EFAST2: All Electronic Filing for Form 5500
Excerpt: "Plan sponsors should begin now to prepare to make annual disclosures via EFAST2 by familiarizing themselves with the new system, and by ensuring that all appropriate members of their organizations obtain electronic signature credentials."
Lawmakers Urged to Fix Swaps Bill's Adverse Effects on Retirement Plans
Excerpt: "Leaders of House-Senate talks on how to finalize a financial regulatory overhaul bill are being urged to fix provisions that could prevent some defined contribution plans from offering stable-value funds and limit pension plans' ability to use swaps to hedge investment risk."
Dow Companies Still Offer Old-Fashioned Pension Plans
Excerpt: "Companies are increasingly finding pension plans too expensive, too complicated and too risky when compared with 401(k) plans. Dow-member companies dominate the list of those that offer conventional pensions."
EBSA Proposed Amendment to Exemption for In-House Asset Managers
Excerpt: "The [DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration] has issued a proposed amendment to prohibited transaction exemption (PTE) 96-23 for benefit plan asset transactions conducted by in-house asset managers. The exemption permits various transactions involving employee benefit plans whose assets are managed by in-house asset managers (INHAMs), provided the conditions of the exemption are met."
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)
IRS Tax Relief to Victims of Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Straight-Line Winds in Oklahoma
Excerpt: "The IRS has announced tax relief for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the federal disaster area of Carter, Cleveland, McIntosh, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties in Oklahoma affected by severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds beginning on May 10, 2010."
Knox County, Tennessee, Pension Plan Participants Suing Over Pension Deposit Schedule
Excerpt: "A Knoxville News Sentinel news report said the suit, which involves current and former county workers, deals with a county practice before 2007 of comingling the mandatory 6% of each paycheck withheld for pension contributions into the county's general fund for up to six weeks. The news report said the county now holds the money for about a week."
The Fight Over 401(k) Advice: Will Anyone Win?
Excerpt: "'The Department of Labor is trying to figure out how advice can be provided without participants being taken advantage of,' Ross A. Bremen, a partner at investment consultant NEPC LLC, Cambridge, Mass., said in an interview. 'In an attempt to solve this dilemma, the department has come up with something that is simplistic and potentially flawed.'"
(Investment News; free registration required)
Pension Funds Pressure Congress Over Swaps
Excerpt: "Congress should revise key provisions in pending financial reform bills to ensure that pension plans are free to continue using swaps to manage risk, said more than 150 pension plan sponsors and organizations in a letter to all lawmakers."
(Pensions & Investments)
Plan Sponsor Letter to House Financial Services Reform Bill Conferees Regarding Swaps (PDF)
7 pages. Excerpt: "Specifically, we have two concerns. First, the Senate bill's provision requiring a swap dealer to have a fiduciary duty to a retirement plan would effectively require a swap dealer to represent both sides of a swap transaction, which is legally unworkable. Second, the House bill's definition of a 'major swap participant' would subject plans to dealer-type regulation, which would inappropriately harm plans' ability to deliver benefits efficiently."
(American Benefits Council)
Plan Sponsor Letter to Senate Financial Services Reform Bill Conferees Regarding Swaps (PDF)
7 pages. Excerpt: "The undersigned plan sponsors and organizations either maintain or represent tens of thousands of retirement and other employee benefit plans across the country. We are writing today to urge that the financial services reform legislation not inadvertently do great harm to our plans and the tens of millions of participants who participate in them."
(American Benefits Council)
An Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) is a person who has earned the privilege of practicing (i.e., representing taxpayers) before the IRS. The ERPA program is established under Circular 230 of the US Dept. of the Treasury and administered by the Office of Professional Responsibility. The IRS has awarded the American Institute of Retirement Education, LLC (AIRE) the contract to conduct ERPA examinations! The window to take the exam this summer is July 7 - August 31.
For more information and to register for the summer exam, visit www.erpaexam.org.
Executive Compensation; Benefits in General
California G.ay-Marriage Trial Could Have National Implications
Excerpt: "After a months-long break, a landmark federal trial challenging California's ban on same-s.ex marriage ends Wednesday with closing arguments. The outcome could have wide-ranging implications. . . . If [the judge] strikes down California's ban on g.ay marriage, he could do it in a way that sweeps away anti-g.ay-marriage laws throughout the nation."
(Morning Edition via National Public Radio)
Employers Still 'In the Driver's Seat' on Pay and Benefits
Excerpt: "When and if the economy improves, entrepreneurs might not find as much top-quality talent willing to work under creative compensation arrangements. For now, though, they are capitalizing on one of the few advantages afforded by the recession."
Webcasts and Conferences
Nationwide on August 5, 2010
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