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March 24, 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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[Official Guidance] Employee Plans News, Spring 2008 (PDF)
16 pages. Excerpt: "This edition includes articles such as Recent Guidance that May Require Interim or Discretionary Amendments; Determination Letters Coming Your Way; Steve Miller Discusses Governmental Plans Roundtable; New PPA Guidance; Exam's Risk Modeling Project; Economic Stimulus Payments; Written Plan Requirement for 403(b) Plans; 'Interesting' Pension Guidance Issued; and AFTAP Certifications." (Internal Revenue Service)


[Guidance Overview] Calendar of Events for Qualified Retirement Plans (PDF)
1 page. The chart lists dates/deadlines for plans administered on a calendar year basis. (Swerdlin & Company)


[Guidance Overview] IRS Proposed Regs Under PPA for Endangered Multiemployer DB Plans
Excerpt: "Code Sec. 432 generally provides for a determination by the enrolled actuary for a multiemployer plan as to whether the plan is in endangered status or in critical status for a plan year. In the first year that the actuary certifies that the plan is in endangered status, Code Sec. 432(a)(1) requires that the plan sponsor adopt a funding improvement plan. If a multiemployer plan is in critical status, the plan sponsor must adopt a rehabilitation plan." (Wolters Kluwer)


[Guidance Overview] IRS Date for Issuing Letters on Pre-Approved Plans, Schedule for Plan Adoptions, and Details for Submissions
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: Many employers use pre-approved plan documents for their qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) plans. While these documents can limit employers' flexibility in setting plan terms, they are inexpensive and may offer other advantages, such as eliminating the need for individual determination letter submissions. Following the IRS's release of the pre-approved plan opinion and advisory letters, affected employers will finally be able to adopt EGTRRA-approved restatements and, if they choose, submit their restated plans for individual determination letters." (Employee Benefits Institute of America)


Creating the Next Generation Glidepaths for Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
36 pages. Excerpt: "This paper examines the efficacy of the current, first-generation glidepaths and suggests a next-generation glidepath designed to increase the probability that DC plan participants achieve sufficient post-retirement income after accounting for the effects of inflation." (PIMCO)


Raiding Retirement Funds to Stave Off Foreclosure
Excerpt: "Most 401(k) plans and IRA accounts have rules in place that let you use your retirement savings to prevent foreclosure on your primary residence, either by offering loans on the balance or allowing you to simply withdraw the money." (bankrate.com via The E.W. Scripps Co.)


401(k) Plan Producers Shy Away from Fiduciary Insurance
Excerpt: "In the weeks following a ground-breaking Supreme Court case allowing individual 401(k) participants to sue employers, lawyers have been recommending that advisers require plan sponsors to purchase fiduciary insurance." (Investment News; free registration required)


Florida State Senator Fasano Wants State Out of Retirement Business
Excerpt: "[State] Sen. Mike Fasano's idea to get the state of Florida out of the employee-retirement business doesn't seem to be gaining any traction. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees calls his bill a radical idea that 'would destroy the Florida Retirement System' by forcing all new state and local employees, after next Jan. 1, to manage their own retirement planning." (tallahassee.com)


Bear Stearns Sued by Detroit Pension Plan Which Has Asked Judge to Halt Planned $2 Per Share Buyout
Excerpt: "'The sale price does not reflect the value of Bear Stearns,' and 'shareholders are being shabbily treated given that the transaction was not designed to maximize or even salvage their equity,' the Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit said in a complaint in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington, cited in a Bloomberg report." (Crain Communications, Inc.)


Detroit Automakers Using Pension Funds for Retirement Incentive Offers
Excerpt: "Some workers, however, are balking at the arrangements, worried about their future retirements, even though the pension funds being used contain more money than they need to meet obligations. Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. confirmed Friday that they are using the technique, while a Ford Motor Co. representative was unsure." (Detroit Free Press)


Pensions of Lexington, Kentucky Police and Firefighters at Issue
Excerpt: "Lexington is seeking state approval to take control of the retirement benefits for police officers and firefighters hired after July 1. The proposal, which the city wants to be approved this legislative session, would give Lexington the power to establish the employee and employer contribution rates as well as retirement benefits." (heraldleader.com)


Divorce Can Put Dent in Retirement Savings - Correctly Valuing Marital Assets Key to Secure Retirement
Excerpt: "[I]f you are divorcing, what should you do? Take care of the here and now through alimony and child support, but value your marital assets smartly so you can salvage, not sabotage, your golden years, experts said. Many couples have retirement accounts, taxable investment accounts and property to divide in a breakup, and their values often are intertwined in a final settlement." (Chicago Tribune)


Estate Plan Can Boost Retirement Benefits
Excerpt: "There are four general principles concerning the use of retirement benefits in an estate plan. The first . . . is that the younger the named designated beneficiary of your IRA, the greater the lifetime benefit. We saw that a $100,000 share of an IRA can result in over $1 million in lifetime benefits if the beneficiary is a grandchild, rather than your child." (news-press.com)


West Virginia's Governor Urges State's Teachers to Consider Pension Switch
Excerpt: "The state is gearing up to help thousands of teachers decide how they should save for retirement. Gov. Joe Manchin announced that the Consolidated Public Retirement Board is preparing personalized statements for the roughly 19,000 teachers who had their retirement funds tied up in a defined contribution plan. Many of those teachers found they couldn't earn enough for retirement. So Manchin and the Legislature devised a plan by which they can switch back to the old defined benefit pension plan." (Charleston Daily Mail)


Florida's State Payroll Sees Some Triple-Dipping
Excerpt: "Forget double-dipping. Florida has 131 triple-dippers. These state employees are drawing not one but two pensions and are back on the job, receiving a salary and working toward a third pension. In Florida, there is no limit on the number of pensions a person can receive." (St. Petersburg Times)


ADEA Claim in Cash Balance Case Survives Challenge
Excerpt: "A federal judge in Colorado has given participants challenging their employer's cash balance plan a chance to rewrite their lawsuit to better define a potential class of plaintiffs." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


[Opinion] 20th Century 403(b) Investing vs. 21st Century Practices (PDF)
1 page. The chart compares financial planning/investment practices of individuals. (Steve Schullo via 403bwise.com)


[Opinion] Interview with Roy Krause on Trend Toward Putting Consultants on Payrolls
Excerpt: "Q. We are hearing a lot about the retirement of the baby boomers creating job shortages, as soon as 2010 or 2011 by some estimates. How would a recession affect this phenomenon?" (The New York Times; free registration required)


[Opinion] If Bonds Are Good for DB Plans, Why Are Stocks So Good for DC Plans?
Excerpt: "What I don't get is, if bonds are good for DB plans, why are stocks so good for DC plans? For the past 20 years, we've been lectured on how participants need to add more risk and more equities to their retirement portfolios. Let me put it this way. In the switch from DB to DC, sponsors are getting rid of three types of risk: longevity risk, investment risk, and interest-rate risk. It's clear, in a DC plan, that participants bear risks related to longevity and investment, but what happened to the interest-rate risk?" (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


[Opinion] Public Employment - It's All About the Pensions
Excerpt: "'Those of us in private sector employment can huff and puff all we want about public sector workers making out like bandits when it comes to their salaries and benefits, but nothing will change so long as the pension plan that now exists is calculated on the average of the three highest years of earnings. It's little wonder that so many individuals spend so many years on the public payroll. It isn't because they care about service to the people. It's about the pension." (Vindy.com)


[Opinion] Retirement Planning - You Should Invest More Now
Excerpt: "Falling stocks are roadblocks to a comfortable retirement. At times like this, when the path looks especially rocky, it's tempting to reduce your regular contributions to a 401(k) account or other automatic investment plan. In fact, with U.S. and international stocks both down sharply this year, it's actually a prime time to boost your commitment to these all-terrain retirement vehicles. Take a bit extra from each paycheck, buy more shares at lower prices, and let the market's long-term upward trend do the rest." (The Wall Street Journal)



Sponsored by: Appleby Retirement Consulting Inc.

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for Appleby Retirement Consulting Inc.

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(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

Highlights from the Recent Congressional Hearing on CEO Pay and the Mortgage Crisis (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "On March 7th, the House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and Government Reform ('the Committee') held a hearing titled 'Executive Compensation II: CEO Pay and the Mortgage Crisis.' In advance of the hearing date, the Committee released a staff memorandum examining the apparent breakdown between shareholder interests and the compensation and retirement benefits awarded to three prominent CEOs whose companies are involved in the mortgage crisis. This was the second in a series of hearings that focus on executive compensation." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)


An Intriguing Development for Workplace Concierge Services
Excerpt: "The services are still more the exception than the rule for companies. But late last year, food and facilities management giant Sodexho announced the acquisition of Circles, a veteran concierge service, and said it would make its services available to its roughly 3,000 U.S. corporate client sites. Does that signal greater interest in what concierge companies can do?" (Workforce Management; free registration required)


Employee-Ownership Plans Increasingly Common
Excerpt: "A successful ESOP needs 'a lot of communication, some sense of history as an organization, and . . . some track record of success so employees are not frightened at the prospect' of owning their own company . . . ." (IBJ Media Corp.)


4,000 Sutter Health Nurses on Strike in San Francisco Bay Area over Healthcare and Pension Disputes As Well As Conditions for Patients
Excerpt: "The strike affects hospitals in Antioch, Berkeley, Burlingame, Castro Valley, Oakland, San Francisco, San Mateo and Vallejo. The California Nurses Assn. union said the walkout was triggered by contract negotiations and Sutter practices that it said put patients at risk." (AP via Los Angeles Times)


What Are the Major Tax Code Changes for Taxpayers to Consider This Year?
Excerpt: "From a new tax credit added to the [state of Pennsylvania's] CollegeChoice 529 savings plan to higher contribution limits allowed for traditional and Roth IRAs, there are many beneficial changes to the tax code you don't want to miss." (IndyStar.com)


Kentucky House Committee Rejects Ban on Domestic Partner Benefits
Excerpt: "The Health and Welfare Committee of the Kentucky House voted to reject a Senate bill that would bar state universities and other public agencies from providing health insurance for domestic partners of employees." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

"The Boss Knows: What Bruce Springsteen Can Teach Us About Making Health Cool"
in Pennsylvania on April 24, 2008
presented by Trion

2008 Spring Summit "Dancing with the Experts"
in California on April 30, 2008
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Los Angeles Chapter

HIPAA and Other Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar
in Pennsylvania on April 8, 2008
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

PBGC Moves To Protect Pensions At The Alaska Forest Association
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Model Notice for Multiemployer Plans in Critical Status
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Principal to Provide Retirement Plan Services for Burns & McDonnell
Principal Financial Group

The SPARK Institute Requests IRS 403(b) Prototype Plan Program, And Extension Of Plan Document Compliance Deadline
SPARK Institute

Treasury Broadens Savings Opportunities for More Investors New $100 Minimums for Treasury Marketable Securities to Debut in April
U.S. Department of Treasury

New Prospecting Capabilities Introduced for Retirement Plan Advisors
Venture (k) Corp.

DWS Scudder Launches Proprietary Analytical Tool for Plan Sponsors
DWS Scudder

MassMutual lays off 30 401K jobs
MassLive.com

San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance - Compliance Deadline is Fast Approaching
Corporate Synergies



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Defined Benefit Pension Administration Manager
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in NJ

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in CA

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
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in ME

Client Relationship Manager
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in IL

Senior Benefits Administrator
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in CA

Retirement Compliance Testing Administrator
for Vanguard
in PA

Senior Compliance Testing Consultant
for Vanguard
in PA

Retirement Compliance Testing Manager
for Vanguard
in PA

Retirement Services Education & Enrollment Specialist
for Prudential Financial
in NJ

Relationship Manager
for John Mulligan & Associates
in CA, FL, IL, NY, TX

Senior Account Executive - Group Benefits
for Lenox Advisors
in NY

Pension and 401(k) Plan Administration Services Assistant
for WESPAC
in CA




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