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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter

September 29, 2011 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Business Development Manager
for Huntington National Bank in IN, KY, OH, PA, WV

401(k) Sales Professional
for Established New Jersey RIA Company in NJ

Benefits Consultant, Small Group & Mid Market
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of GA in GA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Health Plan Differentiation in a Post Health Insurance Exchange Environment
in California on November 9, 2011 presented by MCOL

HSAs From the Employer’s Perspective: Design and Compliance Issues
Nationwide on October 27, 2011 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA


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[Guidance Overview]
Many DC Plan Sponsors Must Annually 'Notice' Their Participants (PDF)
"Sponsors of defined contribution plans with certain features are required to provide annual notices to participants. Generally, these notices are in addition to an initial notice provided on or before an employee's eligibility date for the feature. As the 2011 plan year is nearing its end, it is important to look ahead at the notices that may need to be provided before the start of the 2012 plan year." (Prudential Retirement)


New! 403(b) Best Practices Manual, 2nd Edition   [Advert.]

Sponsored by ASPPA

A must-have, must-read 403(b) plan compliance tool for service providers, TPAs and plan sponsors.


[Guidance Overview]
Rating Agencies Win Dismissal of Ohio Pension Funds Lawsuit
"The three major credit-rating agencies won the dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that five Ohio pension funds lost hundreds of millions of dollars on risky mortgage debt because they relied on flawed ratings that made the debt appear safe." (Reuters via Business Insurance)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Revenue Procedure Requiring Notices of Requests for Church Plan Status (PDF)
"Effective Sept. 26, IRS will not issue rulings that a qualified tax code Section 401(a), 403(a), or 403(b) plan is a church plan unless the new notice requirement has been satisfied, according to IRS Revenue Procedure 2011-44." (The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. via Pension Rights Center)

[Guidance Overview]
Seventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Fiduciary Breach Claim Based on Selection of Retail Fund Options
"This decision offers considerable comfort to plan fiduciaries, but the court's assertion that the participants could not prevail without overruling Hecker may not be as clear as it seems at first blush. True, the plan at issue in Hecker had retail funds and was upheld. But that plan also included a brokerage window that offered an additional 2,500 investment choices. This court does not explain why that dramatic choice difference doesn't matter." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Federal Retirement Plans Almost As Costly As Social Security
"Retirement programs for former federal workers—civilian and military—are growing so fast they now face a multi trillion-dollar shortfall nearly as big as Social Security's, a USA TODAY analysis shows." (USA TODAY)


457 Answer Book   [Advert.]

Sponsored by Aspen Publishers

457 Answer Book is an in-depth resource that provides answers to the questions that tax-exempt organizations, state and local governments, their accountants, tax and legal advisors, 457 administrators, and investment counselors need to know.


Analyzing Excessive Fee Claims Under ERISA Following Jones v. Harris Associates (PDF)
"This article examines whether the Supreme Court's ruling in Jones could be instructive to courts in deciding the 401(k) fee lawsuits that have been brought under ERISA. Although different terminology is used in analyzing claims under ERISA, courts apply substantially the same principles and evaluate many of the same factors applicable to claims under the 1940 Act." (Aspen Publishers via Groom Law Group)

GM-UAW Agree To Tackle Pension Risk Issue
"General Motors Co., facing a pension plan funding shortfall that may rival its market value by year-end, has won an agreement from the United Auto Workers to consider ways to reduce the risk of its underfunded plan, a letter between the automaker and the union shows." (Reuters via Business Insurance)

Retirees and Those Near Retirement Have Different Views of Golden Years
"One in four retirees think life in retirement is worse than it was before they retired, according to a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health . . . . The poll shows stark differences between what pre-retirees think retirement will be like, and what retirees say is actually the case." (RWJF)

Spur U.S. Retirement Security, Preserve and Expand S-Esops
"There is bipartisan agreement that too many Americans do not set aside sufficient resources to live comfortably in retirement. One needed policy response to this unfortunate situation would be to preserve and expand retirement programs through which many Americans save. A useful structure is that of the S corporation employee stock ownership plan, or 'S-ESOP,' which helps to generate billions of dollars in retirement savings each year for American workers." (Capitol Hill Publishing Corp.)

Postal Workers Step Out to Draw Attention to Pension Funding
"The U.S. Postal Service, beginning in 2006, was required by law to fill its pension coffers enough to last 75 years and to do it by 2016. Workers say the requirement is quickly bankrupting the postal service, so they were out with signs Tuesday to get the message out." (The Billings Gazette)

San Jose, California, Unions Announce Plans They Say Would Save Millions
"The unions representing San Jose police officers, firefighters, architects and engineers, middle managers, and maintenance supervisors, submitted proposals that significantly reduce the cost of pension benefits, increase the retirement age, and decrease the rate at which pension benefits are earned." (Bay City News via NBC Universal, Inc.)

New Public Pension Reform Report Says Radical Changes Needed To Protect Taxpayers
"In [the paper 'From Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution' the author] said the benefits of paying the upfront costs of transitioning pension plans from defined benefit, where employees are guaranteed a set amount at retirement, to defined contribution, where employees are responsible for their investment choices, outweigh the disadvantages." (Nevada News Bureau)

[Opinion]
Plan Advisors: Better To Have a Seat at the Table, Than To Be on the Menu
"The 401(k) plan industry continues to mature, and retirement plan advisors play an increasingly critical role. However, there is surprisingly little understanding among policymakers in Washington regarding the role of plan advisors. The recent debates over a uniform fiduciary standard and the definition of investment advice under ERISA are good examples." (Brian Graff, ASPPA Executive Director and CEO, via 401kExchange)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Gingrich Issues New 'Contract with America'; Includes Health Insurance Proposal
"Republican Newt Gingrich . . . will today call for Americans to have new choices in how they buy health insurance, pay their income taxes and save for retirement." (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Military Retirees Say Benefits Hard-Earned
"The federal government last year spent a record $275.2 bil.lion on benefits for retired federal workers, two-thirds of it for military retirees. What's driving up costs: Congress has expanded benefits frequently and Baby Boomers are living longer, collecting pension checks longer and consuming more health care—the same issues challenging Social Security and Medicare." (USA TODAY)

Press Releases

ASPPA Launches Association Focused on Plan Advisors
(American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA))

Average Annual Premiums for Family Health Benefits Top $15,000 in 2011, Up 9 Percent, Substantially More than the Growth in Worker's Wages, Benchmark Employer Survey Finds
(Kaiser Family Foundation)

Pittsburgh Company Will Restore More Than $67,000 to Employee Retirement Plan, Resolving Labor Department Lawsuit
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

Good Governance: Making Retirement Plan Decisions the Right Way
(Principal Financial Group)

New Liberty Mutual Website Helps Employees Through Life’s Key Challenges
(Liberty Mutual)

Employers Lack Awareness and Understanding of Specialty Drugs and Costs
(Midwest Business Group on Health)

CIEBA Taps Forbes as Executive Director
(Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets (CIEBA))

Benefit Plans Administrative Services, Inc. (BPAS) Announces Patent and Software License Agreement with Access Control Advantage, Inc.
(BPAS)

Worksite Health Center Positions City Government to Cut Costs While Increasing Employee Productivity
(Crowne Consulting Group, Inc.)



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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
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Holly Horton, Business Manager

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