SunGard offers Spring 2010 Workshops to help you prepare for:
- Form 5500/EFAST2 – because of EFAST2, Form 5500 amendments may dominate 2010 filings. This workshop shows how to file automatically and how to avoid filing the same Form 5500 twice.
- 401(k) Plan - prototype and volume submitter restatements and emerging opportunities for growing Roth accounts make 2010 a challenging year. This workshop can help prepare you for these changes.
For more information, read more
about our solutions or call 1-800-326-7235, ext. 1100.
ASPPA Urges Pension Practitioners, Small Business Plan Sponsors to Contact Congress Quickly; Cross-Tested Plan Design at Risk
Excerpt from a letter issued by ASPPA: "[T]here is a new, real threat to cross-tested plans. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), who previously introduced a bill to repeal cross-testing, is working on a new proposal that would authorize Treasury and IRS to revise the regulations on matters such as the interest rate used for calculations and the ability to use different formulas for different groups of employees. We believe the net effect of this proposal would be to severely reduce the attractiveness of cross-tested plans. The House may act on this legislation as early as next week -- so you must act now!"
(American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries)
Illinois Playing Hot Potato with Pension Burden
Excerpt: "'The pension funds have been used by the state as petty cash forever,' . . . .' That pretty much frames a fierce argument over how to rein in the state's enormous pension debt, a problem literally decades in the making as Republican and Democrats officials alike proved willful accomplices. Whichever party controlled state government has long done an abysmal job of socking away adequate cash to pay for all the retirement promises it made."
(The Chicago Tribune)
Will New Rules Lead to Better or Less 401(k) Advice?
Excerpt: "Comments from the industry were due today on such DOL questions as: 'What are examples of investment theories that are not generally acceptable?'; 'What historical data should be taken into account?'; and 'Should a model ascribe different levels of risk to passively and actively managed investment options?' These questions have raised fears in the financial services industry that the department will put a government stamp of approval on one type of investing--index mutual funds--and mandate that computer modeling ignore past performance, considering only past costs."
Treasury & Risk's 2010 Retirement Survey of Finance Executives
Excerpt: "Despite the stock market's amazing rebound over the last year, the outlook on retirement plans has failed to recapture its pre-crisis glow, according to the senior finance executives responding to Treasury & Risk's 2010 Retirement Survey."
(Treasury & Risk)
Pension Funding Relief Moves Forward in Congress
Excerpt: "Under the Senate bill, plan sponsors that opted for funding relief would have to make higher pension contributions if they paid 'excess' employee compensation, declared extraordinary dividends or redeemed 10% or more of company stock."
Defined Benefit Plan Sponsors Wait for Pension Funding Relief
Excerpt: "The Senate [version of funding relief is] in a substitute amendment to H.R. 4213, the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act. The bill . . . includes the '2 plus 7' and '15 year' alternative amortization schedules, and would require increased funding installments if excess compensation . . . is paid . . . . The House proposal remains before . . . Committees [which] reportedly are considering the imposition of additional conditions . . . ."
(Deloitte via BenefitsLink.com)
IASB's Proposed Rules for Pension Accounting Could Dampen the Effect of Asset Gains and Losses on the Bottom Line
Excerpt: "The International Accounting Standards Board's long-awaited exposure draft on IAS 19, the standard that governs pension accounting, may turn out to be good news for companies. In a reversal of the proposals that were originally floated, under the exposure draft the impact of asset gains and losses would be reflected in other comprehensive income (OCI) rather than in profits and losses, lessening their impact on a company's earnings."
Michigan Public Pension Fund Files Class-Action Lawsuit against Massey Energy Co.
Excerpt: "[The suit claims Massey] violated securities laws by inaccurately promoting its safety record and mission. . . . The pension fund sold its 4,000 shares of Massey stock after the explosion, taking a loss of $8,160. But the lawsuit covers those who bought shares between Oct. 28, and April 21. 'The class includes all shareholders who suffered losses because of these misdeeds,' . . . ."
When Do You Start Spending Your Retirement Savings?
Excerpt: "Though . . . IRAs are individually owned, I'd suspect that a large part of what we see in terms of withdrawal behavior reflects at least a reasonable degree of coordination among household members in managing finances and making decisions about withdrawals. If there is still one member of a couple working, perhaps between that and Social Security, many families feel like they earn enough to get by without spending their savings."
(The Vanguard Group, Inc.)
ERIC, Chamber and PSCA Advise DOL to Not Regulate 'Generally Accepted Investment Theories' (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "The concept that the Department might prescribe specific parameters on what constitute a generally accepted investment theory is inconsistent with the statute and the Department's long-standing positions on the operation of a retirement plan in compliance with ERISA's fiduciary requirements. Section 408(g)(3)(B)(i) requires the computer model to use generally accepted investment theories. The statute, wisely, does not define this term."
(The ERISA Industry Committee, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Profit Sharing/401k Council of America)
Group Letter to Senate Regarding Swaps Provision of Financial Regulatory Legislation (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "We are writing today to call your attention to an unintended but grave threat to the private retirement system contained in the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. Under sections 731 and 764 of the most recent version of the bill, a swap dealer that enters into a swap with a pension plan has a fiduciary duty to the plan."
(American Benefits Council)
ASPPA co-sponsors several regional conferences with the IRS to provide you opportunities to discuss employee benefits issues with colleagues, local, regional and national government representatives from IRS and the US Department of Labor, and private sector experts. The programs focus on exchanging information and educating attendees about current regulatory, legislative, administrative and actuarial topics.
Find out when we’re coming to your town here.
Executive Compensation; Benefits in General
'Plan/Prevent/Protect': The DOL's Program to Transform Employment Law Compliance for Businesses
Excerpt: "As a result of this new DOL initiative, employers will need to reexamine their practices and shift their focus regarding employment law compliance. No longer will businesses have the luxury of waiting until a potential problem arises to address and resolve the issue. Employers instead would have to develop, implement, and enforce policies that are designed to eliminate, not merely mitigate, employment, safety, and employee benefit law violations."
(Littler Mendelson P.C.)
Congress Still Threatening to Impose Confiscatory Tax Rates on Bonuses of Financial Institution Executives
Excerpt: "[Senator Jim] Webb's amendment . . . would add new Sections 280I and 4999A to the Internal Revenue Code, placing an additional 50% excise tax on (and denying the company's deduction for) any 'bonus' above $400,000 attributable to service in 2009 paid to any employee or director working for financial institutions that received at least $5 billion in government funds under TARP or the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008."
(Michael Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)
Financial Reform Bill Would Affect Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance
Excerpt: "The executive compensation and corporate governance provisions are similar to those in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act approved by the House in December 2009. The bill is now cleared for action on the Senate floor, but reaching bipartisan agreement will not be easy. If the Senate approves the legislation, lawmakers must then negotiate a compromise between the House and Senate proposals."
IASB Proposes Changes to Employers' Accounting for Pension and Retiree Medical Plans
Excerpt: "International accounting standards [for defined benefit] pension and retiree medical plans would change significantly under a new IASB proposal. These changes, which dovetail with an IASB project on financial statement presentation, would move both the upside and downside of risks taken by DB plans outside of profit and loss accounts and into other comprehensive income."
Clamping Down on Misclassification of Workers
Excerpt: "A proposed federal law -- that experts expect to pass -- will require employers to notify employees and others who do work for them of their employee-classification status. Noncompliance with the law would bring high penalties, while compliance might prompt workers to consider legal action on wage-and-hour issues."
(Human Resource Executive Online)
Qualified Tuition Reductions for School Employees
Excerpt: "The IRS recently clarified the availability of the income exclusion under IRC § 117(d) for qualified tuition reduction in the case of joint-degree programs, and where graduate-level courses are taken other than to fulfill a graduate degree."
(Deloitte via BenefitsLink.com)
2010 ERISA Advisory Council Issue Paper on Disparities for Women and Minorities in Retirement and Health Care (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The Council will assemble empirical information from multiple sources to help us establish a baseline for the state of retirement and health care for minorities and women and to understand the causation of the conditions discovered. Minority data is generally collected by using the population categories of White, African American, Hispanic and Asian. We also expect to solicit data to understand the differences between married women and unmarried women, as well as special issues facing divorced and widowed women."
(U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)
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