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May 13, 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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SunGard's Relius Government Forms 5500 Web Client

Did you know the DOL is requiring electronic filing for 5500s? Now is the time to encourage your clients to use the Internet to gather and verify data. SunGard's Relius Government Forms 5500 Web Client can help.

Learn more.

800-326-7235, ext. 1100.

[Guidance Overview] IRS Allows Tax-Free Withdrawal of Economic Stimulus Payments from IRAs
Excerpt: "Financial institutions receiving the direct deposit of the Economic Stimulus Payment and making the distribution should report the deposit and distribution in the usual manner. Taxpayers will receive instructions in the Form 1040 package that will allow them to report the distribution on their individual income tax return in a manner that shows that the amount withdrawn is not subject to taxes or penalties." (Wolters Kluwer)

[Guidance Overview] EBSA Clarifies Fee Disclosure, Stable Value Provisions of QDIA Regs
Excerpt: "The recently issued FAB clarifies that when a plan sponsor chooses to create and manage a QDIA using a mix of the plan's available investment alternatives, the plan sponsor will not qualify for the QDIA safe harbor unless it is a named fiduciary of the plan. The plan sponsor would remain liable for the management and monitoring of the QDIA." (Wolters Kluwer)

How You Can Help Clients and Prospects Evaluate the Promises of Defined Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "How secure are the promises of DB plans on a scale of 1 to 10? . . . Now is the time to help your clients who participate in DB plans answer complex, anxiety-inducing questions. The ideas, tools and techniques in this article will help you." (Rich White on

ASPPA Rolls Out Professional Services Directory of ASPPA Members, Available for Use by Public
Excerpt: "Please select the professional services that you require, then you may select to search by zip code and mile radius or city, state and mile radius. . . . Please select one or more services . . . : 401(K)/Defined Contribution Services; Actuarial and Defined Benefit Services; Compliance and Fiduciary Services; Investment Services' [ASPPA membership information is online at] (American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries)

EBSA Studying 403(b) Orphan Contract Problem; Link to Recorded Webcast
Excerpt: "A top Department of Labor (DOL) benefits regulator on Thursday revealed that the agency is studying ways to help 403(b) plan sponsors better deal with the difficult problem of getting an exact accounting of their orphan contracts." (

Text of Study: Ownership of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)-Type Plans (PDF)
Excerpt: "Growth in the number of 401(k)-type plans and the number of participants in those plans, which increased sharply in the 1990s, has slowed in recent years, according to a new EBRI study." (Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

Annuities in Pay Status: Rethinking the 'A Word'
Excerpt: "[Kelli] Hueler and her team are setting out on a gargantuan task -- to convince a generation of do-it-yourself investors who don't trust annuities to embrace them as a way to ensure they won't outlast their money. In recent years, annuities have only made headlines as unsuitable investments sold to the elderly." (Minneapolis - St. Paul Star Tribune)

Why Do Married Men Claim Social Security Benefits So Early? Ignorance or Caddishness? (Research Report)
Excerpt: "Most married men claim Social Security benefits at age 62 or 63, well short of both Social Security's Full Retirement Age and the age that maximizes the household's expected present value of benefits (EPVB). . . . But financial education has not been especially effective in changing behavior. Policymakers should thus consider other initiatives to assure a survivor benefit greater than that produced by an age 62 or 63 husbands' claiming age. " (Center for Retirement Research)

Women Owe It to Themselves to Save for Retirement
Excerpt: "According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, 25 percent of women have no retirement savings. Women also are less likely than men to qualify for a pension. Because women tend to live longer, they also tend to have a longer retirement than men. Up to 90 percent of women will spend at least part of that retirement alone, either because they never marry, they divorce or they outlive their spouses." (

Real Victim of Pension Underfunding? Future Earnings, Says UBS
Excerpt: "While almost half of the companies in the S&P 500 have underfunded pension plans, the shortfalls at Ford and Goodyear pose more of a threat to future profitability of those companies than is the case with any of the others in the index, according to a new report from UBS analysts." (

[Opinion] Reforming Social Security with Progressive Personal Accounts
Excerpt: "The heated debate about how to reform Social Security has come to a standstill because the view of most Democrats (that Social Security must be a defined benefits plan similar in spirit to the current system) seems irreconcilable with the proposals supported by many Republicans (to create a defined contribution system of personal accounts holding marketed assets). We describe a system of 'progressive personal accounts' that preserves the core goals of both parties, and that is self-balancing on an ongoing basis." (National Bureau of Economic Research)

[Opinion] Walter Reuther Was the Prophet of Pensions; His Ideas Need Revisiting
Excerpt: "Recently, i heard three European journalists express astonishment at the primitive state of America's social safety net. 'Do you have private pensions?' they asked. The system is unraveling, I explained. 'Healthcare?' Some folks get it, some don't. 'Public pensions?' Vastly underfunded. When I mentioned that Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are touting innovative ideas for government savings plans, in the form of a national 401(k) -- the journalists harrumphed. Holland and Switzerland have had such plans for years." (Los Angeles Times)

[Opinion] Report of the Working Group on Participant Benefit Statements
Excerpt: "The Department should provide longer due dates for defined benefit plan benefit statements, dates that recognize the time it takes to accumulate details of participant data necessary to calculate all participants' accrued benefits, and that recognize differences in accumulating data." (Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor)

Sponsored by: Investment Company Institute

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Banner ad for Investment Company Institute

June 3rd ICI Conference on DC Plans in the PPA Era

Register today for the Investment Company Institute's June 3rd conference on legal and business issues for 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, and IRAs. Speakers include senior representatives from the Departments of Labor and Treasury and the mutual fund industry. Topics include:
  • DOL's 401(k) plan fee disclosure agenda and fee-related developments
  • PPA implementation update
  • Participant notices and statements
  • The future of 403(b) plans

(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

[Opinion] A Reconsideration of Tax Expenditure Analysis (PDF)
87 pages. Excerpt: "This document, prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation . . . reconsiders the utility of the JCT Staff's current implementation of tax expenditure analysis. . . . Driven off track by seemingly endless debates about what should and should not be included in the 'normal' tax base, tax expenditure analysis today does not advance either of the two goals that inspired its original proponents: clarifying the aggregate size and application of government expenditures, and improving the Internal Revenue Code." (U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Employee Benefit Plan Filing Update with DOL and IRS
Nationwide on May 15, 2008
presented by U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service

Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans Workshop
in Illinois on June 4, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Implementing the Final 403(b) Regulations: Changes in the 403(b) World and What Employers and Providers Should be Doing About Them
in Connecticut on June 10, 2008
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators-CT Chapter

Promoting Individual Savings For Retirement
Nationwide on May 15, 2008
presented by AARP

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Watson Wyatt Data Services' Releases New! 2008/2009 Survey Report on Health Care Clinical & Professional Personnel Compensation
Watson Wyatt Data Services

Datapath Inc. announced a partnership with Atlanta-based RelayHealth
DataPath, Inc.

U.S. Labor Department Resolves Lawsuit With Trustees of Ohio Sheet Metal Workers Pension Plan
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

401(k)-Type Plans, Participants Grow at Slower Pace
Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

Carris Reels Named 2008 ESOP Company of the Year by The ESOP Association
ESOP Association

Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement to Honor Six American Heroes for Their Leadership in Helping to Secure the Economic Future of Women
Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER)

Aon Study Finds Stability in Nationwide Liability Costs in the Long Term Health Care Sector
Aon Consulting

National Business Group on Health Honors Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles
National Business Group on Health

Walgreens Health Initiatives Reports Negative Drug Trend for Highly Managed Plans

Compliance with Massachusetts Healthcare Reform Simplified by New Software from Benefit Corporation of America
Benefit Corporation of America

Richmond Fed's 2007 Annual Report Features Essay on Savings and Retirement
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

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ERISA Consultant
for Vanguard
in PA

Assistant Manager, Health Plan Operations
for Ralcorp Holdings, Inc
in MO

401(k)/DC Administrator (Junior)
for Columbia Benefits Consultants, Inc.
in MD

Retirement Plan Administrators
for Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc.
in VA

Benefits Consultant
for HR Consulting Firm in Western Pennsylvania
in PA

401(k) / Defined Contribution Consultant
for USI Consulting Group, Inc. (USICG)
in CT

401(k) Enrollers/Independent Contractors -- Part Time
for Transamerica Retirement Services/Diversified Investment Advisors
in AZ, CA, DC, FL, IL, KS, MI, MO, NV, TX, WI

Actuarial Analyst
for Van Iwaarden Associates
in MN

Legal Secretary/Legal Assistant
for Sherman & Howard L.L.C.
in CO

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