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February 13, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Sr HR Representative
for Entergy Corporation in LA

Account Manager
for Nova 401(k) Associates in TX

Benefits Administrative Manager
for SEIU Benefit Funds in DC

Legal Counsel/Senior Legal Counsel
for Fidelity Investments in TX

Retirement Education Specialist
for MassMutual Financial Group in LA, MS, OK, TX

Annuity and Life Product Development Manager
for AUL/OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc. in IN

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Webcasts and Conferences

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium- Baltimore
in Maryland on March 8, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium- Seattle (Bellevue)
in Washington on March 6, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

Paper Chase and Follow the Money: Paper and Electronic Benefit Disclosures Including Fees
Nationwide on March 20, 2012 presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships: Benefits Plan Design and Litigation Issues
Nationwide on March 14, 2012 presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

U.S. Treasury Department “Proposed Guidance Package on Lifetime Income”
Nationwide on February 23, 2012 presented by Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, LLC

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[Guidance Overview]
IRS Tips on Requesting Copies of Original or Corrected Determination Letters
"Copies of an original or corrected determination letter must be requested in writing by mail or fax. The IRS does not accept telephone or email requests at this time. The IRS asks that requestors not submit a copy of the original EP determination letter application with the request." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

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[Guidance Overview]
DOL Issues Final Fiduciary-Level Service Provider Fee Disclosure Regulations and Extends Effective Date to July 1, 2012
"Service providers and plan fiduciaries will need to ensure that required disclosures are made by the new effective date, July 1, 2012, so that existing contracts are not converted into prohibited transactions on that date." (Thomson Reuters/EBIA)

Congress Eyes Cuts in Retirement Plan Tax Benefits
"Among the changes discussed during the supercommittee's deficit-reduction talks was the idea of reducing the maximum dollar amount that can be contributed to a tax-qualified retirement plan." (MarketWatch)

Congress Looking at New Rules for Inherited IRAs as Revenue-Raiser
"A Senate Finance Committee proposal floated this past week as part of a highway-funding bill would give heirs five years to empty inherited individual retirement accounts or 401(k)s, which would typically trigger income-tax payments. The rule change could raise some $4.6 bil.lion in income taxes over the next decade, according to a statement by Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee." (The Wall Street Journal)

California State Pension Initiative Fails, Local Votes in June
"A drive to place a statewide public pension reform initiative on the November ballot ended last week, lacking funding like previous attempts. But major local pension reforms are expected to be on the June ballot in San Diego and San Jose." (Calpensions)

Feds' 401(k) Annuity Proposals Fail to Address the Biggest Roadblocks to Achieving Goal of a Lifetime Income Stream
"[R]etirement-plan experts view the proposed measures as baby steps that do not address the most important factors keeping plan sponsors from offering guaranteed retirement income products. First, there are several potential liability issues. For example, while quite a few insurance companies offer such products — including several launched within the past year — each offers only its own solution. That undermines a plan sponsor's fiduciary duty to prudently select investment options." (CFO)

Cerulli Predicts IRA Marketplace Will Grow Steadily
"According to Cerulli's report titled 'The State of The Rollover and Retirement Income Markets: Sizing, Segmentation, and Addressability 2011,' IRAs are becoming the destination for defined contribution (DC) assets." (

Weighing Buckets vs. Systematic Withdrawals for Retirees
"One of the key strategic decisions advisors who work with retiring clients face is whether to use systematic withdrawals or the 'bucket' approach to serve investors transitioning from asset accumulation during their working years to income distribution during retirement." (BenefitsPro)

DOL Files Lawsuit against Plan Sponsor over Investment in Alleged Ponzi Scheme
"The DOL seeks to recover more than $775,000 which the company's 401(k) invested in Transcontinental Airlines Employee Investment Savings Account, an alleged ponzi scheme, in 2006. Dynasty Construction Inc. ceased operations in 2007." (The Pension Protection Act Blog)

Delaying Retirement Can Significantly Boost Your Nest Egg
"The age workers expect to retire has increased from an average of 60 in 1995 to 66 in 2011, according to a Gallup poll. The proportion of people aiming to retire early has plummeted from 50 percent in 1995 to 28 percent in 2011. Most Americans now expect to retire at age 65 or later." (U.S. News & World Report)

California Public Employees, Including Teachers, Receive Retirement Benefits Even If They Are Felons
"In fact, any state or local government employee in California who commits a felony — theft, embezzlement, extortion, bribery — in the course of performing a public duty is still entitled to a pension." (Los Angeles Times)

Here's a Big Secret About Your 401(k)
"[Recently DOL] and Treasury issued a triumphant joint announcement. It said that as part of Obama's 'blueprint for an American economy built to last,' Labor took action to provide more transparency around 401(k) fees. . . . This is information that has taken five years to force into the open. In November 2006 the [GAO] issued a report suggesting more transparency was needed into fees, the kind participants are (often unknowingly) paying to companies like Fidelity, Bank of America's Merrill Lynch, BlackRock and PIMCO, among others." (Forbes)

Signs Your Pension Plan Is in Trouble
"Something as seemingly innocuous as having a lump-sum payout provision, or even having a religious affiliation, could mean your benefits are vulnerable. Here are some red flags to look for, and some ways to protect yourself." (The Wall Street Journal)

Looking to 70-1/2, a Magic Number in Retirement Plans
"If you have more than one retirement account other than Roth IRA's, which don't have required minimum distributions, you need to calculate the distribution separately for each but are then permitted to withdraw the total from any single source or a combination. So if you have four IRA's, you can withdraw your total R.M.D. from one of them." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Were They Prepared for Retirement? Financial Status at Advanced Ages
"We study how assets at the end of life depend on three family status pathways prior to death[:] (1) original one-person households in 1993, (2) persons in two-person household in 1993 with a deceased spouse in the last year observed, and (3) persons in two-person households in 1993 with the spouse alive when last observed." (The National Bureau of Economic Research; paid subscription or individual purchase required to retrieve full text)

Announcing an Increase in the State Pension Age and the Recession: Which Mattered More for Expected Retirement Ages?
"Our findings show that there was no noticeable break in expected retirement ages before and after 3 March 2010 (the day on which the policy announcement was made). However, there was a clear shift of people into the categories 'don't plan to retire' and 'do not know' before and after September 30 2010. This was the day that the full scale of the banking crisis emerged (named by the media as 'Black Thursday') and was followed by the set of events which led to the bailout of November 2010. Similarly, there was a shift away from modal expected retirement ages after that date." (Social Science Research Network)

Does Understanding the Relation Between Retirement Contributions and Future Monthly Income Encourage Savings?
"This study uses a large-scale field experiment to measure how a low-cost, direct-mail intervention designed to inform subjects about this relationship affects saving behavior. Using administrative data before and after the interventions, the study measures the effect of the interventions on rates of participation in retirement plans and the level of contributions to tax-deferred retirement saving accounts." (RAND)

A Novel Way to Promote the Fiduciary Standard
"One of the hostages of the current stalemate is the SEC's consideration of a rule adopting a uniform fiduciary standard for brokers and investment advisers. Critics argue for a go-slow approach, demanding cost-benefit analyses first." (fi360 blog)

Still a Better Deal: Private Investment vs. Social Security
"[P]rivate capital investment remains remarkably safe over the long term. Despite recent declines in the stock market, a worker who had invested privately over the past 40 years would have still earned an average yearly return of 6.85 percent investing in the S&P 500, 3.46 percent from corporate bonds, and 2.44 percent from government bonds." (Cato Institute)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Same-Sex Marriage to Become Legal in Washington State Today
"For purchased insurance, including health benefits, the Act is unlikely to have any impact, apart from a change in terminology from domestic partner to spouse. Employers should check with their insurance brokers, however, to see if there are any changes to plans, policies, enrollment forms or other issues related to purchased insurance benefits." (Littler)

Fortune 1000 Firms Lead the Charge in NQDC Plans
"More than 8 in 10 Fortune 1000 businesses offer a non-qualified deferred compensation plan to their key executives, a new survey discloses. The Newport Group, Heathrow, Fla., released this finding in a summary of results from its 2012 edition of 'Executive Benefits: A Survey of Current Trends.'" (BenefitsPro)

2011 Data on Executive Compensation in Companies Sponsoring ESOPs
The featured excerpt from the March-April 2012 Employee Ownership Report summarizes the results of the NCEO's 2011 ESOP Executive Compensation Survey. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Send Benefit Changes Messages in Various Ways
"If a company wants to get the word out and explain benefits, its human resource professionals should rely on a variety of ways to communicate. A simple way to do this without segregating your workers into groups is to communicate a message in at least three ways . . . ." (Business Insurance)

Highlights of GAO Forum on Financial Literacy: Strengthening Partnerships in Challenging Times (PDF)
"On October 20, 2011, GAO convened a select group of leaders and experts for a forum to discuss key issues related to financial literacy. These participants, which included representatives of federal, state, and local government agencies; academic experts; nonprofit practitioners; and representatives from the private sector, were selected to represent a range of viewpoints and draw from a variety of backgrounds." (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

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