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July 22, 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

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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

[Guidance Overview] First Circuit Rejects Lack of Standing Defense to Former Participant Claims
Excerpt: "This First Circuit Court of Appeals decision provides a concise summary of the law bearing on the lack of standing defense in the post-LaRue setting. On a somewhat complex set of facts, suffice it to say that certain former employees who had received lump-sum distributions of the entire balance in their employer's defined contribution plan alleged fiduciary breaches that diminished the value of their accounts." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

More Companies Help Employees Sort Out Their 401(k) Options
Excerpt: "The U.S. Department of Labor opened the door to offer financial advice in the workplace in 2001, when it issued a letter allowing 401(k) money manager SunAmerica Inc. to create model portfolios for plan members, laying out specific investment allocations based on age and other factors, as long as the models were 'a computer program applying a methodology developed, maintained and overseen by a financial expert who is independent of SunAmerica.'" (NewsDay)

Getting the Most Out of Your Pension
Excerpt: "If you or your spouse is eligible to receive a pension, it will figure prominently in your retirement planning. However, pension laws are complicated, so it is important to learn the facts about your company's pension plan to make sure that you obtain the benefits to which you are entitled." (The Daily Advertiser)

DOL Issues Reprieve on New 5500 Forms (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Defined contribution plans and service providers won welcome relief from the Department of Labor on new fee and compensation reporting requirements. The reporting rules apply to annual 5500 forms for plan years that begin on or after Jan. 1, 2009. While the rules affect both defined contribution and defined benefit plans, the most controversial provisions concern new fee and compensation requirements that primarily affect DC plans. The DOL has been trying to stave off fee-disclosure legislation sought by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)." (Pensions & Investments via MJM401k)

Washington, D.C. Court Employees Want Retirement Plan Fixed
Excerpt: "When the D.C. Revitalization Act was passed in 1997, the law required employees of D.C. Superior Court and the D.C. Court of Appeals to participate in the federal pension system. But the law didn't provide for counting years worked under the former retirement plan." (

DOL's 401(k) Proposal Would Clarify Fees
Excerpt: "A regulation that the Labor Department plans to propose Tuesday would require employers to disclose more information -- and in a clearer format -- to workers about fees and investments in 401(k) plans, now the main retirement-savings vehicle for millions of Americans." (USA TODAY)

UK Pension Officials Delay Longevity Rules
Excerpt: "The U.K. Pensions Regulator is delaying the introduction of changes to the way longevity is treated in the retirement plan funding regime. A news release put out by the U.K. regulator said changes will not apply until the beginning of the next defined benefit plan valuation cycle starting in September 2008. This will impact valuations and follow-up recovery plans that must be submitted to the regulator by underfunded plans due from September 2008 to December 2009." (; free registration required)

The Social Security Retirement Benefits Estimator
Excerpt: "The Retirement Estimator produces estimates that are based on your actual Social Security earnings record." (U.S. Social Security Administration)

Are Pan-European Pension Plans the Answer?
Excerpt: "In this article, the authors take a look at why the Pan-European Pension (or IORP) Directive to establish cross-border pension plans has not taken hold in Europe and how multinationals, despite the perceived barriers of this communal initiative, can potentially benefit from these plans." (Mercer LLC)

Milberg LLP Announces Its Investigation Relating to the IndyMac Bank, F.S.B. 401(k) Plan
Excerpt: "The complaints charge that IndyMac and certain fiduciaries of the Plan with violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ('ERISA'). It is alleged that defendants knew or should have known that IndyMac's growing exposure to non-performing assets, particularly loans in its pay-option adjustable-rate mortgages ('Option ARM') and homebuilder construction portfolio, has rendered IndyMac common stock an imprudent, inappropriate and risky investment for the Plan's participants." (MarketWatch)

Wal-Mart Answers Excessive 401(k) Fee Allegations
Excerpt: "In a 35-page retort to a class action lawsuit over excessive fees in its 401(k) plan, Wal-Mart said disclosures about such things as how investments options were selected or revenue sharing arrangements are 'demonstrably immaterial to any investment decision faced by participants.'" (planadvisor)

[Opinion] There Is No Fundamental Problem with Defined Benefit Plans If Managed and Designed Well
Excerpt: "The problems they have are simply one of design and making decisions based on politics rather than mathematics." (

[Opinion] Text of Brief for Secretary of Labor As Amicus Curiae in Sowers, et al v. FreightCar America, June 06, 2008 (PDF)
25 pages. Sowers, et al v. FreightCar America (Brief For The Secretary Of Labor as amicus curiae supporting Plaintiffs-Appellees of neither party), June 06, 2008 (U.S. Department of Labor)

Sponsored by: ASPPA

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ASPPA Annual Conference

How do the elections this fall affect you as a pension professional?
Attend the ASPPA Annual Conference in Washington, DC October 19-22 and find out. Network with over 1600 pension professionals, attend more than 60 interactive workshops and hear the latest election talk from our Keynote Speakers James Carville and Mary Matalin. Don't wait, register now and be a part of it all with ASPPA.

(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] Proposed GASB Technical Bulletin: Determining the Annual Required Contribution Adjustment for Postemployment Benefits (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "This Technical Bulletin clarifies the requirements of Statements 27 and 45 for calculating the annual required contribution (ARC) adjustment. Specifically, this Technical Bulletin applies to situations in which the ARC includes a known amount related to the amortization of past employer contribution deficiencies or excess contributions to a pension or other postemployment benefit (OPEB) plan." (Governmental Accounting Standards Board)

[Guidance Overview] Eligible Transactions and Corrections Under IRS Notice 2007-100 (PDF)
12 pages. The listing also includes examples and relief available. (Prudential Retirement)

[Guidance Overview] Glossary of Special Terms Related to Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans (PDF)
1 page. (Prudential Retirement)

[Guidance Overview] IRS's Correction Procedures for Certain Operational Failures by Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "These correction procedures are available to plan sponsors of and participants in nonqualified defined benefit or defined contribution plans that provide for the deferral of compensation (section 409A plans), including section 457(f) plans." (Prudential Retirement)

Employee-Assistance Providers Are Seeing a Spike from Callers in Financial and Legal Distress
Excerpt: "The financial distress felt by some employees is also showing up in reduced employee morale and performance, according to experts." (Human Resource Executive Online)

European Court Says Employers Must Accommodate Caregivers
Excerpt: "A landmark European ruling effectively gives new rights to employees who are caregivers to sick, disabled, and elderly relatives. The Yorkshire Post reports that the European Court of Justice has declared that a directive banning discrimination in the workplace on grounds of disability not only applies to disabled people but also their caregivers. The ruling could result in a huge extension in flexible and part-time working arrangements, the news report said." (; free registration required)

GASB Issues Proposal on Required Contributions for OPEBs
Excerpt: "The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued for comment a proposed Technical Bulletin, 'Determining the Annual Required Contribution for Postemployment Benefits.' According to a GASB announcement, the document will clarify that the use of actual known amounts for purposes of calculating the annual required contribution (ARC) adjustment relating to pensions and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) is consistent with the intent of existing standards." (; free registration required)

Mercer's Global Retirement Perspective: Benefits in a Time of Recession
Excerpt: "Pensions are now very much on organizations' core-business agendas and fiduciaries and management committees need to get up to speed. 'This is the way benefits management has always been done' is no longer a valid excuse for poor practices. The way ahead is clear: Align your benefit plan's governance framework with that of the sponsoring company and aspire to world-class governance. From this vantage point, look at the overall impact of benefit plans on corporate finance, employee motivation and talent management." (Mercer LLC)

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Employee Benefits Attorney
for Hershner Hunter, LLP
in OR

401(k) Administrator Quiz
for The Pension Group, Inc.
in CA

Retirement Plan Administration Specialist
for Consulting Actuaries Incorporated
in NJ

Flexible Benefits Plan Administrator
for Pension Dynamics Corporation
in CA

401k Plan Administrator
for Faulk & Winkler, LLC
in LA

Health and Welfare Professionals
for Towers Perrin
in DC, NJ, NY, PA

Sr HR Benefit Consultant
for Principal Financial Group
in IA

Trust Administrator - Employee Benefits
for Old Point Trust
in VA

401(k) Plan Administrator
in CT

Conversion Analyst/Project Manager
for Pension Specialists, Inc.
in CA

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Gordon Asset Management, LLC
in NC

Non-qualified Plan Administrator
for American Financial Systems, Inc.
in MA

Consultant TPA - Southeast
for Towers Perrin
in GA

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