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June 4, 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

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

SunGard's Document Management Services

Do you have 500 or more defined contribution plans to restate for EGTRRA? Outsource them to us. SunGard’s expert Document Management Services (DMS) staff can work as your "invisible" back office resource to help you through the restatement process. Let us focus on your plan documents, so you can focus on growing your business. Contact Ellen Nasrallah at 800-326-7235, ext. 5968.

[Guidance Overview] New IRS Guidance on Distribution-Related Provisions of PPA (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service recently issued Notice 2008-30, which provides guidance on certain distribution-related provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 that became effective in 2008. The guidance provides valuable answers on several issues that affect all qualified defined contribution and defined benefit plans." (Aspen Publishers via Winston & Strawn LLP)


[Guidance Overview] Latest IRS Guidance Addresses PPA '06 Provisions Related to Distributions
Excerpt: "Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Notice 2008-30 uses a question-and-answer format to provide guidance with respect to certain distribution-related provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA'06) that become effective in 2008. The Notice includes guidance on rollovers to Roth individual retirement accounts (IRAs), the Qualified Optional Survivor Annuity (QOSA) and interest assumptions for lump-sum distributions. Although the payment of gap-period earnings on distributions of excess deferrals is not directly related to PPA'06, the Notice also provides guidance on those payments." (The Segal Group, Inc.)


[Guidance Overview] Trustees in United Kingdom Given Greater Oversight of Multiemployer Pension Plans (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Trustee boards of U.K. multiemployer defined benefit (DB) pension plans have been given more power over financial arrangements when an employer leaves the plan. Revised (amending) regulations that took effect April 6, 2008 are intended to ensure that departing employers do not avoid their pension liabilities, while at the same time enabling more flexible arrangements when the company is involved in a merger or other type of corporate transaction." (Towers Perrin)


Bill to Clarify Use of Smoothing in Pension Funding
Excerpt: "The bill, if passed, would supersede the Internal Revenue Service's interpretation of the Pension Protection Act that requires plans to compute their funding obligations over two years using average asset values, which could generally force plans to make larger contributions." (Workforce Management; free registration required)


In Germany, Survivor Pension Benefits May Be Extended to Same-Sex Partners
Excerpt: "An April 2008 ruling by the European Court of Justice will require German courts to determine whether a registered same-sex partnership and a marriage should be considered equivalent and, thus, whether surviving partners should be entitled to the same kinds of survivor benefits. The court's decision may have consequences for occupational and public pension plans both in European Union countries in which same-sex marriage and legal partnerships are recognized and in countries in which they are not." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)


Strange, but True: Unusual Strategies for Claiming Social Security Benefits (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "This document describes three unusual, but allowable, strategies for claiming Social Security benefits." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)


Are People Claiming Social Security Benefits Later? (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "This brief analyzes trends in claim behavior over time using SSA data for both claim year and cohort distributions. It finds that the cohort data, unlike the claim year data, show that the share of people claiming Social Security retirement benefits when they attain age 62 has been falling since the mid-1990s. This decline in people claiming early benefits found in cohort data is fully consistent with the increase in labor force participation at older ages." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)


New York Attorney General Reaches Pension Fraud Settlement with Law Firms
Excerpt: "New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says the state will receive $235,000 in a settlement with three law firms and lawyers accused of inappropriately accruing pension benefits from schools. Cuomo says contract attorneys accumulated the pensions as if they were school employees." (AP via NewsDay)


[Opinion] American Benefits Council/ICI Comment Letter to DOL on Electronic Delivery of ERISA Disclosures (PDF)
5 pages. (American Benefits Council)


[Opinion] California Public Employee Pensions, Healthcare a Fiscal Time Bomb
Excerpt: "Taxpayers working in private enterprise shell out for generous government retirement packages that far exceed anything they themselves are entitled to. Private companies have reduced or even eliminated traditional retirement payouts in recent years, while politicians have sweetened benefits for government retirees." (Los Angeles Times)


[Opinion] Remarks of IRS Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities, Before the 2008 Mid-Atlantic Benefits Conference (PDF)
Excerpt: "I'll talk about two related but distinct issues. The first is how to find ways to promote wider coverage and participation – to increase the percentage and number of workers meaningfully participating in a retirement plan of one sort or another. The second is somehow to find ways to make the 401(k) environment and the IRA environment friendlier to the individual with an account." (Internal Revenue Service)



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] Military Bill with Payroll Provisions Cleared for President
Excerpt: "Congress has passed H.R. 6081, the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax (HEART) Act. The bill, which would extend and/or modify several benefit provisions for the military, contains a few payroll-related items." (Wolters Kluwer)


Brocade Settles with Arkansas Pension System over Backdating Charges
Excerpt: "The law firm representing the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS) in a securities fraud class action against Brocade Communications regarding the backdating of stock options announced it has reached a $160 million settlement." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


HighRoads Launches Full-Service Summary Plan Description Management for HR Compliance
Excerpt: "HighRoads, the company giving human resources (HR) teams control over employee benefits management, now provides a full range of Summary Plan Description (SPD) services -- from planning and analysis through content development, content management and production and distribution. These expanded services can help bring companies quickly into compliance with critical regulations and ensure employees and recruits have the information they need to make informed choices about their benefits." (Business Wire)


Suit Seeks to Block New York State Policy on Same-Sex Unions
Excerpt: "Five state lawmakers, backed by a conservative Christian policy group, sued Gov. David A. Paterson on Tuesday, seeking to block the governor's order directing state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside New York." (The New York Times; free registration required)


Work/Life Balance Holds Steady
Excerpt: "The uncertain economy hasn't negatively affected work/life balance policies on the whole, according to a recent study. But not all of the news is positive. Paid-time off for maternity leave has decreased and some of HR's focus has shifted from work/life to wellness initiatives." (Human Resource Executive Online)


An Update on Employee Benefits Around the World
The update covers developments in Japan, Singapore, Mexico, the Czech Republic, and the UAE. (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Genetic Discrimination in the Workplace-What the New Law Demands
Nationwide on June 11, 2008
presented by Thompson Interactive, A Division of Thompson Publishing Group

Introduction to Benefits II: More Than Just Medical
in Pennsylvania on June 25, 2008
presented by PEBA --Penjerdel Employee Benefits & Compensation Assn.

Same-Gender Marriages and Benefits-How The Recent Ruling in CA May Affect All Employers
Nationwide on June 25, 2008
presented by Thompson Interactive, A Division of Thompson Publishing Group

Trashing the Timesheet: A Declaration of Independence Webcast
Nationwide on June 19, 2008
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

NIPA Launches New Business Management Education (BME) Series
National Institute of Pension Administrators

Watson Wyatt Data Services Releases 2008/2009 Survey Report on Employee Benefits
Watson Wyatt Data Services

American Century Adds Four More Target-Date Funds
American Century Investments



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