelli reached a surprising conclusion: 'The majority of people can get a better deal elsewhere.'" (Business Week)

Sovereign Immunity for School Districts 403(b) Fiduciary Choices?
Excerpt: "Many professionals have been advising certain governmental employers for a while that just because ERISA doesn't apply to their 403(b) plans, state trust and fiduciary laws do. The IRS's new 403(b) regulations have exacerbated that exposure to state law liability by now requiring plan documents be maintained, that the employer be actively involved in approving vendors, and that the employer make other determinations under their plan." (Benefits Biz Blog published by Baker & Daniels LLP)

PBGC to Diversify Its Portfolio
Excerpt: "The agency, which insures basic pension benefits for U.S. workers and retirees, says diversifying its mix of investments would significantly increase its chances of erasing its $14 billion deficit within the next decade. Last year, about 72% of its assets were in cash and fixed-income securities." (Wall Street Journal)

PBGC Says Goodbye to LDI
Excerpt: "The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. is abandoning its 4-year-old liability-driven investment policy, reallocating almost $15 billion to equities and alternative investments." (Pensions & Investments)

Keep It Simple, Says Yale's Top Investor
Excerpt: "Don't try anything fancy. Stick to a simple diversified portfolio, keep your costs down and rebalance periodically to keep your asset allocations in line with your long-term goals. That is the advice of David F. Swensen, who has run the Yale endowment since 1988 . . . ." (New York Times (free registration required))

Household Saving Behavior: The Role of Financial Literacy, Information and Financial Education Programs
Excerpt: "This paper shows that financial illiteracy is widespread among the U.S. population and particularly acute among specific demographic groups, such as those with low education, women, African-Americans, and Hispanics. Moreover, close to half of older workers do not know which type of pensions they have and the large majority of workers know little about the rules governing Social Security benefits." (National Bureau of Economic Research)

[Opinion] Text of American Benefits Council Congressional Comment Letter to DOL on Proposed Fee Disclosure Regs
7 pages. (American Benefits Council)

[Opinion] Text of American Benefits Council Comments on DOL Proposed Regulations for Civil Penalties Under ERISA Section 502(c)(4) (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "In order to encourage plan sponsors to adopt automatic enrollment, which was clearly the purpose of the PPA provisions, the Council believes it makes sense to impose the penalty with respect to QACAs and EACAs, but not with respect to ACAs, at least with respect to the regulatory timing and content requirements spelled out in the Treasury regulation. The statute clearly anticipates that the participant will receive a notice of the ACA with sufficient time to opt out of the arrangement but failing to meet the regulatory requirements for QACAs or EACAs should not result in $1,000 per day per participant penalties for plans with simple ACAs." (American Benefits Council)


Sponsored by: Benefits and Compensation Solutions

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Banner ad for Benefits and Compensation Solutions

Learn more about the only business magazine focused on the integration of benefits and compensation solutions

Visit www.bcsolutionsmag.com to learn more about the magazine and our new social networking site which is exclusive in the field. Now you are even closer to the cutting-edge solutions and conversations discussed in Benefits & Compensation Solutions magazine. No more one-way, top-down B&C information from brochures, lectures and Web sites. Now you can put the power of virtual networking to use in real-time. And most importantly, you can interact easily with your peers and experts in the field about the topics featured in the site or your own interests. Also, please check out our Virtual Events where you can attend keynotes; workshops and view Exhibitors all from your desk.

(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

[Official Guidance] Text of 'Monthly Benefits News & Developments' by Milliman for February 2008 (PDF)
Only 2 pages, but 'what's there is cherce,' as Spencer Tracy might say. (Milliman)

[Guidance Overview] IRS Takes Adverse Position in Ruling on Code Section 162(m) (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "[An IRS agent told us that the IRS] hopes to publish guidance by the end of February [and that] companies [should not] engage in drastic measures at this time simply because of the ruling, but instead, to wait until the guidance is issued." (DrinkerBiddle)

Health Costs Loom Large for Retirees
Excerpt: "Many baby boomers are not going to be able to maintain their standard of living in retirement, not only because they're not saving enough but also because they face skyrocketing health care costs. A study being released Tuesday by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that health care expenses could take a big bite out of retirees' budgets." (Washington Post; free registration required)

Health Care Costs, Lack of Savings Might Contribute to Lower Standard of Living for Future Retirees, Study Finds
Excerpt: "Alicia Munnell, director of the center, called the estimates 'shockingly large,' adding, 'The most effective step is to plan on working a few years longer' because that 'cuts the percent at risk by about 10 percentage points.'" (Kaisernetwork.org)

Health Care Costs Drive Up The National Retirement Risk Index
Excerpt: "The results show that once health care is considered explicitly, the percentage of households that will be 'at risk' rises from 44 percent to 61 percent." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

[Opinion] Benefits in 2020: Big Challenges Ahead
Excerpt: "Dallas Salisbury. The CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a well-regarded, nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., paints a bleak picture of the future of employee benefits over the next 15 years." (CFO.com)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k)Plan Workshop
Nationwide on April 18, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

EGTRRA Pre-approved Plan Workshop
in California on March 26, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

EGTRRA Pre-approved Plan Workshop
in Pennsylvania on March 26, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

EGTRRA Pre-approved Plan Workshop
in North Carolina on March 27, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

EGTRRA Pre-approved Plan Workshop
in Washington on March 27, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Form 5500 Workshop
Nationwide on April 17, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Health Care Costs: A Growing Issue For Private Enterprises - Webcast
Nationwide on March 6, 2008
presented by Deloitte

Plan Design Workshop
in Pennsylvania on March 27, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Plan Design Workshop
in California on March 27, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Plan Design Workshop
in Washington on March 28, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Plan Design Workshop
in North Carolina on March 28, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

PBGC Announces New Investment Policy
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

Proposed Rule on Financial and Actuarial Reporting
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

URAC Launches On-Line Consumer Decision Support Tool for Consumers, Employers, Policymakers, Health Plans
URAC

ACS | Mellon HSA Solution Manages More Than 450,000 Health Savings Accounts
ACS

401kEmail(tm) Landing Pages Announced by Venture (k) Corp.
Venture (k) Corp.

Chrysler Goes Holistic to Revolutionize Back Pain Care in the Workplace
Henry Ford Medical Group


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Defined Contribution / 401(k) Plan Administrator
for The Savitz Organization
in PA

Pension Administration Team Leader
for Schiller's Pension Consulting
in CA

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

Registered Financial Associate
for A.G. Edwards
in MO

Associate Attorney
for Faulkner, Muskovitz & Phillips
in OH

Pension Consultant
for Standard Insurance Company
in NC

Pension Consultant
for Standard Insurance Company
in OH

Call Center
for Alerus Retirement Solutions
in MN

Health Benefits Analyst
for The Segal Co.
in CA

401k Sales Executive
for Compass Investment Partners
in WA

Sales Proposal Coordinator
for CitiStreet
in MA

CRTNJ - Manager Implementation Service
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Plan Administration Processor
for Randall & Hurley, Inc.
in WA

Pension Consultant
for Randall & Hurley, Inc.
in WA

Document Assistant
for Randall & Hurley, Inc.
in WA

Benefits Supervisor
for Benefit Concepts, Inc. (BCI)
in LA

Vice President, Benefit Services
for ADP TotalSource
in FL

Defined Contribution Administrator
for Retirement Strategies, LLC
in NM

Senior Actuarial Consultant
for Summit Retirement Plan Services, Inc.
in OH

Plan Document Consultant
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in NY




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