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November 17, 2008

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

Today's sponsor is

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Need a 403(b) plan document before 1/1/09? offers a full-scope 403(b) plan document with an ERISA/non-ERISA option that allows sponsors (including churches, non-profits, or public schools) to provide matching, non-elective contributions and elective deferrals; and a limited-scope 403(b) plan document (non-elective contributions, non-ERISA only).

Both documents are updated with the final regulations, include context-sensitive help buttons, forms and amendments, streamlined data import and export and online error correction. Only $175/plan or included in our annual subscription for not extra cost.

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[Guidance Overview] IRS Permits Governmental Plans One-Time Option to File as Cycle E Filers
Excerpt: "The IRS has learned that governmental plan sponsors face several obstacles beyond their direct control that affect their ability to file determination letter applications by the January 31, 2009 deadline including, among other things, getting necessary funds appropriated to make these filings." (Employee Benefits Institute of America)

Stock Market Decline Impacts Minimum Distributions
Excerpt: "The December 31, 2007, calculation establishes the minimum dollar amount that must be distributed in 2008. Since asset values were high at the end of 2007, the dollar amount that must be distributed is based on a higher value than it would be if the same percentage were applied to today's asset values, which are lower. As a result, the amount of any minimum distribution taken in October 2008 is a higher percentage relative to assets than the calculation required at the end of 2007." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Three Cities Ask Federal Treasury for Money for Pension Costs
Excerpt: "Philadelphia, Phoenix and Atlanta will seek at least $50 billion in emergency financing on Friday from the federal Treasury to help with infrastructure renewal, pension costs and short-term borrowing, which have all been curtailed by the credit crisis. . . . The cities are . . . seeking loans of an unspecified amount to cover some pension liabilities so they can fully finance their pension systems . . . ." (New York Times)

Companies Ask Congress for Leeway on Pension Funding
Excerpt: "The lobbying effort aims to change a 2006 pension reform law as part of any economic-stimulus plan in a lame-duck session of Congress that begins this week. Companies warn that the current law could force them to tie up large sums of cash they desperately need in the face of a global recession." (AP via Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Pension Funds Still Investing in Commodities Despite Prices
Excerpt: "Instead of heading for the exits as commodity prices plummet, the world's largest pension funds are being more selective in their investments and more active in managing their portfolios." (Wall Street Journal)

Retirement Tips for an Economic Crisis
Excerpt: "What are your investment options if you're nearing retirement? Or if retirement's many years away? How can the Great Depression give us perspective on today's crisis? Guest host Lynn Neary talks with Gail MarksJarvis, a personal finance columnist for the Chicago Tribune for survival investment tips." (National Public Radio)

Kentucky Group Will Not Recommend Switch to Defined Contribution Plan
Excerpt: "A working group appointed by the Governor of Kentucky to study the state's public pension system has declined to recommend moving new state workers into a 401(k)-type retirement plan. . . . While 48 states, including Kentucky, offer a defined benefit plan as the primary source of employee retirement income, private companies have been dumping them . . . ." (Cypen & Cypen)

Public Pension Plans Feeling Squeeze of Sagging Real Estate Investments
Excerpt: "Public pension funds that invested heavily in real estate are taking a big hit, including the real estate portfolio for California's civil servants, which lost more than a third of its value." (American Public Media Marketplace)

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Says 401(k) Reform Hearing Was Misreported
Excerpt: "'The Wall Street Journal is needlessly creating fear among Americans rightly worried about their retirement security by misrepresenting my efforts to strengthen workers' retirement savings -- attacks that have no basis in fact. I do not support 'abolishing' 401(k)s, moving these plans, or changing their tax status, plain and simple,' said [U.S. Rep. George] Miller." (U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA))

Employers Must Focus on Older Employees to Retain Competitive Edge, Especially in Current Economic Crunch
Excerpt: "[D]isgruntled older workers could resort to litigation or work sabotage over their lack of retirement savings, experts say. . . . These scenarios mean that it is more important than ever for companies to have effective performance management systems, thorough financial education programs and processes in place to engage older workers and keep them productive . . . ." (Workforce Management)

Sponsored by: BLAZE SSI Corp.

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Banner ad for BLAZE SSI Corp.

GTS - the George Taylor System for combined DB /DC Plan Proposals

GTS is a fast, easy-to-use MS Excel-based interactive system designed by George Taylor. It creates plan proposals, including combined DB Cash Balance and DC New Comparability plan designs. GTS performs combined plan IRC401(a) non-discrimination testing and prepares client-ready reports. A GTS subscription includes system updates for government regulations and HelpLine Support. GTS is available exclusively from BLAZE SSI Corp.

(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] 2008 Year-End Checkup for Pension and Welfare Benefit Plans (PDF)
17 pages. Excerpt: "This Alert will help identify general year-end administrative and planning issues that could lead to compliance or employee relations problems if not addressed before, or early in, 2009. In addition, we have highlighted recent legislative or regulatory developments that may require plan design or documentation changes." (Aon)

Is the Bailout Package a Template for Future Executive Compensation Regulation?
Excerpt: "[D]espite the possibility of new restrictions, we do not believe compensation committees need to overhaul their core pay-for-performance incentive programs for the coming year. Rather, we advise our clients to take a good look at their existing severance and change-in-control provisions and reconsider their necessity in light of other compensation elements." (Watson Wyatt)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Providing Domestic Partner Health Benefits: Practical Advice for Employers and Service Providers
Nationwide on November 13, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

Webcast on COBRA and Texas Specific Continuation of Coverage
Nationwide on November 20, 2008
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

WorldatWork Comments on Legislative Proposal Requiring W-2 Reporting of Employer-Provided Health-Care Costs

Disclosure Of Termination Information - Final Rule
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

Pensions Experience Record Asset Loss in October
Milliman USA

Chairman Miller Unveils Principles to Preserve and Strengthen 401(k)s in the 111th Congress
U.S. House Education and Labor Committee

Benefit Informatics Offering Personal Health and Cost Management
Benefit Informatics

AIG Will Terminate Voluntary Deferred Compensation Plans
American International Group, Inc. (AIG)

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Retirement Services District Manager
for ADP Retirement Services
in CA, FL, KS, MA, NY, OH, OK, OR, TX

401(k) Plan Administrator
for Retirement Horizons Inc.
in TX

Defined Contribution Administrator
for Pension Strategies, LLC
in AZ

Retirement Consultant
for The Bostonian Group
in MA

Compensation and Benefits Manager
for Grant Thornton LLP
in CA

Pension Actuary
for Westchester Consulting Firm
in NY

Vice President, Health & Welfare Advisory Services
for Sapers & Wallack, Inc.
in MA

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