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July 31, 2008

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


Today's sponsor is 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.

[Guidance Overview] SEC and DOL Agree to Cooperate in Examinations (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "[The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] have pledged to conduct regular meetings to discuss regulatory requirements that impact each agency's responsibilities, examination findings and trends, enforcement cases, and any other matters that the SEC and DOL staffs believe would be of interest to the other regulator for fulfilling its respective regulatory responsibilities. In addition, the agencies have agreed to cross-train appropriate staff in order to enhance each agency's understanding of the other's mission and investigative jurisdiction." (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)


[Guidance Overview] DOL's Proposed Regulations Governing Fee Disclosures to Participants (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "This is the third and final set of regulations proposed by the DOL to address fees paid through defined contribution plans." (Alston & Bird LLP)


[Guidance Overview] Proposed New Disclosure Requirements for All Participant-Directed Plans
Excerpt: "The regulations were issued in proposed form and are subject to a comment period. While the DOL may modify certain provisions of the proposed regulations in response to comments, given the DOL's long-expressed concerns regarding investment and fee disclosures, it should be anticipated the rules set forth in the proposed regulations largely will be retained." (Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC)


Senate Aging Committee Challenges TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Ads
Excerpt: "The problem, according to Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, is that the ads mislead people who are retiring that it is imperative for them to roll their [federal Thrift Savings Plan] money into an IRA, The Wall Street Journal reports. The reality, Kohl says, is that the TSP charges a mere 15 cents for every $1,000 in the plans, and that might be a better choice for investors." (Money Management Executive via On Wall Street)


House Backs New FERS Sick Leave Policy
Excerpt: "The House passed a measure Wednesday giving federal employees hired since 1984 the opportunity to get credit for unused sick leave in their pension calculations. Currently, employees covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (generally those hired in 1984 or later) do not earn credit toward retirement for unused sick leave. Those under the older Civil Service Retirement System do receive such credit." (GovernmentExecutive.com)


The Future of Retirement
Excerpt: "This article looks at different ways to define retirement as part of the lifecycle and focuses on reinventing retirement to create a better future. It provides scenarios for the future of retirement, expresses the opinions of the author and builds on the work done by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) in the Risks and Process of Retirement Surveys and other work." (Benefits Quarterly. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning via redOrbit)


How Far Should a Pension Plan Go to Persuade Participants to Make the Right Decisions?
Excerpt: "Today's (7/30/2008) Pension & Benefits Daily issue reports on the litigation following the sad death of Mr. Allen Anderson, a hard-working man who died of cancer, Anderson v. Board of Trustees of the Northwest Ohio United Food and Commercial Workers Union and Employers' Joint Pension Fund, N.D. Ohio, No. 3:07 CV 576, 7/28/08." (Pension & Benefits Blog)


House Discusses Delta-Northwest Merger Impact
Excerpt: "During a hearing in Washington before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee, the officials [of unions that represent Northwest Airlines Corp. flight attendants, ramp workers and reservation agents] said they have not received assurances that certain Northwest pension benefits would be protected if Delta's buyout of Northwest is completed." (AP via Forbes.com)


Plan Violated Fiduciary Duty by Not Fully Revealing Distribution Options
Excerpt: "The family of a grocery store employee who later died from cancer has won a legal battle with a federal judge's ruling that the worker's pension administrator breached its duty by not telling him of a more advantageous pension option." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


AT&T Agrees on Settlement of Pension Miscalculation Suit
Excerpt: "Attorneys representing a class of participants in the AT&T Pension Plan announced a settlement agreement has been reached on claims the plan miscalculated pension benefits for some retirees." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Defined Benefit Plan Closings to Increase in United Kingdom
Excerpt: "More than 40 percent of U.K. defined benefit (DB) pension schemes are expected to have closed to future accruals within the next five to 10 years, up from the current 6 percent, according to a new survey. The proportion of DB schemes open to entrants is predicted to decrease from 25 percent to 18 percent in the next two years." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)


ANB Financial Employees Seek Recovery of Lost Retirement
Excerpt: "At least 250 former employees of now-closed ANB Financial say some of the bank's officers should be held responsible for the loss of more than $50 million in the workers' retirement plan. The bank's retirement plan participants, led by plaintiffs Jan Taylor, Carla Crosswhite and Laura Godsey, filed claims of federal ERISA violations in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas on Tuesday." (The Morning News)


[Opinion] Behavioral Finance--Commonly Defined As the Application of Psychology to Finance
Excerpt: "Even if an advisor had been trained in irrational biases, knew the terminology, and understood how to apply this knowledge to his or her clients, he or she still needed a way to make the process of advising the client efficient, almost second nature. In other words, advisors needed to be able to easily recognize investor behavior at a high level so they could quickly and effectively diagnose and treat that client's irrational behavior." (Morningstar)


[Opinion] House Subcommittee Hearing: 'The Proposed Delta/Northwest Airlines Merger: The Impact on Workers'
The hearing page provides click-throughs for the Webcast of the hearing and the statements of the witnesses. (U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions)



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(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] IRS Proposed Increased Disclosure Requirements for Stock Option Transfers
Excerpt: "Employers would be required, under proposed regulations, to provide greater information to the IRS and employees when a transfer of stock is made in connection with the exercise of an option through an employee stock purchase plan or through an incentive stock option program." (Wolters Kluwer)


Rockefeller Foundation's $70 Million Effort Seeks New Safety Net for Workers
Excerpt: "Out of such concern, the foundation has created the Campaign for American Workers, which has made 15 grants aimed primarily at restoring health and retirement security. Those grants, for instance, have gone to groups to develop affordable health coverage for workers under 35 and to increase retirement savings among African-Americans." (The New York Times; free registration required)


Companies Consider Impact of Upcoming Employee Retirements
Excerpt: "Employers facing an unprecedented talent shortage, with 25% of the workforce nearing retirement age, are considering the impact upcoming retirements on their organization. According to a Hewitt Associates news release, its survey of more than 140 mid-size and large employers revealed more than half (55%) have already evaluated the impact potential retirements could have, and 61% say they have developed or will develop special programs to retain targeted, near-retirement employees." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


'Benefits Quarterly,' 3rd Quarter 2008, Executive Summaries of Articles
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!)

401(k) Plans
in California on November 18, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

401(k) Plans
in Texas on December 2, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

Cafeteria Plans
in California on November 19, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

Cafeteria Plans
in Texas on December 3, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in California on November 21, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Texas on December 5, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

COBRA Notification Rules: What Is Required and When
Nationwide on August 20, 2008
presented by Thompson Publishing Group

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in California on November 20, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Texas on December 4, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in California on November 21, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Texas on December 5, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in California on November 20, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Texas on December 4, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

The 401k Service Training Program
in Pennsylvania on November 10, 2008
presented by Financial Service Standards, LLC



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Financial Interactions Introduces 401k Education Program for Women
Financial Interactions LLC

Securities Fraud Attorney Mark Tepper Warns That Baby Boomers' Nest Eggs May Be the New Targets of Aggressive Financial Advisers
Mark Tepper PA



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Advanced Accounting Analyst - Benefits and Compensation
for Marathon Oil Company
in TX

401(k) / Defined Contribution Administrator
for Retirement Plan Consultants, Inc.
in TN

Retirement Plan Specialist
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in FL

External Participant Relationship Consultant
for Gallagher Retirement Services
in MO

401(k) Plan Consultant
for B & B Benefits Administration, Inc.
in CA

401(k) Retirement Administrator/ Consultant
for Applied Plan Administrators LLC
in MI, TN

Benefits Producer
for Wine Sergi & Co, LLC
in IL

Non Qualified / Financial and Estate Planning Sales Consultant
for Gallagher Retirement Services
in CA, CO




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