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Retirement Plans Newsletter

June 10, 2010

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TGPC is the new credential offered by ASPPA to educate professionals who specialize in the 403(b) and/or 457 marketplace as well as other plans maintained by tax-exempt and governmental entities. ASPPA also offers a certificate program, the Tax-Exempt & Governmental Plan Administration Certificate, which is earned after successful completion of the Tax-Exempt & Governmental Plan Administration (TGPC-1) examination. For more information on both, visit www.asppa.org/tgpc.
Sponsored by ASPPA

[Official Guidance]
Text of Final DOL Regs on Timing Aspects of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, Per PPA 2006 (PDF)
7 pages. Excerpt: "[A] domestic relations order otherwise meeting ERISA's requirements to be a QDRO shall not fail to be treated as a QDRO solely because the order is issued after, or revises, another domestic relations order or QDRO . . . [or] . . . because of the time at which it is issued . . . [such as a QDRO that is] issued after the death of the participant . . . [or] . . . after the parties divorce . . . [or] . . . after the participant's annuity starting date."
(U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Guidance Overview]
Final Regulations on Diversification Requirements Added by Pension Protection Act of 2006 for Defined Contribution Plans Holding Publicly Traded Employer Securities (PDF)
Excerpt: "In particular, sponsors of plans that 'froze' or placed other restrictions on employer securities investment funds should review their plan provisions for compliance with the final regulations. Plans affected by these regulations will have to adopt an interim or discretionary plan amendment by the last day of the plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2010 (December 31, 2010 for calendar year plans)."
(Buck Consultants)

[Guidance Overview]
Alliant Energy Corp. Tagged for Pre PPA Whipsaw Calculation for Lump-Sum Distributions
Excerpt: "U.S. Judge Barbara B. Crabb of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin asserted that the company ran afoul of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) with the calculations, but said she could not determine the correct rate the company should have used before the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA). The PPA amended ERISA to provide that cash balance plans are no longer required to make whipsaw calculations."
(PLANSPONSOR.com)

[Guidance Overview]
AT&T Cleared in Cash Balance Suit Alleging ERISA and ADEA Violations
Excerpt: "The decision . . . ends a 12-year court fight over allegations the company's operation of the pension program discriminated against older workers and violated ERISA's anti-backloading rule. [The judge] also cleared the communications company of violating U.S. Treasury Department regulations that require 'subsidized early retirement benefits' to be the actuarial equivalent of the subsidized benefit."
(PLANSPONSOR.com)

Professional Investment Help Pays Off for 401(k) Participants, Study Finds
Excerpt: "The study -- 'Help in Defined-Contribution Plans: Is It Working and for Whom?' -- focused on three of the fastest-growing types of professional help: target-date funds, managed accounts and online advice. The joint effort by Hewitt Associates and investment advisor Financial Engines showed that participants using help had a median annual return of 1.86 percent more than those who made their own investment choices."
(Workforce Management; free registration required)

Understanding Early Withdrawals from Retirement Accounts
Excerpt: "This study examines early withdrawals from retirement savings plans and how they are associated with life-changing events. Other studies of 401(k) withdrawals usually consider only those that occur with job separations."
(Urban Institute)

Are Early Withdrawals from Retirement Accounts a Problem?
Excerpt: "Setting aside funds regularly is not enough, however, to guarantee sufficient retirement savings. Workers must also avoid unnecessarily dipping into their savings before retirement."
(Urban Institute)

2nd Annual MetLife U.S. Pension Risk Behavior Index
Excerpt: "This year's study measures the risk management attitudes and aptitude among corporate decision makers, and examines the year-over-year changes in the ways they think about and manage pension plan risks."
(MetLife)

Settlement of Fannie Mae Stock Suit Gets Preliminary Approval
Excerpt: "The settlement covers a class of all current and former participants and beneficiaries of Fannie Mae's Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) whose individual accounts included investments in Federal National Mortgage Association stock at any time from January 1, 2001, to December 6, 2006."
(PLANSPONSOR.com)

The Six Biggest 401(k) Mistakes Made by Plan Participants
Excerpt: "Your 401(k) for your retirement is like a screw driver for an assembly. It will help a great deal, but you still have to put in the effort to use the tool properly."
(U.S. News & World Report)

[Opinion]
Momentum Growing for More Clarity on 401(k) Plan Fees
Excerpt: "Those who advocate against 401(k) fee disclosure make some valid points. It's quite possible that the systems in place can't produce the reports that would be mandated. It's quite possible that investors might not use or they might not understand the fee information."
(MarketWatch, Inc.)




The ASPPA Annual Conference is attended by 1,600 of your colleagues, with more than 60 workshops and 80 vendor displays in the exhibit hall focusing on all areas of the retirement business. Attendees even get face time with representatives from every aspect of the retirement plan industry, including the IRS and DOL and Members of Congress and their staffs.
Sponsored by ASPPA

Executive Compensation; Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]
Review of Cases Decided Since Supreme Court's Conkright Decision on Standard of Judicial Review
Excerpt: "Conkright v. Frommert . . . added another layer of protection for plan fiduciaries [by holding] that a 'single honest mistake' did not forfeit deference. Here's a quick look at how Conkwright has been applied in the short time since its decision."
(Roy Harmon via Health Plan Law)

Government Workers Make 44% More Than Private Workers, According to Survey Report
Excerpt: "On average, private-sector workers made $27.73 per hour in March, the Labor Department says. By contrast, the average state and local government worker earned $39.81 per hour."
(The Baltimore Sun)


Webcasts and Conferences

Maximizing Wellness ROI with Program and Incentive Designs that Work
Nationwide on June 24, 2010
presented by Mastercard

Supreme Court Update on ERISA Issues
Nationwide on July 14, 2010
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits


Press Releases


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