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

Employee Benefits Jobs

Relationship Manager-Retirement Plan Services (9469)
for Rockland Trust Company in MA

Senior Account Executive
for The Fedeli Group in OH

Account Mgr II
for The Standard in OH

Jr. Pension Administrator
for TPA firm in Montgomery County in MD

401(k) Plan Administrator
for Alliance Benefits Group Carolinas, Inc. (A subsidiary of Pentegra Services, Inc.) in NC

Wellness Coordinator
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

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Webcasts and Conferences

CEFEX How to Foster a Best Practice Culture
Nationwide on December 14, 2011 presented by Thomson Reuters

Church Plans
Nationwide on December 7, 2011 presented by Thomson Reuters AccuDraft

Cultural Relevance in Plan Communications
Nationwide on November 30, 2011 presented by Thomson Reuters AccuDraft

Employer Responsibility: Doing the Math on Assessable Payments Under PPACA Seminar
in Massachusetts on December 20, 2011 presented by New England Employee Benefits Council


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[Official Guidance]
Text of IRS Notice 2011-96: Sample Plan Amendment for Section 436 (PDF)
"This notice provides a sample plan amendment that plan sponsors may adopt to satisfy section 436 of the Internal Revenue Code regarding limitations on the accrual and payment of benefits under certain underfunded single employer defined benefit plans. This notice also extends both the deadline to amend a plan to satisfy section 436 and the period during which such an amendment is eligible for relief from the anti-cutback requirements of section 411(d)(6)." (U.S. Internal Revenue Service)


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[Guidance Overview]
2011 Plan Year: Year-End Compliance Reminders for Defined Contribution Plans Subject to ERISA (PDF)
"This information applies to qualified defined contribution plans and 403(b) plans that are subject to Title I of ERISA." (The Prudential Insurance Company of America)

[Guidance Overview]
2011 Year-End Compliance Reminders for Defined Contribution Plans Not Subject to ERISA (PDF)
"This information applies to defined contribution plans, such as qualified governmental plans (including 'grandfathered' 401(k)plans), qualified church plans that do not elect to be covered by ERISA ('non-electing church plans'), 403(b) plans, and section 457 plans that are not subject to Title I of ERISA." (The Prudential Insurance Company of America)

[Guidance Overview]
Creative Divorce Planning: Applying the QDROtic Equation
"The recently decided Fifth Circuit decision, Brown v. Continental Airlines, Inc., demonstrates how nine airline pilots and their spouses creatively used qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) and state domestic relations law to circumvent the retirement plan rules." (Fox Rothschild LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
DOL Adopts Final Regulation on Exemption for Participant-Level Investment Advice
"This LawFlash provides a brief overview of the statutory exemption and the final regulation and highlights some of the main issues raised by the comments. The concluding section offers some observations about the practical impact of the regulation and the current status of the law on participant investment advice." (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)


The Hottest Ticket in Town!   [Advert.]

Sponsored by ASPPA

ASPPA co-sponsors several regional conferences each year with the IRS to provide discussion opportunities with colleagues and local, regional and national government representatives from IRS and DOL. Check to see when we're coming to your region!


How Would President's Fiscal Commission's Social Security Proposals Affect Future Beneficiaries?
"The proposal's projected effects are particularly deep relative to current law scheduled for those reaching retirement in several decades. Projected benefit reductions relate closely to lifetime earnings: Lower earners are largely shielded, higher earners face significant reductions." (Urban Institute)

The Strengths and Failures of Incentive Mechanisms in Notional Defined Contribution Pension Systems
"Public pension systems based on the Notional Defined Contribution (NDC) principle were introduced during the '90s in Italy, Sweden and Poland, among other countries. They mimic private savings, in that individuals get back, as pensioners, what they contributed to social security during working life, plus returns. As such, NDC systems should realize actuarial equity and incentive neutrality." (Social Science Research Network)

401(k) Plan Sponsors Restoring Contributions While Focusing Heavily on the Investments
"That so many plans sponsors are reviewing and reworking their investment lineups demonstrates the importance they see in delivering the very best investment opportunity as part of the 401(k) plan benefit for their employees, especially in these unusual times." (Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America)

Running Out of Money Top Retirement Concern Among Americans
"The survey also found 47% of respondents would keep working if they were unable to retire as planned. The next most pressing retirement concern was healthcare experiences (27%) and changes to Social Security that could lead to a reduction or delay in benefits (15%)." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

How Do Subjective Mortality Beliefs Affect the Value of Social Security and the Optimal Claiming Age?
"This paper investigates whether subjective mortality beliefs contribute to the prevalence of early claiming. The value of delay depends not only on life expectancy, but also on the degree of uncertainty surrounding the age of death." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

How Would GASB Proposals Affect State and Local Pension Reporting?
"Most economists contend that the discount rate should reflect the risk associated with the liabilities and, given that benefits are guaranteed under most state laws, the appropriate discount factor is closer to the riskless rate." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

Relief for 403(b) Plan Compliance Failures
"In the course of an IRS teleconference on August 25 . . . the IRS confirmed that an update and expansion of EPCRS is expected in the 'near future' so as to extend all correction opportunities, including remediation of document failures, to 403(b) plan sponsors." (Fox Rothschild LLP)

Assessing Stable-Value Strategies: What Plan Sponsors Should Consider (PDF)
"From a high-level perspective, stable value is an investment strategy that has performed well throughout the credit crisis when compared to other strategies. However, investors should be aware of a few notable changes brought to the fore by a combination of its underlying structure and recent economic and market stress: limited wrap capacity, tighter investment guidelines, higher fees and the potential for an increasing interest rate scenario, to name just a few." (Towers Watson)

401(k) and Profit Sharing Plans' Response to Current Conditions
"Companies took a variety of actions in the last year. Most notably, 63.8 percent changed the investment lineup in 2011 up from 56.2 percent in 2010, and only 19.7 percent in 2009. More than half of plans increased employee education efforts in 2011, and 43.2 percent provided education specifically on market volatility. Eight percent of plans added an automatic enrollment feature to their plans. One-quarter of companies monitor whether participants are on track for retirement, including 42.6 percent of large plans." (Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA))

Takeover of American Airlines' Pensions Would Be Biggest PBGC Loss
"The four plans, which cover nearly 130,000 participants, have about $8.3 bil.lion in assets and about $18.5 bil.lion in promised benefits. The PBGC said Tuesday that if the plans fold, the agency would be liable for about $17 bil.lion in benefits, resulting in an $8.7 bil.lion loss to the agency." (Business Insurance)

AMR Bankrup.tcy May Cost Workers $1 Bil.lion in Pension Benefits
"The PBGC will encourage American to 'fix its financial problems' and keep its pensions intact . . . ." (Bloomberg L.P.)

Louisiana State Employees Retirement System Wants to Reduce Pension System Contribution by $40M
"The Advocate reports . . . the change — to a method expected to be recommended by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board for certain reports — would end up lowering the percent of payroll that the state would contribute into the system in the fiscal year that begins July 1." (The Republic)

Delivering ERISA Disclosure for Defined Contribution Plans: Why the Time Has Come to Prefer Electronic Delivery (PDF)
"The single biggest objection to an electronic-first approach has probably been a concern about lack of Internet access for some participants. As the discussion [in this paper] has shown, the vast majority of plan participants have access to and use the Internet today. Moreover, electronic notice has important advantages in terms of access, for visually impaired participants, and for those who wish to use translation software." (Investment Company Institute)

Some Milwaukee Workers Get Cash to Offset Higher Pension Costs
"The extra cash for Redevelopment Authority and Housing Authority workers is intended to keep their compensation on par with that of regular city employees who don't have to make the pension contributions, and who work side-by-side with authority employees doing similar jobs, the spokesmen said." (Journal Sentinel Inc.)

Senate Democrats Propose Extending Payroll Tax Cut
"The bill would . . . reduce the Social Security payroll tax paid by employers on the first $5 mil.lion of taxable payroll to 3.1 percent from 6.2 percent." (The New York Times; free registration required)

How to Fix Your 401(k) Plan
"So the venerable 401(k) needs some fixing, or we need another kind of national savings plan. But before we dis the 401(k) further, consider that it was never meant to be a primary source of retirement security; it was conceived as a savings program to augment traditional pensions and Social Security benefits." (Time Inc.)

Extension of Payroll Tax Break Possible Despite Political Differences
"Senate leaders plan a vote this week on the president's plan to cut the employee rate to 3.1% for 2012, while also cutting the employer rate to 3.1% on the first $5 mil.lion of wages paid in 2012. Republican opposition is expected, but lawmakers will look for a bipartisan way to pass relief." (Mercer LLC)

[Opinion]
Bad Market Is Just Part of San Jose's Pension Problems
"The city of San Jose faces a fiscal death squeeze as it tries to fund ballooning costs of employee retirement benefits. . . . Those who resist change parrot the myth that a strong economic recovery will fix this. They're wrong. Market losses since 2008 have exacerbated the problem, but they are just one of many factors driving the costs." (San Jose Mercury News)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
ISS's U.S. Proxy Voting Guidelines for 2012
"[I]t is important for every public company to understand ISS's policies and how the company's practices measure up to those policies in order to take proactive steps related to anticipated or actual negative voting recommendations." (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati)

[Guidance Overview]
Equity Arrangements and Change in Control Agreements
"Young was a split decision, 2 to 1. A vigorous dissent concluded that the unambiguous terms of the plan made clear that the executive had good reason to resign in February 2009, and that the compensation committee's reading of the plan was based on an interpretation that was contrary to the plan's unambiguous terms and therefore arbitrary under New York law." (National Association of Stock Plan Professionals via Utz, Miller & Eickman, LLC)

[Guidance Overview]
ISS's Updated Proxy Voting Guidelines for 2012
"U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission . . . rules require companies to provide shareholders the opportunity to vote on the frequency with which advisory say-on-pay votes will be held. ISS will recommend voting against any incumbent director on a board that implemented a say-on-pay vote less frequently than the frequency which received the greatest number shareholder votes." (McDermott Will & Emery)

[Guidance Overview]
Is Employer Obligated to Pay a Pro Rata Bonus to Employees No Longer with the Company?
"Of particular interest is whether an employee who has been terminated — voluntarily or involuntarily — is entitled to a pro rata share of the bonus as of the date of termination. The payment of bonuses is generally governed by applicable state law." (Franczek Radelet P.C.)

[Guidance Overview]
New Jersey Requires Employers to Post New Notice and Provide Copy to All Employees (PDF)
"New Jersey Requires Employers to Post New Notice. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development recently issued a new notice on employer reporting and recordkeeping obligations under state law. Along with posting in the workplace, New Jersey employers must provide a copy of the notice to each employee hired after November 7, 2011 at the time of hiring and to each employee hired before that date by December 7, 2011." (Buck Consultants, LLC)

Compliance with Anticipated SEC Rules Requiring Information on Ratio of Employee Pay to CEO Compensation Difficult and Expensive
"[T]he Securities and Exchange Commission hopes to issue proposed rules that would require publicly traded employers to calculate the ratio of median employee pay to CEO compensation." (Human Resource Executive Online)

JCEB Q&As Offer Nonbinding DOL Responses on Employee Benefit Issues
"The Q&As address a range of topics, including health care reform and retirement plan issues." (Practical Law Company)

New Publication: S Corporation ESOP Traps for the Unwary
This issue brief from the NCEO discusses pitfalls that S corporation ESOPs face and provides solutions to keep the ESOP and its corporate sponsor out of harm's way. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Press Releases



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