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Retirement Plans Newsletter

September 3, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Upcoming Compliance Deadlines for Qualified Retirement Plans
The newsletter also includes a brief description of certain plan amendments that plan sponsors might be required, or might wish, to make before the end of the 2010 plan year.
(The Segal Group, Inc.)

[Guidance Overview]
DOL's Interim Final Fee Disclosure Regulations (PDF)
6 pages.
(Buck Consultants)

[Guidance Overview]
Service Provider Fee Disclosure Regulations: Initial Disclosures
Excerpt: "The [covered service provider] must make compensation disclosures relating to four different categories of compensation: (1) direct compensation; (2) indirect compensation; (3) compensation paid among related parties; and (4) compensation for contract termination."
(SunGard Relius)

[Guidance Overview]
401(k) Participant at Fault in Account Withdrawal Dispute
Excerpt: "A federal judge in Oklahoma has cleared a 401(k) plan administrator of wrongdoing in a dispute over whether the employer should be forced to repay the participant for funds his ex-wife took out of his account."

America's Retirement Problem: Should We Ditch 401(k) Plans?
Video and transcript available on target page. Excerpt: "Over the past decades, defined-benefit plans have been replaced, for the most part, by defined-contribution plans like 401(k) plans. But the majority of Americans with access to 401(k) plans are not saving the maximum amount they can, and in may cases are not saving at all. Should the government play a greater - or different - role in getting Americans to save more for their retirement?"
(Grace Creek Media and The George W. Bush Institute)

New York Comptroller Issues 'Red' Alert on Pension Fund
Excerpt: "The shortfall comes despite DiNapoli's decision -- also announced yesterday -- to raise the mandatory pension contributions paid by local governments and the state to 16.3 percent of payroll, up from 11.9 percent."
(New York Post)

Know Your Annuity Options for Retirement Income
Excerpt: "Assuming that more and more people will choose some form of a life contingency annuity for their retirement portfolios, the question arises: what form of retirement income option should be selected?"

The Report on Tax Reform Options: Simplification, Compliance, and Corporate Taxation (PDF)
130 pages. See Section II.b. Option Group B: Simplifying Savings and Retirement Incentives.
(The President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board)

Adjusting Social Security for Increasing Life Expectancy: Effects on Progressivity
Excerpt: "Using data from the Health and Retirement Study to investigate how earnings relate to mortality risk and health limitations, this project explores the possibility of constructing a flexible [Full Retirement Age] that could preserve or even enhance the progressivity of Social Security benefits."
(Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

The Fiduciary Reference: Selected Articles on Fiduciary Duties Applicable to Personalized Investment Advice (PDF)
30 pages. [The target page is a compilation of academic white papers] to aid the SEC as it studies whether to extend the fiduciary standard to brokers who provide advice to investors.
(The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard)

401(k) Investment Education and Advice Provided by Organizations to Plan Participants
Excerpt: "Eighty-seven percent of organizations that offer 401(k) plans make investment education available to their plan participants. The top three formats for investment education are brochures, computer modeling or call centers through with employees can have their questions answered. In addition, 51% of organizations provide or make available some form of investment advice to plan participants."
(Society for Human Resource Management)

Court Finds Plan Trustee Could Not Act on Knowledge of Breaches
Excerpt: "A federal court in Illinois has ruled that participants of the Antioch Company Employee Stock Ownership Plan are not time-barred from moving forward with their claim that company fiduciaries and GreatBanc Trust Co. breached their duties under [ERISA]."

Comments Endorse Fee Disclosure Flexibility, Additional Compliance Time
Excerpt: "A number of the commenters submitting to [EBSA] touched on the issue of whether those covered by the rule being required to comply on an EBSA-prescribed form would prove overly costly or too difficult to develop within the rule's time frame."

A Simple Investment Design
Excerpt: "According to [the keep it simple, saver] principle, all you need are three diversified index-tracking mutual funds or exchange-traded funds -- one for U.S. stocks, one for international stocks and one for bonds. The portfolio must be rebalanced at least once a year to ensure that half of the money stays in stocks and half in bonds."
(The Wall Street Journal)

The Obama Administration Wants to Nudge Retirees Toward Annuities: Here's What Is Available Now
Excerpt: "[M]any financial pros say annuities and related products can help reduce the risk you'll outlive your savings. For people interested in securing an income stream for life, here's a look at some available offerings . . . ."
(The Wall Street Journal)

Casey-Pomeroy Bill Would Bail Out PBGC, Union Pensions
Excerpt: "How much money potentially is involved? The Moody's study indicated that some 1,500 multiemployer plans, many of them representing unionized firms, were $165 billion short."
(National Legal and Policy Center)

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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
A $327 Million Stock Option Mistake
Excerpt: "A case decide[d] this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals . . . demonstrates the high sta[k]es of stock plan miscommunications. In Bell v. Pfizer Inc. . . ., a 2-1 majority of the Court held that Pfizer did not breach its fiduciary duties under [ERISA] by making potentially misleading statements, albeit unintentional, to an employee about her ability to exercise millions of dollars in stock options."
(Michael Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)

Court Rules Terminated Employee to Receive $3M in Benefits After Company Refused Him Severance
Excerpt: "[The former employee] will get benefits he should have received since 2005, like early retirement, which includes a pension and lifelong health benefits. That's over $3 million in damages, including attorney's fees."
(New Jersey On-Line LLC)

Webcasts and Conferences

Dodd-Frank Act: Impact on Executive Compensation and What To Do Now
Nationwide on September 30, 2010
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Health Care Reform and Other Legal Developments for Employer-Sponsored Health Plans Webinar
Nationwide on September 14, 2010
presented by Ballard Spahr LLP

Retirement Plan Service Provider Disclosures to Plan Fiduciaries: A Guide to the Interim Final Rules
in New York on September 21, 2010
presented by New York Metropolitan Area Chapter - ISCEBS

Press Releases

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Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Benefits Administration
for General Atomics
in CA

Employee Benefits Manager
for Susquehanna International Group
in PA

VP, Marketing Management
for Prudential
in CT

Benefits Manager (SF)(Job ID: 21686)
for Morrison & Foerster LLP
in CA

Benefits Analyst (Health & Welfare) (Job ID: 21773)
for Morrison & Foerster LLP
in CA

Executive Compensation and Benefits Associate/Consultant
for Bostonian Group - a Marsh & McLennan Agency Company
in MA

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