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Retirement Plans Newsletter

April 21, 2010

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Illinois Pension Reform Will Save Billions of Dollars Because Benefits Will Be Lower for New Employees, Says Governor
Excerpt: "The savings are expected to come from increasing the general retirement age to 67 from 62 or lower in many cases. To get full benefits, new employees will have to work at least 10 years and wait until 67, though a smaller benefit will be available for those who choose to start taking pension checks at age 62. The state also will limit the salary level on which pension benefits are based to no more than $106,800 a year, rather than allow the so-called Cadillac pension plans that can now pay out more than twice as much. The law also strikes at one form of double-dipping by banning new public employees from getting a pension from one government job while collecting a salary from another. It will base pensions on an average of the last eight years of service rather than the last four years."
(The Chicago Tribune)

Missouri Senate Approves Bill to Revise Pension Program
Excerpt: "The Missouri Senate approved three bills Tuesday that are designed to overhaul government and save money. One eliminates two paid holidays for state workers. . . . The third makes significant revisions to the pension program for state workers. On the whole, lawmakers want more control over government pensions. For example, the bill would expand the authority of the state auditor to review lagers, the local government retirement system."
(Barrington Broadcasting Group, LLC)

Stock Market Rebound Boosted Employee 401(k) Savings in 2009, but Balances Still Fell Short of Pre-Recession Levels
Excerpt: "Neither record-breaking losses in 2008 nor a robust market rally in 2009 incentivized workers to put 401(k) retirement saving at the top of their priority lists last year, according to a new report from Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing services company. Workers were able to recover a significant portion of the losses they sustained in 2008 simply by participating in their 401(k) plan; however, it wasn't enough to propel most plan balances back to their pre-recession levels."
(Hewitt Associates)

Largest Pension Plans' Funding Improves
Excerpt: "The funding levels of pension plans among large publicly held U.S. employers improved slightly in 2009 due to strong investment returns, according to a survey released Tuesday. Defined benefit plans offered by 100 U.S. employers with the largest pension programs were, on average, 81.7% funded in 2009, up from 79.4% in 2008, according to the Milliman Inc. survey."
(Business Insurance)

Louisiana House Votes against Suspending Benefits for Convicted Public Employees
Excerpt: "The Louisiana House of Representatives has decided that elected officials and public employees who commit crimes and serve time in prison still should be able to collect retirement benefits. The Shreveport Times reports that after raising several questions and amending House Bill 224 so it applied only to sentences resulting from job-related crimes, the House killed it with a vote of 41-56."

'Day of Reckoning' Expected for Pennsylvania Public Pension Plans
Excerpt: "Pennsylvania hasn't paid the annual recommended amount to its school and state employee pension funds in years, and won't for at least another decade if lawmakers adopt a budget proposal designed to spread costs into the future. . . . Pennsylvania increased benefits for state and school employees and lawmakers in 2001, added a cost-of-living raise for retirees in 2002, and then reduced contributions to the funds and spread costs out over a decade to soften the blow of market declines."
(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

DC Plan Fiduciaries Required to Use Prudent Process Approach in Their Decision-Making
Excerpt: "Without the prudent process the government would have mandated how DC plan assets are to be invested decades ago, and there would be no target date funds to discuss. The prudent process is a beautiful thing. We are fortunate that participant accumulations are managed by decision-makers using it."
(Profit Sharing / 401k Council of America)

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Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
Regulatory Brief: Electronic Notice Delivery (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The Department of Labor (DOL) and IRS both have regulations regarding the electronic delivery of required notices to plan participants and beneficiaries. Now you can review key legal considerations for electronic delivery under each set of regulations in our new Regulatory Brief."
(The Vanguard Group, Inc.)

[Guidance Overview]
$500,000 Compensation Deduction Limit on Health Insurers May Have Broader Reach (PDF)
Excerpt: "The scope of the deduction restriction is broad - generally, any companies that are in the same 'controlled group' as a health insurer (as broadly defined in PPACA) may be subject to the $500,000 limitation. And the provision will impact the deductibility of compensation for services performed beginning in 2010. Thus, any company with a 'health insurer' in its controlled group should quickly become familiar with this new rule. This memorandum will outline how the new restriction operates."
(Groom Law Group)

Health and Financial Concerns Take Toll on Workplace Productivity
Excerpt: "The economic crisis has created a significant shift in employers' benefits objectives. Controlling benefits costs is now the top benefits objective for employers, edging out employee retention for the first time since 2006, according to MetLife's 8th annual Employee Benefits Trends Study."
(Wolters Kluwer)

Webcasts and Conferences

ERISA Litigation Risk Avoidance Strategies
in Missouri on June 10, 2010
presented by Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP

Wrap Documents for Health and Welfare Plans: How They Work and Should You Have One?
Nationwide on April 15, 2010
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

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Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

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Compliance Professional - Health/Welfare & Retirement Plans
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for Affiliated Computer Services; A Xerox Company
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for Cassidy Retirement Group, Inc.
in MA

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