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February 23, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Pension Benefits Analyst
for Stratus Technology Services in CT, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI

Vested Interest Project Leader
for PNC in PA

Compliance Director
for United Benefit Advisors in IN

Qualified Plan Administrator
for Trust Company of America in CO

IRT Relationship Manager 3
for Wells Fargo in SC

Pension Administrator - DC/401(k)
for Stephen H. Rosen & Associates, Inc. in NJ

Director, Disbursement Operations
for Prudential in PA

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Webcasts and Conferences

401(k) Service Provider Fee Disclosures: Get Ready for Compliance by July 2012
Nationwide on March 22, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

41st Annual Retirement and Benefits Management Seminar
in North Carolina on April 26, 2012 presented by CAPTRUST Financial Advisors

Cafeteria Plan Election Changes: A Seminar Based on Your Scenarios
Nationwide on February 16, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar
in Illinois on May 15, 2012 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Health Savings Accounts
Nationwide on March 22, 2012 presented by Lorman Education Services

The ERISA and Securities Litigation Snapshot: Things You Can Do Now to Minimize CFO and Board Liability
Nationwide on March 7, 2012 presented by F T I Consulting

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Webinar
Nationwide on March 28, 2012 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Weight Loss At the Workplace: Legal Issues For Employers Seeking To Reduce Health Care Costs
Nationwide on March 1, 2012 presented by Lorman Education Services

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[Guidance Overview]
The Fiduciary Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege (PDF)
"[The great majority of the courts that have addressed the issue] have concluded that the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege allows plan participants and the Secretary of Labor to obtain testimony or documents relating to confidential communications between plan fiduciaries and their lawyers regarding plan administration." (Covington & Burling LLP)

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[Guidance Overview]
Key Takeaways from 401(k) Fee Disclosure Final Regulations
"The effective date of the final regulations is July 1, 2012. This means that contracts or arrangements between a CSP and a covered plan that are entered into on or after July 1, 2012, must comply with the final regulations, and contracts or arrangements in existence prior to July 1, 2012, must be brought into compliance as of such date." (Quarles & Brady LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
What Responsible Plan Fiduciaries and Covered Service Providers Need to Prepare For
"The Final Regulations represent the last step in a process that the DOL began in 2008 to expand disclosure of compensation paid to service providers to ERISA-subject plans... [E]xamples [are provided] of application of the Final Regulations to real-world [situations]." (Orrick)

[Guidance Overview]
D-Days: DOL Closes Circle On Disclosure
"Plan sponsors cannot simply sit back and rely on service providers for necessary disclosures. Even though service providers are subject to prohibited transaction sanctions, the plan sponsor is ultimately responsible. The class exemption for responsible plan fiduciaries applies only if the responsible fiduciary does not know of a disclosure failure and believes that the required disclosures have been made. Thus, the exemption will apply only to truly innocent plan fiduciaries who subsequently discover the failure and take the necessary steps to remedy it." (Warner Norcross & Judd)

[Guidance Overview]
New Guidance on Lifetime Income Options in Retirement Plans
"The guidance is aimed at making it easier for defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, IRAs, 403(b) plans and 457(b) plans to offer benefit options such as partial annuities and longevity annuities." (Ogletree Deakins)

[Guidance Overview]
Initial Report on 401(k) Questionnaire Indicates Widespread Compliance with Governing Rules
"The IRS ... is encouraging plan sponsors to use the 401(k) Questionnaire, in conjunction with the report findings, to further strengthen their internal controls over plan operation and to find, fix and avoid errors in their 401(k) plans." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

[Guidance Overview]
Obligations and Liabilities of Retirement Plan Fiduciaries under the Final DOL Fee Disclosure Rules
"We expect that the ... regulations will be used as both sword and shield in the future. In particular, where plan fiduciaries can point toward compliance with these rules, a potential defense may be established against litigation and/or the DOL. On the other hand, for vendors and plan fiduciaries who do not take the steps required in gathering and communicating required information, assessing compensation and fee information, and/or proactively determining whether service arrangements are reasonable, this new regulatory scheme expands liability under ERISA because claims regarding prohibited transactions and/or breaches of fiduciary duty may develop more easily." (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati)

'Series of Substantially Equal Periodic Payments' Exception to 10% Premature IRA Distribution Penalty Is Tricky
"The series of payments are sometimes called '72(t)' payments, but that's a misnomer. § 72(t) of the Internal Revenue Code is the section that imposes the 10% penalty. The SOSEPP exception is actually found in § 72(t)(2)(A)(iv)." (Morningstar)

Steps Every Boomer Should Take Before Leaving the Workforce
"1. Understand your retirement plan options. Know whether you should cash out your retirement plan and do a direct rollover to an IRA, or leave the plan at your employer." (Fox Business)

Using Home Equity to Fund a 401(k)
"On the face of it, there are some great reasons to tap your home equity and put it into a tax-advantaged retirement account. To begin with, mortgage interest is tax-deductable - and so are contributions to certain retirement accounts. So you can benefit both coming and going." (NASDAQ)

10 Important Ages for Retirement Planning
"Eligibility for retirement benefits begins at different ages. Your age also plays a role in what you need to do to avoid retirement account penalties. Here are important ages to factor into your retirement plans[.]" (U.S. News & World Report)

Clarification of Form 1099-R Could Improve Taxpayer Compliance
"[Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration] recommended that the Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division: (1) revise the Form 1099-R to clarify the meaning of the taxable amount not determined box in order to reduce taxpayer confusion and include the dates needed to identify retirement savings program distributions and transfers not rolled over within 60 days as required, and (2) establish procedures to transcribe additional lines from various tax forms." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

Many Small Business Owners In the Dark on Retirement Plans, Fidelity Finds
"About half of those who use a Self-Employed 401(k) plan did not know the maximum annual employer contribution amount allowed for that type of plan. Also, about 60% of those with SIMPLE-IRAs were not aware that employer tax filing is not required[.]" (On Wall Street)

Restructuring Experts Can Hold Pension Plans' Future in Their Hands
"[R]egardless of the size of the pension plans at stake, the demand for such experts is on the rise.... Increasingly, companies are addressing pension matters in restructurings, mergers and acquisitions and in pre-emptive situations that are unrelated to any specific financial transaction[.]" (Pensions & Investments)

Experts Split Over Private Equity?
"[W]hile academics argue over private equity, the industry's top funds are thriving. Private equity is here to stay and investors have a lot more liquidity in this asset class than in the past because of the secondaries market." (Pension Pulse)

Time to Tighten Rules on U.S. Pensions
"Last year was tough for U.S. pension plans — both private and public. But while it looked like private plans were hardest hit, this is merely a matter of appearances. Public plans are in much worse shape, though lenient accounting rules allow them to paint a misleadingly rosy picture of their funding status." (The Brookings Institution)

Conference Proposes New Pension Options
"Top policy experts joined with government officials to examine new retirement options for private-sector workers ... These new options will allow risks to be shared to produce optimal outcomes for both employers and employees." (Pension Rights Center)

Managing Pension Risk: Confront Your Risk/Reward Dilemma
"The rules have changed. The climate has shifted. And pension managers who have always faced certain fundamental challenges — staying properly funded and matching assets to liabilities — must now manage a broader set of issues in an increasingly tough environment. Front and center is the need to grow returns and contain risk — a duality that presents many pension funds with a risk/reward dilemma." (State Street Global Advisors)

The Cost, and Likelihood, of Living Longer — Much Longer
"At the very least, say pros, it's essential to plan financially at least through age 95 — and if you have a history of longevity in your family, figure on surviving to the century mark." (SmartMoney)

Soft Landing Strategies for Troubled Multiemployer Pension Plans: Cooperation, Compromise, and Flexibility (PDF)
"Fully funded plans and less volatile investments should be the final aim of any plan restructuring. In the current economic environment, that is an impossible goal for some plans. The worst approach would be to wait for a crisis to create consensus for change. Allowing plans now in distress to create solutions that address their specific circumstances will save the largest number of plans and benefit the greatest number of participants." (Kraw & Kraw Law Group)

President Obama's Corporate Tax Reform Proposal Negative Towards ESOPs, Especially ESOPs
"Our national leaders of both parties, need to understand that national policies to encourage employee stock ownership, and new policies to increase ownership among more working Americans, need to be considered as an effective way to ensure our national employment rate is where we all want it to be[.]" (The ESOP Association)

Presidential Budget Attacks Small Business 401(k) Plans
"The section on page 39 entitled 'Reduce the Value of Itemized Deductions and Other Tax Preferences to 28 Percent for Families with Incomes Over $250,000' includes the following language: 'The proposal would limit the tax rate at which high-income taxpayers can reduce their tax liability to a maximum of 28 percent, affecting only married taxpayers filing a joint return with income over $250,000 (at 2009 levels) and single taxpayers with income over $200,000. This limit would apply to: all itemized deductions; foreign excluded income; tax-exempt interest; employer sponsored health insurance; retirement contributions; and selected above-the-line deductions.'" (National Association of Plan Advisors)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

2011–2012 Regulatory Agendas for Employee Benefits Published by Treasury and DOL (PDF)
"Projects added since the previously published agendas are shown in bold [on the chart in the article]. There are two new DOL initiatives and no new Treasury initiatives." (Sutherland)

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Lois Baker, J.D., President
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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