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March 7, 2011 Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues

[Official Guidance]
Text of IRS Announcement 2011-16: Correction of Covered Compensation Table (PDF)
"Revenue Ruling 2011-3 . . . contains a typographical error in . . . 2011 Covered Compensation Table II." (U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

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ASPPA’s Education and Examination programs provide affordable and convenient ways of earning credentials and Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits. Register before April 14 at to save money with the "early bird" discount

[Official Guidance]
Text of IRS Announcement 2011-8: Correction of User Fee Schedule for M&P Plan Submitters (PDF)
"This announcement corrects an error in Rev. Proc. 2011-8 in the user fee schedule that applies to a non-mass submitter of a master or prototype . . . plan." (U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

[Guidance Overview]
Details of New IRS Form 8955-SSA
"The 2010 8955-SSA is still in development and is expected to be available later this year. However, plan sponsors may choose to use the 2009 form to complete the 2010 filing." (Van Iwaarden Associates)

[Guidance Overview]
Fiduciary Duty and Timeliness of 401(k) Participant Deposits (PDF)
"One expectation from the DOL in this regard is that plan sponsors remit 401(k) participant deposits on a timely basis. How do plan sponsors meet this requirement? Let's start by reviewing the written rule by the DOL." (WithumSmith+Brown, PC)

[Guidance Overview]
Five Steps to Navigating the New World of Retirement Plan Fees
"The end result for you as a plan sponsor is that you'll be getting a lot more information about the fees associated with your qualified retirement plan. So, what should you do?" (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

DOL Issues Proposed Regulation Updating the Definition of ERISA Fiduciary (advert.)

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Need help with DC specialized testing services, or participant notices, or preapproved plan documents? For information on how MassMutual’s team of ERISA consulting experts can help your company, please contact

Bill Gates Addresses the 'Completely Unsustainable' Crisis in Public Pensions
"There are long-term problems with state budgets that a return to economic growth won't solve. Health-care costs and pension obligations are projected to grow at rates that look to be completely unsustainable, unless something is done." (Business Insider, Inc.)

2011 Hot Topics in Retirement (PDF)
"In 2011, employers will continue to focus on their retirement plan programs -- looking at their plan design and features as well as how employees are using the programs and the retirement outcomes they're likely to achieve." (Aon Hewitt)

Pension Obligations to Municipal Employees Costly for South Florida Cities
"A Pembroke Pines police captain retired last fall with a lump sum of nearly $700,000 and an annual pension of $120,000. He's 46 years old." (

Why Public Employee Pensions Aren't Bankrupting States
"Pension contributions from state and local employers aren't blowing up budgets. They amount to just 2.9 percent of state spending, on average, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College puts the figure a bit higher at 3.8 percent." (The Kansas City Star)

Opposition to Michigan Pension Tax Grows
"Gov. Rick Snyder's plan to tax pensions is meeting stiff opposition in the state Senate where 10 members of the Republican majority said Tuesday they won't support it, leaving him short of a majority needed to pass it." (The Detroit News)

Can New York City's Mayor Revolutionize its Pension System?
"How New York City's pension benefits arose may seem more political compromise than principled stand. It will surprise few, then, that a similarly convoluted system has arisen to manage the capital already in the fund -- and that this structure is now under reform pressure from Michael Bloomberg." (Asset International, Inc.)

Retirement Plan Participants' Poll Finds Women's Investing Anxiety Rising
"According to MassMutual, women are significantly less confident in making their own investment decisions (25.9%) compared to men (44.1%)." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Hawaii Pension Tax Bill Passes House Finance Committee
"Hawaii moved a step closer to taxing certain pension payments and eliminating deductions for state taxes Thursday, after first turning down a Republican-led effort to table the measure." (Hawaii Reporter)

Obama's DOMA Decision Points to Yawning Gap in Retirement Benefits for Same Se.x Marriages
"[T]the legalization of same-s.ex marriage in some states has raised a key issue surrounding all retirement benefit programs that are sponsored by the federal government, or that involve federal law or regulation." (North Jersey Media Group)

Understanding Public Pension Plan's Unfunded Liability (PDF)
"Florida local retirement plans covering police, firefighters and general employees are not underfunded. However, they do have unfunded liabilities. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a plan that has an unfunded liability." (Florida Public Pension Trustees Association via Cypen & Cypen)

Vanguard Study Looks at Ways to Spend Retirement Savings
"To make those savings last, you need a strategy for deciding how much you can spend each year -- bearing in mind that you can't control market returns, the inflation rate, or how long you'll live." (The Vanguard Group, Inc.)

A Tactical Approach to Retirement
The author offers three additional strategies for retirement planing: Deferring retirement, Calculating the number, and Financial inventory. (The Vanguard Group, Inc.)

Union Rights and Pension Laws
"I've been asked professionally and journalistically whether the public sector's retirement-funding crisis has given anti-union activists a legitimate justification for abolishing public employee unions. My answer is no." (Governing)

The Sixteen States That are Killing Their Pensions
"These states are those in which governments have gained the upper hand in the war over what public workers will be paid and over what time." (24/7 Wall St.)

New York's $140 Bil.lion Pension Plan One of Largest Pools of Money in World and It Is Run by Just One Person
"A board of directors would bolster the integrity of New York's pension fund. When Andrew M. Cuomo was attorney general, he argued for creating just such a board. Now that he is governor, he should take the issue up again, and include it within the 'comprehensive pension reform package' he promised last month." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Avoid Tax Return Mistakes with Stock Options & ESPPs: What You Need To Know in 2011
"Puzzled by your W-2 or a 1099-B form? Don't quite know how and where to report sales of company stock on Schedule D? Even if you hire someone to do your taxes (tax specialists are helpful), you can nevertheless benefit by knowing some of the basics about income tax reporting for company stock." (, Inc.)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Announces Depreciation Deduction Limits and Inclusion Amounts for Automobiles Placed in Service in 2011 and Revises the Limits and Amounts for 2010
"Generally, the cost of acquiring and maintaining a company car for an employee may qualify as a deductible expense for the employer. But the Code's deduction limits and income inclusion amounts can significantly reduce an employer's actual tax deductions." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

President's FY2012 Budget Proposal Includes Retirement, Health and Compensation Recommendations
"The recommendations [which would affect employer-sponsored health care, retirement and compensation programs] include authorizing the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to set premiums, continuing Medicare's physician reimbursement rate for another two years and taxing carried interest as ordinary income." (Towers Watson)

Cities Across America Are Facing Dire Financial Distress
"[Vallejo, California,] begged the public-employee unions for pay cuts -- all to no avail. In May 2008, Vallejo filed for bankrup.tcy." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Book Review: 'The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as if the Future Matters'
"The promises that governments have made to pay pension, health care and other benefits to their citizens cannot be kept, [the author] argues. 'The only question is how they will be broken,' she says, 'given the enormous political strains involved in fundamentally changing what people will get from their governments.'" (The New York Times; free registration required)

Who Will Build Your Future? The New Employee Relationship
Human resource executives find that the key to keeping employees engaged and motivated is to show them that the company cares about their well-being. (Harvard Business Review Analytic Services / Unum)

White Paper Explores Funding Benefits Risks Through Captives
"Funding employee benefit risks through a captive insurance company is not for every employer, but those that do so can reduce their costs, reap significant tax breaks and provide enhanced benefits to employees, according to a new Business Insurance white paper." (Business Insurance)

State Workers and New York's Fiscal Crisis
"In all, the salaries and benefits of state employees add up to $18.5 bil.lion, or a fifth of New York's operating budget. Unless those costs are reined in, New York will find itself unable to provide even essential services." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Press Releases

Time-Saving SAS 70 Audit Report Now Available to ESOP Sponsors
(Principal Financial Group)

MassMutual Survey of Defined Contribution/401(k) Plan Participants Reveals Widening Gender Gap in Retirement Confidence

MassMutual: Study Reveals Disability Insurance Gaps and Opportunities in the Workplace

Integrated Benefits Institute Elects New Board Chair: Walmart’s Chris McSwain
(Integrated Benefits Institute)

Ascensus and 3D Asset Management to Partner on ETF 401k Program

Life Time Fitness Delivers Comprehensive Alternative to Traditional, Participation-Based Wellness Programs
(Life Time Fitness, Inc.)

McGraw Wentworth Promotes John Locy to Account Director
(McGraw Wentworth)

Department of Defense to Measure Impact of Guard and Reserve on America’s Workforce
(Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR))

New Showcases Health and Fitness Resources
(State of Oklahoma)

Employee Benefits Jobs

Conversion Specialist - Defined Contributions in MA for Sentinel Benefits and Financial Group

Implementation Project Manager in NH for Retirement Alliance

401(k) Client Service Manager in CA for Sequoia Benefits

ERISA Attorney in CA for Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers LLP

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Webcasts and Conferences

2011 Spring Summit - The New Reality: The Challenge of the Here and Now
in California on March 22, 2011 presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Los Angeles Chapter

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium- Houston
in Texas on April 5, 2011 presented by 401(k) Rekon

Fiduciary Focus Webcast
Nationwide on March 10, 2011 presented by J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services

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

Copyright 2011, Inc., but feel free to forward this newsletter in its entirety.

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