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May 20, 2008

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


Today's sponsor is ASC & The ASC Institute

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for ASC & The ASC Institute

ASCi EGTRRA Documents Available Now!

ASCi launches its IRS-approved Volume Submitter 401(k) document! Additional EGTRRA documents will be rolling out throughout this spring and summer. Join the many practitioners who have already used ASCi's highly acclaimed DGEM system to prepare thousands of new and restated documents and remain far ahead in restating their clients’ plans to comply with EGTRRA.

Click here to see a DGEM video or contact us at asci@asc-net.com.


[Guidance Overview] IRS Opens Compliance and Enforcement Initiative for Government Plans (PDF)
Excerpt: "[T]he IRS wants government plans to take advantage of the mechanisms under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) for correcting plan errors and to make plans aware of its increasing emphasis on enforcement." (Buck Consultants)


[Guidance Overview] Bankrup.tcy Appellate Panel Upholds IRA Assets Exclusion
Excerpt: "[A] U.S. Bankrup.tcy Court judge in Kansas was correct in turning aside an argument by a creditor that the funds now held in an IRA should be included in the pool of the debtor's assets used to repay debts. The lower court judge ruled -- and the appellate panel agreed -- that the creditor had not proven that the ESOP was improperly established or administered -- a prerequisite for putting the funds into the bankrup.tcy estate." (PLANSPONSOR.com)


Angry Lawyers Suing New York State Attorney General Over Pension Probe
Excerpt: "In a class-action complaint filed Thursday against Cuomo and several state officials, a pair of law firms write that Cuomo's well-publicized investigation is nothing more than 'a politically motivated gambit.'" (LegalNewsLine.com)


Social Security Administration Adds Retirement Estimator to Web-based Benefits Calculators Suite
Excerpt: "The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced May 12 that it intends to add a new calculator to its suite of online Benefits Calculators. The Retirement Estimator, will allow individuals to estimate potential retirement benefits in real time, based partly on their SSA-maintained records and partly on user-entered information." (Hewitt Associates)


Research Paper: Asset Allocation and Location Over the Life Cycle with Survival-Contingent Payouts
Excerpt: "Our model generates optimal asset location patterns indicating how much to hold in liquid versus illiquid survival-contingent payouts over the lifetime, and also asset allocation paths, showing how to invest in stocks versus bonds. We confirm that the investor will gradually move money out of her liquid saving into survival-contingent assets to retirement and beyond, thereby enhancing her welfare by as much as 50 percent." (Singapore Management University / Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania)


Florida Taxpayers Cover Shortage When Pension Investments Lag
Excerpt: "Florida has the nation's best state pension fund. It's one of a very few that is fully funded, meaning if its investments continue to do well, taxpayers won't have to pay more than they're paying now to cover promised benefits. (Tampa Bay Online)


Tax-Free Roth Option Proposed for Thrift Savings Plan for Federal Employees
Excerpt: "Three House members who oversee the Thrift Savings Plan have proposed opening the program to new investment options, including a Roth feature that would allow tax-free withdrawals of retirement savings." (Washington Post; free registration required)


[Opinion] IRS Should Provide Relief for Late 5500-EZ Filers Under Similar Conditions Available to Other Plan Sponsors; Expand EPCRS (PDF)
10 pages. Attorney Albert Feuer argues the IRS should provide a means for retirement plans that cover only 'owner-employees' to qualify for relief from IRS penalties for late annual filings of Form 5500-EZ under similar conditions as are available to other retirement plans. He suggests that the Service provide such relief as part of the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System. (Albert Feuer)


[Opinion] American Benefits Council Testimony Before IRS Regarding Automatic Contributions (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "Our testimony today will focus on suggested improvements in four areas -- (1) eligible automatic contribution arrangements, (2) permissive withdrawals, (3) automatic contribution arrangements that are not qualified nor eligible automatic contribution arrangements, and (4) the need for flexibility in order to further Congress' obvious goal of encouraging these arrangements." (American Benefits Council)


[Opinion] Investment Company Institute Urges Flexibility in IRS Automatic Enrollment Rules
Excerpt: "The Institute and its members urge the Service to modify its proposed regulation in several respects in order to encourage -- rather than discourage -- employers of all sizes to implement automatic enrollment arrangements." (Investment Company Institute)



Sponsored by: ASPPA

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for ASPPA

The Western Benefits Conference, July 13-16, 2008, Seattle, Washington

It's the best of both worlds, and should not be missed. Join the Western Pension & Benefits Conference and ASPPA for this unique conference designed with all retirement, health, welfare and benefits professionals in mind. The Western Benefits Conference offers attendees seven separate professional learning tracks with over 50 individual sessions all led by nationally renowned speakers and both national and local government representatives. Network with your peers, private sector experts, and government officials at planned events throughout the conference. Be in Seattle with over 900 of your colleagues July 13-16, 2008 and experience this conference first hand. Register NOW and don't miss out.

(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] FASB Proposes Additional Asset Disclosures for Pension Plans (PDF)
Excerpt: "The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued a proposed staff position requiring sponsors of defined benefit pension plans and other postretirement benefit plans (OPEBs) to disclose additional information about the plan's invested assets. The additional disclosures would be required for fiscal years ending after December 15, 2008, with prospective application only." (Buck Consultants)


[Guidance Overview] House Ways And Means Approves Tax Extenders Bill, Includes Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Tax
Excerpt: "The cost of the bill would be primarily offset by a proposed tax on deferred compensation payable by certain offshore entities. Under this revenue-raising provision, hedge fund managers would be prevented from deferring taxes on compensation paid through offshore tax shelters." (Hewitt Associates)


The Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook Is Unsustainable, Government Report Says; Health Care Cost Growth and Demographic Trends Are Biggest Problems (PDF)
14 pages. Excerpt: "Our updated simulations continue to illustrate that the long-term fiscal outlook is unsustainable. Despite some improvement in the long-term outlook for federal health and retirement spending, the federal government still faces large and growing structural deficits driven primarily by rising health care costs and known demographic trends. In fact, the oldest members of the baby boom generation are now eligible for Social Security retirement benefits and will be eligible for Medicare benefits in less than 3 years." (Government Accountability Office)


Text of Society of Actuaries Survey Report Addressing Longevity Risks
Excerpt: "The Society of Actuaries' recent Risks and Retirement Survey Report identifies and offers approaches to help employers and employees manage today's retirement risks. These risks include outliving one's assets, loss of spouse, decline in functional status and healthcare and medical expenses. In addition, the SOA is leading future retirement research by releasing a series of retirement survey reports. " (Society of Actuaries)


Americans Worry About Funding a Long Retirement
Excerpt: "Americans appear to be underestimating the financial impact of the death of a spouse. About 60 percent of those responding to the survey felt there would be little impact when a spouse dies, but [Anna M. Rappaport, a consulting actuary based in Chicago and supervisor of the biennial report,] said that surviving spouses often experience significant drops in income and benefit coverage, especially women." (New York Times)


Q and A: Same-Sex Marriages in California
Excerpt: "Q: Will people in domestic partnerships automatically convert to marriage? A: No. There is no provision in the ruling to automatically convert domestic partners to marriage. Q: Do I have to dissolve a domestic partnership to get married? A: No. California permits an individual to be in a domestic partnership and be married, as long as it is to the same person." (Los Angeles Times)


Federal Government's Long-Term Liabilities Total $57.3 Trillion
Excerpt: "The federal government's financial obligation to cover the lifetime benefits of people eligible for government programs increased by $2.5 trillion last year to $57.3 trillion, largely due to rising Medicare obligations" (KaiserNetwork.org)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans
in Texas on June 11, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans
in Georgia on June 18, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans
in Massachusetts on June 18, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

The Medical Home: The New Primary Care Model - Implications for Provider Networks, Health Plans and Hospitals
in California on June 26, 2008
presented by Healthcare Web Summit

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Workshop
in Georgia on June 18, 2008
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

ASPPA and COPA Announce Intention to Join Forces in 2008
ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Inflation Ranks as Today's Top Retirement Concern
Society of Actuaries

U.S. Labor Department Obtains Court Judgment Barring Maryland Company and Owner from Service to Employee Benefit Plans
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Health Reform, The 2008 Election, And The "Triple Aim" Of Improved Care, Health And Cost Control
Health Affairs

Inspira Launches Full-Service IRA Outsourcing Solution
Inspira

AST Encourages Employers to Adopt Paid Leave Policies for Living Organ Donors via Awareness Campaign Effort
American Society of Transplantation (AST)

Enwisen Sells Broker Suite to PlanSource
PlanSource



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Client Relationship Manager
for PensionTrend, Inc
in MI

Manager of Marketing and Advisor Support
for CDM Retirement Consultants, Inc.
in MD

ERISA Attorney
for Kraw & Kraw
in CA




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