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November 11, 2010

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[Guidance Overview]
Questions and Proposed Answers for DOL Staff for the 2010 Joint Committee of Employee Benefits Technical Session Held on May 5, 2010 (PDF)
24 pages. Excerpt: "[This set of questions and answers is] based on informal discussions between private sector representatives of the Joint Committee on Employee Benefits . . . and [DOL] staff. The questions were submitted by ABA members . . . ."
(American Bar Association)

[Guidance Overview]
DOL Blasts 9th Circuit for Prudence Presumption Endorsement
Excerpt: "Lawyers representing Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis have asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a three-judge panel's recent decision embracing the 'presumption of prudence' standard often seen in employer stock-drop lawsuits."

Nevada Public Employee Retirement Contributions to Increase, Unfunded Liability Climbs to $10 Bil.lion
Excerpt: "Regular state employees who pay half of the total contribution will see 11.875 percent of their salary go to their retirement starting July 1, 2011, up from the 10.75 percent now."
(Nevada News Bureau)

State, Local Government Workers in Nevada to Pay Higher Pension Premiums
Excerpt: "They face a 1.125 percent increase to bring their contribution rate to 11.87 percent."
(Las Vegas Sun)

California's Largest State Worker Union Seals Deal With Schwarzenegger
Excerpt: "SEIU Local 1000's new contract with the state includes . . . [a] 3% increase in employees' retirement contributions . . . ."

Florida Public Pension Funds Keep Quiet on Millions Paid to Middlemen
Excerpt: "Rather than approach the pension's staff directly, half the funds used middlemen to get in the door. They paid these well-connected placement agents millions of dollars for making introductions and setting up meetings. Average finder's fee: about $1.5 mil.lion."
(St. Petersburg Times)

IRS Recaps Special 2010 Roth Conversion Rules
Excerpt: "Plan administrators may find it useful to review this year's special rules on Roth conversions and Roth IRAs -- even as we wait for IRS guidance on the new in-plan Roth conversions recently authorized by the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act."
(Deloitte via

French Reform Bill Increasing Minimum Retirement Age to 62 Becomes Law
Excerpt: "French President Nicolas Sarkozy officially signed his controversial pension reform bill into law on Wednesday."

Distributional Effects of Reducing The Social Security Benefit Formula
Excerpt: "This policy brief analyzes the distributional effects of three options to reduce Social Security benefits as set forth by the Social Security Advisory Board. The first would reduce benefits 3 percent for all newly eligible beneficiaries . . . the second would reduce benefits 5 percent for all newly eligible beneficiaries . . . and the third would reduce benefits for all but the lowest lifetime earners . . . ."
(U.S. Social Security Administration)

ASPPA Says Deficit Reduction Proposal Would Eliminate 401(k) Plans
Excerpt: "Brian H. Graff, executive director and CEO of [ASPPA] . . . said, 'We are deeply concerned that recommendations from the draft report issued today from the chairs of the Deficit Reduction Commission would eliminate tax incentives for retirement savings and negatively impact the ability of working Americans to effectively prepare for retirement.'"

IRS Reviews Deadline for Section 436 Options as Year-End Approaches
Excerpt: "IRS is considering extending a year-end deadline for sponsors of single-employer defined benefit plans to amend their plans to reflect funding-based restrictions on benefits and benefit accruals under tax code Section 436, an IRS official says."
(BNA Tax & Accounting)

$29.4 Bil.lion in Unfunded GM Pension Liabilities
Excerpt: "The company announced in late October plans to contribute at least $4 bil.lion in cash and $2 bil.lion in GM common stock to the automaker's $85.9 bil.lion U.S. hourly and salaried pension plans."
(Pensions & Investments)

Don't Put Off Dealing With Maryland's Pension Obligations, Governor Says
Excerpt: "[Maryland Governor Martin] O'Malley described the state's unfunded pension obligations, which add up to roughly $33 bil.lion, as one of Maryland's biggest challenges to maintaining fiscal responsibility."

Teachers' $500 Bil.lion (and Growing) Pension Problem
Excerpt: "Why should you care? Because ultimately taxpayers are on the hook for that money."

Strengthening Social Security for the Long Run (PDF)
16 pages. Excerpt: "This brief describes the actions taken in 1983; examines why there is growing concern about the inadequacy of Social Security benefits going forward; documents the strong public support for maintaining and improving the program; suggests some ways in which benefit adequacy can be modestly enhanced at affordable cost; and outlines an example of a 75-year financing plan to strengthen Social Security for the long run."
(National Academy of Social Insurance)

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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
USERRA Coverage May Be Triggered Prior to Formal Military Orders, Court Says
Excerpt: "This case makes two important points for employers. First, protection under the USERRA can be triggered at any point in time in which an employer has information about the employee's military status on which discriminatory treatment may be based - and that formal military orders are not always required to trigger those protections."
(Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.)

Deficit Panel Puts Social Security, Mortgage Deduction on Table
Excerpt: "Get ready for the political firestorm. Get ready for the political firestorm. The panel's recommendations include doing away with popular tax-deductions and credits, like . . . the deductions companies get for providing health insurance."
(The Bryant Park Project via National Public Radio)

Deficit Panel Targets Social Security and Taxes
Excerpt: "The two heads of the commission called for reducing benefits and raising the retirement age for the Social Security retirement pension program, as well as setting limits on the popular Medicare program . . . ."
(New York Times)

Deficit Panel Proposes Curbs on Social Security
Excerpt: "They presented the document during a closed-door meeting of the 18-member commission, which is due to make recommendations by Dec. 1 for reining in record budget deficits."

Population Aging: Its Not Just The Baby Boom
Excerpt: "[T]he baby boom is not the reason for the aging of the population; the aging is the result of long-term trends of increasing longevity and declining fertility. The bust/boom/bust pattern in fertility rates that resulted in the baby boom simply changes the path to an older society."
(Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

Accounting for Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits, 2010
Excerpt: "In this report, Towers Watson analyzes disclosures for fiscal year . . . 2009 under U.S. GAAP."
(Towers Watson)

Deficit Reduction Proposal Brings Some Fiscal Reality
Excerpt: "[I]t does what any successful deficit reduction plan must do: It puts everything on the table, including tax reform to raise revenue and cuts in spending on health care and defense. It even dares to mention the need to find significant savings in Social Security, Medicare and other mandatory programs. "
(New York Times)

Press Releases

ASPPA Urges Congress To Protect Retirement Incentives
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

Newly Posted Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Administrator
for PlanTech, LLP
in AL

Senior Plan Consultant
for BPA, A BPAS Company
in PA

Manager, Retirement Services
for The Newport Group
in NC

Account Manager - Retirement & Benefits
for Wolters Kluwer - Law & Business

ERISA Compliance Specialist
for Medcom

Retirement Plan Administration Specialist
for Consulting Actuaries Incorporated
in NJ

Regional Sales Director
for Medcom

Inside Sales Director
for Medcom

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