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March 27, 2008

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

Today's sponsor is SunGard

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Banner ad for SunGard

SunGard's Document Management Services (DMS)

Rely on SunGard as your back office resource for EGTRRA restatements. If you have 500 or more retirement plan documents, turn to SunGard's expert DMS staff to cost-effectively create, amend and restate your plans. Outsource some or all of the processes you currently maintain in-house. Let us focus on your plan documents, so you can focus on growing your business.

Call today. 800-326-7235, ext. 1100, or visit

[Guidance Overview] IRS Expected to Issue Opinion Letters and Advisory Letters to Document Providers Who Timely Filed Their Plan Documents for EGTRRA (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued Announcement 2008-23 relating to the issuance of Opinion and Advisory Letters and the opening of the EGTRRA determination letter program for IRS pre-approved defined contribution plans. This Announcement affects document providers of pre-approved defined contribution plans and plan sponsors using one of these plans." (Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

[Guidance Overview] Employee Plans Compliance Resolution Program Can Be Used to Resolve Miscommunication Issues
Excerpt: "Although miscommunications cannot always be avoided, plan sponsors should remember that EPCRS may be a valuable tool for straightening things out. Additionally, companies are not limited to the correction methods described in EPCRS. Thus, methods that are more consistent with the client's objectives and circumstances may be available." (Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen)

[Guidance Overview] Judge Awards $50 Per Day for Nine Years for Plan Document Request Refusal
Excerpt: "A federal judge has awarded the ex-wife of a pension plan trustee penalties of $50 per day for not being supplied with plan documents she requested. U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California made the award in a suit filed by Trudy G. Hemphill who said she had asked for the documents beginning in 1996." (; free registration required)

[Guidance Overview] Married for One Year Language in Plan Document Defeats Claim for Benefits
Excerpt: "Common language contained somewhere in most qualified plan documents is the definition of spouse. Within that definition can be the requirement that a participant must be married for a period of one year before the spouse is recognized by the plan as the participant's spouse. In a recent case from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the interpretation of married for one year was central to the outcome of the claim for benefits." (Pension Protection Act Blog)

Social Security Programs Throughout the World: The Americas, 2007
Excerpt: "This fourth issue in the current four-volume series of Social Security Programs Throughout the World reports on the countries of the Americas. The combined findings of this series, which also includes volumes on Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and Africa, are published at 6-month intervals over a 2-year period. Each volume highlights features of social security programs in the particular region." (U.S. Social Security Administration)

Funds to Be Restored to Enron Litigation Settlement Fund
Excerpt: "In a settlement with the Department of Labor (DOL), Hewitt Associates and the Enron Creditors Recovery Corp. have agreed to restore $11.2 million to a court supervised settlement fund for Enron participants." (Wolters Kluwer)

Chart - Retirement Benefits of State and Local Government Workers
Excerpt: "In State and local government, 89 percent of workers had access to employer-sponsored retirement benefits in September 2007." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

YMCA Employees Get the Benefits of an Innovative Retirement Plan Design
Excerpt: "'We are a defined contribution plan during accumulation, and more like a defined benefit plan in the payout phase,' says John Preis, President and CEO of the YMCA Retirement Fund. 'It is a true hybrid.'" (; free registration required)

The Task - Taking Risk Out of Pensions
Excerpt: "A Williams College economics professor has received a $40,000 Social Security Administration grant to fund research that has the potential to effect every working person in the United States. David Love, a Williams College assistant professor of economics, is studying the effects of risky pensions on personal savings and labor supply decisions." (Berkshire Eagle)

New Jersey Early Retirement Plan Faces Skepticism
Excerpt: "Gov. Corzine's plan to entice state workers into retirement could cut payroll and save $136 million in the next state budget, but it could cost $517 million in long-term pension obligations, said acting Treasurer David Rousseau. 'See, that's where I'm struggling with the math,' said Senate Majority Leader Stephen M. Sweeney, D-Gloucester." (Asbury Park Press)

The Key to Successful Retirement Planning
Excerpt: "The prevailing theme for future retirement planning should be flexibility." (Morningstar)

Boomer Retirement Worries Grow, but Most Have not Taken Action
Excerpt: "New research conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Longevity Alliance shows baby boomers' worries over retirement savings have increased as economic indicators continue to trend downward, but most have not done anything to change their savings strategies to adjust to their concerns." (; free registration required)

DOL Says ERISA Fiduciaries Could Have Fee Disclosure Mandate Not Specified in Law
Excerpt: "Federal regulators have contended that fiduciaries may still be legally required to disclose plan fees such as revenue sharing even if such a mandate is not explicit in federal benefits law. That contention was contained in arguments presented to a federal appellate court by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) as part of an ongoing participant battle over revenue sharing fee disclosures." (; free registration required)

Boeing Chief Investment Officer Tunes Up Pension Plans
Excerpt: "Boeing Co.'s (BA) chief investment officer is increasingly looking for experts in niche markets to make sure the aerospace company's employee retirement funds - now worth $80 billion - keep earning money at a steady clip." (Dow Jones via

Vote on 401(k) Fee Disclosure Likely, According to Remarks at Retirement Income Summit
Excerpt: "Although Congress is expected to pass only few regulations this year focused on 401(k) retirement plans, fee disclosure is a priority that will likely see House votes this summer." (Investment News; free registration required)

Plan Sponsors Looking to Curb Pension Investment Volatility
Excerpt: "Liability-driven investment strategies continue to gain in popularity with CFOs as corporations search for ways to reduce the volatility of traditional pension plan investments. In fact, a new study from Casey Quirk & Associates found liability-driven investment strategies now register as the top interest of corporate plan sponsors." (Financial Week; free registration required)

[Opinion] Countering Negative ESOP Coverage with the Facts
This opinion piece counters the recently published 'Treasury and Risk' editorial, The New Retirement Drama: ESOPs, about Bear Stearns and ESOPs. (The One-Stop ESOP Blog)

[Opinion] The Value of an Independent Fiduciary (PDF)
7 pages. Excerpt: "The appointment of an Independent Fiduciary is excellent 'insurance' for a plan sponsor. Like hiring legal counsel or seeking medical attention from a skilled physician, appointing an Independent Fiduciary is the logical, intelligent solution to dealing with the rapidly changing, increasingly litigious retirement plan environment." (Joshua P. Itzoe and Matthew D. Hutcheson)

[Opinion] Emerging Challenges for Retirement Plan Management
Excerpt: "There's a growing recognition that retirement plan managers are under the gun because of new legislation as well as increases in employee mobility and auto enrollment. But over the past year, another negative force has begun, albeit insidiously, to impact the industry. The fallout from the sub-prime mortgage crisis is taking its toll on retirement plans. Results of the 2007 [Fifth-annual Mercer Workplace SurveyTM] indicates that workers are more concerned about falling home prices, rising debt, and keeping up with monthly expenses than with saving for retirement. As fewer employees participate (or start saving at a lower rate), average plan balances drop, and servicing costs increase." (RolloverSystems, Inc. via planadvisor)

Sponsored by: DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, 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

[Guidance Overview] Equity Interests in Limited Liability Corporations (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "This article addresses the ways in which an LLC can share equity with its employees, and includes a discussion of the favorable tax treatment available to employees. This article appears in The Journal of Employee Ownership and Finance (Winter 2008)." (National Center for Employee Ownership via Janich Law Group)

[Guidance Overview] Continued Insurance Coverage, Reimbursement and In-Kind Benefit Commitments Under Section 409A
7 pages. Excerpt: "It is vital to properly structure insurance coverage, reimbursement and in-kind benefit commitments to either avoid deferred compensation status under Section 409A or to comply with the rules of Section 409A. The regulations under Section 409A provide much flexibility to make such commitments workable, at least with respect to most commonly provided commitments." (Faegre & Benson LLP)

Non-Profit Employees Have Commitment but Face Pay, Work-Life Difficulties
Excerpt: "Workers for non-profit employers say they are ready to make a long-term commitment to the non-profit space, but that salary and work-life balance concerns make carrying out that commitment difficult. That was a key finding of a recent survey of 1,750 nonprofit employees including many who wanted a long-term career, but argued that non-profit organizations are not doing enough to help them overcome potential career obstacles." (; free registration required)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Washington Legislative Update
in District of Columbia on May 19, 2008
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

John Hancock Retirement Plan Services Expands 401k TPA Services Team
John Hancock Retirement Plan Services

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in WA

Pension Administration
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