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May 23, 2008

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


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[Guidance Overview] FAQs on Qualified Default Investment Alternatives
Excerpt: "On April 29, 2008, the DOL issued FAB 2008-03 in Q&A format to confirm a number of issues about Qualified Default Investment Alternatives (QDIA) regulations of October 24, 2007. The DOL also added clarification to a number of issues and made one addition to the final regulations. The DOL grouped the FAQs by six topic headings." (McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)


[Guidance Overview] Retirement Plan Asset Rollovers
Excerpt: "A participant may make a direct rollover of some of the qualified plan assets and take a distribution of part. If a partial distribution is made to a participant and it is eligible for rollover, there is 20% mandatory withholding. Also, when there is a partial rollover, the rules require that pre-tax amounts are distributed and thus, rolled over before any after-tax amounts." (McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)


[Guidance Overview] Court Gives ERISA Plan Fiduciaries Presumption of Prudence
Excerpt: "Fiduciaries of 401(k) plans and other eligible individual account plans recently received some comfort from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed a grant of summary judgment for defendants in a class action alleging that the fiduciaries should have ceased investing plan assets in employer stock, contrary to the plan's express requirements." (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)


[Guidance Overview] Large AND Small 403(b) Plans: Beware of Schedules H and I
Excerpt: "Practitioners and financial service companies are all well aware of the new ways in which the Form 5500 rules apply to ERISA-covered 403(b) plans for the 2009 plan year, and many are hard at work trying to put together the pieces. There has been a particular focus on trying to figure out how to fulfill the new reporting rules under Schedules A, C and G. But those are not the only things to worry about. Take a closer look at Schedules H (Financial Information) and I (Financial Information-Small Plans)." (Baker & Daniels)


[Guidance Overview] Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated May 21, 2008, for Retirement Plans (PDF)
10 pages. This Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding retirement plans. (Hewitt Associates)


[Guidance Overview] The Decision in Jones v. Harris Associates Says Adviser Fees Not for Courts to Decide
Excerpt: "In a decision that could have an affect on a variety of mutual fund fee lawsuits, and that experts say reversed the precedent, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that mutual fund adviser fees are best set by market competition and not judicial process." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


IRS Priority Guidance Update
Excerpt: "Published 01/22/2008 in IRS 2008-3 as Announcement 2008-2 (12/21/2007)." (McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)


'Get Rich Slow' Retirement Game Motivates Active Engagement in Retirement Planning
Excerpt: "Participants make decisions for a fictional couple in a fun, non-threatening group setting. They experience the implications of their decisions and also chance events. They come away with an overview of the retirement planning process and the hands-on experience essential in moving ahead. Get Rich Slow is currently available to individual users free of charge.' (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)


Working Longer: The Solution to the Retirement Income Challenge
Excerpt: "This timely and insightful book assesses the potential of longer work lives to strengthen retirement security. With a clear-eyed view of the challenges associated with such a major social and economic change, this book is an essential resource for individuals, employers, and policymakers alike." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)


U.S. Retirement Assets Grew 7% in 2007, Investment Company Institute Reports
Excerpt: "The ICI reports that Americans held $17.6 trillion in retirement assets (which included IRAs, defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans, governmental plans, and annuities) at the end of 2007, up $1.1 trillion from year-end 2006." (Wolters Kluwer)


National Compensation Survey: Retirement Benefits in State and Local Governments in the United States, 2007 (PDF)
63 pages. Excerpt: "The survey was conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data on the incidence and provisions of selected benefit plans for State and local government workers for September 2007 were published earlier this year." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


2008 Investment Company Fact Book (PDF)
189 pages. Excerpt: "The 2008 Investment Company Fact Book provides an entry point to our extensive body of research and statistics on retirement savings, as well as statistics on, and analysis of, all types of registered investment companies and their investors, collectively referred to as funds and fund investors." (Investment Company Institute)


Lump Sum vs. Annuity: Which Is Better?
Excerpt: "The simplest analysis compares the monthly payment offered to what you could generate yourself by investing the lump sum at a similar level of risk." (Gather Inc.)


Retirement Readiness: What Difference Does a Pension Make?
Excerpt: "This brief reviews the evidence on the role DB pensions play in ensuring that older Americans have the resources they need to be self-sufficient in retirement. It examines recent trends in pension coverage and discusses the effect these trends have had on the state of retirement readiness among American workers. Finally, it points in the direction of areas worthy of exploration for policymakers seeking to address specific retirement security goals." (National Institute on Retirement Security)


National Institute on Retirement Security Launches Website
Excerpt: "The National Institute on Retirement Security is a not-for-profit organization established to contribute to informed policymaking by fostering a deep understanding of the value of retirement security to employees, employers, and the economy through national research and education programs. NIRS seeks to encourage the development of public policies that enhance retirement security in America. Our vision is one of a retirement system that simultaneously meets the needs of employers, employees, and the public interest." (National Institute on Retirement Security)


Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rules Take-Home City Cars Don't Count Toward Pensions
Excerpt: "In a decision that will affect public retirees all over Massachusetts, the state's highest court ruled yesterday that the former Beverly fire chief is not entitled to extra pension benefits based on the value of a city-owned vehicle he was allowed to take home at night." (The Salem News)


New Jersey's Corzine Defends State Worker Retirement Incentive Plan
Excerpt: "New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Thursday defended plans to offer retirement incentives to 3,000 state workers. 'That's the most important step that we're taking in the context of reducing the size of government,' Corzine said on a public television program. Corzine proposed saving $135 million by cutting 3,000 jobs, but legislators have questioned the idea because it would increase taxpayer-funded retirement benefits. But Corzine said the plan isn't an early retirement package." (NewsDay)


Retirement in India: Pension Benefits and Beyond
Excerpt: "This article provides an overview of retirement benefits in India and examines relevant issues that are important from an employer's point of view. It covers income replacement ratio, the fringe benefit tax (FBT), and the challenges that employers are facing." (Mercer LLC)


Three Videos on Defined Contribution Retirement Plans Around the World
Excerpt: "Leaders from Mercer's retirement and investment consulting businesses that specialize in defined contribution plans gathered from around the world in New York in March of this year. To take advantage of having our global DC consulting leaders together, Mercer produced a three-part video series in a panel format that is entitled, 'Defined Contribution Retirement Plans Around the World.' [There are three 15-minute segments.]" (Mercer LLC)


First Pension Longevity Insurance Policy on Sale in United Kingdom
Excerpt: "Occupational pension funds can now insure themselves against the risk of scheme members living longer than expected through the first longevity policy on the market, said Pension Corporation, which is offering the cover." (uk.reuters.com)


Fiduciary Liability Claim Dismissed in US Airways Suit
Excerpt: "The U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia has determined the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) did not breach its fiduciary duty to former pilots of US Airways when it took over their terminated pension plan." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Most of Fortune 100 Continues to Back Defined Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "The pace of retirement plan changes among FORTUNE 100 companies is stabilizing, and most still offer defined benefit plans to their new employees, according to an analysis by Watson Wyatt Worldwide." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Former Judge Can Sue Individual Pension Board Members
Excerpt: "A federal district court has determined that an impeached Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice can sue individual state retirement board members for allegedly causing him to miss out on pension benefits he could have earned." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)



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

[Guidance Overview] Severance Pay Can't Be Tied to Waiving FLSA Claims
Excerpt: "On April 30, a federal court issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting SunTrust Banks Inc. from requiring employees to waive claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act as a condition of receiving severance benefits offered in connection with the bank 's work force reduction program." (Employment Law360 via Winston & Strawn LLP)


[Guidance Overview] Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated May 21, 2008, on Human Resources & Employment Law (PDF)
10 pages. This Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding human resources and employment law. (Hewitt Associates)


Long-Term Incentives and Golden Handcuffs in the People's Republic of China
Excerpt: "[The] globalization of Mainland China has brought more and more competition for top talent within the PRC – placing a premium on how companies encourage the performance and loyalty of their key employees." (Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP)


2008 National Study of Employers (PDF)
44 pages. Excerpt: "Families and Work Institute's 2008 National Study of Employers (NSE) is the most comprehensive and far-reaching study of the practices, policies, programs and benefits provided by U.S employers to address the changing needs of today's workforce and workplace. Because this study was designed to build on the Institute's landmark 1998 Business Work-Life Study (BWLS), it is, therefore, able to provide trend data on changes that have occurred over the past ten years." (Families and Work Institute)


Veterans' Benefits Bill Wins Approval in Senate
Excerpt: "Twenty-five Republican senators broke with President Bush and voted Thursday for a major expansion of veterans' benefits as part of a bill to finance another year of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." (The New York Times; free registration required)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

The Defined Benefit Pension Plan End Game: Managing a Frozen DB Plan Through Its Last Life Stage
in Massachusetts on June 17, 2008
presented by Cassidy Retirement Group



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Kaiser Family Foundation Creates New Online Tool Providing Easy Access to the Latest Health Policy Facts and Data
Kaiser Family Foundation

New Book: "Working Longer: The Solution to the Retirement Income Challenge"
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Payroll Auditing Guidance for Multiemployer Plans Offered in New Book
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Continued Strong Shareowner Support in 2008 for Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation
Walden Asset Management

New Survey Shows High Economic Illiteracy Among Americans
Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Literacy



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Senior Benefits Administrator
for Alpha & Omega Financial Management Consultants, Inc.
in CA

Retirement Compliance Testing Administrator
for Vanguard
in PA

Retirement Compliance Testing Manager
for Vanguard
in PA

Director of Compensation and Benefits
for HR Placement Group
in MA

Benefits Analyst - Pension Administration
for Ceridian
in FL, NJ

CRTFL - Customer Service Representative
for Citi
in ME




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