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April 3, 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] Plan Documents Required for 403(b) Arrangements (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "Final IRS regulations require an employer offering a 403(b) arrangement to adopt a written plan by January 1, 2009. This requirement applies to both ERISA 403(b) plans and non-ERISA 403(b) programs." (Prudential Retirement)

Article on the Treasury & Risk Retirement Survey (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "With pressures mounting on retirement plans from a growing population of old people and sweeping changes in accounting rules, finance executives in the 2008 Treasury & Risk Retirement Survey seem ready to consider more substantial overhauls to institutions, such as the 401(k). The respondents also identified retiree healthcare as the problem that must be solved if a baby boomer retirement crisis is to be averted. [Full survey results are at]" (Treasury & Risk)

Yale Money Whiz Shares Tips on Growing a Nest Egg
Excerpt: "To share the wealth with everyone, Swensen wrote a book about retirement investing that details his allocation strategies. He advises having the right long-term mix of stock index funds, bonds and real estate investment trusts . . . . But when stocks tank, that mix gets out of balance: For example, U.S. stocks that once constituted 30 percent of a portfolio may now constitute just 29 percent or 28 percent. When that happens, Swensen rebalances, shifting more holdings into stock index funds. Then, if the market comes back up and ends the day flat -- where it started -- Swensen sells those stock index funds." (Morning Edition via National Public Radio)

Pension Fund Funding Ratios Continue Decline
Excerpt: "Pension funding ratios fell 11% in the first quarter of 2008, according to the UBS Global Asset Management US Pension Fund Fitness Tracker." (; free registration required)

[Opinion] PSCA Testimony Before Department of Labor Regarding Proposed 408(b)(2) Regulations (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "In the proposed regulation the Department of Labor has made it clear that it expects retirement plan fiduciaries to know with specificity all of those who receive compensation or fees as the result of the provision of certain plan services, and how their fees are determined, in order to ensure that fees paid from plan assets are reasonable. While PSCA applauds the Department's intent to require fee disclosure by providers to fiduciaries, we have concerns about the proposed regulation. First, the proposed regulation is not clear about the extent of the information required to be disclosed. The proposed regulation could be interpreted as requiring detailed lists of every entity and individual providing any type of services to an organization providing a covered service to a plan." (Profit Sharing / 401k Council of America)

[Opinion] The Ideal Advisor to Retirement Plan Fiduciaries
Excerpt: "A number of readers of this column have, over the years, asked me how I would describe the ideal investment advisor to fiduciaries of retirement plans. This month's column is an extended explanation of what I tell them." (W. Scott Simon via Morningstar)

[Opinion] American Benefits Council Comment on Proposed Regulation on Diversification Requirements for Certain Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "Some 401(k) plans that include Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) (either as part of the plan or the entire plan) allow a diversification distribution option for participants under the diversification requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a)(28). With the addition of the new diversification requirements required by the PPA, these diversification distributions are no longer necessary but are considered protected optional forms of benefit which cannot be eliminated as to amounts already accrued absent cutback relief. If the employer stock in the plan is now fully diversifiable in accordance with the employer stock diversification requirements, there is no policy reason to continue the option for diversification distributions." (American Benefits Council)

Sponsored by: University Conference Services

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Banner ad for University Conference Services

A New Era in Plan Management

The landscape and lexicon for managing your retirement plan have changed dramatically. The Mid-Sized Retirement & Pension Plan Management Conference, May 6-9, 2008, in Boston brings you up-to-date on the issues and places you out in front of new opportunities to enable your participants to reach their retirement goals.

(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] IRS Solicits Comments: Wages for FICA Purposes Arising from Deferrals and Payments Under Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans (PDF)
1 page; June 2 deadline. The IRS is soliciting comments concerning an existing final regulation, 'Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) Taxation of Amounts Under Employee Benefit Plans' (Sec. 31.3121(v)(2)-1). Excerpt: "This regulation provides guidance as to when amounts deferred under or paid from a nonqualified deferred compensation plan are taken into account as wages for purposes of the employment taxes imposed by the Federal Insurance Compensation Act (FICA). Current Actions: There is no change to this existing regulation. Type of Review: Extension of currently approved collection." (Internal Revenue Service)

20% of Companies Pick Up CEOs' Taxes on Perks
Excerpt: "CEOs are just like the rest of us: They hate paying for things out of pocket if they can find someone else to foot the bill. Fortunately for them, in many cases there is someone willing to pick up the bill for selected personal expenses: the shareholders. A new study from The Corporate Library finds that the most common form of perk being granted to CEOs these days is something called a tax 'gross-up.' In plain English, it means that a company pays the taxes owed by the CEO on benefits granted by the company." (USA TODAY)

Executive Compensation - Besides Stock Options, What Else Is There?
Excerpt: "There are several alternatives, including restricted stock plans, phantom stock, stock appreciation rights, and employee stock ownership plans. Each of these plans is an alternative to the stock option, and some do not involve stock ownership at all." (Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC)

A Great Place To Work - It Isn't About The Perks, It's 'Respect, Dignity, Flexibility'
Excerpt: "Although some of Fortune magazine's top 100 best companies to work for offer unusual perks such as scuba-certification classes and meditation rooms, it's not the bells and whistles that probably got them there in the first place. The real secret to being a good place to work? 'People are treated with respect, dignity, flexibility,' said Richard Hansen, CEO of Johnson Financial Group , one of three Wisconsin companies to make this year's list. 'It's really not all that complicated.' Hansen said his company's business model aims to offer its clients satisfied, motivated associates, producing low turnover rates in employees and customers." (Wisconsin State Journal)

[Opinion] A Review of the Creation of ERISA Preemption
Excerpt: "The house passed its version of ERISA in the fall of 1973. The Senate approved its version in February of 1974. There were many differences to be reconciled by the Conference, which got underway in April of that year. One of them, however, was not the preemption of state law rule, which was the same in both bills. It provided for 'subject matter' preemption. States were precluded from legislating with respect to matters addressed in ERISA. . . . So how, then, did we wind up with the utterly different, and much broader, preemption rule that was in ERISA as enacted?" (Pension & Benefits Blog)

[Opinion] Outdated Employee Benefits Law Needs Revision, Not Further Judicial Interpretation
Excerpt: "The recent decision of a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned a federal judge's ruling on San Francisco's 'play or pay' employer health insurance mandate, highlights one important fact: The 1974 federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, known as ERISA, is a mess. It was bad law when it was enacted, and it hasn't gotten better with time. It is because of ERISA that the states have gone crazy with mandated benefits and other regulations." (The Heartland Institute)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Georgia on May 2, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Illinois on May 2, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Ohio on May 2, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Minnesota on May 2, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Advanced COBRA Compliance: Thorny Issues for Employers, COBRA Administrators, and Advisors
Nationwide on March 20, 2008
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA)/Thomson Tax & Accounting

Bob Kaplan on Plan Documents - What You Need to Know
in Pennsylvania on June 19, 2008
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Delaware Valley

ERISA Health and Welfare Compliance for Rookies: Understanding Basic Documentation, SPD, Form 5500, and Other Rules
Nationwide on May 1, 2008
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA)/Thomson Tax & Accounting

Form 5500 Workshop
in Minnesota on May 1, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Form 5500 Workshop
in Georgia on May 1, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Form 5500 Workshop
in Illinois on May 1, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Form 5500 Workshop
in Ohio on May 1, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

HIPAA Traps for the Unwary: Health Status Discrimination, Special Enrollment, Creditable Coverage, and More
Nationwide on March 6, 2008
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA)/Thomson Tax & Accounting

SPARK Accredited Retirement Plan Consultant (ARPC) 1-Day Classroom Session
in Maryland on June 11, 2008
presented by SPARK -- Society of Professional Asset-Managers and Record Keepers

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

ExpertPlan Brings On 12 New Private Label Partners in Q1 '08

Pension Cutback Notices No April Fools Joke
Pension Rights Center

AXA Equitable Unveils Crossings(SM): My Lifetime IRA(SM)
AXA Financial, Inc

CAPTRUST Acquires Retirement Plan Division of Capital Strategies Advisors
CAPTRUST Financial Advisors

Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co., LLP expands its claims audit practice with the addition of Robert J. Frcek, CPA as the Director of Benefit Services
Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co., LLP

IHPM and HealthMedia Announce Industry's First Behavioral Health Workplace Center for Employers
HealthMedia, Inc.

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Compensation & Benefits Senior Manager
for Deloitte Tax, LLP
in DC, TN, VA

401(k) Administrator
for Continental Benefits Group, Inc.
in NJ

DC Testing Specialist
for Kravitz - Louis Kravitz & Associates

Retirement Plans Relationship Manager
for Boston Financial Data Services
in MA

Processing Specialist
for Citi
in ME

Financial Planning Expert
for The Principal Financial Group
in DC

Defined Benefit Professional
for Benetemps
in MA

Pension Administrator (FT / PT)
for Actuarial Consulting Services
in NJ

TRS - Client Relationship Manager
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in CA

Regional Director
for ING, US Financial Services
in CA, KS, MA, TN

Data Conversion Specialist
for Vanguard
in PA

Investment Consultant/Analyst
for Alerus Investment Advisors
in MN

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