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September 14, 2011 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Services Senior Associate (00812VBSFS)
for Dixon Hughes Goodman in VA

Retirement Plan Transition Consultant
for Bethesda based financial services firm in MD

Director - Fund Operations
for MassMutual Financial Group in MA

Conversion Manager
for Charles Schwab in OH

for Lurie Besikof Lapidus & Company, LLP in MN

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Webcasts and Conferences

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium- Bellevue
in West Virginia on September 27, 2011 presented by 401(k) Rekon

ERISA Fiduciary Training: What is Required of ERISA Fiduciaries and Those They Supervise?
Nationwide on September 14, 2011 presented by ABA

We also publish the BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe

[Official Guidance]
DOL New Issues Guidance on Use of Electronic Media for Participant-Level Fee Disclosure (PDF)
The guidance allows plan administrators to furnish information required under the final participant disclosure rule electronically, including the use of continuous access web sites, if certain conditions and safeguards are met. (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

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[Guidance Overview]
Despite Phony Divorces, Pension Plan Must Pay Spousal Benefits
"When a plan administrator fears that a DRO was fraudulently obtained, the plan administrator is not free to ignore evidence of a sham divorce. A DRO issued under false pretenses may not have been validly issued based on state domestic relations law and would, in that case, not meet the requirement of a 'domestic relations order' under ERISA Section 206(d)(3)(B)." (SmartHR)

The Secure Choice Pension: A Way Forward for Retirement Security in the Private Sector (PDF)
"Public plans and their government sponsors can help provide a model to address the retirement security crisis that faces the private sector. Any new alternative should be influenced by the factors that make public plans a success, including the experience with defined guaranteed benefits and the economies of scale to deliver the necessary investment results in a cost-effective manner." (National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems)

Text of 'Present Law and Background Relating to the Tax Treatment of Retirement Savings'
"The Committee on Finance has scheduled a public hearing on September 15, 2011, entitled 'Tax Reform Options: Promoting Retirement Security.' This document . . . provides a summary of the present law tax rules applicable to retirement savings arrangements and a discussion of relevant background and economic data." (U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Taxation)

Chart: Retirement and Savings Benefit Costs for Employers in Private Industry, June 2011
"In June 2011, average costs in private industry for retirement and savings benefits -- which include defined benefit and defined contribution plans -- were $1.03 per hour worked, or 3.7 percent of total compensation." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

As Public Plans Seek Ways to Improve Funding, Some Look to Adjust Retiree COLAs
"For plans that urgently need to improve the unfunded liability, 'a COLA is one of the few things that impacts benefits very quickly,' says Joe Newton, a Dallas-based Senior Consultant at Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Co. 'It can have the most velocity of change. If you change the multiplier, that is not going to have a big impact on the unfunded liability.'" (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Borzi Says Investment Advice Regulations Coming Soon
"Ms. Borzi discussed the Labor Department's work on defined contribution plans. 'What I'm all about is giving participants enough tools to make the best choices.'" (Business Insurance)

Hollywood, Florida, Votes to Cut Police, Fire, and City Pensions
"The city says it has been spending 25 percent of its budget on pensions, two and a half times the recommended level. The drastic changes are meant to save Hollywood approximately $8.5 mil.lion dollars." (NBCUniversal, Inc.)

401(k) Plan Revamp Proposals Eyed by Senate Finance Committee
"One controversial proposal comes from the Brookings Institute. Senior Fellow William Gale will talk about reinventing 401(k)s by substituting the current deduction for contributions with a flat-rate refundable credit that would be deposited directly into the saver's account." (ABC News Internet Ventures)

A Review of MEPs: Multiple Employer Plans (PDF)
"In the last two years, there have been many articles spelling out the advantages of MEPs—Multiple Employer Plans. However, [the authors of this article] feel some of these articles have not been balanced enough to explain that there are both advantages and disadvantages." (Retirement Management Services, LLC)

Hawaii Public Pension System Will Get $2.4M Efficiency Overhaul
"[Hawaii Employees' Retirement System] trustees on Monday approved a six-part plan recommended by a Virginia-based consultant to help streamline the process for calculating retirement benefits. The efficiency study said the plan would cost $2.4 mil.lion and take 18 months to implement. The ERS would make back its investment fairly quickly." (Peer News LLC)

Government to Allow New 401(k) Fee Statements to Be Delivered Electronically
"Workers with 401(k) retirement accounts are due to receive improved disclosures about the fees they're paying. The Department of Labor has mandated such disclosure beginning next year and on Tuesday said the information may be delivered electronically by email or through a secure website." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Once Again, Alicia Munnell Gets it Wrong When It Comes to 401(k) Plans
"It's bad enough that the media does a poor job of covering 401(k) plans--blaming the stock market for account inadequacy rather than the inadequate employer matching contributions--but academics such as Boston College's Alicia Munnell continue to provide the wrong formula for retirement adequacy." (Retirement Solutions, LLC)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
SEC Delays Guidance on Key Executive Compensation Requirements under Dodd-Frank (PDF)
"The new adoption dates for these rules were pushed back to the January-June 2012 period. [This memo briefly summarizes] these requirements and the potential legislation that could eliminate one of the Dodd-Frank Act requirements entirely." (Groom Law Group)

Shareholder Say on Pay is Still Critical for the 2012 Proxy Season
"First the good news: As of September 12, only 38 companies—maybe 41, depending on how you count—had failed to receive a majority vote in favor of their SSOP resolutions. Out of approximately 2,500 shareholder votes, that figure represents a strong endorsement by most shareholders of their companies' compensation packages." (Michael S. Melbinger via Winston & Strawn LLP)

New Representative Appointed to ERISA Advisory Council
"Mary Ellen Signorille has been appointed to the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, also known as ERISA Advisory Council." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Employers Penalize Workers for Using Work-Life Programs
"According to [WorldatWork]'s survey, . . . although 80% of employers around the globe say they support for family-friendly workplaces, employees respondents report that when they took advantage of work-life programs, they've: Been overtly or subtly discouraged from using the programs. Received unfavorable job assignments. Received negative performance reviews. Received negative comments from a supervisor. Been denied a promotion." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

New White Paper Helps Benefits Pros Decode Generation Y
"According to a new white paper from Colonial Life, HR/benefits professionals can craft benefits effective programs by understanding several Gen Y traits . . . ." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

Atlantic City Casino Union Fights Pay Cut, Benefits Proposal
"In addition, [a union president] said, the casinos want union members to start contributing for the first time toward the cost of their health and pension benefits. Over the past seven years, workers' base pay has risen by only 55 cents an hour because the union has been adamant about protecting health benefits . . . ." (The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC)

2011 Aflac WorkForces Report: Main Study Findings
"The . . . Report provides compelling details about how corporate America and its workers perceive the issues of health and workplace benefits. The study confirms a direct correlation between the caliber of employee benefits and workers' overall health, the profitability of our nation's businesses and the productivity of its workforce." (Aflac Incorporated)

Ban on Patenting Tax Strategies Has Implications for Benefit Plans
"Strategies to reduce, avoid or defer taxes generally won't be patentable under the patent system overhaul passed by the Senate Sept. 8 and headed to the president for his expected signature. The provision covers inventions 'suitable for use with tax-favored structures that must meet certain requirements, such as employee benefit plans,' a committee report notes, adding that the law should 'help ensure that patents do not infringe on the ability of others to interpret the tax law.'" (Mercer LLC)

Cell Phones and Transportation Fringe Benefits on IRS To-Do List
"The IRS . . . list includes writing up a notice on cell phone substantiation and finalizing guidance on debit cards used with qualified transportation fringe benefits . . ., according to its 2011-2012 priority guidance plan published Sept. 2." (SmartHR)

Press Releases

US Department Of Labor Issues Interim E-Disclosure Policy Under Participant Fee Disclosure Regulations
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis Announces Appointment of New Member to ERISA Advisory Council
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

Aetna Makes it Easier for Members to Share Personal Health Information with Care Providers to Improve Quality Care

How Much is Enough? Russell Introduces ďRule-of-ThumbĒ for an Appropriate Savings Rate
(Russell Investments)

AlwaysCare Benefitsí Member Survey Shows 97 Percent Satisfaction Rate
(AlwaysCare Benefits, Inc.)

AlwaysCare Benefits/Starmount Life Named to Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-growing Companies
(AlwaysCare Benefits, Inc.)

Legal Counsel Sought by the State of Connecticut for Advice on Tax and Pension Matters
(State of Connecticut, Office of the Attorney General)

Insperity Selects Tango Healthís Health Savings Account (HSA) Solution to Maximize Employee Health Care Savings
(Tango Health)

Avoidable Benefits Mistakes, Personal Sacrifices Common Among American Workers
(Aflac), Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
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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