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Retirement Plans Newsletter

June 7, 2010

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Retirement Plan Provision Passed Last Month Could Delay the Labor Department's Own Fee Disclosure Revisions
Excerpt: "The bill the House of Representatives passed, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, includes language that would require 401(k) service providers to provide information on fees both to plan participants and plan sponsors."
(Investment News; free registration required)

Even Savvy Retirees Sometimes Overlook How Much Investment Costs Can Routinely Sap from Their Savings
Excerpt: "'This cost may be overlooked because it's not a direct deduction from your account,' said Maria Bruno, an investment analyst with Vanguard's Investment Strategy Group. 'But over the long term, it can eat into your balance and affect your future level of spending.'"
(The Vanguard Group, Inc.)

IRS Suspends Rulings on Church Plan Status for Pension Plans; PBGC Coverage at Issue
Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service is drafting guidance that could require employers with religious affiliations to warn workers when their pensions have lost their federal safety net."
(The Wall Street Journal)

Video: Shattering Target-Date Fund Myths
Excerpt: "In this three-minute video, John Ameriks and Steve Utkus offer insights on their new paper, Target-date fund investing: Shattering the myths. They describe why they wrote the paper, offer comments on their favorite myths, and explain how it has helped inform the debate over these funds."
(The Vanguard Group, Inc.)

Various Problems Limit Annuity Options in Savings Plans
Excerpt: "Participant confusion about annuities, the varying prices and fine print that accompany existing products, and plan executives' worries about legal issues and fiduciary responsibility are impediments to offering lifetime income options in defined contribution plans, responses to the Labor Department show."
(Business Insurance)

Investment Committees: Vanguard's View of Best Practices (PDF)
16 pages. Excerpt: "We surveyed Vanguard investment professionals who have served on or observed investment committees and found that the best investment committees share the following characteristics . . . ."
(The Vanguard Group, Inc.)

How to Fix California's Public Pension Crisis
Excerpt: "[This] new Reason Foundation report details how the state got into this pension crisis and how to fix it. This study highlights numerous problems, including . . . ."
(The Reason Foundation)

San Diego County, California, Cuts Assumed Rate of Pension Plan Return to 8%
Excerpt: "A news release from the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association (SDCERA) said officials made the change in response to 'changes in the financial markets that reduce the likelihood of returns at the 8.25% rate, the assumed rate SDCERA used for the past 13 years.'"

SPARK Institute Letter on Defined Contribution Fee Disclosure Provisions in the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "[W]e are very concerned that the Fee Disclosure Provisions will delay progress on enhancing fee disclosure, create confusion in the regulated community and not serve the best interests of employers and plan participants."
(The SPARK Institute)

ASPPA Follow-up Letter to November 16, 2007, Comment Letter regarding Mid-Year Modifications to Provisions of a Safe-Harbor Plan
3 pages. Excerpt: "[ASPPA] recommends that the IRS provide additional guidance, informal or otherwise, to clarify how various mid-year plan design changes are treated under the safe harbor rules."
(American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Savings Shortfall Especially Critical for Baby Boomers
Excerpt: "Employees approaching age 65 who have not accumulated 10 times their final pay in their 401(k) savings -- which includes current account balances, balances at old employers and in rollover accounts -- that is, most Americans, should be advised that they need to stay in the workforce for AT LEAST another decade if they do not have a generous pension."
(Retirement Solutions)

Valued by every practitioner and recommended for every ERPA candidate, The ERISA Outline Book, 2010 Edition by Sal L. Tripodi, J.D., L.L.M. offers six volumes of vital information on everything you need to know. Highlights include: IRS guidance on the waiver of 2009 required minimum distribution; automatic enrollment guidance from the IRS and Treasury; guidance on discontinuing safe harbor nonelective contributions; EFAST2 electronic filing system and DOL guidance; reporting guidance for 403(b) plans, guidance on deferrals from paid time off plans, court cases on scrivener's errors, and over 100 new rulings, guidances and regulations affecting retirement plans.

Order your copy of The ERISA Outline Book, 2010 Edition today! Visit now!

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Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

Employees' Caregiver and Family Responsibilities: A Continuing Challenge for Employers
Excerpt: "In addition to addressing employee relations issues and costs (i.e. turnover costs, loss of productivity) that come with family responsibilities, there are also legal land mines that employers must navigate as family responsibilities can raise issues under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and a whole host of other federal, state, and local employment laws."
(Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Congress Considering Updates to the Protecting America's Workers Act
Excerpt: "Questions remain as to whether the changes -- including increased penalties and enhanced family-member rights -- are long overdue, or misguided and unnecessary."
(Human Resource Executive Online)

A Primer to Help HR Leaders Judge the Value of Various Benefits Programs
Excerpt: "The New York Times recently called into question some of the applications of the venerable Dartmouth Atlas of Health to healthcare savings. . . . yet another reminder that data is often misused and misunderstood."
(Human Resource Executive Online)

Overseas Assignments: New Ranking of World Cities Can Help Companies Determine How Much an Expat Assignment Should Pay
Excerpt: "An annual look by Mercer at the quality of life in more than 200 cities quantifies just how disparate living conditions can be from Sydney to Shenzhen [with the ratings being] used primarily by organizations to determine appropriate compensation and support services for expatriates . . . ."

Obama Orders Benefits Extended to Same-Gender Partners
Excerpt: "President Obama signed a memo June 2 extending child care, employee assistance, credit union membership and other benefits to g.ay and les.bian federal employees' same-s.ex domestic partners and their children."

FTC Postpones Its Enforcement of Identity Theft Red Flags Rule Through December 31, 2010
Excerpt: "While FTC guidance has clarified that a 401(k) plan's accounts would not need to be included in a written identity theft prevention program, further clarification would be helpful about the Red Flags Rule's application to other benefits, such as DCAPs, HRAs, HSAs, and qualified transportation plans . . . ."
(Employee Benefits Institute of America)

Webcasts and Conferences

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Press Releases

ABG Carolinas Partners With 401(k) Rekon™
Alliance Benefit Group Carolinas, LLC

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