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February 11, 2011 Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues

[Official Guidance]
Department of Labor Announces Intention to Extend Applicability Date of Section 408(b)(2) Fee Disclosure Regulation
"The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration today announced that it intends to extend the applicability date for the new disclosure rules under section 408(b)(2) of ERISA to Jan. 1, 2012. . . . Phyllis C. Borzi, Assistant Secretary of EBSA [said] 'Given the need to ensure a careful review of all the valuable input we received on the interim final rule, including suggestions for a summary document to further assist plan fiduciaries in their review of furnished information, we now believe plans and plan service providers would benefit from an extension of the rules applicability date.'" (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

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[Official Guidance]
EBSA Advisory Opinion 2011-03A: Guidance Regarding the Applicability of Title I of ERISA
"Whether a domestic relations order issued under tribal law by a Family Court of the Navajo Nation would be a 'judgment, decree, or order . . . made pursuant to State domestic relations law,' for purposes of the QDRO provisions in ERISA section 206(d)(3)." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Official Guidance]
EBSA Advisory Opinion 2011-06A: The Application of Section 406(b) of ERISA to a Selection of Broker-Dealers
"Whether ERISA section 406(b) violations occur if an investment manager for various pension plans executes securities transactions with certain brokerage firms that have a remote relationship to the investment manager through their corporate parent, and related issues concerning the applicability of PTE 84-14, as amended (QPAM)." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Guidance Overview]
Elimination of Plan Transfer Option Did Not Violate Anti-Cutback Rule
"Limiting language contained in the regulations does not, the court stressed, afford protection for a transfer option (or other ancillary benefit) even when its elimination results in a reduction of protected benefits." (Wolters Kluwer)

[Guidance Overview]
Cycle A Filers Should Send New User Fee with Outdated Form 8717
"Form 4461 filers seeking preapproval of a defined contribution plan also should attach the old Form 8717 with the new fee." (Mercer LLC)

California's Legislative Analyst Office Urges Pension Reductions Throughout Public Sector
"The office recommended that lawmakers act not only on state employee pensions, but on retirement benefits for the University of California system, teachers and county government workers." (The Sacramento Bee)

Podcast: Pension Map Provides Bird's-Eye View of DB Plan Changes Nationwide
"[The vice president of research at The Center for State and Local Government Excellence talks to an EBN Associate Editor] about the center's new interactive map on pension reforms occurring at the state and local levels, and the funding status of those plans." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

Summary of Hearing on Simplifying Security: Encouraging Better Retirement Decisions (PDF)
"Ranking Member Enzi inquired as to whether there is an optimal level of employer contributions that encourages saving. Ms. Lucas noted that there is no magic number; as long as the employer contributes some amount, it encourages saving." (American Benefits Council)

Employer Sued for Withheld ERISA Plan Funds
"The ERISA pension lawsuit asks the Court to restore the missing contributions -- plus interest -- to the plan, as well as permanently undo any prohibited transactions." (Online Legal Media)

Are Judges Telling the Plaintiffs' Bar How to Sue 401(k) Fiduciaries and Sponsors? (PDF)
"This paper will review some of the judges' comments in Hecker v. Deere, Tibble v. Edison International, Jones v. Harris Associates, and Amara v. Cigna." (Investment Horizons, Inc.)

AICPA Panel Opposes DOL's Proposed Change to Definition of 'Fiduciary'
"The FVSEC opposes the change because it would make virtually all valuations prepared for benefit plans, including [ESOPs], fall under the fiduciary rules." (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants)

Disclosing Risk to Individual Investors
"[The author] puts forward three numerical and three visual depictions of risk that could be provided to investors in addition to information about historic investment returns to help investors understand the likelihood of achieving certain outcomes." (PostPartisan Foundation)

Fiduciary Compliance Center's Reaction and Comments Regarding the Proposed Enhancement to the Definition of a Fiduciary (PDF)
"It seems that while the proposal read to implicate a broad based application covering any persons or entities rendering advice to the plan and/or its participants, EBSA leaders in fact intended to allow target date funds and the investment companies who manufacture them, most QDIA providers, to escape its application." (Fiduciary Compliance Center, LLC)

Pension Rights Center and NELA Comments on Definition of Fiduciary Proposed Rule (PDF)
"The proposed regulations would replace current regulations, adopted in 1975, that tightly circumscribe the circumstances under which a person or entity becomes a fiduciary when providing investment advice to a plan or participant for a fee." (Pension Rights Center / National Employment Lawyers Association)

DATAIR Retirement Plan Document Software (advert.)

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Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
SEC's Say-on-Pay and Say-on-Golden Parachute Rules (PDF)
"Say-on-golden parachute votes are required in initial filings made on or after April 25, 2011." (Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP)

Report Warns that Florida Cities and Counties Owe More in Retirement Obligations to Workers Than They Can Afford to Pay
"From Hialeah to St. Petersburg, Florida's cities and counties face a 'ticking time bomb' of debt because they do not have enough money to pay future pensions and health care benefits already promised to current employees, according to a report released Wednesday from the LeRoy Collins Institute." (Miami Herald)

Study Suggests Ways Florida Localities Can Meet OPEB Obligations
"Recommendations for local governments on retiree benefits: The minimum age before a retiree qualifies for benefits should be gradually raised. . . . Localities should not include overtime or additional earnings/bonus pay in the base salary used to calculate pension benefits." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

IRS Begins Examinations of HIRE Act Payroll Tax Exemption
"[The IRS] is asking employers to provide several things, including: (1) a list of qualified employees; (2) a written statement explaining whether any qualified employees were hired to replace another employee, and whether any of the qualified employees are related to the employer; and (3) copies of the employer's Forms 941." (McGuireWoods LLP)

18 Careers with Unbelievable Perks
"When you're looking for a job, there's more to think about than just salary. Factors like working conditions and environment, opportunity for advancement, retirement benefits and even free swag should vie for a spot in your evaluation of a job opportunity." (

The Traditional Distinction Between 'Core' and 'Voluntary' Benefits No Longer Relevant
"Since the terms 'core' and 'voluntary' no longer serve a real purpose, we'll ignore these designations and instead focus on the actual purpose - the value proposition, if you will - of these benefits for the insured, which we'll categorize as health, life and disability insurance." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

Press Releases

Secretary of Labor to Host Live Web Chat on Department’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request Feb. 14
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

US Department of Labor Announces Intention to Extend Applicability Date of Section 408(b)(2) Fee Disclosure Regulation
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

US Labor Department Sues Pittsburgh Manufacturing Company to Protect 401(k) Plan Participants
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

US Labor Department Obtains Court-appointed Independent Fiduciary for Retirement Plan of Defunct Charleston, W.Va., Mental Hospital
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

How Education and Household Income Affect HSA and HRA Balances
(Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

The Principal's Target-Date Collective Investment Funds Exceed $1 Billion
(Principal Financial Group)

Milliman Analysis: Corporate Pensions Begin 2011 With Improvement in Funded Status
(Milliman USA)

International Foundation Announces 2011 Executive Committee
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

CIGNA Provides Access to Health Care for Workers on Military Bases in Afghanistan
(CIGNA Corporation)

New Rule Ensures Students Get Health Insurance Protections of the Affordable Care Act
(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

CPI Qualified Plan Consultants, Inc. Establishes Consulting Office in Phoenix, Arizona
(CPI Qualified Plan Consultants, Inc.)

Corporate Voices for Working Families Releases EITC Toolkit: Employer Guide Provides Companies with the Tools to Help Employees Take Advantage of Tax Credits and Other Federal Benefits
(Corporate Voices for Working Families)

NCTR Opposes Federal Take-Over of Public Pension Accounting
(National Council on Teacher Retirement)

SEI Quick Poll: Pension Sponsors Identify Controlling Volatility, Establishing Long-Term Strategies as Top Priorities For 2011

RealAge Launches Major Update of Its Landmark Online Health Assessment, Answering Popular Question “What’s Your RealAge?” More Precisely Than Ever
(RealAge, Inc)

Employee Benefits Jobs

Participant Service Representative in MA for New York Life

Manager, Account Management- Large Market in IL, IN for Lincoln Financial Group

VP, Channel Relationships in CT for Prudential

Retirement Plan Administrator in PA for Atlantic Pension Services, Inc.

Director of Human Resources in MD for Maryland Office of the Public Defender

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Webcasts and Conferences

Benefits are Getting Personal
Nationwide on March 8, 2011 presented by Buck Consultants

Benefits are Getting Personal
Nationwide on March 10, 2011 presented by Buck Consultants

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Jeanette Hull, News Editor
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher

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