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November 19, 2008

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


Today's sponsor is www.ftwilliam.com

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
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Need a 403(b) plan document before 1/1/09?

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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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[Official Guidance] Text of 'Applicable Federal Rates' Under Tax Code Section 1274(d) for December (PDF)
4 pages. The annual mid-term applicable federal interest rate under Code section 1274(d) for December 2008 is 2.85 percent. It is used when calculating 'substantially equal periodic payments' that are exempt from the Code section 72(t) early distribution penalty. (Internal Revenue Service)


[Guidance Overview] ERISA for Money Managers (PDF)
84-page PDF version of November 13, 2008 Powerpoint presentation. (Morgan Lewis)


[Guidance Overview] Plaintiffs in S.C. Johnson Cash Balance Case See One Claim Rejected But Whipsaw Claim Survives
Excerpt: "U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin ruled that the plaintiffs' claim of a violation of ERISA interest credit rules that went into effect earlier this year was premature." (PLANSPONSOR.com)


[Guidance Overview] Recent Developments Affect Puerto Rico Retirement Plans (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "Puerto Rico has enacted legislation that increases the pre-tax contribution limits to qualified savings plans under Section 1165(e) of the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code. Recent guidance provides that distributions from Puerto Rico profit sharing plans are not taxable in Puerto Rico upon company shutdowns. Also, the IRS issued a revenue ruling establishing that a transfer of assets from a U.S. qualified plan to a plan qualified only and exclusively under Section 1165 of the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code is a distribution to a participant whose account is included in the transfer, but the ruling is subject to important transition relief." (Buck Consultants)


PBGC and GM Negotiate Over Pension Data
A GM spokesperson said PBGC officials had met on Monday with GM's officer in charge of pension funding. (Dow Jones via CNN Money)


The Business Case for 401(k) Automatic Enrollment
Excerpt: "[T]here are at least three sound business reasons for using automatic enrollment: Improving 401(k) nondiscrimination results; Recruiting and retaining valued employees; Mitigating [and] the loss of defined benefit ('DB') pensions." (Retirement Made Simpler)


School Business Managers Ask IRS for Extension on Due Date for 403(b) Regulatory Compliance (PDF)
2 pages; October 28, 2008. Excerpt: "The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) is an organization of school and community college business managers with members in the public school district segment of the market who are in a position to understand the issues surrounding the effort to achieve compliance with the final 403(b) regulations created by the absence of (a) clear-cut guidance regarding non-grandfathered accounts, (b) concrete instruction from Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service in preparing compliant written plans, and (c) published correction programs specific to the final regulations and the guidance posted in Revenue Procedure 2007-71." (Via 403bWise.com)


San Diego City Pension Board to Be Asked to Lower Guaranteed Rate of Return for DROP Participants
Excerpt: "The program allows employees with five or fewer years left until retirement to keep working and collect a monthly pension payment based on their salary and years of service at the time they enter the program. The pension money is deposited into an account controlled by the pension system, which pays an 8 percent return no matter what is happening in the financial markets. When the employee does retire, he or she can roll the entire balance of their DROP account into an individual retirement account or annuity." (Voice of San Diego)


[Opinion] Why Defined Benefit Pension Plan Funding Relief is Needed (PDF)
1 page of 'talking points.' Excerpt: "Recent economic turmoil has had a devastating effect on defined benefit pension plans due to a combination of dropping asset values and credit market strains. As a result pension obligations have ballooned unpredictably since earlier in 2008. This in turn is forcing companies to set aside enormous amounts of cash that they would otherwise invest in job creation and business growth and thus is severely hampering economic recovery. A few changes to the Pension Protection Act (PPA) would largely address the problems . . . . " (American Benefits Council)


[Opinion] Pension Rights Center Supports Deferral of Some PPA Funding Rules But Not for Already or Soon-To-Be Frozen DB Plans (PDF)
Excerpt: "Steps should be taken to support employers who continue to sponsor defined benefit plans in which employees are continuing to earn benefits. There is, however, absolutely no reason to grant funding relief to employers that have frozen benefits. Extending relief to frozen plans will harm employees without giving them anything in return and will unnecessarily compromise the solvency of the [PBGC]. We also ask you to make relief conditional on an employer's commitment to continue accruals for the plan for five years following the period of funding relief." (Pension Rights Center)



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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] 2008 Year-End Plan Sponsor 'To Do' Lists (PDF)
22 pages; at pages 1-14; bravo! Excerpt: "Attached are seven 'to do' lists that may require you to take action before the end of 2008 or in early 2009. Many of the action items are a result of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (the 'PPA'). For your convenience we have broken the 'to do' lists into the following seven categories: All Qualified Plans; Section 401(k) Plans; Defined Contribution Plans (other than Section 401(k) Plans); Defined Benefit Plans; Section 403(b) and Section 457(b) Plans; Health and Welfare Plans; [and] Executive Compensation." (Snell & Wilmer)


[Guidance Overview] Executive Compensation Restrictions Under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act
Excerpt: "[The executive compensation restrictions under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act] may stimulate further legislative efforts to reform executive compensation and may influence institutional shareholders, corporate governance firms and proxy solicitors in the coming months. As a result, it is reasonable to expect that compensation committees will be asking in the coming months whether some of these changes would be appropriate to extend to companies that are not participating in these programs. " (LawDragon)


AIG to Distribute Previously Deferred Compensation
Excerpt: "American International Group Inc. is terminating 14 voluntary deferred compensation programs involving 5,600 employees and independent agents and representatives. Approximately $500 million in earned but deferred pay will be distributed in the first quarter of 2009." (On Wall Street)


Navigating Your Way Through Market Turbulence (PDF)
12 pages. Excerpt from a Principal Financial Group press release: 'As market turbulence takes its toll on everything from 401(k) account balances to pension plan funding, employers are scrambling to assess the full impact on their retirement programs. They are also worried about what actions they may need to take right now as fiduciaries. . . . A new guide from the Principal Financial Group(r) can help employers make this critical review of their retirement programs. Navigating Your Way through Market Turbulence takes an in-depth look at how the market volatility may be affecting four common retirement plan types: defined benefit, defined contribution, Employee Stock Ownership Plan and nonqualified deferred compensation. The guide offers action steps to consider for each plan type." (Principal Financial Group)


[Opinion] Comment Letter by Frederick W. Cook & Co. on Capital Purchase Program's Executive Compensation Restrictions (PDF)
Excerpt: "On October 20, 2008, the Office of Domestic Finance of the Department of the Treasury published in the Federal Register an interim final rule providing guidance on the executive compensation provisions applicable to participants in the Troubled Asset Relief Program Capital Purchase Program ('CPP') under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (the 'Act'). This letter sets forth the comments of Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc. to the interim final rule." (Frederick W. Cook & Co., Inc.)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Annual Legislative Update – Extended Meeting
in Illinois on December 4, 2008
presented by WEB - Chicago West

EESA’s New Executive Pay Practices for Covered Financial Institutions Webcast
Nationwide on November 20, 2008
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Everything You Need to Know About EFAST2
in Illinois on December 18, 2008
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Chicago

What Employee Benefits Lawyers Need to Know about GINA/Michelle's Law/ADA Changes
Nationwide on December 16, 2008
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

U.S. Department Of Labor Sues To Recover 401(k) Assets For Former Employees Of Stockton, California Dental Manufacturer
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

New Guide Helps Retirement Plan Sponsors Weather Storm of Volatile Markets
Principal Financial Group

16th Milliman Survey Indicates Health Insurance Rate Increases in 2009
Milliman USA

Schwab to Provide TPAs with Benchmarking Information
Charles Schwab Corporation

SunGard Offers Prepaid Benefits Card to Relius 125 Customers
SunGard



We're one of the top 350 employment sites on the web!Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
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Retirement Plan Administration Specialist
for Consulting Actuaries Incorporated
in NJ

Pension Plan Administrator
for Howard Simon & Associates
in IL

Actuarial Services Coordinator
for San Francisco Employees' Retirement System
in CA

Retirement Education Specialist
for The Newport Group
in NC

Relationship Manager II
for Wilmington Trust, Retirement & Institutional Services Company
in DE

Pension Administrator
for Armstrong, Doyle, and Carroll, Inc.
in PA

Pension Administrator
for Windes & McClaughry Accountancy Corp.
in CA

Field Claim Examiner
for MassMutual Financial Group
in CA




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