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March 14, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Financial Services Operations Division Manager
for Nationwide Insurance in OH

Defined Contribution - Client Service Associate
for Milliman in CO

Litigation Attorney
for Slevin & Hart, P.C. in DC

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Webcasts and Conferences

Form 5500 for Health and Welfare Plans: Preparation and Filing Basics
Nationwide on April 12, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Health Care Reform
in Minnesota on May 11, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Minnesota on May 10, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

HIPAA Privacy & Security
in Minnesota on May 10, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Minnesota on May 9, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Minnesota on May 9, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Cafeteria Plans
in Minnesota on May 8, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Workshop
in Washington on March 27, 2012 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

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[Guidance Overview]
New Tax Rules Seek to Help Employers Provide Retirement Plans with Lifetime Income Options
"Although not all of the provisions have been finalized, employers may wish to begin exploring potential plan design changes, as well as examining the administrative, economic, and fiduciary implications of offering lifetime income distribution options, to accommodate the trend toward providing these options in defined contribution plans." (Epstein Becker Green)

DATAIR! More Choices Better Guidance Less Cost   [Advert.]

Sponsored by DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc.

Documents, SPDs, Amendments, Administrative Forms
401(k)/Profit Sharing, 403(b), DB and Cash Balance Plans

Why Employees Might Balk at Their 401(k) Fees
"Specifically, the officers of a company responsible for their 401(k) program will need to be prepared to explain to their employees that nothing has actually changed -- despite the fact that their employees will be looking at statements which appear to be showing new fees." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Re-Enrollment Means that Plan Fiduciaries Restart the Plan
"In recent years, plan sponsors have become aware of the importance of improving the quality of participant investing.... As plan sponsors have focused on this issue, many have learned that the most effective and immediate way to improve participant investing is to 're-enroll' the 401(k) plan." (Drinker Biddle & Reath)

Employers Open to Higher DC Defaults and Auto Escalation
"The poll, commissioned by the Principal Financial Group, looked at behavior among both defined contribution plan sponsors and employers without defined contribution plans. The survey found that only 15% of plan sponsors believe their employees are prepared to manage their money in retirement, and three-fourths of sponsors would like the government to mandate income projections on employees' 401(k) statements." (Pensions & Investments)

The Gaming (Spiking) of Public Pensions
"In his 12-point pension-reform plan, California Gov. Jerry Brown proposes to stop spiking by basing pensions on an employee's three highest-earning years and not including add-ons as part of the salary calculation. If he wants to see how the proposal would work, Brown need only look to Massachusetts, where both of those provisions are already law." (Governing)

IRS Phone Forum Is Mar. 30 (Preregistration Required); EP Determination Letter Program Update

Sponsored by Internal Revenue Service

Important changes to the Employee Plans determination letter will be discussed by Donald Kieffer, Area Manager in the IRS Employee Plans determination letter program, along with IRS staff member Andrew Fedders. Attendees are encouraged to submit questions in advance.

Target-Date Fund Adoption in 2011
"This Vanguard research note examines the factors behind the growing popularity of TDFs and their impact on participant portfolios." (Vanguard)

Managing Pension Risk: Confronting the Risk/Reward Dilemma
"[P]ension 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)

Changes in Age and Service Requirements for Normal Retirement in State Retirement Plans, 2009–2011
"This report discusses increases in age and service requirements for normal retirement that state governments enacted from 2009 through 2011. It includes changes in 30 plans for general state employees and teachers in 25 states, and 16 plans for public safety employees in 13 states. In most cases, the changes affect only people hired after the legislation was passed. In a few plans, the changes apply to non-vested members as well." (National Conference of State Legislatures)

Can the Actuarial Reduction for Social Security Early Retirement Still Be Right?
"The option to claim early was enacted over 50 years ago, when Congress set 62 as the program's Earliest Age of Eligibility. To make up for the extra three years of benefit payments, those claiming at 62 received 20 percent less in monthly benefits than if they had claimed at 65. Despite a significant increase in life expectancy in the intervening years, benefits claimed at 62 today are still about 20 percent less than benefits claimed at 65. This brief asks whether this actuarial reduction is still correct." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2010
"This biennial report presents detailed statistical information on the major sources and amounts of income for people aged 55 or older. The tabulations focus on the major sources of total income by age, se.x, marital status, race, and Hispanic origin. Several tables describe the economic situation of the aged with varying levels of Social Security benefits. Their poverty status is presented in terms of the income of the families they live with." (Social Security Administration)

Hedge Funds and Private Equity Investments
"Through testimony and research, the Council developed a tip sheet, that certain plan sponsors may find beneficial when evaluating whether to invest retirement plan assets in hedge funds and/or private equity funds, and for the ongoing monitoring of such plan investments." (ERISA Advisory Council)

Current Challenges and Best Practices for ERISA Compliance for 403(b) Plan Sponsors
"The objectives of this report are to (1) identify areas where guidance is confusing or lacking relating to complying with the new 403(b) regulations and (2) to determine what actions the Department of Labor (DOL) could take to enhance compliance with the regulations issued by DOL, as well as to ease certain regulatory burdens for 403(b) plan sponsors, especially smaller employers." (ERISA Advisory Council)

Labor Department Will Continue to Focus on Disclosure Initiatives
"The Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda released by [DOL] reflects a continued emphasis on disclosure. With the issuance in January 2012 of final regulations ... that govern the disclosure of compensation received by plan service providers, the Agenda reveals that further regulatory action will be focused on the Annual Funding Notice, Target Date Fund disclosures, a guide for the Section 408(b)(2) disclosures, and Pension Benefit Statements." (Deloitte)

For Workers' Sake, Reinvent the Ownership Society
"Here's some good news about America's public-pension system. Contrary to many reports, the country can afford it. Social Security faces much less fiscal pressure over the coming decades than pension systems in other advanced economies. It will need patching, but the repairs aren't that difficult. But there's bad news as well. When it comes to incomes in retirement, fixing Social Security is the smaller part of what needs to be done. The real challenge is to increase saving." (Bloomberg)

Defined Benefit Plans — What to Look For in 2012: Discount Rates
"Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has done what it can to keep interest rates low in an effort to offer cheap rates to homeowners and businesses with the hopes of eventually reviving the economy. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last month that the plan would be to keep rates 'exceptionally low' through 2014. One unfortunate consequence of these actions has been to increase the cost of insurance and annuities to individuals and plan sponsors. This wreaks havoc in the retirement industry." (Retirement Town Hall)

New York Pension Battle Brewing?
"Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo see the costs of pensions skyrocketing and they're absolutely right to make the case for higher pension contributions. But labor unions are right to see this as an assault on labor. Why? Because pension reforms are calling for employees to shift out of a safe, secure defined-benefit plans into a less secure, volatile 401(k) defined-contribution type plan." (Pension Pulse)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Update, Spring 2012
Articles include Health Care Reform: Compliance Under the New Rules on Summary of Benefits and Coverage; Service Provider Fee Disclosure Regulations; and Managing "Longevity Risk" under Proposed Guidance. (Greensfelder)

Controlled and Affiliated Service Group Rules for Retirement and Cafeteria Plans
"Compliance with the various rules for qualified plans is difficult even for companies that are not part of a controlled group. It becomes even more difficult when operating multiple operations domestically. Adding foreign operations into the equation adds substantial additional complexity which companies need to recognize and address. The risk of noncompliance is too costly to ignore!" (EisnerAmper)

Privacy and Security Issues Affecting Employee Benefit Plans
"The Council recommended that [DOL]: (1) provide guidance on the obligation of plan fiduciaries to secure and keep private the personal identifiable information ... of participants and beneficiaries; (2) develop educational materials and outreach efforts for plan sponsors, participants, and beneficiaries to address the issues of privacy and security of PII; and (3) include in their outreach and educational materials information regarding elder abuse related to benefit plans." (ERISA Advisory Council)

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Fax (407) 644-2151

Jeanette Hull, News Editor
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Lois Baker, J.D., President <>
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