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March 2, 2010

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[Official Guidance]
Federal Register Version of DOL Final Reg on Multiemployer Pension Plan Information Made Available on Request (PDF)
10 pages. The final regulation is effective on April 1, 2010. Excerpt: "Section 101(k) of [ERISA] added by section 502(a)(1) of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA), provides that the administrator of a multiemployer pension plan, upon written request, shall furnish copies of certain actuarial and financial documents to any plan participant, beneficiary, employee representative, or any employer that has an obligation to contribute to the plan."
(U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Official Guidance]
Federal Register Version of Text of DOL Proposed Participant Investment Advice Regulation (PDF)
11 pages. Written comments on the proposed regulations should be submitted to the Department of Labor on or before May 5, 2010. Excerpt: "The Department proposes that the regulations contained in this notice will be effective 60 days after publication of the final regulations in the Federal Register. The Department invites comments on whether the final regulations should be made effective on a different date."
(U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Guidance Overview]
DOL Proposes Rules on Investment Advice for 401(k) Plans and IRAs
6 pages. Excerpt: "The regulations would provide guidance on the exemption's requirements for fee-leveling and computer model arrangements, and include a nonmandatory model form that advisers may use to satisfy the fee disclosure requirement. They are substantially the same as the prior proposed regulations, except they do not include a class exemption that would expand on the exemptive relief in the statute."
(Morgan Lewis)

[Guidance Overview]
Summary of DOL Proposed Investment Advice Regulations (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The regulations confirm that the statutory PPA investment advice exemptions do not disturb either the existing administrative exemptions covering investment advice or current programs that comply with the prohibited transaction rules, such as SunAmerica programs. . . . The proposed regulations would define fee-leveling to provide that the adviser, including any employee, agent, or registered representative of the adviser, cannot receive, directly or indirectly, any fee or other compensation that varies based in whole or in part on a participant's selection of an investment. Thus, the primary relief provided by the proposed regulations would be to permit an affiliate of the adviser, or other person in which the fiduciary adviser has a material interest, to receive compensation that varies as a result of the adviser's advice."
(Davis & Harman LLP via American Benefits Council)

[Guidance Overview]
Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) Filing Delayed Until June 30, 2011; Some Benefit/Pension Trusts May Need to File; Exceptions Clarified in Proposed Rule
Excerpt: "The Treasury Department's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) have issued Notice 2010-23 and proposed rules, respectively, which relate to filing requirements for the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (also known as FBAR)."
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

[Guidance Overview]
Another Settlement in 401(k) Mutual Funds Litigation
Excerpt: "Hartford Life Insurance Co. allegedly breached its fiduciary duties by receiving revenue sharing payments from various mutual funds. The settlement, if approved by the judge, will require Hartford to make several structural changes to its business practices."
(Workplace Prof Blog)

[Guidance Overview]
Participant Investment Advice Regulation Resurrected
Excerpt: "[T]he new proposed rule clarifies that the fee-leveling requirement of the statutory exemption prohibits fiduciary advisors from receiving any compensation based on the investments selected by plan participants, and that the limitation 'applies both to an entity that is retained to render advice, and to any employee, agent, or registered representative of such an entity.' Further, the prohibition against receipt of compensation for favoring or recommending particular investments applies to a fiduciary adviser if the advisor receives no such fees but an affiliate of the fiduciary adviser might receive fees that vary depending on the investment options selected."
(Ford & Harrison)

Labor Department's 401(k) Proposal Could Rock Pension Advice Business
Excerpt: "The proposed regulations will make it more difficult for advisors affiliated with broker-dealers and insurance companies to provide advice to plan participants. . . . The proposed regulations would make it more difficult for advisors affiliated with broker-dealers and insurance companies to provide advice to plan participants, industry observers said. The rules also may pose huge challenges for actively managed funds in the retirement space."
(Workforce Management)

Rebuilding a Nest Egg After the Great Recession
Excerpt: "But what is the right balance of stocks and bonds, risk and safety in a retirement portfolio? And did the financial crisis change the rules? John Bogle, who founded the Vanguard Group, says no. 'The real message, I think is, you know, we're going to get big rises and big declines in the stock market, and if you keep investing through them you will build yourself a terrific retirement account,' Bogle says."
(National Public Radio)

Online Federal Benefits Calculators, Including Conversion of Account Balance to Lifetime Income Payments
Excerpt: "Federal retirement: This calculator projects retirement benefits under federal retirement systems according to variables such as salary and length of service. . . . Social Security: This site features a Social Security benefit estimator for those who will be eligible under that system, which includes most current federal employees. It also has links to several other calculators, including one showing a reduction that might apply to certain federal retirees. . . . Thrift Savings Plan: This site has calculators allowing participants in the 401(k)-style retirement savings program to project future account balances based on differing investment levels and rates of return, to determine loan payments if they borrow against their accounts and to see how an account balance would translate into income after separation, among other functions."
(Washington Post; free registration required)

Critical Pension Issues Facing the States (Recorded Webinar)
See the links on the target page to view the presentations and listen to an audio recording. Originally presented on February 19, 2010.
(National Conference of State Legislatures)

Real Savings Plus: An Automatic Investment Option for the Automatic IRA
Excerpt: "In this paper, the Initiative on Financial Security at the Aspen Institute proposes an investment option for the Automatic IRA: Real Savings ('RS+'). RS+ combines two widely traded and highly liquid assets -- Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) and a broad-based equity market index -- to provide savers with a personalized, automatic target date investment option."
(Initiative on Financial Security at the Aspen Institute)

Bill on Pension Funding Could Save Jobs
Excerpt: "[T]he bill's co-authors -- Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, GOP Rep. Pat Tiberi of Genoa Township [Ohio] and other backers -- note that the measure was dropped from a Senate jobs bill after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pared back that legislation, which the Senate approved last week. Pension-fund-relief proponents still hope for success in March, either in a new jobs bill or by attaching their proposal to a measure extending popular tax breaks about to expire or to a small-business assistance bill."
(Columbus Dispatch)




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.

Sponsored by ASPPA

Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

Obama Budget Proposes Major Worker Classification Reforms
Excerpt: "The Administration's proposals would send a strong signal that it supports potential groundbreaking changes -- which are likely to have ripple effects on employee benefit programs, wage and hour laws and many other areas."
(Groom Law Group)

Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Chart -- Human Resources (PDF)
11 pages. Updated February 25, 2010.
(Towers Perrin)

Employee Ownership Update for March 1, 2010
NCEO Executive Director Corey Rosen discusses the following: The UK's Conservative Party is proposing that employees in any public service organization be able to reorganize as an employee-owned company. The NCEO is preparing data on options, ESPPs, etc., in large public companies. ABC News ran a moving story on a new ESOP at Bob's Red Mill. The FED is sponsoring an essay contest on employee ownership. Dan Janich and Elizabeth Dodge have been appointed to the NCEO board.
(National Center for Employee Ownership)


Webcasts and Conferences

FutureOffice Network Presents the March Smartcast: FMLA Update with Craig J. Davidson, CEBS
Nationwide on March 1, 2010
presented by FutureOffice Network


Press Releases

U.S. Labor Department Sues to Protect Utah Retirement Assets in Bankruptcy Proceeding
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)


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