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February 22, 2011 Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues

[Guidance Overview]
VCP Fee Discount for Some Pre-Approved Non-Amenders Ends May 2, 2011
"Plan sponsors that failed to adopt an EGTRRA restatement plan by the April 30, 2010, deadline have until May 2, 2011, to correct their plan failure under the Voluntary Correction Program . . . ." (Wolters Kluwer)


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[Guidance Overview]
IRS Reminds Plan Sponsors That New Submission Period Began February 1 for Individually Designed Plans and Pre-Approved Defined Contribution Plans
"February 1 is the beginning of the 12-month on-cycle submission period for Cycle A determination letter applications and for opinion and advisory letter applications for most pre-approved plans." (Wolters Kluwer)

[Guidance Overview]
Circuit Court Rules on Cases Involving ERISA
"On January 21, 2011, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down two ERISA opinions . . . covering four cases and dealing with three significant issues . . . . Each is of considerable importance to plans that allow participants to direct the investment of their accounts, particularly when the possible choices include investment in employer stock." (STEPTOE & JOHNSON LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Guidance on In-Plan Roth Conversions
"Before participants may elect an in-plan Roth conversion, the plan must include (i) a qualified Roth contribution program, (ii) provisions allowing in-plan conversions, and (iii) a distribution option that allows the amounts to be converted." (Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP)

The Steady-Savings Retirement Plan
"'Starting to save early and consistently for retirement at a reasonable savings rate will provide the best chance to meet retirement expenditure goals. You don't have to worry so much about actual wealth accumulation and actual withdrawal rates, as they vary so much over time anyway. But the savings plan should be adhered to regardless of whether it seems one is accumulating either more or less wealth than is needed based on traditional criteria.'" (Reuters)


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Metro Nashville May Raise Pension Vesting from 5 to 10 Years
"The Metro Council voted in 2001 to cut the vesting requirement from 10 years to five. David Manning, the finance director at the time under then-Mayor Bill Purcell, said the administration proposed the change so Metro could be more competitive with the state for government workers." (www.tennessean.com)

North Dakota Pension Proposal Falls Short
"[R]epresentatives voted 47-46 on Friday to reject a bill that would close the fund to newly hired workers. The new employees would have been put into a 401(k)-style retirement plan instead." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Survey Claims Better Results from Participant Advice
"[T]he average account balance for participants who utilized financial advice was $107,558 vs. $44,178 for those who did not." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

California Teachers' Pension System Headed Toward Insolvency
"The California State Teachers' Retirement System [threatens the people of California, the taxpayers, who already pick up 23 percent of CalSTRS expenses, and who] will be increasingly burdened as the giant pension system fails to meet its obligations." (San Jose Mercury News)

Minnesota Lawmaker Seeks to Force Review of Public Employee Pensions
"A bill in the state House would dismantle Minnesota's pension system for its public employees, a deliberately provocative proposal that its author said is designed to jump-start a discussion about the cost of employee benefits." (Star Tribune)

Mark-to-Market Accounting Helps Companies Shift Pension Plan Losses
"The companies revised past financial statements retroactively under the accounting change to recognize the losses as if they occurred in the prior years: For Verizon, its losses total $22 bil.lion; AT&T, $17 bil.lion; and Honeywell, $5.5 bil.lion." (Pensions & Investments; free registration required)

[Opinion]
America's Pension Crisis: Where's the Rage?
"While the American public appears to be divided over whether unions should have generous wages and pensions as they do in Wisconsin, they are remarkably complacent when it comes to their own pension poverty." (Jane White on TheHuffingtonPost.com)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Contractual Deference Standard Upheld in Favor of Non-Fiduciary
"In the Court's view, Firestone authorizes deference even though the decision-maker is a fiduciary. Thus, when the contract confers discretion on a non-fiduciary, courts should find it 'easier, not harder', to defer to the decision-maker on contract principles." (Roy Harmon III via Health Plan Law)

Huge Public Pension IOUs Force Drastic Changes
"California hasn't mapped out its retiree benefits situation but it's looking at paying out 23% of its payroll in pensions and retiree health care in the coming fiscal year. For 2012-13, it expects an increase in pension contributions of 3% alone." (MarketWatch)

Press Releases


Employee Benefits Jobs

Pension Administrator in OH for Al Minor & Associates

Pension Administrator and Installation Quiz in CA for Los Angeles Area Firm

Assistant General Counsel - ERISA in OH for Nationwide Insurance

Retirement Benefits Analyst II in ID for AmeriBen/IEC Group

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