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March 14, 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

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Celebrate National Employee Benefits Day on April 2, 2008!

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is once again leading the celebrations for National Employee Benefits Day. This year the day has a special focus on health care literacy. The Foundation is encouraging those who are involved in employee benefits to use the day to educate themselves and their plan participants. Visit www.ifebp.org/benefitsday for free informational resources to help you plan your celebration!

[Guidance Overview] Comparison of Automatic Enrollment Participant Notice Requirements As of November 8, 2007 (PDF)
3 pages. (Prudential Retirement)


[Guidance Overview] IRS Guidance on Automatic Enrollment Plan Designs (PDF)
Excerpt: "These developments affect sponsors of 401(k) plans, 403(b) arrangements, and governmental section 457(b) plans." (Prudential Retirement)


[Guidance Overview] PBGC Proposes Rules for 4010 Reporting for Underfunded DB Plans
Excerpt: "This article briefly reviews the new 4010 reporting requirements and the PBGC's proposed regulations." (JPMorgan)


[Guidance Overview] PPA Check Up
Excerpt: "In this article, we review strategic decisions confronting, and critical choices available to, plan sponsors in complying with new PPA rules generally and the benefit restriction certification requirements specifically." (JPMorgan)


[Guidance Overview] Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated March 12, 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] Is It Time to Re-examine What It Means to Fulfill Your 401k Fiduciary Responsibility? (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "Risk management should be the mantra of all 401(k) fiduciaries. After all, fiduciaries, especially of large plans, are caught in the midst of a battle. The warring factions are sponsors, disgruntled participants, Congress, and other policy making divisions of the federal government. The prize for which these combatants and their allies are struggling is the most influence in defining what it means 'to do right by' the average 401(k) participant." (Richard D. Glass via Investment Horizons, Inc.)


Participant Loses ERISA Claim over Plan Funding Issues
Excerpt: "A former employee of a health-care facility can't sue his old employer for not properly funding the company's profit-sharing plan, a federal judge has ruled." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Survey Highlights - Trends and Experience in 401(k) Plans, 2007 (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "The following topics are measured and analyzed in this year's report: Basic design and participation; Automatic features; Employee and employer contributions; Investment options; Investment education; Transfers and restrictions; Plan expenses; Loans, withdrawals, and final distributions; ADP/ACP tests; Appendix -- Historical investment details; and Participating employer information." (Hewitt Associates)


Federal Thrift Saving Plan Adds a Roth Option
Excerpt: "Early in 2008, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) added a new withdrawal option for TSP participants who are eligible to transfer their TSP accounts to a traditional IRA or to an eligible retirement plan. Eligible participants are now able to transfer their accounts to a Roth IRA." (FederalNewsRadio - WFED 1050 AM)


Dana Corporation, Other Firms Maintain Defined Benefits Plans During Reorganizations
Excerpt: "During Dana's bankrup.tcy, the company continued to make its legally required funding contributions and consolidated 34 defined benefit plans into seven pension funds. The changes reduced Dana's minimum funding contributions by $60 million through the year 2012. These moves will significantly improve the financial health of Dana's seven defined benefit plans, which cover more than 53,000 participants, of which almost 15,000 are active employees. By reducing the number of plans, Dana made its pension obligations more affordable and lessened the possibility that the plans would be assumed by the PBGC in the future." (Wolters Kluwer)


Tools to Increase Participation and Savings in Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
11 pages. Excerpt: "This paper describes the efficacy and fit of a range of tools to address the most common behavioral/emotional issues that hinder employees from enrolling and increasing deferrals, two behaviors that are critical to successful retirement savings. Understanding your employees and their tendencies will help you identify and implement the best solution to meet their needs." (Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company)


Cost and Concentration - Pros or Cons in Target-Date Mutual Funds
Excerpt: "Net flows surpassed $41 billion in the first three quarters of 2007, according to Financial Research Corporation -- compared with $34 billion for the full calendar year 2006 and forecasters expect the trend to continue. Driven in large part by retirement plans, the growth is testimony to the ease and effectiveness of the target-date investment structure." (planadvisor)


New Hampshire Pension Fix Passes Test - Police, Firefighters Would Work Longer
Excerpt: "Major changes to the state's cash-strapped pension system cleared their first hurdle yesterday, when a House committee approved a bill that would cut off annual health benefit increases for many retired public employees and require new police officers and firefighters to work five years more before they're eligible to retire.' (Concord Monitor and New Hampshire Patriot)


Frankfort Mayor Welcomes Local Relief from Kentucky Senate's Pension Plan
Excerpt: "Frankfort Mayor Bill May said he appreciates any relief legislators can provide to local governments by making changes to the County Employees Retirement System. The Senate approved Wednesday in a vote of 33-3 a committee substitute for a pension reform plan that would provide immediate relief to city and county governments. It would allow governments to reduce their contributions for retiree health insurance by 50 percent in the next fiscal year." (The State-Journal)


DOL Hearing on Proposed 401(k) Fee Disclosure Regs Likely to Be Contentious
Excerpt: "The hearing will be held against a backdrop of 'the complexity of the issues' presented by the proposed regulations, as well as the volume of comments that the Department has received, said Louis Campagna, Chief of the Labor Department's Division of Fiduciary Interpretations, Office of Regulations and Interpretations, who spoke during a Washington, D.C. Bar luncheon program on February 26, 2008." (Wolters Kluwer)


What Do You Do If Your 401(k) Options Are Subpar?
Excerpt: "For employees who are cursed with lousy fund options, frustration can run high. But that doesn't mean they have to sit and suffer. Here are some suggestions for those who must deal with rotten 401(k) offerings." (USA TODAY)


Revenue-Neutral Pension Merger Bill West Virginia Governor Priority
Excerpt: "Gov. Joe Manchin may still ask lawmakers to merge state teacher pension funds before they leave town this weekend, but he remained reluctant Thursday to commit state money to the deal. The governor believes that requiring the state to pay implies fault for the insufficient investment returns suffered within the 401(k)-style Teachers Defined Contribution program." (AP via Timeswv.com)


401(k) Automation - Three Steps to a High Performance Plan (PDF)
11 pages. Excerpt: "This white paper offers some suggestions and best practices to consider when adopting plan automation." (Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company)


Kentucky Senate Passes Pension Reforms - Proposal Boosts Retirement Age
Excerpt: "The bulk of the plan focuses on reducing the amount of defined benefits new state employees will receive, but replacing a portion of those with required contributions from employees into an investment account that will be matched at least 2-to-1 by the state. Over the long term, the state will be required to come closer to funding the retirement system at the level recommended by actuaries, with state law requiring payments of at least 85 percent of those recommendations by 2020." (Messenger-Inquirer via Thomson Business Intelligence Service)


Study Shows Public Pension Plans Love Alternative Investments
Excerpt: "According to the survey of approximately 150 public pension plans, 52% of respondents said they invest or planned investments in alternative asset classes. When this group was asked to identify all likely alternative investments, real estate emerged as the most popular asset class at 85%, private equity second at 60%, venture capital third at 44% and hedge funds fourth at 42%." (FINalternatives)


City of Coral Gables, FL Agrees to Repay $650k to Firefighters for Pension Contributions
Excerpt: "The City of Coral Gables agreed to pay back $650,000 worth of pension contributions back to its fire union in late February to bring to conclusion an ongoing dispute with the State of Florida and free up pension monies owed to the union and its police counterpart." (Coral Gables Gazette)


New York Company Ordered to Repay $1.5 Million to Pension Plan
Excerpt: "The suit resulted from an investigation by the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration's New York Regional Office. DOL sued Guild Concepts Ltd., of White Plains, and its president, alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). According to the suit, the company president served as a trustee to the company's Employee Savings Plan and was responsible for the proper management of the plan's assets." (Business & Legal Reports, Inc.)


[Official Guidance] IRS Announcement 2008-23: IRS to Begin Issuing Letters for M&P Plans Filed for Approval of EGTRRA Changes (PDF)
4 pages. Announcement 2008-23 states that the Service will soon issue opinion and advisory letters for pre-approved master and prototype and volume submitter defined contribution plans that were timely filed with the Service to comply with the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, Pub. L. 107-16, and other changes in plan qualification requirements listed in Notice 2004-84, 2004-2 C.B. 1030. (Internal Revenue Service)



Sponsored by: Benefits and Compensation Solutions

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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] Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated March 12, 2008, on Human Resources & Employment Law (PDF)
15 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)


[Guidance Overview] SERP and Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Funding
Excerpt: "Employers may want to consider a qualified pension plan as a funding vehicle for executive compensation to the extent allowable. In this article, we're going to explore this potential and discuss why 2008 may be the best year to put more emphasis on your qualified defined benefit plan." (JPMorgan)


[Guidance Overview] State Source Taxation of Deferred Compensation - Employers Should Monitor Changes
Excerpt: "Employers that maintain deferred compensation arrangements should be aware of state income tax rules regarding compensation earned while an individual is a resident of a particular state. It is also important to understand how these rules intersect with the federal law limiting state source taxation. A recent development in Minnesota provides an example." (Faegre & Benson LLP)


Tips for Outsourcing Benefits Communication and Enrollment
Excerpt: "Knowing that employees need to understand the value of their benefit plans, companies of all sizes have turned to vendors that specialize in communicating employee benefits. The goal is to make open enrollment and new employee orientation less stressful, substantially elevate your workforce's knowledge and appreciation of your benefits and drive a great ROI for your company." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)


Chrysler Buyout Count Short - Automaker Had Hoped 10,000 Would Exit
Excerpt: "Chrysler LLC, which is trying to reduce its hourly workforce, is unlikely to meet its goal of cutting 10,000 workers through its latest buyout and early retirement packages, a top UAW leader said Wednesday, further illustrating challenges Detroit automakers face convincing people to leave good-paying jobs during tough times." (Detroit Free Press via Human Resource Executive Online)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

37th Annual Retirement and Benefits Management Seminar
in North Carolina on April 24, 2008
presented by Moore School of Business

The Alphabet Soup of Automatic Enrollment
in Massachusetts on March 25, 2008
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council (ABC) of New England

Wellness Programs and HIPAA Compliance: What's New -- What's Working in Practice Webcast
Nationwide on March 27, 2008
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Kaiser Analysis Finds Sharp Increase in Employers' Health Costs Per Worker Per Hour and As a Share of Payroll, With Wide Variations By Occupation and Establishment Size
Kaiser Family Foundation

Hewitt and Enron to Restore $11.2 Million to Enron Litigation Settlement Fund
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

ING Launches New Campaign To Help Make Retirement Planning Easier; Wants Americans To Know Their 'Number'
ING Group

MassMutual's Center for Behavioral Research(sm) Releases White Paper Regarding Automatic Features in Retirement Plans
MassMutual

Study Finds Alternative Asset Classes Grow in Popularity Among Public Pension Plans
Bear Stearns



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Strategic Communications Consultant
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services
in CA

ERISA Consultant
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services
in CA

Relationship Manager
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services
in CA

Associate Director-50051959
for MassMutual Financial Group
in MA

Assistant General Counsel -- ERISA Experience Required
for Nationwide Insurance
in OH

Sr. Technical Support Specialist
for First National Bank
in NE

401(k) Administrator
for Redwood Administrators, Inc.
in NJ

Director of Daily Operations
for Plan Benefit Services, Inc.
in TX

Actuarial Assistant/Analyst
for Mid-sized Northern California TPA firm
in CA

Team Leader, Retirement Plan Participant Communication
for Standard Retirement Services
in OR

Defined Contribution Client Account Manager
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services
in MA




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