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May 20, 2011 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

[Official Guidance]
Supreme Court Vacates Order to Reform Pension Plan, But May Have Opened the Door to Expanded Equitable Remedies
"In a long-anticipated decision, the Supreme Court this week in Cigna Corp v. Amara . . . vacated a District Court order, which had been affirmed on appeal, requiring CIGNA to reform its cash balance plan and pay increased benefits based on a claim under section 502(a)(1)(B) of [ERISA]." (Groom Law Group)

The ERISA Outline Book, 2011 Edition Available Now! [Advert.]

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Industry bestseller! Valued by every practitioner. The ERISA Outline Book by Sal L. Tripodi, J.D., LL.M. provides everything you need to know affecting retirement plans. Subscribe online and get automatic updates!

[Guidance Overview]
Retirement Plan Trustee not Responsible for Adviser Fraud
"Doctors David Tullis and Michael Mack both lost substantial amounts of money from their pension accounts because their investment adviser, Bill Davis, was a [found by a court to be a] crook. UMB Bank was the trustee of those accounts." (

[Guidance Overview]
Failure to Act Triggers ERISA Liability
"A recent legal decision underscores the importance of adopting such prudent operational compliance procedures and shows in no uncertain terms that best-practice prudence amounts to process, process, process. The case also demonstrates clearly that ERISA liability can arise for failure to address financial issues brought to the attention of the plan fiduciary." (CFO)

[Guidance Overview]
Restrictive IRS Guidance for 457(f) Plans Likely to be Issued in 2011
"457(f) plans are nonqualified deferred compensation plans that may be sponsored by tax-exempt and governmental entities and provide for greater tax deferral opportunities than are available under 457(b) plans (which generally limit deferrals to $16,500 annually, plus certain catch-up contributions)." (Drinker Biddle)

[Guidance Overview]
Supreme Court Time Travels with an ERISA Case
"[T]he Supreme Court remanded the case to the District Court for consideration of appropriate equitable relief under 502(a)(3), and traveled back in time several hundred years to analyze remedies that were typically available in equity prior to the merger of law and equity courts." (Porter Wright)

Register Now for 2011 SPARK National Conference, June 12-14 [Advert.]

Sponsored by SPARK (Society of Professional Asset-Managers and Record Keepers)

Join the industry’s top marketing, sales, administration and recordkeeping professionals for unequaled educational and networking opportunities. Gain insights into the latest business and sales strategies, market trends, and regulatory and legislative issues.

[Guidance Overview]
Supreme Court Vacates CIGNA Cash Balance Plan Decision; Remands to District Court
"The Supreme Court has ruled that the remedies imposed by the District Court in a case alleging that CIGNA violated the disclosure requirements of ERISA when it amended its defined benefit plan and adopted a cash balance plan were not authorized under ERISA, and has remanded the case to the District Court for a determination of whether appropriate remedies may be imposed." (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Supreme Court Speaks on Remedies for Benefits Description Mistakes
"In vacating and remanding a district court and U.S. Court of Appeals decision in favor of a plaintiff class of beneficiaries of the CIGNA Pension Plan, the Supreme Court of the United States reached three conclusions that have significant repercussions for benefit plan sponsors and benefit plan litigation." (McDermott Will & Emery)

[Guidance Overview]
Supreme Court Rejects Argument That Employees Due Benefits Based on Inaccurate Information in Summary Plan Description
"In Cigna Corp. vs. Amara, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that the Philadelphia-based health insurer's summary-plan description gave inaccurate details about its pension plan, but ruled earlier this week that the document was not part of the actual plan . . . ." (Human Resource Executive Online)

[Guidance Overview]
CIGNA v. Amara Holding May Encourage Plaintiff Claims
"[C]ontrary to the law in most circuits, the Supreme Court ruled as a threshold matter, with eight justices in agreement (Justice Sotomayor did not participate in the case), that an SPD is not part of an ERISA plan and, therefore, may not be used to bring a claim for plan benefits under § 502(a)(1)(B)." (Dorsey & Whitney LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Plan Sponsor in SPD Dispute, but With a Warning (PDF)
"Plaintiffs claimed deliberate miscommunications were made when CIGNA Corporation amended a retirement plan in 1997 to change the way benefits were calculated." (Winston & Strawn LLP)

Global Pensions Asset Study - 2011
"This is a study of the 13 largest pension markets in the world and accounts for more than 85% of global pension assets." (Towers Watson)

401(k) Participants Lack Awareness and Understanding of Fees: AARP Survey
"When asked, more than seven in ten (71%) 401(k) plan participants incorrectly reported that they did not pay any fees and six percent said that they did not know whether or not they pay fees." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

The Outlook at CalPERS Is Brightening, a Little
"The nation's biggest pension fund is on target to notch one of its strongest annual returns in the past 20 years, performance that is helping the fund regain its health and its confidence." (Wall Street Journal)

Hiring Older Employees: Do Incentives of Early Retirement Channels Matter?
"We examine the impact of a Finnish reform in the 1990s that restricted the use of particular early retirement channels, unemployment pension and individual early retirement, and simultaneously changed the rules of firm size related experience rating in disability pensions. Our emphasis is on how the reforms affected the incentives of the firms to hire older employees." (Social Science Research Network)

University of California System Perk Becomes Pension Liability
"At various points since 1992, the university has diverted about $875 mil.lion from its regular retirement fund to finance supplemental retirement benefits, in part to make up for salary cuts or meager increases tied to state budgets." (New York Times; free registration required)

Finding Missing Participants Can Be Next to Impossible
"[P]lan sponsors are required to take all reasonable means to locate a participant. One option available to a sponsor is the IRS's Letter Forwarding Program." (

How Broke Retirees Will Threaten Your Stocks
"[A]s more Baby Boomers enter their final work years with woefully insufficient retirement nest eggs, their actions could have huge implications for the health of many businesses going forward -- and have a big impact on shareholders in those companies." (The Motley Fool)

How DB Plans Became DC Plans: An Introduction
"At some point the popularity of defined benefit (DB) pension plans gave way to defined contribution (DC) plans. This is perhaps best exemplified by the numbers of 401(k) plans, which so many employees are now (or should be) contributing to on a regular basis. We looked into some of the factors behind this shift." (Milliman, Inc.)

Transcript for IRS Phone Forum on Funding Standards and Relief for Single and Multiemployer Pension Plans Held April 28, 2011 (PDF)
"The tax advice and statements contained herein should not be relied upon for retirement planning purposes without first consulting a tax or retirement planning professional." (U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

Reaching Retirement Goals by Following 10 Basic Axioms
"Unfortunately, these principles are easier to understand than to implement. For many individuals, it is easier to plan to save and invest next month rather than to begin immediately." (American Association of Individual Investors)

A List of Thirteen Ways of Looking at Aging
"Our extensive work on retirement policy covers the many ways the aging of America will trigger changes in how we work, retire, and spend federal resources." (Urban Institute)

Public Pension Asset Exhaustion Is Only a Remote Possibility
"This paper focuses on two economic studies that evaluate pension sustainability based on the ability of pension trust funds to pay benefits promised over the coming years. The paper will examine the strengths and weaknesses of these studies and assess their value as a tool for policymakers." (National Institute for Retirement Security)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Dodd-Frank Proposed Rule for Incentive-Based Compensation: Impact on Foreign Banking Organizations
"The Proposed Rule is intended to supplement existing rules and guidance adopted by the Agencies relating to incentive-based compensation and to be consistent with international standards." (Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.)

Majority in U.S. Back Same-S.ex Marriage, Poll Finds
"More than half of Americans say same-s.ex marriage should be legal, garnering the same rights as traditional marriages, according to a newly released Gallup poll showing for the first time since 1996 support by a majority of Americans." ( via Yahoo! News)

Summing Up Public-Sector Pay
"A new report sponsored by a pension-reform group provides unprecedented new data on the cost and value of public retirement benefits in California and compares the compensation and benefits with similar employees in the public and private sectors." (Governing)

Press Releases

Employee Benefits Jobs

Qualified Plan Specialist
for CUNA Mutual Group in WI

401(k)/DC Plan Admin Specialist
for CUNA Mutual Group in WI

Sr. 401(k)/DC Plan Admin Specialist
for CUNA Mutual Group in WI

Group Health Account Specialist
for Corporate Synergies Group in NY

Executive Services Product Manager
for T. Rowe Price in MD

Director of Compensation
for Republic Services, Inc. in AZ

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

Director, Process Management
for Prudential in CT

Group Health Underwriter

Plan Compliance & Benefits Specialist

Regional Directors, ES-00
for U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration in GA, MA, MO

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Webcasts and Conferences

"Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans" - Dallas
in Texas on June 21, 2011 presented by SunGard Relius

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium-Nashville
in Tennessee on June 16, 2011 presented by 401(k) Rekon

Benefits Conference: Benefits Through The Ages
in Minnesota on June 16, 2011 presented by Trusight

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher

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