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March 7, 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] Proposed Small Plan Safe Harbor for Remitting Participant Contributions to Plan (PDF)
Excerpt: "Comments on the proposed regulation are due on or before April 29, 2008. The final regulation would be effective on publication. Prior to that effective date, DOL will not assert an ERISA civil violation in the case of plans with fewer than 100 participants that remit contributions to a plan account in accordance with the proposed safe harbor." (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

[Guidance Overview] Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated March 5, 2008, for Retirement Plans (PDF)
12 pages. This Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding retirement plans. (Hewitt Associates)

[Guidance Overview] When a Plan Fails the ADP or the ACP Test (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "We frequently speak with clients who believe that, if their 401(k) plan fails the ADP or ACP test, refunds to highly compensated employees must be issued by March 15. This is not quite true, and understanding the entire truth will lead many plan administrators to a different, better course of action." (Alston & Bird LLP)

[Guidance Overview] Prudent Selection and Monitoring of Providers
Excerpt: "The DOL guidance on selecting a provider focuses on process. That is, in selecting a provider, the trustee should engage in a process that is designed to elicit information necessary to assess the provider's qualifications, quality of services offered and reasonableness of fees charged for the service." (Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen)

California Teachers Pension Giant CalSTRS Agrees to Reduce Required Payments
Excerpt: "Trustees of the California State Teachers' Retirement System agreed Thursday to allow the state to reduce its contribution to a supplemental pension plan as long as payments from the fund to teachers never dip below a fixed rate." (The Sacramento Bee)

Study Shows Many DC Participants All in Equities or Have No Stocks at All
Excerpt: "While the average U.S. household invests about 55% of its 401(k) or other defined contribution plan assets in stocks, many Americans are going to extremes when it comes to the equity markets." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Pension Insurer Wants in on Delta-Northwest Merger Talks
Excerpt: "The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. wants to be included in talks between Northwest and Delta airlines because it said a merger could leave the carriers without enough assets to cover their pensions. The Feb. 28 letter from the federal government's pension insurer was first disclosed Thursday by Finance and Commerce, a Twin Cities financial newspaper." (AP via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Retirement Planning Is Essential in Unsettling Times
Excerpt: "Even in the best of times, retirement planning is an inexact science. Right now the challenges are mounting amid sagging real estate prices, a volatile stock market, declining certificate of deposit yields, rising inflation and a soft economy. Those factors make it harder to estimate how much money you'll need to spend in retirement, and how much you'll have available in savings. If you're within a decade or so of retirement, now's the time to do some serious planning." (azcentral.com)


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

[Guidance Overview] The Universal Fiduciary
Excerpt: "The common denominator for almost all fiduciary governance is the concept of a 'prudent' fiduciary. Further, the conduct required of a prudent fiduciary is, universally, that of a prudent process. Procedural prudence may seem, at first blush, like an amorphic concept ... attractive sounding, but difficult to apply. Or, procedural prudence may sound like a grand idea in the realm of academics, but of little application in the real world. However, neither of those conclusions is correct. Instead, prudent process is, at a fundamental level, both specific and implementable. But it does require a commitment to engaging in a process to make decisions." (Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen)

[Guidance Overview] Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated March 5, 2008, on Human Resources & Employment Law (PDF)
14 pages. This Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding human resources and employment law. (Hewitt Associates)

Congressional Panel to Review Executive Payouts Given by Troubled Firms
Excerpt: "Chief executives of three financial companies who received outsize pay packages even as their shareholders lost billions in the spreading credit crisis are scheduled to testify before Congress on Friday, and if a memorandum released ahead of the hearing is any guide, they can expect quite a grilling." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Supplemental Information on CEO Pay and the Mortgage Crisis (PDF)
23 pages. Excerpt: "In preparation for the Committee's hearing, the Committee has received thousands of pages of documents from the three companies, including board minutes and internal company emails. The Committee staff also has reviewed hundreds of public Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings and consulted with leading experts in executive compensation. This memorandum summarizes some of the questions raised by the materials reviewed by the Committee staff." (U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform)

House Panel Questions High Pay for CEOs
Excerpt: "The heads of three companies implicated in the mortgage crisis have been asked to explain how they collectively received hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation while their companies were losing money. Slated to appear Friday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide Financial Corp., the nation's largest mortgage lender; Stanley O'Neal, formerly of Merrill Lynch & Co.; and Charles Prince, formerly of Citigroup Inc." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Small Biz Owners Planning for Boomer Retirement 'Brain Drain'
Excerpt: "Twenty-eight percent of the small-business owners in a recent survey have planned to have older workers transfer their professional knowledge to younger colleagues. A news release from the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) about its survey on the potential for a 'brain drain' when baby boomers retire, said respondents in the current survey also reported they had more older workers this year than last." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

e-Communications: Grease Is the Word
in Illinois on March 20, 2008
presented by WEB - Chicago West

Learn About ftwilliam.com's New 403(b) Plan Documents
Nationwide on March 13, 2008
presented by ftwilliam.com

PEBA's Annual Forum: The New Workforce- Building a Culture of Innovation and Integration
in Pennsylvania on April 10, 2008
presented by PEBA --Penjerdel Employee Benefits & Compensation Assn.


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Education Level And Marital Status Among Factors Influencing 401(k) Investing, Watson Wyatt Finds
Watson Wyatt

Murtaughff Named Communications Chief at PBGC
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

New FMLA Military Provisions Raise Questions Among HR Professionals
J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.


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Sales Vice President for Qualified Plans
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Wachovia Retirement Services Relationship Manager I
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Senior Investment Advisor
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in OR

Project Manager Health & Welfare Vendor Management
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Project Manager Retirement Plans Vendor Management
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Sr Associate Benefits Analysis
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Senior Product Analyst
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in ANY STATE, AZ, CA

Director of Brokerage Services
for USI Consulting Group
in NY

Senior Actuarial Analyst
for USI Consulting Group
in NY

Relationship Manager Associate
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Regional Retirement Representative
for OppenheimerFunds
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