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January 6, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Benefit Services Specialist
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

401k Plan/Asset Management Sales
for Premier National Provider in ANY STATE, CA, DC, IL, IN, MD, MI, NJ, OR, PA, TX

Plan Administrator
for Blue Ridge ESOP Associates in ANY STATE

DC Plan Administrator
for TPA Firm in Maryland in MD

Senior Investment Analyst
for Cammack LaRhette Consulting in NY

Account Manager, Retirement Plans
for Cammack LaRhette Consulting in NY

Senior Editor for EBIA Products
for Thomson Reuters (EBIA) in ANY STATE, WA

Pension Compliance Manager
for National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) in VA

Account Manager - Deconversion
for MassMutual Financial Group in MA

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Webcasts and Conferences

"1099-R: An Ongoing Challenge" Web Seminar
Nationwide on January 13, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"ADP/ACP Testing Techniques 2012" - A 2-part Web Seminar
Nationwide on February 1, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"Earned Income: Computing Compensation for the Self-Employed" Web Seminar
Nationwide on January 24, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"ERPA Test Review Part II" Web Seminar, A 3-part program
Nationwide on January 9, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

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[Official Guidance]
Rev. Rul. 2012-5: Covered Compensation Tables for 2012 (PDF)
"[Treasury Regulation] Section 1.401(l)-1(c)(7)(i) defines covered compensation for an employee as the average (without indexing) of the taxable wage bases in effect for each calendar year during the 35-year period ending with the last day of the calendar year in which the employee attains (or will attain) social security retirement age. A 35-year period is used for all individuals regardless of the year of birth of the individual. . . . For purposes of determining covered compensation for the 2012 year, the taxable wage base is $110,100. The following tables provide covered compensation for 2012." (U.S. Internal Revenue Service)

BLAZE SSI released EFAST2-approved 2011 5500 software on 1/2/12!   [Advert.]

Sponsored by BlazeSSI

Available now - The BLAZE SSI 2011 EFAST2-approved Filing Preparation and Transmission Systems for electronic filing of 5500 Forms. PBGC forms, SAR and DB Annual Funding Notice included. Email or call:; (800) 292-3688

[Guidance Overview]
IRS Proposal on What Is a Government Agency and Government Retirement Plan
"The IRS has asked for public comment on the notice. This memo gives a first cut review of the notice. Because the rules are all based on facts and circumstances within prescribed criteria, retirement systems and public agencies should review their particular facts to fully understand the implications. [Originally published November 10, 2011.]" (Hanson Bridgett LLP)

Low Pension Discount Rates = Big Accounting Liabilities for FY2011
"Using the Citigroup Pension Discount Curve (CPDC) as a proxy, pension accounting discount rates could decrease by 100 basis points (or more). This will mean a big increase in the pension liability and net balance sheet liability for many plans." (Van Iwaarden Associates)

Retirement Account Balances, Updated January 2012
"The retirement savings of American households took a big hit when the stock market crashed in 2008. Recently, however, a good portion of these losses has been reversed. This fact sheet follows trends in retirement account balances since the beginning of 2005." (Urban Institute)

ERISA Individual Prohibited Transaction Exemptions: 2011 in Review (PDF)
"In 2011, [DOL] continued a fairly active program of issuing individual exemptions from the prohibited transaction rules of ERISA. These rules generally prohibit, among other things: Sale and lending transactions between (i) certain retirement and other plans specified in ERISA and/or the Internal Revenue Code and (ii) a 'party in interest' or 'disqualified person' to that plan; and Self-dealing or conflicted interests on the part of a plan 'fiduciary.'" (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

DOL Might Delay 401(k) Fee Disclosure
"The Labor Department has a 'high degree of confidence' that it can issue the rule by the end of January, according to a person familiar with the matter, adding that the department was sympathetic to the industry's concerns about the short deadline for complying with the rule and wanted to avoid 'a chaotic adjustment period.'" (Thomson Reuters)

Company Ownership Through an ESOP Builds Employee Loyalty
"A Rutgers University study, done in 2000 but still cited in support of ESOPs, found that ESOP companies grew 2.3 percent to 2.4 percent faster after setting up their ESOP than would have been expected without it." (Trib Total Media, Inc.)

Working Longer: The Solution to the Retirement Income Challenge
"This timely and insightful book assesses the potential of longer work lives to strengthen retirement security." (The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

SPARK and The SPARK Institute Reorganized into One Association
"Ten companies are funding the reorganization, and include: Ascensus, BlackRock, DST Retirement Solutions, Great-West Retirement Services, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Lincoln Financial Group, Prudential Retirement, SunGard and Wells Fargo & Company. The resulting entity will operate as The SPARK Institute." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Illinois Governor Signs Pension Bill Curbing 'Double Dipping'
"The law, which takes effect immediately, aims to end the practice of so-called double dipping for public employees. According to the Associated Press, in some cases, employees took leaves to work for their unions, but continued to build benefits in government pension systems based on union pay." (PLANSPONSOR.COM)

Alternatives for Pension-Fund Risk Management
"How do we translate what the variable-annuity writers are doing into the pension plan space? Doing so involves two sophisticated risk management techniques: volatility management and a capital protection strategy." (Milliman, Inc.)

New Regulation Targets Hidden Fees in 401(k) Investments
"The new rule is in response to numerous lawsuits filed by employees who learned after the fact that they were paying large hidden fees to investment firms managing their accounts. Under the new requirement, insurance companies, payroll services and to some extent mutual fund companies will no longer be able to hide their unconscionable fees to people participating in their retirement plans." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

12 Half-Truths about Public Pensions that Deserve to Be Debunked in 2012
"There's an old saying in politics that if you tell the same lie long enough, the public will eventually believe it — and that apparently is the mentality of lobbyists on both sides. In an effort to start the new year with a clean slate for public debate, I'd like to set the record straight on a dozen of the most glaring fallacies and silly slogans." (Governing)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
2012 Payroll Tax Rates and Limits (PDF)
"The maximum [Social Security Employee] withholding for the period January 1, 2012, to February 29, 2012, is $770.70 (calculated at 4.2% of maximum wage base). The maximum withholding for the period March 1, 2012, to December 31, 2012, if the payroll tax holiday is not extended, is $5,688.50 (calculated at 6.2% of maximum wage base). The sum of $770.70 and $5,688.50 is $6,459.20." (Lindquist LLP)

The ERISA Bond: Summary of Some of the Key Bonding Requirements
"The bonding requirement applies to most employee benefit plans under ERISA, including: tax-qualified retirement plans; group medical, dental, and prescription drug plans; and flexible spending arrangements (FSAs). You should think about the ERISA bonding requirements any time that you or one of your employees or agents is handling employee money or plan assets." (McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP)

How Many TPAs Are There? Explanation and Legal Liability Factors
"Based on the various statistics & reports and occasional access to raw survey data and market terminology, my best estimate based on cross-referencing relevant parts of the various data, is that 52-55% of all US covered workers in non-federal-government plans are in plans administered to some degree by a TPA entity." (Society of Professional Benefit Administrators)

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