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January 12, 2011 Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe

[Official Guidance]
Text of EBSA Notice of Hearing and Extension of Comment Period on Definition of 'Fiduciary' – "Notice is hereby given that [EBSA] will hold a hearing to consider issues attendant to adopting a regulation defining when a person is considered to be a 'fiduciary' by reason of giving investment advice to an employee benefit plan or to a plan's participants and beneficiaries. Dates: The hearing will be held on March 1, 2011 and, if necessary, March 2, 2011, beginning at 9 a.m., EST." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

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[Guidance Overview]
Updates to Employee Plans Revenue Procedures Include User Fee Increases – "Employee plans and exempt organizations applying for IRS determination letters and other rulings after Jan. 31 face sharp increases in user fees under Rev. Proc. 2011-8, included in the IRS's annual update of revenue procedures for employee plans." (Mercer LLC)

[Guidance Overview]
Spotlight on the Saver's Credit (PDF) – 1 page. "The Saver's Credit -- a little-known tax credit made available by the IRS to low- to middle-income workers -- could make saving for retirement more affordable than you think. It may reduce your federal income taxes when you save for retirement through a qualified retirement plan or an individual retirement account . . . ." (Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

[Guidance Overview]
Participant Fee Disclosure Regulations: Investment Disclosures – "The DOL has posted a model chart demonstrating the investment disclosures. You may view the chart [at[1].pdf.]" (SunGard Relius)

Hartford, Connecticut, Council OKs Changes to Retirement Plan – "Newly hired non-union city employees will have to wait until at least age 55 to retire under a new plan approved by the city council. Employees hired on or after Jan. 1 also won't be able to collect a full pension until they turn 62. Those 55 through 61 who choose to begin drawing a pension would get a reduced benefit." (The Hartford Courant)

IASB's December Deliberations on Employers' Accounting for Retirement Benefits – "IASB continues to refine its proposed changes to IAS 19, the international accounting standard for pension, retiree medical and other postretirement benefits. On Dec. 13, the board tentatively decided to clarify how employers account for significant events (settlements, curtailments and some plan amendments); taxes; and administration costs." (Mercer LLC)

PBGC's E-Filing Application for 2011 Premium Filings – "Pension plan sponsors may now file their 2011 estimated flat-rate and comprehensive (variable- and final flat-rate) PBGC premiums using the agency's My Plan Administration Account . . . e-filing application. Calendar plans generally must make estimated flat-rate premium filings by Feb. 28 (if 500 or more participants reported in 2010) and comprehensive filings by Oct. 17." (Mercer LLC)

Abridged Version of DOL Regulations' Priorities for Retirement Plans Live Q&A Session with EBSA Held on January 4, 2011 (PDF) – 8 pages. "While regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act are an important priority for the Agency, the focus of today's web chat is on the pension initiatives appearing in our most recently published Semiannual Regulatory Agenda." (The SPARK Institute)

U.S. State and Local Government Pensions (PDF) – 4 pages. "The analysis of long-term obligations, including pensions, is an important part of Fitch's rating review for state and local government credits. Fitch has downgraded a number of credits due in part to pension funding issues and will continue to take such action as warranted. . . . Fitch believes that the vast majority of governments will withstand the substantial pressures they face from their pension obligations, although for many governments this will mean taking difficult steps to adjust contributions and/or benefits to ensure adequate pension funding." (Fitch, Inc., Fitch Ratings Ltd. and its subsidiaries)

State and Local Government Pension Funds Have Become a National Concern – "The deteriorating condition of many state and local government pension funds has grown into an impassioned topic for cable talk shows. The financial meltdown and recession made apparent what many experts have long known: Too many municipalities routinely underfunded their pension plans while the future cost of their retirement payout promises swelled." (Bloomberg L.P.)

DATAIR Retirement Plan Document Software (advert.)

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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]
Text of IRS Revenue Procedure 2011-14 on Changes in Accounting Periods and in Methods of Accounting; Includes Benefits (PDF) – 325 pages. The scope of this revenue procedure includes benefits and compensation such as payroll taxes, bonuses, deferred compensation, vacation pay, self-insured health benefits and workers' compensation. (U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

[Guidance Overview]
Deadlines Approach to Furnish Incentive Stock Option and Employee Stock Purchase Plan Information Statements and Returns – "New this year for transactions occurring in 2010, in addition to the employee information statements, corporations must file returns with the Internal Revenue Service on Forms 3921 and 3922 no later than February 28, 2011, if filed on paper, or March 31, 2011, if filed electronically." (DLA Piper)

'Say-on-Pay' Advisory Shareholder Voting to Approve or Disapprove Executive-Pay Packages – "As say-on-pay becomes law, will U.S. shareholders give executives the thumbs up on compensation? Experts say the compensation structure should contain sufficient equity in the form of stock and options to align the executives' interest with shareholders. Executive stock awards should have long vesting periods, and pay plans should reward executives for outperforming peer groups at other companies." (Human Resource Executive Online)

Additional Rules and Opportunities for Plans to Provide Benefits for Employees in Military Service under the HEART Act (PDF) – 6 pages. "This article provides a brief description of the HEART Act for employers and plan administrators who need to know the rules for providing benefits under the Act." (Aspen Publishers via Steptoe & Johnson LLP)

Benefits Best Practices from the Principal 10 Best Companies, 2010 (PDF) – 40 pages. "[E]ach of these organizations made a commitment to stand by its employees. Incredibly, some actually increased their benefits during the recession. . . . This guide offers a behind-the-scenes look at the employee benefits strategies and tactics of these impressive organizations." (Principal Financial Services, Inc.)

Press Releases

New Society of Actuaries Study Estimates $300 Billion Economic Cost Due to Overweight and Obesity Society of Actuaries

Bucks County Man Sentenced In Fraud And Embezzlement Cases U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

ING Global Survey: Americans Aren't Alone in Their Concerns About Money and Retirement Savings ING Group

New HighRoads Survey Reveals What Employees and Employers Fear Most About Health Care Reform HighRoads, Inc.

Scott Kiper Joins Grant Thornton LLP as Senior Manager in the Compensation and Benefits Consulting Practice Grant Thornton LLP

As Americans Resolve to Improve Their Financial Security, Lincoln Financial Study Shows They Understand the Financial Risks of Long-Term Care, but are Unaware of Their Funding Options Lincoln Financial Group

McDonald's Engages BrightScope to Help Bolster its 401k Plan BrightScope

Employee Benefits Jobs

Investment Income Product Manager
for Prudential in CT

for Benetech, Inc. in CA

Benefits Consultant
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

401(k) Recordkeeping Accountant (OmniPlus required)
for NRECA in VA

Senior Account Manager - Pharmacy Benefit Management
for Keenan & Associates in CA

Retirement Consultant
for Lincoln Financial Group in LA, MA, TX

Vice President Benefit Claims Operations (TPA)
for Keenan & Associates in CA

Webcasts and Conferences

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium- Orlando
in Florida on February 10, 2011 401(k) Rekon

COBRA Workshop
in Oregon on January 31, 2011 U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

ERISA Basics 25th Annual National Institute
in Illinois on May 18, 2011 ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

HIPAA Workshop
in Oregon on February 1, 2011 U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

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