Retirement Plans Newsletter

February 3, 2010


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EFAST2! Ready...Set…Go!


EFAST2! Ready...Set…Go!

Our preparation software and web portal for e-signatures are fully certified and available for use. You cannot afford to delay! Ftwilliam.com has everything that you need for preparation of your 5500s as well as a web-portal for e-signatures. We also provide free webinars to get you up to speed on EFAST 2 and learn how to use our software. Got questions? Just call us at 800.596.0714 or email sales@ftwilliam.com.

www.ftwilliam.com


[Official Guidance]
Listing of IRS Published Guidance for January 2010
The target page links to guidance published by the Service relating to retirement plans: Treasury Regulations; Revenue Rulings; Revenue Procedures; Notices; and, Announcements.
(U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

[Guidance Overview]
Definition of Compensation for Retirement Plans, W-2 Compensation, and Section 415
Excerpt: "[The W-2 definition of compensation] reflects Box 1 of Form W-2, 'Wages, tips, and other comp.' This is the number a taxpayer uses to complete Form 1040. However, for 415 purposes (and for purposes of the various Code sections which are based on the 415 definition of compensation, such as the top-heavy rules), the plan must add back in elective deferrals."
(SunGard Relius)

New 401(k) Advice Rules Set to Come Out Soon
Excerpt: "The Labor Department is likely to issue new rules governing investment advice given to 401(k) plan participants by the end of this month, Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis Borzi said today. 'We're hoping that by the end of February it will be out,' she said of the new rules, which are now under review by the Office of Management and Budget."
(Pensions & Investments)

DOL/Treasury Information Request on Lifetime Income Options for Retirement Plan Participants (PDF)
Excerpt: "The [request for information] itself specifically contemplates a possible review of existing guidance or other regulations and subsequent rulemaking. It consists of 39 questions organized into . . . eight sections . . . ."
(Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

Assessing the Performance of Life-Cycle Portfolio Allocation Strategies for Retirement Saving: A Simulation Study (PDF)
21 pages. Excerpt: "This article examines the performance of four life-cycle portfolio allocation strategies through stochastic simulation based on observed U.S. asset returns during 1926-2008. Annual worker contributions to retirement savings accounts are based on the actual lifetime earnings histories maintained by the Social Security Administration for 12,871 workers born during 1915-1942. Each strategy's performance is evaluated primarily on the basis of the distributions of internal rates of return on investments calculated at the time of retirement."
(U.S. Social Security Administration)

The Impact of Response Error on Participation Rates and Contributions to Defined Contribution Pension Plans (PDF)
16 pages. Excerpt: "The accuracy of information about coverage and contributions to defined contribution (DC) pension plans is important in understanding the economic well-being of future retirees because these plans are an increasingly important part of retirement income security."
(U.S. Social Security Administration)

Pension Finance Update Summary of 2009
Excerpt: "By all accounts, 2009 was a good year for pension finances, despite a wrenching first quarter. Plans were able to recoup about one-third of 2008 asset losses based on strong returns during the year. Lower interest rates, however, offset some of this experience. Heading into 2010, many pension plans continue to face significant pension underfunding issues."
(J.P. Morgan Compensation and Benefit Strategies)

Lehman Brothers Board Members Win Dismissal of Savings Plan Suit
Excerpt: "U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan today dismissed the case, in which board members were accused of knowing about Lehman's deteriorating condition and failing to protect the plan. Wendy Uvino, the chairwoman of the retirement plan, was also dismissed as a defendant in the suit. Kaplan said the complaint is 'devoid of any factual allegations' that Uvino knew or should have known any negative information that she was obliged to disclose."
(Business Insurance)

Higher Education Employees not Taking Action on Retirement Concerns, According to Survey
Excerpt: "A recent survey conducted by ING's U.S. Retirement Services indicates those employed in the higher education community are growing more nervous about their ability to retire comfortably, yet few are acting on their concerns. The survey found that nearly two-thirds of respondents (62%) are less confident today about living comfortably in retirement than before the financial market decline in 2008, according to a press release."
(PLANSPONSOR.com)

Obama Administration Creating Programs to Increase Americans' Retirement Savings and Income
The administration efforts includes a proposed automatic IRA, increased tax credits, guaranteed lifetime income options, and new 401(k) regulations.
(AP via msnbc.com)

Five Proposals in Obama's Budget for Retirement Savers
Excerpt: "President Obama's budget for fiscal year 2011 includes many proposals aimed to help workers prepare for retirement. Here's a look at the retirement projects the White House is asking Congress to fund."
(U.S. News & World Report)

Why Did Some Employers Suspend Their 401(k) Match?
Excerpt: "The brief's key findings are: During 2008-09, over 200 employers suspended their 401(k) matches, affecting 5 percent of active 401(k) participants. Liquidity constraints rather than profitability concerns appear to be the reason."
(Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)



Early Bird Registration Discount has been extended to Feb. 5!


Early Bird Registration Discount has been extended to Feb. 5!

The ASPPA 401(k) Summit | March 14 – 16, 2010 | Orlando World Center Marriott Resort

The ASPPA 401(k) SUMMIT is bigger and better than ever in 2010! Expect 140 exciting exhibits in the hall, dozens of top-notch workshop sessions like "Plan Designs for the Age of Obama," and the presentation of the prestigious Morningstar-ASPPA 401(k) Advisor Leadership Award. The SUMMIT offers 14 hours of ASPPA Continuing Education (CE) credit and is designed to comply with various CE programs, including ERPA CPE.
For more information and to register, click here: The ASPPA 401(k) SUMMIT.

ASPPA


Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

Employee Benefits Developments, January 2010
Excerpt: "A brief look at developments in Employee Benefits law from December 2009 and January 2010, including cases, rulings, and opinions."
(Hodgson Russ LLP)

GPS (Guidance, Procedures, Systems): Global Stock Plans book now available
The NCEO has now made available the GPS (Guidance, Procedures, Systems): Global Stock Plans book from the Certified Equity Professional Institute of Santa Clara University. The publication discusses issues and considerations, including grant processes, transactions, and tax and payroll issues, for public companies that grant equity compensation in non-U.S. locations.
(National Center for Employee Ownership)


Press Releases

ASPPA Urges DOL To Modify EFAST2 System
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

BAN Announces Platform Agencies
Benefit Advisors Network


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