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November 11, 2011 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

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Webcasts and Conferences

2014: End of the (Health Care) World as We Know It?
Nationwide on December 8, 2011 presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

The Rising Tide of Pension Contributions: An Investigation of US Single-Employer Defined Benefit Plan Funding at the System Level Webcast
Nationwide on November 16, 2011 presented by Society of Actuaries

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[Official Guidance]
Form 5558 Reminders from IRS' Web Site
"The IRS will not process Forms 5558, Application for Extension of Time To File Certain Employee Plan Returns, requesting extensions for more than three plans . . . Forms 5558 with attached lists of more than three plans that we receive: [i] Through July 31, 2012, will be returned to the filer to submit a separate Form 5558 for all plans on the list to request an extension; [ii] After July 31, 2012, will not be returned and will not be processed." (U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

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[Official Guidance]
PBGC Disaster Relief Announcements Affecting Reporting Obligations for Plans in Virginia, Puerto Rico or Iowa
Disaster Relief Announcement 11-34: Earthquake in Virginia; DRA 11-33: Tropical Storm Maria in Puerto Rico; DRA 11-32: Flooding in Iowa. (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Confirms 8955-SSA Transition Rules Still Available
"[I]t is clear that there are three acceptable ways to provide 2010 Form 8955-SSA information: Put it on a separate 2009 Form, Combine it with 2009 information on a 2009 Form, or Put it on a separate 2010 Form." (SunGard Relius)

[Guidance Overview]
PBGC Issues Proposed Regs on Benefit Determinations for Terminating Hybrid Plans
"The proposed regulations would amend the PBGC's regulations to conform the rules for determining allocations of assets and the amount of benefits payable under ERISA Title IV to reflect the PPA changes in the benefit determination rules for hybrid plans." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Issues Draft of Important Governmental Plan Regulations, Requests Comments
"Entities should carefully review the [advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM)] and the draft rules for the possible impact on their plans, and then consider if they want to submit comments, which are due by February 6, 2012. . . . No regulations have been issued under section 414(d), so this represents a significant step for the IRS. For those not familiar with regulatory terminology, the ANPRM is comparable to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board's Preliminary Views in the overall process of issuing a final rule." (Cheiron)

[Guidance Overview]
Understanding Which Deadlines Are Extended by Recent IRS Guidance for Hybrid Plans
"[IRS Notice 2011-85] offers only a limited extension of the effective date of the hybrid plan regulations issued on October 19, 2010. Specifically, the relief affects only the provisions of such regulations that set forth the exclusive list of interest crediting rates and combinations of rates that satisfy the 'market rate of return' requirements." (McDermott)

Summary of 2011 Principal Financial Group Retirement Readiness Survey (PDF)
"Only 7% of plan sponsors use replacement ratios/income projections to measure plan success . . . . Only 15% of plan sponsors feel their employees are prepared to manage their money in retirement. Plan sponsors have mixed feelings about whether they should take a role in helping employees turn their retirement savings into retirement income." (Principal Financial Group)

PBGC Could Have $24 Bil.lion Deficit in Single-Employer Program by 2020
"The PBGC's single-employer pension program could face a $24 bil.lion deficit by 2020, up 11% from its latest reported shortfall, while its multiemployer program's deficit will soar more than fivefold to $9.4 bil.lion, according to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.'s annual exposure report . . . ." (Pensions & Investments)

2010 PBGC Annual Exposure Report (PDF)
"Due to the deterioration in two large multiemployer plans, the projections show a 6.2 percent chance that the multiemployer program will be insolvent by 2020, and a 29.2 percent chance that it will be insolvent by 2030. . . . [N]one project that PBGC's single-employer program will run out of money within the next 10 years. A slight majority result in improved or unchanged positions." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)

Proposal Suggests Giving Private Workers Access to State Pensions
"Under [the proposal by Teresa Ghilarducci, director of The New School's Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis ], private-sector workers or employers could voluntarily open an account in a state-level public retirement fund such as the California Public Employees' Retirement System or CalPERS." (

Probe of High-profile 401(k) Fiduciary Advocate Could Cost Advisers Business
"News of the investigation [of well-known fiduciary advocate Matthew Hutcheson] won't help his campaign for a fiduciary standard. What's more, observers are worried that news reports of the probe could make plan sponsors suspicious of advisers." (InvestmentNews)

Union Pension Abuse Reforms Advance in Illinois Senate
"The legislation, launched in response to Tribune/WGN-TV investigations, would block leaders representing city workers from double dipping into both union and public pensions and curtail the practice of basing their public pensions on heftier union salaries." (

Rhode Island Pension Overhaul Passes 1st Legislative Test
"The 113-page bill is intended to save taxpayers billions of dollars by halting automatic cost-of-living pension increases, adjusting retirement ages and creating a new hybrid retirement system that combines traditional pensions with 401(k)-like accounts." (

Retirement Revisited: It's Truly Worse Than You Think
"In our example, the 4.4% assumed investment rate of return would produce a terminal valuation (investment value at retirement) of 40% of the terminal retirement savings that the currently assumed rate of 8.1%. This could be the difference between the ability to retire comfortably and not retiring at all." (Seeking Alpha)

Finance Committees Pass Sweeping Rhode Island Pension Overhaul Bill
"The House and Senate finance committees passed the sweeping Raimondo-Chafee pension overhaul bill on Thursday night, setting the stage for votes by the full chambers next week." (

Rhode Island House And Senate Finance Committees OK Revised Pension Overhaul Bill
"The Rhode Island House and Senate Finance Committees approved the revised pension overhaul bill Thursday night." (Providence Journal)

YRC Worldwide Settles 401(k) Plan Lawsuits for $6.5 Mil.lion
"Employees had brought four class-action lawsuits in connection with YRC's practice of contributing company shares to match employees' contributions to the 401(k) plan." (

Use of 'Pension Obligation Bonds' by Municipalities Revisited
"[N]ow that the market has recovered two-thirds of its Great Recession losses, the question is whether it still makes sense to issue taxable municipal debt to invest in risky securities to fund a pension or retiree medical (OPEB) plan. At this stage in the cycle, is it too late to employ this strategy and still sleep at night?" (Girard Miller on

U.S. Pension System Holds Onto Top 10 Ranking
"[T]he sustainability of the system is at risk due to a fall in asset values and a rise in government debt. According to the 2011 Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, the US system requires further reform to withstand the pressures of its aging population and help Americans secure sufficient retirement savings." (Mercer)

Retirement Heist: Overlooked Causes of The Retirement Crisis
"On Monday, the Pension Rights Center, the New America Foundation, and AARP hosted a discussion, 'Retirement Heist: Overlooked Causes of the Retirement Crisis.' The forum centered on investigative journalist Ellen Schultz's new book, Retirement Heist . . . ." (Pension Rights Center)

Comments of ASPPA to IRS on Plan Document Compliance with Code Section 436
On November 10, 2011, ASPPA and the ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries sent a letter to IRS requesting that the deadline for amendments required to comply with IRC section 436 be extended to be concurrent with the recently extended deadline for certain hybrid plan amendments. (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA))

Remarks by Karen Ferguson at Press Conference on 'Retirement Heist' Book
"What are the reforms that can address the problems that Ellen [Schultz] raises? [An example is:] Reforms relating to the accounting problem. It's been suggested that you could create a separate 'bucket' on corporate income statements, showing increases and decreases in pension assets and liabilities. I'm not an accountant, but it sounds good to me. Keep it on the books, but keep it separate, so people know what those liabilities are so that they don't create these effects." (Pension Rights Center)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
House Defeats Executive Compensation Bill
"Earlier this week, the House of Representatives defeated an amendment (scroll down) to a bill that would have required issuers in private securities transactions to disclose the compensation of the issuer's executive officers to prospective investors." (Just Compensation Blog (McGuireWoods))

[Guidance Overview]
EBSA Creates New Consumer Assistance Web Page
"The page includes links to various tools and publications with information on benefit plans, as well as answers to questions about 'hot topics.' Users also have the option to submit a question, file a complaint, or report a problem with their plan." (

[Guidance Overview]
New IRS Voluntary Worker Reclassification Program: Think It Through (PDF)
"While the [Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP)] provides significant protection from potential federal employment tax liability, reclassifying independent contractors as employees often raises a whole host of issues that are not ameliorated by VCSP. For example, state and local taxes are not covered by the VCSP. Moreover, participation in the VCSP is not binding on any other governmental agency. Consequently, employers that participate in the VCSP could be subject to claims for unpaid unemployment taxes and other governmental payments for individuals reclassified as employees." (Paul Hastings)

Highlights of NCEO's 2011 Private Company Equity Compensation Survey
Earlier this year, the NCEO conducted a pathbreaking survey of equity compensation practices at hundreds of private companies. This page presents the highlights of the results, from the demographics of the respondents to the distribution of equity at their companies. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Are Federal Government Employees Overpaid?
"The size and scope of the federal government and the money being paid to its workers is an issue on the presidential campaign trail. . . . The federal government recently reported that on average the gap has widened between the federal and private sectors — with government employees falling further behind." (Washington Post)

Majority of Employees Enroll for Benefits Online
"Sixty-two percent of workers now enroll online for their employee benefits, compared to only 29% in 2005, according to the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

Equity Compensation Report for November 2011
This is the last of the three introductory issues of the NCEO's new equity compensation newsletter; starting in December, it will be available only to NCEO members. It features an interview with Dan Walter and articles on the NCEO's private company equity compensation survey, determining whether secondary markets are right for your company, and communicating valuation. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Teachers Paid Much Less Than Their Peers? Not So.
"The study that posed this question — presumably with a straight face — could only do so by inflating data on what teachers earn — by including pension costs that are not available to teachers during their working years and are never accessed by about 40 percent of them — and by underestimating the actual hours that teachers work . . . ." (Prof. Linda Darling-Hammond, in US News and World Report)

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