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April 20, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Benefit Services Specialist
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

Benefits Consultant, Large Groups
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

Benefits Consultant, Small Group & Mid Market
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

Class Action ERISA Lawyer
for Washington, DC Plaintiff's Firm in DC

Senior DB Payroll Data Analyst
for Diversified in MA

Service Delivery Manager - Testing & Reporting Services
for Fidelity Investments in TX

401(k) and Defined Benefit Administrator Assistant
for The Ryding Company in CA

Actuarial Assistant
for The Benefit Practice in CT

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Webcasts and Conferences

2012 Chicago Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference
Nationwide on June 5, 2012 presented by University Conference Services

Health FSA and DCAP Nondiscrimination Rules: Design and Testing Fundamentals (Session II)
Nationwide on May 24, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Cafeteria Plan Nondiscrimination Rules: Design and Testing Fundamentals (Session I)
Nationwide on May 17, 2012 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

African-Americans and Retirement: What You Should Know Before Itís Too Late Forum
in Georgia on April 28, 2012 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Strategies to Access, Interpret and Get Results From Your Company's Health Care Data
Nationwide on May 10, 2012 presented by Lorman Education Services

Voluntary Benefits Option: Adding Benefits Without Increasing Costs
Nationwide on May 15, 2012 presented by Lorman Education Services

Same-Gender Marriage Rulings: Impacts on Employee Benefit Plans Across the Nation
Nationwide on June 6, 2012 presented by Lorman Education Services

Form 5500 Reporting Update
Nationwide on June 12, 2012 presented by Lorman Education Services

Webinar - Advanced HSAs
Nationwide on September 13, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Rollovers Between Retirement Plans and IRAs
Nationwide on September 13, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Conducting Your Own Compliance Audit
Nationwide on September 18, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Contributions
Nationwide on September 20, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Investments and Investment Issues
Nationwide on September 25, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Excess Contributions
Nationwide on September 27, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Frontline Fundamentals - Part 1
Nationwide on October 2, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - IRA Beneficiary Distributions
Nationwide on October 4, 2012 presented by Ascensus

Webinar - Coverdell Education Savings Account
Nationwide on October 9, 2012 presented by Ascensus

We also publish the BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe

[Guidance Overview]
Some Non-U.S. Retirement Plans Exempted from FATCA by Proposed IRS Regulations (PDF)
"During 2012, non-U.S. retirement plans should review the availability of the applicable exemptions under FATCA with U.S. employee benefits counsel and, if an exemption applies, begin to prepare the supporting documentation and statements necessary to avoid withholding. Where an exemption does not clearly apply, the plan should consider its alternatives. Among other options, it may be possible to seek further changes or other relief from the Treasury, including by submitting comments (by April 30) or by requesting to testify (on May 15) at the hearing in Washington, DC." (Groom Law Group)

Register Now to Attend the Women Business Leaders Forum!   [Advert.]

Sponsored by ASPPA

Focusing on business development, employee accountability & engagement, networking vs. marketing & more, itís a conference you wonít want to miss! A mix of general sessions & roundtables with plenty of time to network with your peers. Register now!

[Guidance Overview]
Sixth Circuit Makes It Harder for Participants to Contribute to 401(k) During Personal Bankrup.tcy
"[A]ppellants were going through Chapter 13 bankrup.tcy, and as part of their Chapter 13 repayment plans, they were repaying 401(k) loans. At the time they filed bankrup.tcy petitions, none of the appellants were making contributions to their employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plans. Well before the end of their repayment plan terms, the appellants were projected to have their 401(k) loans fully repaid. At that point, they proposed that the income made available by repayment of the 401(k) loans be contributed directly to their 401(k) retirement accounts." (Jeffrey D Best Attorney at Law)

[Guidance Overview]
Federal Agencies Work Hard to Provide New Lifetime-Income Options for Qualified Plans
"This past February, the Treasury and the IRS released two proposed regulations, and the IRS issued two revenue rulings, that provide different strategies for achieving [a balance between lump-sum cash distributions (which provide liquidity) and lifetime-income options (which provide a steady stream of income over the participant's lifetime and protect against financial risk)].... The agencies have emphasized that this guidance is a first step, and encourage further comments and innovations from plan sponsors, providers of investment and financial products, participants and other stakeholders." (McGuireWoods LLP)

[Guidance Overview]
Court Finds a Neglected Investment Policy Statement Can Be Costly
"In 2000, without informing plan participants, the plans' investment committee took several steps that proved to be in conflict with its [investment policy statement, or 'IPS'] and fatal to its legal defense.... The lengthy [Missouri District court] opinion holds additional lessons in how a company failed to follow a prudent process in its investment decisions, in monitoring plan costs, and in the penalties involved in ignoring its own IPS. Although it did not find that [the employer] concealed its fiduciary breaches, the court seemed troubled by what it called a 'conflicted relationship' with [the plan's investments provider (Fidelity)]." (fi360 blog)

IRS to Hold Cleveland, Ohio, Town Hall Meeting for Governmental Plan Sponsors and Practitioners   [Advert.]

Sponsored by Internal Revenue Service

This Town Hall meeting on May 3, 2012, in Cleveland, Ohio, will give members of the governmental plan community a unique opportunity to provide comments and pose questions with regard to the ANPRM to a panel of government speakers, including the Director of EP Rulings and Agreements. Click here for registration information.

[Guidance Overview]
Have You Assumed Pension Termination Liability? Long Arm of the U.S. PBGC Reaches Non-U.S. Parent
"This lawsuit arose after the PBGC took over the Metaldyne Pension Plan to force an involuntary termination. PBGC seeks $175 mil.lion from the parent company of Metaldyne, which filed for bankrup.tcy reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankrup.tcy Code and did not fund its pension plan. The non-U.S. parent company, Asahi Tec, moved unsuccessfully to dismiss the PBGC's complaint on the ground that Asahi had no role regarding the U.S. plan or its termination." (Osler)

Implications of the Payroll Tax Holiday for Social Security
"This 'payroll tax holiday' is scheduled to end on December 31. This fact sheet describes an 'exit strategy' that could attract broad public support and help strengthen Social Security for the long term. The fact sheet notes that Social Security now has four dedicated sources of income, including reimbursement funds from general revenues that replace dollar-for-dollar the revenue not collected during the temporary tax reduction. Therefore, Social Security's trust funds are unaffected by the payroll tax holiday." (National Academy of Social Insur.ance)

Bailout by U.S. Taxpayers Could Resolve Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund Bankrup.tcy
"There are times when a pension story is one thing for the general public, and a totally different thing for the ERISA community, or in this case the employee benefits community because the plan involved is not truly an ERISA plan, it is a governmental plan, and not really even a governmental plan but a retirement fund for a commonwealth of the United States." (The Pension Protection Act Blog)

Louisiana Elected Officials and Public Employees Would Lose Pensions with Felony Convictions If Bills Become Law
"The latest attempt to prevent corrupt state employees from drawing state retirement narrows the scope of the crimes that would lead to a forfeiture of benefits and would give judges the final say in determining how much of a convict's pension must be given up." (

Generation Y Facing Retirement As Go-It-Alone Affair
"Roughly between 18 and 34 years old, [Generation Y's] table is wobbling on its last two legs: a job and a 401(k), which are co-dependent. Thus instead of protection, Gen Yers have inherited a great deal of pressure. More than ever, they know they better be employable, and they better be skilled 401(k) investors. The trouble is, it is quite difficult to do this when faced with high unemployment, and ever-higher student loan debt." (

Defined Contribution Plan Executives Say Fee Disclosure Rules Won't Help Much
"When asked the 'likely outcomes' of the fee-disclosure regulations for participants, 49% said the participants will be confused by the regulations, and 48% said the disclosure will have 'little impact' on participants, said a report on the survey.... Only 5% said the regulations would help participants make better investment choices, while 20% said participants would exercise greater scrutiny of fees." (Pensions & Investments)

Virginia to Switch to Hybrid Retirement Plan for New Employees; All Employee Contributions to Rise
"VRS will launch a mandatory hybrid plan for new employees by Jan. 1, 2014, according to the legislation. The hybrid will have defined benefit and defined contribution components; the total employee contribution for both will be 5% of pay. Beginning July 1, the start of Virginia's fiscal year, school and local employees for the first time will be contributing to their pension plans. The hike in employee contributions will be offset by salary increases." (Pensions & Investments)

Trouble in Paradise: Public Pension Plan of U.S. Commonwealth in Pacific Files for Bankrup.tcy
"[The Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund, Saipan] is only 38.8% funded, thanks to low investment returns and a benefit structure that's been increased without raises in funding, according to the bankrup.tcy filing.... [The fund] has been bedeviled by the commonwealth's inability to make its share of contributions to the pension plan, according to court documents and an April 17 letter to participants." (Pensions & Investments)

Lessons for 457 Investors and Administrators on Stable-Value Funds
"Today, public employees enrolled in a workplace savings program like a 457 plan or a 401a defined contribution plan are looking at far lower rates on the stable-value products available to them. Interest rates in the 2 to 3 percent range are much more commonplace these days.... The big selling point today for a stable value fund is that they won't lose money for the investor if interest rates go up. At least in theory. And therein lies the rub.... The insur.ance company making a primary guaran.tee can default, and the portfolio guaran.teed by a "wrapper" company can suffer losses so bad that the market-price stabilization is not sufficient." (Governing)

Financial Impact on Governments and Institutions of People Living Longer (PDF)
"Threats to financial stability from longevity risk derive from at least two major sources. One is the threats to fiscal sustainability as a result of large longevity exposures of governments, which, if realized, could push up debt-to-GDP ratios more than 50 percentage points in some countries. A second factor is possible threats to the solvency of private financial and corporate institutions exposed to longevity risk; for example, corporate pension plans in the United States could see their liabilities rise by some 9 percent, a shortfall that would require many multiples of typical yearly contributions to address." (International Monetary Fund)

Working Americans Facing Significant Drop in Income in Retirement
"Americans have responded to the financial turmoil of recent years with a shift to thrift that has helped bolster their personal household economy and boost their retirement readiness — just not enough to fully finance the lifestyle they envision.... [A]djusting your asset allocation, saving more in a workplace savings plan or [an IRA], delaying or working part time in retirement, or tapping into home equity ... [can have a] powerful impact ... when they are used in certain combinations or all together. The potential results of utilizing these actions in strategic ways may surprise you." (Fidelity)

Two Federal Reserve Bank Reports Scream Softly in Warning about Public Pension Crisis
"One reality the Fed delicately tiptoes around is that public-employee union voter drives and campaign contributions coupled with general voter ignorance, apathy and low turnout can be impenetrable barriers to reform until it is too late.... Bottom line: Rotten state and municipal finances hit by pensions 'whose troubles with chronic underfunding predate the financial crisis' could threaten the economic recovery necessary to save states and municipalities from their rotten finances." (State Budget Solutions)

Is Dual Registration the Cause of Opposition to the Fiduciary Standard?
"Does the opposition to a universal fiduciary standard stem from a big-time Wall Street company's ingenious ploy and a Washington regulator's botched response? In 1999, an upset but wily Merrill Lynch sought to prevent itself from becoming exposed to the onerous regulation of [the SEC]. In a series of Keystone Kops maneuverings, the SEC blundered through a series of missteps through two administrations, each flying under the banner of a different political party. The absent regulator allowed the birth of an entirely new industry until, almost a decade later, a harsh court ruling sent the entire house of cards tumbling down." (Fiduciary News)

On Public Pension Reform, Politicians Can't Fix Pension Abuses with Voting Rules Alone
"[It] should be illegal by statute or constitution — whatever is necessary — to award retroactive pension and retiree medical benefits or benefits increases ... [and] state laws must be changed to provide that ... any increase in a retirement plan benefit can be subsequently rescinded or modified downward with respect to future service.... If these two essential reforms are not included in the legislative package, it doesn't matter whether the voting rule requires a majority or a supermajority ... In many instances, a powerful union can push through a benefits increase with supermajority votes, so the voting rule is really just shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic." (Governing)

Statement of Consumer, Labor, Women's and Retiree Organizations Opposing Efforts to Eliminate Paper-Based Disclosures to Retirement Plan Participants
"Receiving clear and accessible information about 401(k) fees and investment options is critical if people are to be able to protect and understand their 401(k) benefits. In our view, [DOL] has already provided employers and financial institutions with sufficient latitude by allowing them to automatically provide information electronically to those people who work with their employer's computer network as an integral part of their day job. This is a compromise we support. But where employees do not use a computer in their everyday work, it must be up to them to decide — not financial institutions or their employers — whether they should get this critical information by mail or electronically." (Pension Rights Center)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]
ERIC and Epstein Becker Green Team Up to Begin Publication of 'Benefits Litigation Roundup' (PDF)
The inaugural issue of this quarterly publication contains six case summaries and a featured article: "Benefit Claim Denial Litigation After Glenn and Conkright." (Epstein Becker Green / The ERISA Industry Committee)

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