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

Employee Benefits Jobs

Pension Administrator
for People's United Bank in VT

Pension Administrator
for Hackler Associates in MA

Retirement Plan Specialist
for Ambrose in CT

Defined Benefit Pension Specialist
for Prudential in CT

Consultant/Client Relationship Manager (CRM)
for The Segal Company in NY

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Webcasts and Conferences

401(k) Plan Basics
in California on May 8, 2012 presented by Actuarial Consultants, Inc.

Annual Plan Administration
in California on May 8, 2012 presented by Actuarial Consultants, Inc.

Annual Plan Administration
in California on May 16, 2012 presented by Actuarial Consultants, Inc.

401(k) Plan Basics
in California on May 16, 2012 presented by Actuarial Consultants, Inc.

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

Retirement 20/20: Rethinking the Three-Legged Stool
in Massachusetts on May 18, 2012 presented by New England Employee Benefits Council

Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business Workshop
in Missouri on April 24, 2012 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)


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[Official Guidance]
Text of PBGC Final Rule: Rules for Administrative Review of Agency Decisions; Section 4071 Penalty Assessments (PDF)
"This final rule amends [PBGC's] administrative review regulation to make it applicable to assessments of penalties for failure to timely provide certain notices or other material information. Under the rule, such assessments will be subject to reconsideration in accordance with the provisions of the regulation." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)


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[Guidance Overview]
Court Finds Jurisdiction Exists over Foreign Parent in Pension Plan Liability Suit
"A recent federal district court decision defeats a long-standing assumption that a foreign corporate parent would not be subject to personal jurisdiction for a suit seeking payment of pension liabilities merely by acquiring a U.S. subsidiary." (McDermott Will & Emery)

[Guidance Overview]
Federal District Court Dismisses Fiduciary Liability Claims in BP Stock Drop Lawsuit
"In dismissing all claims, the court determined that plaintiffs failed to show that the plan fiduciaries had access to nonpublic information regarding the safety programs, and that the presumption of prudence applied." (Haynes and Boone)

[Guidance Overview]
11th Circuit Says Modification of Pension Plan's Social Security Offset Did Not Violate Anti-Cutback Rule
"Since the amendment only altered the offset formula for participants who were not yet 52, application of the formula depended on future services. As such, the offset was not yet accrued for those under 52 but was an expectation of a future accrual. Accordingly, the amendment did not violate the anti-cutback rule." (Haynes and Boone)

ERISA History: The April 13, 1999, Opinion in Commonwealth Edison Company v. Vega
"[T]he 7th Circuit settled a three-way tug-of-war between the State of Illinois, Commonwealth Edison and the Commonwealth Edison Service Annuity Plan over $125,000 in plan assets which the plan had written distribution checks for but, for some reason, the participants and beneficiaries had not cashed the checks within a five year period." (The Pension Protection Act Blog)

On the Other Hand, There May Not Be Any Structural Impediments to Breach of Fiduciary Duty Class Actions in the Sixth Circuit
"An astute and clearly knowledgeable reader passed along the point that the recent Sixth Circuit decision in Pfeil v. State Street Bank implicitly rejected the structural barriers to bringing class actions over fiduciary breaches that had been created by the developing case law in other circuits and which were discussed in [Stephen Rosenberg's] recent article, Structural Impediments to Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims." (Boston ERISA and Insurance Litigation Blog)

Boomers Flock to 'Longevity Insurance' for Retirement Security
"Is longevity insurance right for you? There's a good chance it is. It allows you to secure income for your much-later years with just a fraction of your portfolio today. The product is highly flexible; you can start your collection date in anywhere from one to 40 years and with each year you wait the monthly income grows. It makes planning much simpler because all that is left to figure out is income for a knowable period of time before you'll start collecting on the annuity." (TIME)

Stable Value Funds: Still Popular, Despite Fewer Guarantees
"Despite a low interest-rate environment, 401(k) participants at New York Life Retirement Plan Services haven't given up on stable value funds. In an analysis released Wednesday of its client base, the firm found half of all participants across its retirement platform have some of their 401(k) savings in a stable value investment." (AdvisorOne)

Video: FAQs Expected from DOL on Fee Disclosure Regulation
Total Run Time = 3:04. "Since the Department of Labor issued the final [regs], many questions have been raised on the exact impact of the new rule. In particular, the meaning of the term 'designated investment alternative' and whether asset allocation strategies should be classified as such. Michael Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of [DOL's EBSA], indicated at the ASPPA 401(k) SUMMIT held in March of 2012 that sub-regulatory guidance — in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs) — should be available on the DOL website 'within weeks'[.] Although not yet released, it is expected shortly." (ASPPA)

10 Ways Boomers Can Avoid Savings Shortfalls in Retirement
"Despite the savings challenge, there are steps Boomers can take to avoid running out of money in retirement, according to ... an education and advocacy group for women. Here's a 10-point checklist ... developed to help Boomers save themselves from retirement shortfalls." (Financial Planning)

Consumers' Tools for Retirement Planning
"To help educate consumers as part of National Retirement Planning Week, IRI has developed a set of consumer tips highlighting ways to ensure their retirement savings last throughout their lifetimes. These FINRA-cleared, client-approved tip sheets cover crucial retirement topics such as Social Security, Medicare, retirement savings plans and retirement income, as well as more in-depth topics such as partial 1035 exchanges and specifically tailored advice for middle-income Boomers." (Insured Retirement Institute)

Fee Disclosure to Participants and from Service-Providers: Answers for Plan Sponsors
"This set of questions and answers can help sponsors sort through issues related to these new DOL requirements. The Q&A reviews aspects of two regulations — one designed to provide transparency in plan fees and expenses to participants, and the other to enhance what service providers disclose to retirement plan fiduciaries." (Vanguard)

Higher Education's Response to the New Defined Contribution Plan Environment
"Many [private colleges and universities] are taking a hard look at how their 403(b) pension plans are designed and administered, and are taking action to control costs, comply with new regulations, mitigate risk and help their employees prepare for retirement.... [This article] provide[s] a checklist for plan sponsors and administrators." (Towers Watson)

Inherited IRA Problems — Problems After Death of IRA Owner
Natalie Choate answers questions about combining inherited IRAs, and about correcting missing or mistaken beneficiary designations. (Morningstar)

Employee Advisory Committees Promote Benefits Buy-In
"Employee advisory committees, as the name suggests, are groups of employees who meet regularly or as needed to provide input on benefit programs and other issues affecting employees and the employment relationship. Some of these committees are highly formal, with set terms for members and with regularly scheduled meetings, with minutes taken and later shared. Many unions, colleges and universities, and public-sector employers maintain employee advisory committees. However, these committees can play a positive role in almost any organization." (Society for Human Resource Management)

401(k) Participant Fee Disclosure: The Collision of Fiduciary Duties, Social Media, and Say-On-Pay (PDF)
"[S]ponsors will be forced to demonstrate why their choice of recordkeepers and investment options ... create valuable benefits for participants and are well worth the fees the participants pay. Fiduciaries and sponsors should not discount the potential havoc that disgruntled participants can and will likely cause. After all, less than 30% of employees, age forty and over, are satisfied with their overall financial situation, and just 18% of employees who are not covered by a defined benefit pension — participate in only a 401(k) or 403(b) plan — are confident that they will be able to live comfortably during the first fifteen years of retirement." (Investment Horizons, Inc.)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
EEOC Final Regs on Reasonable Factors Other than Age May Have Broad Impact on Employer Policies/Practices
"In light of these new regulations, employers should anticipate that employment decisions that are alleged to have an adverse impact on older employees will be challenged. Hence, in order to prepare for and rebut the inevitable litigation that is sure to follow, prudence dictates that employers consider the [steps listed in this article] now[.]" (Precept)

China's New Foreign Exchange Control Rule on Equity Incentive Plans for Employees in Chinese Affiliates
"New requirements for foreign exchange registration of equity incentive plans are now in effect. Overseas-listed companies that grant equity awards to employees of their Chinese affiliates should review their registration status and periodic filing schedules to make sure they are in compliance, especially in view of the new, shorter deadline for filing quarterly reports and the need to file amendments." (Pillsbury)

EEOC Muddles the Reasonable-Factors-Other-Than-Age Defense to Disparate Impact Age Bias Claims
"Employers should consider how the EEOC and plaintiffs will use the revised regulations to attack employer policies that may be considered to have an adverse impact on older workers. In light of the five relevant 'considerations' identified by the EEOC, if your company is sued for disparate impact age discrimination under the ADEA, you can anticipate that your executives will be questioned by the EEOC and/or private counsel." (Paul Hastings LLP)

Press Releases



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