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March 22, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Actuarial Consultant
for Charles Schwab in OH

Relationship Mgr II
for The Standard in CO

Relationship Mgr II
for The Standard in MA

Relationship Mgr II
for The Standard in TX

401(k) Assistant
for Carlson, Quinn in CA

Senior Relationship Manager
for T. Rowe Price in MD

Fiduciary Outsourcing Services Specialist
for Diversified in NY

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Webcasts and Conferences

Executive Compensation and Expatriate Agreements
Nationwide on May 22, 2012 presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Cherry Hill
in New Jersey on April 11, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Long Island
in New York on April 12, 2012 presented by 401k Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Denver (Englewood)
in Colorado on April 17, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Phoenix (Scottsdale)
in Arizona on April 18, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

401(k) Rekon Advisor Symposium - Boston
in Massachusetts on April 19, 2012 presented by 401(k) Rekon

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[Guidance Overview]
D.C. Changes Its Mind—Now Only Lump Sum Distributions from Retirement Plans Are Subject to Withholding (PDF)
"Effective February 29, 2012, the requirement to withhold D.C. income taxes from periodic and non lump-sum distributions (i.e., installment payments made over less than 10 years) has been repealed. The requirement to withhold is now limited to lump-sum distributions. No withholding is required if the lump sum distribution is directly rolled over to another eligible retirement plan." (Saul Ewing LLP)

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[Guidance Overview]
Third Circuit Says ERISA Does Not Preempt State Action by Estate of Participant Against Ex-Spouse for Death Benefit Paid by Plan Despite Waiver in Divorce Decree
"That the Estate should be able to bring a post-distribution suit against Adele finds further support in a line of federal cases holding that creditors can sue named beneficiaries to recover plan benefits once those benefits have been distributed. A number of circuits, including our own, have held that even though ERISA prevents a creditor from encumbering pension funds held by a plan administrator, the funds are no longer entitled to ERISA's protections against the creditor's claims once they are paid to the beneficiary." (

How We Sell — and Fail to Sell — Annuities (PDF)
"Why don't more people use annuities to guarantee their retirement income, and what can we do about it? This paper looks at the facts, the theories, and the proposed solutions, to bring more order to the discussion, and to update you on the latest ideas." (Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc.)

Research Helps Before Opening First IRA
"What started as a simple product 38 years ago now has six versions: There are traditional (deductible and nondeductible), Roth, SEP, Simple and self-directed IRAs. Each has different eligibility requirements, contribution limits and tax benefits." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Finding the Lowest Cost Share Class for Retirement Plan Investments (PDF)
"Plan sponsors and their providers must maintain a competitive fee structure for their retirement plan investments or face potential liability from ERISA non-compliance and participant lawsuits. [The target page explains how to monitor and select] the lowest cost share class available." (Securian Retirement)

Failure to Timely Amend 401(k) Plan Document Is Among Top Compliance Problems, IRS Reports
"[An IRS] questionnaire showed that many sponsors were unable to locate the necessary documentation that would show the plan had been timely amended." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

CalPERS Funding Level: How Low Can It Go?
"The worry is that if the funding level of the big pension fund drops too far, it may not be practical to raise annual employer payments enough to regain proper funding. The rough estimate (final figures are not in yet) is that CalPERS funding as of last June averaged 74 percent, up from 65 percent the previous year." (Calpensions)

CalPERS Reform Is Wake-Up Call for Pensioners
"The board of CalPERS, which oversees retirement plans for most state workers, is shaving estimates of future earnings ... The decision reflects prudent investment advice and newfound caution. But it means something else: With CalPERS earning less, state and local agencies will have to contribute more to cover obligations to retirees." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Which Is Cheaper to Run: 401(k)s or Social Security?
"[S]ome readers ... wonder[ed] which of America's retirement pillars, publicly-run Social Security, or privately run 401(k)s cost more to run. [The authors] went back to ... sources to investigate -- and the results might surprise some people." (SmartMoney)

Schedule C Notices: Is the DOL Looking Over Your Shoulder?
"With two years of electronic filing under their belts, the Form 8955-SSA finally issued and no significant changes to the forms, many 5500 preparers were under the impression that this year would be a rather uneventful year for Form 5500 preparation and filing. Recent events, however, suggest quite the contrary. The DOL and IRS are exhibiting an ability to use electronic filing to fulfill their regulatory responsibility and to facilitate the review of the forms and schedules to an extent that many felt would not be attainable for many years." (SunGard Relius)

What to Look for in 2012: Funded Status and At-Risk
"In 2010, most sponsors were in no trouble of being at-risk because the 2009 actuarial valuations benefitted from significant relief that resulted in high funded ratios.... In 2011, some sponsors may have fallen under the at-risk designation because 2010 valuations were likely calculated at a much lower discount rate, generally around 6.70%, or about 120-140 basis points lower than the 2009 valuation." (Retirement Town Hall)

Survey Finds Employers Doubtful About Employees' Ability to Save for Retirement
"A recent survey by Aon Hewitt finds that employers have become increasingly skeptical about their employees' ability to successfully save for retirement. In response, employers are embracing innovative solutions to help rethink their retirement benefits plan strategies and assist their employees in better preparing for retirement.... [This] survey of employers contrasts with a recent survey of employees by Towers Watson." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business / CCH)

Feds to Play a Role in Looming Showdown Over Right of California Public Employees to Continue Accruals Under Existing Pension Formulas
"[I]mbued in [public employee union] contracts are clauses stating that they can't be broken, that pensions can only go up and not down. And that rule was subsequently incorporated into [the California] state constitution.... But finally, the federal government is planning to challenge that unbreakable clause in federal bankrup.tcy court if the city of Stockton files for Chapter 9. This will test whether federal law trumps state laws, especially state laws that protect public pensions." (

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
Employers Should Considering Providing Notice of FATCA Disclosure Requirement to Employees Participating in Non-U.S. Retirement Plans
"Obscure tax reporting requirements under FATCA require that certain U.S. individual taxpayers disclose — on Form 8938 to their 1040s due April 15, 2012 and thereafter — their interests in 'specified foreign financial assets' which include their equity holdings and awards received from non-U.S. entities. Interests in non-U.S. defined contribution plans, and distributions from non-U.S. defined benefit plans, are also potentially reportable." (Executive Pay and Loyalty)

10th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends (PDF)
"One of the Study's most significant findings is the strong relationship between satisfaction with benefits and job satisfaction.... [T]his correlation creates compelling evidence for the power of benefits to drive a universal set of business objectives -- employee attraction, retention and productivity." (MetLife)

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

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