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March 19, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Affiliate Employee Services Health & Welfare Program Facilitator
for General Electric Co. in NY

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Applied Pension Services, LLC in NY

Compliance Officer
for Hill Chesson & Woody Employee Benefit Services in NC

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Webcasts and Conferences

New 2012 Benefit Summary Requirements
Nationwide on March 20, 2012 presented by FutureOffice Network

The "No-Brainer" 401(k) Plan: What Participants Really Want and What Plan Sponsors Need to Do
Nationwide on May 17, 2012 presented by TRI-AD

Public Sector Retirement Benefits Overcoming the Challenges
Nationwide on April 13, 2012 presented by Hay Group

"SunGard Relius Form 5500 and 401(k) Plan Workshops" - Kansas City
in Kansas on April 18, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"SunGard Relius Form 5500 and 401(k) Plan Workshops" - Atlanta
in Georgia on April 19, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

"SunGard Relius Form 5500 and 401(k) Plan Workshops" - Indianapolis
in Indiana on April 19, 2012 presented by SunGard Relius

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[Guidance Overview]
Pension Plan's Choice of Interest Rate to Calculate Withdrawal Liability Not an Abuse of Discretion
"A [multiemployer] pension plan's board did not abuse its discretion when it used what an employer described as an 'unreasonably low' interest rate to calculate the amount of the employer's withdrawal liability, the [court] has ruled." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

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[Guidance Overview]
Deadlines Extended for Fee Disclosures to Plan Participants & New Obligations on Plan Sponsors under Service Provider Regulations (PDF)
The article includes a summary chart on the "Timing Rules for Required Participant Fee Disclosures under the New Rules." (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler)

[Guidance Overview]
NY High Court Holds Fiduciary Insurance Coverage Doesn't Cover Claims against Employer as Settlor
"A class of participants had sued IBM claiming that amendments IBM made to its pension plan were age discriminatory.... The court held that when IBM had amended the plan, it was acting as a settlor rather than a fiduciary, and therefore the claims related to IBM's amendment of the plan were not covered under the policy." (Haynes and Boone)

[Guidance Overview]
Time to Prepare for Participant Fee Disclosures
"Between now and August 30, plan administrators should be working with their record-keeper or platform provider to obtain a template initial/annual disclosure and tailor it to their plan. Plan administrators must also decide which methods of electronic delivery, or combination of electronic methods and paper, they want to use to reach all plan participants." (Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

Small Business Owners Could Benefit from Financial Advice
"A new study by Securian Financial Group looked at the different challenges facing small business owners of different generations. What it found is that Baby Boomers and GenXers have similar concerns, but could use the advice of financial advisors for their varied saving priorities." (BenefitsPro)

FREE Webinar on Negotiating ERISA Service Provider Agreements   [Advert.]

Sponsored by Practical Law Company

Join us and get up to speed on the legal issues involved in negotiating ERISA agreements. Learn practical negotiating tips from experts, including an analysis of ERISA Section 408(b)(2) regulations and more. CLE credit is available for this program.

Appleby's Retirement Plans Comparison Chart for Small Businesses (2012 Edition) (PDF)
Chart of 16 different criteria as applied to 8 kinds of plans generally used by small businesses: SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, SIMPLE 401(k), Solo-k/Individual-k, Traditional 401(k), Money Purchase, Profit Sharing, and Defined Benefit. (Appleby Retirement Consulting)

Corporate Pension Plan Funding Changes Might Offer Relief
"But pension activists and some ratings agencies worry that unintended consequences could make pension underfunding an even greater threat down the road, while proponents of liability-driven investing warn that relief could create more risk for plan beneficiaries by forcing plan sponsors to rely even more on investment returns to reduce their funding gap, and throw LDI off track." (Pensions & Investments)

Double Your Retirement Investment Easily: Don't Pass Up Employer Matching
"Making the most of your employer's 401(k) match is one of the most important financial strategies you can make. If you think about it, there's no other investment with a return this good, and guaranteed." (Business Insider)

Democratic New York Lawmakers OK with 401(k) Plan for Themselves
"Gov. Cuomo's newly approved Tier 6 pension reform — designed to save state and local governments $80 bil.lion over 30 years — allows new nonunion employees earning $75,000 or more to join a 'defined contribution' 401(k) plan like those common in the private sector ... [T]he option certainly applies to new state Assembly and Senate members elected in November — and may even apply to re-elected current members of the Legislature, who technically start new terms of office after each two-year election cycle." (New York Post)

CalPERS Earnings Lag Big Pension Funds, Changes Planned
"Nearly all of the nation's larger public pension funds, 99 percent, have better investment earnings than CalPERS since the economy began a steep drop five years ago, a Wilshire consultant report said last week.... A conceptual change that emerged from a study two years ago is intended to use 'risk' as a way to classify and monitor investments. The shift has begun, but it's still evolving amid a search for more answers." (Calpensions)

San Jose Employees Sue City over Pension Reform Ballot Measure's Wording
"The lawsuit ... argues the ballot question is phrased to encourage voter approval and that the law requires the wording be neutral. 'The ballot question must be dealt with now, because of its blatantly prejudicial effect on the voters,' the lawsuit stated. 'As it is currently drafted, the ballot question amounts to an argument in favor of the measure rather than the impartial and neutral statement required by the elections code.'" (

NY Governor Signs Pension Reform Bill, Estimates $80 Bil.lion in Savings over 30 Years
"Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law Friday changes to the state's pension program that will require new public employees to work longer before receiving their full retirement benefits and to contribute more of their salaries to the system." (

'Untouchable' Pension Formulas Might Be Tested in California, Despite CalPERS Assertion of Constitutional Protection
"CalPERS does not want cities like Stockton going back on their promises, and it argues that the state Constitution bars any reduction in pensions — and not just for people who have already retired. State law also forbids cuts in the pensions that today's public workers expect to earn in the future, CalPERS says, even in cases of severe fiscal distress. Workers at companies have no comparable protection." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Definitions of 'Fiduciary' Will Soon be More 'Economical'
"The forthcoming re-proposal will have three key pieces, [Phyllis C. Borzi of EBSA] said: the regulation itself, the accompanying economic analysis and a section on exemptions. She added the new proposal will likely have at least one more exemption than the previous iteration." (SmartHR Manager)

Retirement Planning: 12 Practical Tips for Millennials
"[T]he current crop of so-called Millennials faces a uniquely challenging environment. Of those who graduated college between 2006 and 2010, 14% cannot find full-time work, and only 55.3% of young adults ages 16–29 have jobs, which in turn leaves retirement planning sitting at the bottom of most to-do lists. Even those with jobs are likely thinking about how to hold onto them or about what the next job will be — not about retirement." (Milliman)

How to Correct Employee or Employer Missed or Late Contributions (PDF)
"Both the Treasury Department and the Department of Labor have addressed these issues and have provided guidance on how to correct these errors." (MassMutual)

U.S. Senate Measure Would Cut Corporate Contributions to Pension Plans; House Action Uncertain
"The Senate passed a bill this week that would allow companies to use a 25-year average of corporate bond yields when calculating their defined-benefit pension liabilities. If the measure becomes law, it could greatly reduce the contributions companies have to make to their pension plans, but it's not clear whether the House will adopt the Senate provision." (Treasury & Risk)

Text of 9th Circuit Decision Denying Retirees' Claims for Relief Based on Terms of SPD
Basing its decision on the recent Supreme Court precedent of CIGNA Corp. v. Amara, the Ninth Circuit upholds summary judgment in favor of the defendant plan on the plaintiffs' claims for benefits based on the terms of a Summary Plan Description rather than the terms of the plan document. The opinion goes on to explain why the plaintiffs' claims for equitable relief under ERISA 502(a)(3) also fail. (

Cut 403(b) Retirement Plans a Break, ERISA Advisory Council Tells DOL
"Government efforts to bring 403(b) retirement plans up to regulatory par with 401(k) plans has resulted in a rough transition for 403(b) plan sponsors, and in recognition of that fact, an ERISA advisory council gave the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) five recommendations to help ease the compliance burden." (Thompson / SmartHR Manager)

Top California County Administrators Shamelessly Try to Cook the Pension Books
"Solving California's public pension crisis must begin with honest numbers. So when top government administrators, who are supposed to be the neutral brokers, start advocating for cooking the books for political and budgetary reasons, we should be concerned. That's what happened last week as [CalPERS] took a small step toward realistically forecasting future investment returns." (

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
USERRA Rights Can Apply Even if Employee Refuses Position for Other Reasons
"The Eleventh Circuit held that [the Alabama agency] violated USERRA and owed [the employee] $25,000 in damages for lost wages and benefits because [he]: Properly informed his employer of his deployment; Was absent for less than two years; Filed for reemployment as soon as he returned from duty." (Practical Law Company)

Americans See Progress, As Women and Men Willingly Make Trade-Offs to Balance Work and Family Life
"More than half (56 percent) of American men and women [recently polled] consider gender diversity to have a positive impact on the economic health of the country, and 36 percent of men and 39 percent of women cite 'a flexible work schedule to pursue outside interests and spend time with your family' as their first or second most important reason for working." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

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