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June 12, 2008

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


Today's sponsor is DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc.

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc.

DC/401(k) Administration Software from DATAIR

DATAIR’s Defined Contribution System for Valuations, Discrimination Testing, and Proposals. Handles New Comparability Plans, Sole Proprietorships, 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Live, expert support.

DATAIR’s DC/401(k) System includes

  • Download links to many allocated account fund providers
  • Automated loan processing
  • Flexible data import/export
  • Interface with DATAIR’s 5500/1099R system.
Contact sales@datair.com or call 1-888-328-2474 (1-888-DATAIR-4)

[Guidance Overview] Weighing Pros and Cons of Phased Retirement Plans
Excerpt: "Such innovative plans, only recently addressed by pension legislation, allow employees to stage their retirement benefits and dates along with work responsibilities. Employees get flexibility, and employers extend workforce numbers and boost knowledge transfer- the valuable sharing of knowledge and experience from senior employees to junior employees." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)


[Guidance Overview] Reporting Rollovers from Pretax Plan Accounts to Roth IRAs
Excerpt: "Recent IRS guidance (Notice 2008-30) explained that plans must allow participants to make direct rollovers from pretax plan accounts to Roth IRA accounts. Since the rollover is taxable, the participant may choose to have the employer withhold income taxes. Withholding is not mandatory. What does this mean for 1099-R reporting? The [target page] example illustrates the complexities of reporting these rollovers." (SunGard Corbel LLC)


[Guidance Overview] IRS Model Special Tax Notice is Out of Date
Excerpt: "The notice must explain the rollover rules, taxation consequences of a lump-sum distribution, direct rollover option (including automatic rollover), mandatory 20% withholding rules, and tax consequences and distribution restrictions applicable to rollovers to different types of plans." (SunGard Corbel LLC)


[Guidance Overview] A Comparative Look at 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) Plans (PDF)
Pages 5-8 of 12 pages. (Milliman)


403(b)s Brace for Big Changes
Excerpt: "Big changes are brewing in the 403(b) world. For the first time in 40 years, the Internal Revenue Service is mandating new requirements that aim to make the plans more like 401(k)s. For many 403(b) providers, the biggest challenge won't be figuring out how to meet the new requirements, but getting plan sponsors to start preparing early enough so the Jan. 1, 2009 deadline doesn't come as a shock." (On Wall Street)


How Does Your Retirement Program Stack Up? - 2008 Highlights of Report
Excerpt: "How does your retirement program stack up? – 2008, provides total and industry group benchmark data that encompasses the three policy levers of Mercer's Integrated Retirement Financial Management (iRFM) framework – design, contributions and investment. Employers can use this information as a governance tool to evaluate the performance of their own plans relative to their business and financial objectives." (Mercer LLC)


New Jersey Bill Package Targets State Pension Abuses
Excerpt: "The proposals, which are combined in the 'Taxpayer Empowerment and Accountability Plan,' specifically address public pension abuses uncovered by Newsday. Two other key components of the package would bar school board attorneys from doing personal legal work for superintendents whose districts they represent and would require school districts to post online all information related to payrolls, pension benefits and administrators' contracts." (NewsDay)


Pension Liabilities Loom As States Try to Help Retirees
Excerpt: "The high price of gasoline and food is prompting many states to fatten cost-of-living increases for retired teachers and civil servants." (USA TODAY)


Connecticut House Takes Up Pension Revocation Bill
Excerpt: "The General Assembly approved legislation early Thursday that will allow the state to revoke pensions of corrupt elected officials and public employees." (NewsDay)


Growing Value and Activism Bring New Scrutiny to Public Pension Funds
Excerpt: "After decades in obscurity, public pension funds are drawing attention as civic organizations raise concerns about the programs' costs, and as some funds take activist investment stands, such as demanding divestment from firms that do business in Sudan or Iran." (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania)


All Target Date Funds Are Not Created Equal (PDF)
Pages 8-12 of 12 pages. (Milliman)


Gannett Freezes Employee Pensions, Ups 401(k) for Many
Excerpt: "Gannett this afternoon announced it is freezing the pensions of company employees, according to sources at several newspapers, who said a memo on the plan was sent today from Gannett CEO Craig Dubow. The change includes a change in 401(k) match, with employees gaining main Gannett stock for each contribution to their 401(k) fund." (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.)



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

[Official Guidance] Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities Releases Seventh Report (PDF)
367 pages. Excerpt: "On June 11, 2008 the [committee] presented six recommendations to the IRS Commissioner and TE/GE." (Internal Revenue Service)


[Guidance Overview] The Impact of California's Same Sex Marriages on California Employers (PDF)
Excerpt: "While California employers certainly should be aware of this decision [in In re Marriage Cases holding that California's state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional under the state Constitution], and use the opportunity to revisit existing policies and practices, the actual impact of this ruling on California employers' day-to-day operations is fairly limited." (Baker & McKenzie LLP)


[Guidance Overview] IRS Grants Tax Relief to Victims of Storms and Tornadoes in Missouri, Georgia, Colorado and Iowa
Excerpt: "The IRS has announced special tax relief for taxpayers within . . . ." (Wolters Kluwer)


[Guidance Overview] Stock Options Revisited: A Renewed Focus on Net Exercise Provisions (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "Recent changes in the tax laws and accounting pronouncements have spawned a renewed interest in equity grants that are settled in stock. Until the issuance of Accounting Principles Board Opinion No. 25, most stock options provided optionees with the choice of exercising the option by making a cash payment equal to the exercise amount (the exercise price multiplied by the number of shares subject to the option) by surrendering shares with a value equal to the exercise amount. However, FAS 123(R) has renewed the viability of net exercise provisions in stock options as well as other cashless equity awards, such as stock-settled stock appreciation rights (SSARs)." (Powell Goldstein LLP)


[Guidance Overview] Are Your Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans 409A-OK? (PDF)
Pages 1-4 of 12 pages. (Milliman)


Flexible Work Arrangements Gain Attention of Lawmakers
Excerpt: "The U.S. is behind the majority of developed nations when it comes to having statutes in place to allow for flexible work arrangements. Of the 21 'high income' countries examined in a recent study, the U.S. finished last." (Workforce Management; free registration required)


U.S. Life Expectancy Has Reached 78 Years
Excerpt: "Despite the good news, the USA ranks 29th in life expectancy among the United Nations' member nations. Tops is Andorra, which has an average life expectancy of 83, followed closely by Japan, Sweden, Australia and Switzerland." (USA TODAY)


Factsheet: Update on the Aged 55+ Worker: 2007
Excerpt: "This fact sheet by Sara E. Rix of AARP's Public Policy Institute highlights the employment situation of workers aged 55 and older and those under age 55 in 2007, reporting on employment gains and losses, the growth in full-time employment, age discrimination in employment, and labor force projections." (AARP)


Tech Workers Would Trade Pay Cut for Telecommuting OK
Excerpt: "If they could work out of their homes, 37% of U.S. technology workers would take a pay cut of up to 10%, a new survey found." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Health Benefits More than 7% of Compensation Costs, According to Latest BLS Data
Excerpt: "Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $28.46 per hour worked in March 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).' (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

403(b) Plan Workshop
in Massachusetts on July 15, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

403(b)Plan Workshop
in Georgia on July 18, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Achieving Medicare Advantage Growth Just Got Harder CMS Proposes New Marketing and Sales Rules for MA and PDP - Are You Ready?
in California on June 25, 2008
presented by Healthcare Web Summit

Are you ready for EGTRRA restatements?
Nationwide on June 24, 2008
presented by ftwilliam.com

EGTRRA Pre-approved Plan Workshop
in Georgia on July 17, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Ethical Challenges for Employee Benefits Lawyers
Nationwide on July 15, 2008
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Form 5500 Refresher Course
Nationwide on June 18, 2008
presented by ftwilliam.com

Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans
in Kansas on July 9, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans
in Minnesota on July 16, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

Youth Entitlement Summit (YES)
in District of Columbia on June 16, 2008
presented by Americans for Generational Equity and Mobilize.org



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

ING's Institute for Retirement Research Names Top Retirement Industry Leaders To its Board
ING Group

Alpha Advisors LLC Is Certified For Fiduciary Excellence
Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX)

Health of Defined Benefit Pension Plans at S&P 500 Companies Improves During 2007 for Second Straight Year, Mercer Reports
Mercer



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401(k) Client Relationship Manager
for The Douglas Group
in NJ, NY

Pension Administrators
for Polycomp Administrative Services
in CA

Pension Administrator
for AKT Retirement Plan Services
in CA

401(k) Processor
for Pen-Cal Administrators
in CA

Participant Services Representative - Retirement Plans
for Standard Retirement Services
in TX

Retirement Plan Administrator
for North Central Trust Company
in WI

Plan Administrator
for Beneco, Inc.
in AZ

Account/Client Service Manager (TPA) - Las Vegas
for Zenith Administrators
in NV

Benefits Coordinator
for NASCAR
in FL

Supervisor - Corporate Retirement Services
for Fiserv Investment Support Services
in CO

Retirement Plan Coordinator
for CDM Retirement Consultants, Inc.
in MD




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