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August 28, 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

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[Guidance Overview] Trends in Capital Accumulation Plans, August 2008 (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "Over the past 15 to 20 years, Capital Accumulation Plans (CAPs) have become popular retirement vehicles for many Canadian employers. Unlike Defined Benefit (DB) pension plans, which provide a particular level of retirement income, CAP sponsors commit only a specified contribution to their employees' retirement plans, which are most often managed by the individual members." (Towers Perrin)


[Guidance Overview] DOL's Proposed Regulations on Required Disclosures to Plan Participants (PDF)
4 pages. (Dechert LLP)


The Role of Annuity's Value on Decision (Not) to Annuitize: Evidence from a Large Policy Change
Excerpt: "This paper presents new evidence on how the annuitization decision is affected by changes in the annuity's value. We take advantage of an unprecendented change in policy, which in 2004 moderated the super-mandatory Swiss occupational pension scheme: The 20 percent reduction in the rate at which retirement capital is translated into a life-long annuity equates to a net present value loss of approximately 20'000 SFR (20'000 US$) for the average retiree." (Social Science Research Network)


Structuring Assets in Retirement to Avoid Running Out of Money
Excerpt: "The message of how to optimally sequence a withdrawal strategy in retirement in terms of tax efficiency, choosing from among taxable and tax-deferred accounts, is neither loud nor clear. Many of the best practices are little known or even counterintuitive. And planners aren't necessarily compensated for the hard work involved. But solving this retirement spend-down problem is a great opportunity for advisors. After all, these problems are too complex for most clients to solve without expert advice . . . ." (Financial Planning)


In Italy, Employee Benefits and Pension Regulations Modified
Excerpt: "New regulations passed recently will require employers to revise the amount of benefits they pay their employees. The laws, which modify working time specifications, resignation procedures and phased pension payments, aim to cut bureaucracy and simplify procedures." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)


Income-Harvesting Strategy a New Twist on Producing Secure Retirement Income Stream
Excerpt: "The use of four distinct investment accounts can produce a higher percentage of income withdrawals to fund retirement, compared with more traditional retirement-withdrawal strategies, contends an award-winning article in the August 2008 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning, published monthly by the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®)." (Financial Planning Association)


Fee Disclosure to Pension Participants: Establishing Minimum Requirements (PDF)
61 pages. Excerpt: "This analysis of fee disclosure takes into account insights from behavioral economics in assessing the usefulness of different approaches. Standardizing types of fees and formats in which they are presented would facilitate comparisons across different investment options. The report proposes a model fee disclosure. It creates a score card assessing the current fee disclosure in six countries: Australia, Can.ada, Chile, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. While the cost of greater disclosure has been raised as an issue, the evidence indicates that the cost borne by participants would be small." (Rotman International Centre for Pension Management)


403(b) Participants Accumulate Less Retirement Savings than 401(k) Participants
Excerpt: "A new Spectrem Group report finds lower savings rates, fewer employer match contributions, and conservative investing habits could account for a lower accumulation of retirement savings for 403(b) plan participants when compared to their 401(k) counterparts." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Retiree Question About Leaving the Government's Thrift Savings Plan
Excerpt: "I am a Federal government retiree and 68 years old. I currently have $122,500 in my Thrift Savings Plan. I did not yet roll it into an IRA. What is a good company to roll the TSP into -- Vanguard? T Rowe Price? Fidelity? Which company might have the lowest fees? All three of the companies you mentioned would be solid choices. However, I would probably put in a plug for keeping your money where it is. The government's Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is as close to perfect a plan as you will likely find." (The Boston Globe)


Some Early Retirees Have Second Thoughts
Excerpt: "Many older Boomers . . . say they're willing to accept a smaller payout in exchange for an opportunity to retire while they're still young enough to enjoy it. But recent retirees who had expected to supplement Social Security with their savings have seen their investments decimated by the stock market's nose dive. Their home equity has evaporated. And rising prices for gasoline, airfares and groceries threaten to shred their retirement budgets." (USA TODAY)


[Opinion] Retirement Income Products: A Wish List
Excerpt: "This article will focus on financial products individuals can purchase to reduce the risk of outliving their assets, including products being offered today and products that are under development. My views are somewhat unconventional, particularly with regard to current products." (Financial Planning)


[Opinion] Why 401(k) Retirement Plans Really Don't Work
Excerpt: "The differences between retirement programs and savings programs are very real, extremely fundamental, and politically incomprehensible to legislators--- so long as it's not their money. Retirement programs are income machines designed to support people, not to make them feel wealthy, investment savvy, or temporarily tax-free. Pension plans produce fixed amounts of monthly income that don't change appreciably when dot-coms, real estate, CDOs, or index funds (they're next) self-destruct. You just can't buy dinner or medications with currency futures, gold bars, or appreciated acreage." (American Chronicle)



Sponsored by: SunGard's RELIUS Education

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Banner ad for SunGard's RELIUS Education

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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

U.S. Companies Move to Make Executive Pay More Shareholder Friendly
Excerpt: "Companies are moving to make their executive pay programs more appealing to shareholders, according to an analysis of proxy statements released earlier this year. Survey findings show that companies are also looking at overhauling portions of their executive benefit plans and severance policies." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)


Mayor Signs San Francisco Commuter Mandate
Excerpt: "San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has signed an ordinance, believed to be the first of its kind for a municipality, that requires employers to offer employees at least one of three commuter benefit options." (Workforce Management; free registration required)


Boeing Agrees to Keep Pension
Excerpt: "The Boeing Co.'s second contract proposal to the Machinists union does not include its request to close its pension plan to new employees. According to the Everett (Washington) Herald, the company said on Tuesday that it had eliminated three out of four of the issues the Machinists said they would strike over: pension for new employees, retaining Wichita in the bargaining unit, and outsourcing. The company is still attempting to eliminate early retiree medical benefits for Machinists hired after January 1, 2010." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

DOL Issues IRA/401(k) Advice Guidance
Nationwide on September 9, 2008
presented by Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, LLC

Fundamentals of Employee Benefits Law -- On site in Orlando or via live webcast!
Nationwide on March 5, 2009
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Cost of Caring for Aging Parents Could Be Next Financial Crisis
AgingCare.com



We're one of the top 350 employment sites on the web!Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
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Defined Contribution Plan Consultant
for Schloss & Co.
in NY

Regional Director, GS-1801-15
for U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration
in KY

Retirement Plan Processor
for Randall & Hurley, Inc.
in WA

Retirement Plan / Documents Administrator
for WESPAC Plan Services, LLC
in CA

Benefits Analyst
for MediCorp Health System
in VA

Retirement Counselors
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in UT

Product Manager
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

Retirement Services Supervisor
for Fiserv ISS
in CO

Director of Benefits
for OfficeMax Inc.
in IL

Pension - 401(k) - Retirement Plan Administrator / Consultant
for SuperiorUSA (TPA Firm)
in MN, WI




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