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April 16, 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)

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www.sungard.com/reliusdocuments/dmsbp


[Guidance Overview] IRS Notice 2008-30 -- Guidance Relating to Certain Distribution-Related Provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "This Summary highlights the following distribution provisions affecting defined contribution plans: Rollovers from eligible retirement plans to Roth IRAs; Qualified Optional Survivor Annuities (QOSAs) as an alternative to Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuities (QJSAs) for defined contribution plans subject to the funding standards of section 412 of the Internal Revenue Code; and Gap-period earnings for distributions of excess deferrals." (The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)


[Guidance Overview] Global Retirement Update, April 2008 (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Our Global Retirement Update summarizes recent legislative developments and trends related to retirement and financial management and highlights recently passed and pending legislation that may require employers to take action to comply with new rules or review existing plans. It is published monthly in PDF format." (Hewitt Associates)


[Guidance Overview] Pension Portability Reform to Be Implemented in Israel
Excerpt: "Employees will be able to transfer funds between pension instruments and providers without suffering tax consequences, under legislation that will be implemented in two steps this year. The new law will apply to provident and pension funds as of October 1, 2008, and to executive insurance accounts as of January 1, 2009." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)


[Guidance Overview] Claimant Denied Benefits from ERISA Plan Sponsored by Company He Never Worked For
Excerpt: "In a rather strange ERISA case, a plaintiff filed suit after the ERISA plan administrator denied his claim that sought retirement benefits pursuant to a Plan titled Kroger 30-And-Out even though he was never an employee of Kroger. The case is Beckner v. American Benefit Corp., et. al. (4th Cir. April 10, 2008). The 4th Circuit affirmed the denial of benefits." (The Laconic Law Blog)


Social Security Reform: Mechanisms for Achieving True Pre-Funding (PDF)
16 pages. Excerpt: "This is the fourth in a series of Treasury issue briefs on Social Security reform. It expands on a point introduced in the second issue brief; namely, that making Social Security reform fair to future generations requires building up and safeguarding resources in the near term that can be used to fund future benefits as the number of retirees per worker increases." (U.S. Department of the Treasury)


Update of Model 402(f) Notice Included in Forthcoming IRS Guidance
Excerpt: "The model notice provides a safe harbor explanation that plan administrators may provide to recipients of eligible rollover distributions from employer plans in order to satisfy the notice requirements of Code Sec. 402(f)." (Wolters Kluwer)


401(k) Fair Disclosure for Retirement Security Act, H.R. 3185, Committee Web Page
The page includes the following information and documents: About the 401(k) Fair Disclosure for Retirement Security Act; Support for H.R. 3185; Testimony from March 2007 Full Committee Hearing; Reports on 401(k) Fees; and, Myths vs. Facts. (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor)


Labor Department Hears 401(k) Providers on Fee-Disclosure
Excerpt: "Service providers to 401(k) plans should not be required to be fiduciaries of the plans, the Department of Labor is being told." (Investment News; free registration required)


Global Equity Gaining Favor As New DC Plan Investment Option
Excerpt: "Roughly 14% of corporate defined contribution plans offer a global equity fund, up from 12% a year ago; according to data from Hewitt Associates LLC, Lincolnshire, Ill." (Pensions & Investments)


Pension Deal Reportedly Reached As Kentucky House, Senate Craft Tentative Agreement
Excerpt: "The pension bill, which is aimed at beginning the process of controlling the soaring retirement costs for state workers and teachers, has been a priority since the House and Senate deadlocked on the matter in last year's session. The House advocated a bill that reduced benefits for future hires and a study of retooling the various pension systems -- which face a $26.6 billion shortfall -- to make them more efficient. But the Senate favored a version that would make deeper cuts in future benefits and called for creating an annuity savings plan for new hires -- an idea the House strongly opposed. As of midevening, the details of the agreement were unavailable." (The Courier-Journal)


New Jersey Lawmaker Urges State Pension Changes
Excerpt: "A key state lawmaker called Monday for revisiting several controversial, but potentially money-saving, plans to cut pensions for government workers. Sen. Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex, chairwoman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, called for rolling back a 2001 pension increase, raising the state government retirement age to 62, limiting retirees to a single job when calculating their benefits and knocking part-time workers out of the state's pension systems." (CourierPostOnline.com)


Audio: 'QDIA Essentials' Presented by Conference Panel
Excerpt: "Final regulations on Qualified Default Investment Alternatives (QDIAs) were published by the Department of Labor on October 24, 2007. . . What do the regulations mean for retirement plan sponsors, and what questions are still unanswered?" (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Denver Public Schools Tweak May Fully Fund Its Pension Plan
Excerpt: "Denver Public Schools is preparing a deal next week to refinance its debt and fully fund its retirement pension. A fully funded pension could put Denver in position to merge with the state's larger retirement plan, thus removing an employment obstacle for many teachers. Depending on market conditions, DPS plans to sell $700 million in certificate-of-participation bonds and use 17 school buildings as collateral." (The Denver Post)


Mercer Loses Evidentiary Issue in Milwaukee DB Advice Suit
Excerpt: "A federal judge hearing a lawsuit by Milwaukee County over the quality of Mercer's advice on its defined benefit pension plan has turned away Mercer's efforts to bring evidence into the case of potential county pension wrongdoing." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


ESOP Benefits of Fiduciary Who Breached His Duties Can Offset Plan Loss
Excerpt: "The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama has determined a former bank president breached his fiduciary duty to the bank's Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) by not disclosing his criminal acts against the bank to the plan's committee." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


CalPERS May Oversee Retirement Funds for Private Workers Without Pensions or 401(k)s
Excerpt: "The CalPERS product, if approved, would make California the first state in the country to offer all workers a portable, easy-to-use retirement savings plan to supplement Social Security and other benefits . . . . Pre-tax contributions could be automatically deducted from worker paychecks and forwarded to the state along with payroll taxes." (Los Angeles Times)


Executives Profit by Questioning 401(k) Costs
Excerpt: "According to Callan Associates, fee analysis and fee disclosure are priorities for plan sponsors in 2008. Of the 90 plan executives surveyed, 48% anticipate or will consider engaging in a fee analysis of their defined-contribution plan, compared with 23% who have no interest. Thirty-two percent intend to voluntarily enhance fee disclosure." (Financial Week; free registration required)


[Opinion] ASPPA/CIKR Letter of Support to Amendment in the Nature of Substitute to '401(k) Fair Disclosure for Retirement Security Act' (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "ASPPA and CIKR applaud the bill's uniform application of its disclosure rules to all services providers, regardless of their business structure. Rather than mandating a particular business model, the amended legislation treats all business models equally and fairly." (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries and Council of Independent 401(k) Recordkeepers)


[Opinion] Myths and Facts Regarding 401(k) Plan Fees (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Recent media coverage and public opinion has mischaracterized the relationship between employer-sponsored defined contribution retirement programs, such as 401(k) plans, and the fees paid by employers and participants. The Council strongly supports efforts to improve fee disclosure, but in order to do so in a productive way it is important to distinguish the myths and facts about 401(k) plan fees." (American Benefits Council)



Sponsored by: ASPPA

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Banner ad for ASPPA

The ERISA Outline Book

Stay current with The ERISA Outline Book, 2008 Edition, by Sal Tripodi, J.D., LL.M. only from ASPPA. Available in both print or on CD, this one of a kind resource has become the must have for anyone working in the pension industry today. Fully updated with the latest guidance on a variety of PPA 2006 items, the 2008 Edition also includes automatic enrollment guidance including QACAs, final regulations on QDIA's, guidance on benefit restrictions and much more. Stay current and order your copy today.

(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] Deduction Limit for Meals/Incidental Expenses Paid to Leased Employees Addressed
Excerpt: "The IRS has issued a ruling addressing which party is subject to the percentage limitation for the deduction of meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) paid to leased employees. The ruling holds that the percentage limit applies to the party that ultimately bears the per diem expense, regardless of which party is the employer under the common law rules." (CCH Incorporated)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Fees in the Spotlight Webcast
Nationwide on April 24, 2008
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Corporate Retirement Plan Seminar - McCormick & Schmicks
in District of Columbia on May 6, 2008
presented by AFS Financial Group



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

San Francisco Case Represents Threat to ERISA; Preemption Standard Essential for Plan Sponsors
American Benefits Council



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401(k) / Defined Contribution Assistant Administrator
for R.J.L. Pension Services, Inc.
in FL

401(k) / Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for R.J.L. Pension Services, Inc.
in FL

Plan Document Specialist
for American National Insurance Company
in TX

Consulting Actuary
for Diversified Investment Advisors, Inc.
in CA

Employer Accounting Manager
for UFCW-Employers Benefit Plans of Northern California
in CA

Research Analyst for Retirement Plans
for Charles Schwab
in AZ

Retirement Distribution Manager - Operations
for Charles Schwab
in AZ

Manager-Legal Affairs/Paralegal
for Ameriprise Financial
in MN

Regulatory Policy Analyst
for National Business Group on Health
in DC

TPA Relationship Manager
for ING, US Financial Services
in CA




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