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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter

June 30, 2011 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

[Guidance Overview]
PBGC Final Regulations Governing Termination Date of Pension Plans Ending During Bankrup.tcy (PDF)
"The PBGC issued final regulations implementing PPA's provisions setting the termination date of a pension plan that is terminated during a bankrup.tcy proceeding as the bankrup.tcy filing date for certain purposes. The regulations impact PBGC-paid benefits but not employer liability." (Buck Consultants)

Western Benefits Conference 2011   [Advert.]

Sponsored by ASPPA and WP&BC

Featuring groundbreaking sessions for plan sponsors, attorneys, consultants, health & welfare professionals, actuaries, investment advisors and TPAs, the WP&BC and ASPPA present the Western Benefits Conference July 24-27 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

[Guidance Overview]
Taxpayers Must Report Foreign Accounts by June 30 Deadline
"Filing is required for qualified pension plans and IRAs. Participants and beneficiaries in retirement plans under Code §401(a), 403(a) or 403(b) and owners and beneficiaries of traditional IRAs, IRA annuities, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and deemed IRAs under §408 and Roth IRAs under §408A are not required to file an FBAR for a foreign financial account held by or on behalf of the retirement plan or IRA." (The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.)

[Guidance Overview]
Deadline for Reporting Separated Participants' Retirement Benefits Pushed to January 17, 2012
"The IRS will not grant any Form 5558 extensions to the Jan. 17 due date." (Mercer LLC)

The Economics of Providing 401(k) Plans: Services, Fees and Expenses, 2010 (PDF)
"The [study] finds that the expense ratios paid by 401(k) plan investors on their stock funds averaged slightly lower in 2010, compared with 2009. The asset-weighted average expense ratio paid by 401(k) investors on their stock funds dropped 3 basis points to 0.71 percent in 20–10, after having declined in three of the previous five years." (Investment Company Institute)

Why Small Business Now Has the 401(k) Benefits Edge on Big Business
"During the past decade, a new generation of 401(k) providers focused specifically on small businesses have made it affordable for any size business to start a plan." ( LLC)

Have You Looked at Your Investment Committee Lately?
"We are not aware of any requirement to rotate investment committee members, although we do think it is a good idea. Getting a new committee member periodically with a fresh perspective, who may be more likely to question the existing process, is healthy and helps combat problematic behavior like group think." (fi360 Blog)

GASB Chairman Discusses New Pension Rules on Liabilities
"The new rules would have states all use the same method. In addition, the orientation of these rules would change significantly. The current system takes a 'funding-based' approach that focuses on how much states pay into the pension fund each year. The new system would take an 'accounting-based' approach that employs a longer-term view to ensure that the overall costs of providing benefits are accounted for." (The Pew Charitable Trusts)

Observations and Opinions on How Changing Market Conditions Are Affecting 401(k) Plan Participant Outcomes (PDF)
"Some of the questions included in the study were similar in nature to studies completed in 2007 and 2009. These offer a picture of how individuals' savings and spending habits change over time and in response to market conditions. Perhaps not surprisingly, participants' responses in 2010 varied from those in 2007 before the market downturn and mirrored responses from 2009." (JPMorgan Chase & Co.)

Florida Joins at Least 16 Other U.S. States Increasing Retirement Costs for Public Workers
"Government staffers must pay 3 percent of salaries to their retirements under the Florida law, effective July 1, saving the state, counties, school systems, public colleges, universities and other entities $2 bil.lion next year . . . ." (Bloomberg)

Atlanta Pension Reform Plan Becomes Law
"Current workers will contribute 5 percent more of their salary to keep their current pensions. New employees will be enrolled in a 401k type retirement plan instead." (Fox Television Stations, Inc.)

Study Finds Couples Disconnect on Retirement Issues
"The results of Fidelity's Couples Retirement Study show couples both approaching and living in retirement are struggling with overall communication, planning and management of their retirement finances." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Kentucky Audit Details Questionable Pension Fund Investment Placement Agent Activities
"An auditor's report found nearly $11.6 mil.lion in fees paid or committed to placement agents from the Kentucky Retirement System from 2007 to 2010." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

An Early Warning on 2012 Segment Rates
"The interest rates segments that will be used in 2012 will be much lower than in 2011." (Milliman Inc.)

A.F.L.-C.I.O. Intends to Work with Pension Fund Managers to Ensure Union Pension Money Is Made Available to Finance Infrastructure Projects
"'The nation has over $2 tril.lion in infrastructure and social needs, and there is over $3 tril.lion in public sector pension funds,' . . . . 'The question is, are there financially prudent ways to invest working men's and women's capital to create jobs and rebuild America's infrastructure?'" (The New York Times; free registration required)

IRS Streamlines ESOP Review Process; Develops Tool to Aid in ESOP Design
"ESOP sponsors . . . may use a new IRS worksheet as a tool in designing plan documents. The worksheet identifies 18 requirements ESOPs must satisfy, including protections for participant rights with respect to diversification, voting, forfeitures, dividends and distributions." (Mercer LLC)

Text of GAO Report on PBGC: More Strategic Approach to Contracting Still Needed
"PBGC's contracting decisions are based primarily on historical practice within each of its departments rather than strategic assessment. Nearly three-fourths of PBGC's budget is allocated to contractors, yet PBGC does not have a strategic agency-level plan for contracting." (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

American Academy of Actuaries' Comments to JBEA on Final Regulations and Continuing Education Requirements for Enrolled Actuaries (PDF)
"With respect to continuing education . . . the new regulations raise two concerns. We believe additional clarification is needed regarding the application of these rules for continuing education completed in 2011 before the issuance of these regulations." (American Academy of Actuaries)

ASPPA/NTSAA and the 403(b): Presenting Cross-Purposes?
"[The Los Angeles Unified School District's 403(b)/457(b) Oversight Committee has an offer to] partner on a fee disclosure initiative. The goal . . . would be 'a model disclosure that would simply and concisely provide teachers with information on the products and services offered by various vendors and the fees for those products and services.'" (bWise Guys, LLC)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Same-S.ex Couples May Now Marry in New York: Impact on Employee Benefits and Other Employment Rights
"The Marriage Equality Act . . . provides same-s.ex married couples with the same legal rights as their opposite-se.x counterparts in New York." (Proskauer Rose LLP)

If I'd Only Known That: A New Book On What Can Go Wrong With Your Equity Compensation Plan
If I'd Only Known That is a new book that illustrates a multitude of common mistakes in equity compensation, how to avoid them, and what to do about them when they occur. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Missteps in Benefits Communications
"Communications that are infrequent and indecipherable are common mistakes HR leaders make when transmitting information about benefits packages to employees. Using more of a 'selling' approach while adopting multiple channels and targeted messages will help, experts say." (Human Resource Executive Online)

ESOP Valuation Issues
The NCEO's new issue brief presents articles on matters related to ESOP valuation, ranging from valuing SARs in an ESOP company to valuing an accounting firm's shares. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

CIGNA Cash Balance Conversion Case: Justice Trumps Law 6-to-2 — But Who Got It Right?
"[H]as the Court now taken a second large step towards loosening the tight-knit set of enforcement provisions that Congress crafted with such precision in section 502 of ERISA, where it spelled out with exquisite care the permissible civil actions for enforcing the requirements of ERISA, specifying not just the harms proscribed and the corresponding remedies (e.g., recovery of lost benefits, injunctions, breach of fiduciary suits, clarifications of future benefits, other appropriate equitable relief), but also who may bring the remedial actions (for some causes, participants and beneficiaries, for others, the plan, for another, the Secretary of Labor along with participants, beneficiaries and fiduciaries)?" (Alvin D. Lurie, Esq. published by

Press Releases

Employee Benefits Jobs

Defined Contribution Compliance Specialist
for MBM Advisors, Inc. in TX

for Diversified in MA

Manager Enrollment Services
for The Standard in OR

Enroller - Retirement Services
for ING Life Insurance and Annuity Company in IL

ERISA Attorney
for U.S. Dept. of Labor, Office of the Solicitor in DC

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Webcasts and Conferences

P&I Defined Contribution Conference-West Coast
in California on October 30, 2011 presented by Pensions & Investments

Self-Funded Health Insurance Basics with Two CEUs for CA Life and Accident and Health Insurance Agent Licenses
in California on July 13, 2011 presented by No. Calif. Chapter of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists (ISCEBS)

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Phone (407) 644-4146
Fax (407) 644-2151

Jeanette Hull, News Editor
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Lois Baker, J.D., President
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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