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April 7, 2011 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

[Guidance Overview]
Final Revised SSA Form to Be Issued Shortly
"A final version of the new form should be available soon, along with an optional electronic system for filing it." (Towers Watson)

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[Guidance Overview]
ERISA Section 209 Recordkeeping Duties Do Not Give Rise to Fiduciary Claim
"Henderson v. UPMC involves one of those interesting intersections between wages and compensation on the one hand and employee benefits on the other. The case illustrates the potential ripple effect of wage disputes into the employee benefit arena." (Roy Harmon III / Health Plan Law)

Maryland's State Workers Decry Proposed Pension Changes
"Maryland's General Assembly is poised to make the deepest cuts to the state's retirement system in nearly three decades, asking most of the roughly 170,000 teachers and government employees to pay more into a pension plan that is about to become less generous." (The Baltimore Sun)

U.S. Senator Will Introduce Legislation Requiring Members of Congress to Wait Until Age 66 to Collect Their Pensions
"As it now stands, congressmen and senators can begin collecting their federal pensions as early as age 50 for anyone with 20 years of service or more, or at any age for someone with at least 25 years of service." (Chronicle-Telegram)

Home Equity Withdrawal in Retirement
"The authors study empirically and theoretically the patterns of home equity withdrawal among retirees, using a model in which retirees are able to own or rent a home, save, and borrow against home equity, in the face of idiosyncratic risks concerning mortality, health, medical expenditures, and household size and observed house price changes." (Social Science Research Network)

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DOL Transcript Shows True Fiduciary Friend in Phyllis Borzi
"In reading her cross examination of the witnesses at the DOL hearing, it's clear she understands some of the semantic tricks of those opposed to broadening the definition of fiduciary. She promises the DOL will 'issue final regulations by the end of the year in accordance with the timetable that we have announced publicly.'" (Fiduciary News)

Recent Increases in Retirement Ages Will Be Insufficient to Cover Increased Pension Costs
"Life expectancies around the world are rising faster than increases in public pension retirement ages, resulting in larger pension costs as more time is spent in retirement. This was the conclusion of a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development . . . entitled Pensions at a Glance 2011." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Pros and Cons of Three Retirement Options for Employees in Puerto Rico
"Regardless of the overall compensation and benefit structures of an employer, 2011 is the perfect year to evaluate whether changes should be made for Puerto Rican employees due to the new 2011 Puerto Rican Code." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

7th Circuit Rules on Sale of Asset Exception to Multiemployer Pension Withdrawal Liability
"Workforce reductions that occur before a bona fide sale of assets do not figure into the determination of whether the sale is the 'sole' reason for the employer's withdrawal from a multiemployer plan . . . ." (Mercer LLC)

Increased Reporting Requirements Have Number of Universities and Colleges Consolidating Retirement Plan Offerings
"[S]ome higher education institutions have anywhere from five to 50 or more retirement plan providers." (Boston Business Journal via American City Business Journals, Inc.)

ERIC Expresses 'Serious Concern' to Congress Regarding Administration's PBGC Premium Proposal
"'Premium increases that, in effect, increase a company's tax burden divert resources that could be better spent on plan funding and creating jobs,' the letter argues." (The ERISA Industry Committee)

The Truth About Mutual Fund Fees
"When it comes to mutual fund expenses, believe it or not, there are good fees, bad fees and even a fee paradox. If you're a fiduciary or an investor trying to identify those mutual funds most suitable for your retirement plan, you better know the ins and outs of fees." (Summit Business Media)

DOL Initiatives Potentially Affecting ERISA Litigation
"A number of regulatory initiatives undertaken by [DOL] which are or may go into effect later this year have potential significance for future ERISA litigation. These developments, summarized [in the target document], are described in greater detail through the links provided . . . ." (Goodwin Procter LLP)

TIPS, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, Have Minimal Credit Risk and Pay Relatively Low Base Rate of Interest
"[A] TIPS fund should be bought only in tax-sheltered retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]
EBSA Request for Information Regarding Electronic Disclosure by Employee Benefit Plans (PDF)
"This request for information (RFI) solicits views, suggestions, and comments from plan participants and beneficiaries, employers and other plan sponsors, plan administrators, plan service providers, health insurance issuers, and members of the financial community, as well as the general public . . . ." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Guidance Overview]
SEC's Proposed Rules for Compensation Committee and Adviser Independence (PDF)
"Despite the length of the proposed rules and their accompanying commentary, there are very few differences from the statutory language. In part, this stems from the SEC's decision to leave the primary responsibility for detailed rule making to the individual securities exchanges; accordingly, rules by the NYSE may be the key document in determining how the new Committee independence rules apply to companies listed on the NYSE." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

SEC's Proposed Compensation Committee and Adviser Independence Rules
"New SEC proposed rules address the independence of compensation committees and their advisers, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act." (Mercer LLC)

Update on Shareholder Say on Pay and Frequency Voting
"[A]s reported in Mark Borges' Blog, as of Friday evening, April 1st, the breakdown of company recommendations for the 'Say on Pay' frequency vote in definitive and preliminary proxy statements that had been filed for the 2011 proxy season was . . . ." (Michael S. Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)

CBO Reports that Ryan Plan Specifies Spending Path to Nearly End Most of Government Other Than Social Security, Health Care, and Defense by 2050
"CBO's report, prepared at Chairman Ryan's request, also reveals that, as explained [in this article], his plan envisions additional Medicare cuts that were not disclosed in the documents that the chairman released . . . ." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

As U.S. Boomers Age, a Soul-Searching Budget Battle
"Keeping those boomers healthy and out of poverty poses the biggest threat to long-term U.S. finances, and figuring out how to pay for it will be an epic political fight. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke calls the fiscal problems a 'near and present danger' to the U.S. economy." (Reuters via The New York Times; free registration required)

Continuing Education and Performance Standards for Enrolled Actuaries Updated
"The Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries has updated enrollment rules beginning with the 2011-2013 renewal cycle. The most significant changes deal with continuing professional education (CPE), including clearer distinctions between core and non-core subjects . . . ." (Mercer LLC)

DOL Seeks Comments on Electronic Disclosure of Employee Benefit Plan Information.
"The request for information sets forth 30 specific questions on a broad range of topics related to electronic distribution of benefit plan information." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

GAO Report: State and Local Governments' Fiscal Outlook: April 2011 Update (PDF)
"As we have reported in previous model updates, and as shown in figure 1, the sector faces long-term fiscal challenges that grow over time. The model's simulations show that the fiscal position of the sector will steadily decline through 2060 absent any policy changes. [The report includes health care and pension fund expenditures.] (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

Press Releases

Employee Benefits Jobs

Defined Contribution Analyst in CT for Hooker & Holcombe, Inc.

Daily Retirement Plan Administrator in NY for CMC Interactive, LLC

Regional Manager - Participant Counseling in GA, NC, TX for Diversified Investment Advisors, Inc.

Client Help Desk Representative in CA for Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.

Enrolled Actuary in NY for Creative Plan Designs, Ltd,

Part Time On Call Participant Counselor in DC, NJ, OH for Diversified Investment Advisors, Inc

401(k) Administrator/Account Manager in WI for Alliance Benefit Group WI

401(k) Account Manager in CA for D/A Financial Group

Business Process Analyst in IL for Benefit Broker Firm (Chicago)

Project Manager, Benefits Administration in FL for Publix Super Markets, Inc.

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Webcasts and Conferences

401(k)Rekon Advisor Symposium- Atlanta
in Georgia on May 5, 2011 presented by 401(k) Rekon

9th Annual Employee Benefits Symposium - The Changing Landscape of Executive Compensation Regulation and Reporting
in Illinois on April 29, 2011 presented by The Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago

Quality 2.0: The Impact of the CMS Star Ratings System
in California on May 10, 2011 presented by MCOL

Single and Multiemployers Plans Free Phone Forum
Nationwide on April 28, 2011 presented by Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

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