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June 25, 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.

PPA’06 Defined Benefit Software from DATAIR

DATAIR’s Defined Benefit System for Valuations, Discrimination Testing, and Proposals. Includes 412(e)(3) insured plans, Cash Balance Plans, DB/DC combos and Sole Proprietors. Live, expert support.

DATAIR’s PPA’06 DB System includes

  • Funding Target & Target Normal Cost (3 Rate Segments)
  • Effective Interest Rate
  • Section 430 Minimum Contributions
  • Section 404(o) Cushion Amount
  • Shortfall Amortization Bases and Amounts
  • Funding Target Attainment Percentages (FTAPS)
Contact sales@datair.com or call 1-888-328-2474 (1-888-DATAIR-4)

[Guidance Overview] Federal Agencies Provide Guidance Affecting Multiemployer Defined Benefit Pension Plans (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) established new funding requirements for multiemployer defined benefit pension plans covered by ERISA. PPA also created additional funding rules for underfunded plans that are in endangered or critical status. The IRS recently issued proposed regulations that provide guidance to multiemployer plans in determining whether they are in endangered or critical status." (Prudential Retirement)


Innovative Ways to Encourage Personal Savings
Excerpt: "[A]s HBS professor Peter Tufano describes, new and old products targeted at people who haven't saved in the past and who don't have much money to begin with can make savings more feasible or more fun, or both." (Harvard Business School)


Public Funds Campaign Against Latest Efforts to Value Pension Liabilities at Market Rates
Excerpt: "A move to market valuation could lead to public plans using a much lower discount rate, such as 4% to 5%, compared with the current 7% to 8.5%, and result in reporting higher liabilities . . . ." (Pensions & Investments)


U.S. Pension Funds Warn That Crackdown on Oil Market Speculation Could Hurt Retiree Benefits
Excerpt: "Congress has zeroed in on institutional investors as the culprit for the $4-plus ($1.05 a liter) gas prices smothering businesses and consumers. Pension funds, Wall Street banks and other large investors that do not actually use fuel commercially have increasingly pumped money into contracts for oil as a hedge against inflation when the dollar falls. That transition from stocks, bonds and more traditional investments also has provided the so-called speculators with very healthy returns in recent years. A growing list of lawmakers are convinced the influx of speculative money has inflated actual prices to the point they no longer reflect true supply and demand." (Associated Press WorldStream via NewsEdge via Human Resource Executive Online)


Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in AT&T v. Hulteen
Excerpt: "The Supreme Court yesterday (June 23) agreed to hear arguments in AT&T Corp. v Hulteen, a case that reflects a split among the circuit courts relating to the calculation of retirement benefits based on a system that predated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), and whether employers can continue using a pre-PDA formula for employees who took pregnancy leave before the Act came into effect." (The ERISA Industry Committee)


Boeing Alters Retirement Plan for New Employees
Excerpt: "The Boeing Co. said it's changing its retirement program for new, nonunion workers, replacing its traditional pension plan with one that's similar to a 401(k) plan." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)


Attitudes Strongly Influence Participant Deferral Rates
Excerpt: "A new Spectrem Group report indicates participant attitudes as well as demographics strongly influence the level at which they contribute to their retirement plans." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Video: How to Boost 401(k) Participation Rates of Younger Workers
Five minutes. Excerpt: "Getting younger employers to sign up for a 401k) plan can be a tough sell. Here's how to win them over." (Financial Week; free registration required)


[Opinion] It's Time to Reform Retirement-Age Requirements
Excerpt: "Actuaries in Washington State have made public a 'dirty little secret' in the pension world: Retirees are living longer. While that seems like a statement of the obvious, it's not. Pension plans have blinders on when it comes to thinking about how long employees will live. Unless something is done about it, taxpayers alone will pay the price." (Governing.com)


[Opinion] ERIC Counsel Testifies Before IRS on Proposed Hybrid Plan Regulations
Excerpt: "[ERIC Counsel Richard] Shea discussed how the proposed regulations would not effectuate Congress's intent to provide a predictable legal environment in which employers can safely offer retirement benefits to their employees through cash balance and pension equity plans. Shea also expressed concern that the proposed regulations call into question other defined benefit plans that provide participants guaranteed indexing of their benefits." (The ERISA Industry Committee)



Sponsored by: ASPPA

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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] Heroes Act Signed Into Law
Excerpt: "The act eases withdrawals from retirement accounts and health flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and protects survivor and disability benefits for men and women in the military and their survivors. It also addresses the treatment of differential wage payments, imposes new tax and withholding requirements on the property of some expatriating individuals and extends the Mental Health Parity Act." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)


Defining 'Spouse': Higher Stakes Than Ever for Employers (PDF)
13 pages. Excerpt: "An employer has much to do to keep up with the developments concerning same-sex marriage and whether it can provide benefits to any same-sex spouses its employees may have. Developments in early 2008 highlight the complicated and often conflicting state, federal and local regulations applicable to same-sex partner benefits." (Thompson Publishing Group, Inc.)


Senate Judiciary Committee Examination of Supreme Court Rulings on ERISA Preemption
Excerpt: "The Senate Judiciary Committee on June 11 held a hearing that examined recent Supreme Court rulings on preemption under ERISA, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and federal consumer credit and banking laws. The hearing's title was certainly an indicator of the tone of the hearing: Short-change for Consumers and Short-shrift for Congress? The Supreme Court's Treatment of Laws that Protect Americans' Health, Safety, Jobs and Retirement." (The ERISA Industry Committee)


IRS Increases Mileage Rates
Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service has bumped up optional standard mileage rates for computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, medical, or moving expense purposes and for determining the reimbursed amount of these expenses that is deemed substantiated." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Executive Summaries of Articles in Benefits Quarterly, 3rd Quarter, 2008
The articles are titled: The Supreme Court Gives a 'Green Light' to Individual 401(k) Lawsuits; FMLA Expanded for Leaves Related to Family Members Serving in the Military; Nationwide Savings Plan Automatic Enrollment Getting Associates PREPared for Retirement; Work Options for Older Americans: Employee Benefits for the Era of Living Longer; Alternatives to Cash in Ensuring the Solvency of Defined Benefit Pension Funds; Lessons From Pension Reform in the Americas; and, The Future of Retirement: An Exploration and Comparison of Different Scenarios. (International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

3rd Annual Employee Benefit Adviser Summit
in New York on August 4, 2008
presented by Employee Benefit Adviser

3rd Annual Employee Benefit Adviser Summit
in Illinois on August 11, 2008
presented by Employee Benefit Adviser

3rd Annual Employee Benefit Adviser Summit
in Maryland on September 22, 2008
presented by Employee Benefit Adviser

Effectively Communicating "Sustainable" Benefits to your Employees
Nationwide on July 11, 2008
presented by USI

Filling Our Empty Nest Eggs
in District of Columbia on July 9, 2008
presented by New America Foundation



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Treasury Department Releases New Guidance on Health Savings Accounts
U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service

Treasury Releases Fifth in a Series of Social Security Papers
U.S. Treasury Department

National Business Coalition on Health Elects New Officers for Board of Directors and Adds New Members
National Business Coalition on Health

National Business Coalition on Health Announces November 9-11 Annual Conference Speakers
National Business Coalition on Health

ING Launches Managed Retirement Accounts from Morningstar
ING Group

URAC Releases Standards And Measures For Wellness Programs For Public Comment
URAC

CIEBA Testifies that Implementing Policies Restricting Commodity Investments Will Undermine Americans' Retirement
Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets (CIEBA)

401k Service Training Program Releases Training Dates
Financial Service Standards, LLC

Alliance Benefit Group Carolinas Partners with FOLIOfn Institutional
Alliance Benefit Group Carolinas, LLC

Award-Winning Book Provides Employees with a "Roadmap to Wellness"
Maverick Health



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Reviewing Actuary
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in ANY STATE

Actuary/Pension Plan Administrator
for Howard Simon & Associates
in IL

Defined Benefit Administrator / Actuarial Assistant
for Pacific Coast Actuaries, Inc.
in ANY STATE

Team Leader - Conversions
for The Standard
in ANY STATE

Retirement Plan Specialist
for Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP
in NY

Team Leader - Premier Accounts and Special Markets
for The Standard
in ANY STATE

EDI Associate
for Sentinel Financial Group
in MA

Pension Administrator (full or part time)
for Applied Pension Services, LLC -- Katz Zlotnick & Associates
in NY

CRTFL - Lead Benefit Systems Analyst
for CitiStreet
in FL

401k/DC Administration Manager
for CUNA Mutual Group
in WI

Client Operations Manager - Retirement
for Towers Perrin
in GA, NY, PA




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