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May 1, 2012 Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe  |  Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Administrator
for MVP Plan Administrators, Inc. in NC

Account Manager
for Ascensus in PA

Manager New Business
for Ascensus in MN

Senior Copywriter
for Ascensus in PA

Year-End Services Specialist
for Ascensus in PA

Defined Contribution Employee Benefit Plan Administrator
for Pension Administrators, Inc. in IL

Marketing Assistant
for The Pension Studio in FL

Retirement Advice Consultant
for Charles Schwab in TX

Vice President, Broker Dealer Retirement Products
for Charles Schwab in AZ

Project Based Benefits Service Center Specialist
for Xerox in AZ

Project Based Benefits Service Center Representative
for Xerox in NC

DB/HW/DC Benefits Analyst
for Xerox in AZ

DB/HW/DC Benefits Analyst
for Xerox in NC

Benefits Service Center Team Manager
for Xerox in VA

Benefits Service Center Team Manager
for Xerox in NJ

Benefits Service Center Team Coach
for Xerox in NJ

Benefits Service Center Team Coach
for Xerox in VA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Retirement Advisor Renaissance
in North Carolina on June 12, 2012 presented by Millenium Investment & Retirement Advisors, LLC


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[Guidance Overview]
Tussey v. ABB, Inc. Shows Importance of Implementing Process for Prudent Decision-Making and Following Plan Documents
"This case serves as a reminder to fiduciaries wrestling with decisions that may impact the use of plan assets of the importance of ensuring that they go through a documented process of determining whether the fees incurred by their plan are reasonable. Ensuring that a fiduciary has engaged in a prudent process with respect to fees paid to plan vendors will become even more important when the [DOL's] revised Section 408(b)(2) regulations become effective July 1, 2012." (Miller Chevalier)


Attend the 2012 Western Benefits Conference   [Advert.]

Sponsored by ASPPA & WBC

Designed for retirement, health, welfare & benefits professionals, with particular emphasis on practical issues important to plan sponsors & their advisors. Speak with nationally-renowned speakers & government representatives and more!


[Guidance Overview]
Financial Regulators Clarify Reg Z and Compensation Rules as Applied to Retirement Plan Contributions
"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ... recently released CFPB Bulletin 2012-02 clarifying the compensation rules applicable to loan originators under Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. Section 1026.36. Generally, loan originators may not receive compensation, directly or indirectly, that is based on any term or condition of a mortgage transaction.... Mortgage companies receive profits based on selling mortgages, however. Often times they fund their qualified profit sharing plan, 401(k) or employee stock ownership plans (together referred to as 'qualified plans') with such profits." (SunGard Relius)

Unhappy with Scandal, New York Municipal Pension Funds to Vote Against Wal-Mart Directors
"Concerned about Wal-Mart's reported cover-up of bribery in its Mexico operations, leaders of New York City's pension funds said ... they would vote their 4.7 mil.lion company shares against five directors standing for re-election to the retailer's board at its annual shareholder meeting next month." (The New York Times; free registration required)

IRAs Can Use Longevity Annuities as Assets But Drawbacks Exist
"Under the proposed regulations, annuity distributions from qualified contracts may be deferred, but only until the first day of the month after the person's 85th birthday. The regulations do not contain any restrictions preventing these contracts from offering owners the option of starting distributions at an earlier age, but doing so would probably increase the cost of a contract." (Financial Planning)

A Labor Lawyer's Guide to Avoiding Multiemployer Pension Plan Withdrawal Liability
"As traditional bargaining units throughout the country continue to shrink and evolve, and as underfunded multiemployer pension plans continue to feel the crippling effects of the capital markets collapse of 2008, the specter of substantial withdrawal liability assessments against employers which contribute to multiemployer pension plans ... grows." (Bryan Cave)


Learn, Network and Sell at SPARK National Retirement Industry Conference   [Advert.]

Sponsored by Society of Professional Asset-Managers and Record Keepers (SPARK)

Join top record keepers, asset managers, TPAs, advisors, marketing and sales executives for unequaled education and networking. Gain insights into the latest regulatory and legislative issues, market trends, product developments and business strategies.


Average 401(k) Balance 62% Above 2009, Fidelity Says
"Stock market performance accounted for about 80 percent of the average $5,500 increase in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the prior quarter, while the remaining 20 percent was from employer and worker contributions, Fidelity said." (Bloomberg)

Better Returns for 401(k) Investors: Looking Back at First Quarter 2012
"With such a broad reach and appeal, one would think investing in such plans would be streamlined and simplified. Unfortunately, it is anything but. The very nature of 401(k) plans is to blame: plans are specific from one company to the next, and within each plan, only a small—and again, unique—number of investment options are made available. For most investors, this translates into confusion and a lack of a systematic way to go about and properly allocate their 401(k) contributions." (Seeking Alpha)

The Fiduciary Assessment of an Investment Advisor (PDF)
"An assessment should begin with a background check, including civil lawsuit databases and a review of public information such as the AdvisorCheck from the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's (FINRA) BrokerCheck if applicable. Since the assessment is likely to be used to increase client trust, the background check is a necessary starting point." (ASPPA)

Too Much Reliance on Limited-Scope Audits Is Harming Benefit Plan Participants, EBSA Chief Says
"'The limited-scope audit is practically useless,' said [Phyllis Borzi], assistant secretary of [DOL's EBSA]. Speaking April 30 at the American Institute of CPA's conference on employee benefit plans, Borzi said limited-scope audits do not protect participants, and yet about 65 percent of employee benefit plan audits are limited-scope audits." (Bloomberg BNA)

Text of U.S. Census Bureau Summary Report on State and Locally Administered Pensions, 2010 (PDF)
"This survey covers the following retirement system activities: revenues by state (earnings on investments, employee contributions, government contributions); expenditures by state (benefits, withdrawals, other payments); cash and investment holdings by state (governmental securities, corporate stocks and bonds, foreign and international securities, etc.); and membership information by state (number of retirement systems, total members, beneficiaries receiving periodic payments)." (U.S. Census Bureau)

Vanguard Reports April 2012 Expense Ratio Changes
"From time to time, a mutual fund's expense ratio—in essence, operating expenses that are passed on to shareholders, expressed as a percentage of assets—can change in response to changes in fund assets and any changes in the cost of managing the funds. For example, economies of scale resulting from an increase in a fund's total assets because of market appreciation or investor cash flow can result in a reduction, while a decline in assets can cause the expense ratio to rise. Because investment costs directly affect net returns, [Vanguard believes] it's important for you to be aware of such changes." (Vanguard)

PBGC Softening Its Stance on 4062(e) Liability (PDF)
"PBGC has changed its stance on enforcement by applying criteria that distinguish among companies based on their level of financial strength when pursing Section 4062(e) liabilities, Harold Ashner, a partner with Keightley & Ashner, Washington, said April 26 ... 'PBGC is now distinguishing and not pursuing the employers that are financially strong, at least not pursuing them for any remedy right now.'" (Bloomberg BNA)

Issues that Must Be Addressed to Prevent Your 401(k) Plan from Becoming an Easy Target for Knowledgeable Plaintiffs' Attorneys (PDF)
"If anyone doubts that ERISA class action litigation is alive and well, they should read the decision in Tussey v. ABB Inc. ... Not only were the plaintiffs awarded $36 mil.lion, the arguments the plaintiffs' attorneys ... made were quite sophisticated and clearly resonated with a judge who did her homework. The takeaway from this case is that fiduciaries must document what they did, why they did it, and that their actions were in the best interests of the plan and the participants." (Investment Horizons, Inc.)

401(k) Fee Litigation, April 2012
"Initially, the lawsuits were brought by plan participants against plan sponsors and alleged that, by allowing plan service providers to receive revenue sharing payments, the plan sponsors caused the participants to pay excessive fees, in breach of the sponsors' fiduciary duties to the participants. The focus of these lawsuits against the plan sponsors has evolved over time to include broader challenges to, among other things, the plan sponsors' selection of actively managed mutual funds as plan investment options. [The target page links to the Groom chart of 'Participant Claims Against Sponsors and Related Fiduciaries' and 'Plan Fiduciary Claims Against Plan Providers' and 'Plan and Participant Claims Against Plan Providers.']" (Groom Law Group)

Ten Things Plan Fiduciaries Should Avoid (PDF)
"In recent court case, Tussey v. ABB, Inc., ... the judge found that the plan fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duties and were jointly and severally liable for $13.4 mil.lion lost by the Plan due to failure to monitor recordkeeping fees and negotiate rebates and $21.8 mil.lion lost by Plan due to mapping one investment fund to another. In addition, the service provider was held jointly and severally liable for $1.7 mil.lion for lost float income. Lessons learned from this case are at least 10 things Plan fiduciaries should avoid[.]" (ERISAdiagnostics, Inc.)

Wyoming Might Not Be Finished with Changes to Retirement Plan for State Employees
"Legislators plan to study further changes to the pension programs for state employees during the interim session to see if more legislation is needed in 2013. The Legislature passed multiple laws earlier this year that blocked cost-of-living adjustments for most retirees and modified the benefits for new employees." (WyomingNews.com)

[Opinion]
Jack Brennan on Financial Reform and his 30 Years at Vanguard
"[Question] You've long advised investors to have a plan and stick to it. Is that getting harder, given the proliferation of products, pundits, and other influences? [Answer] The expression 'tune out the noise' sounds cute, but it really is intended to be advice for your financial well-being. The 24-hour-a-day availability of market news and commentary tends to shorten people's investment time frame, unless they are committed to a plan." (Vanguard)

[Opinion]
American Benefits Council Comment Letter to IRS on Priority Guidance Plan (PDF)
"The Council is writing to recommend items relating to employee benefit matters that should be included on the [IRS] 2012-2013 Guidance Priority List. The Council is submitting a letter separately recommending a project to modify the current nondiscrimination and minimum participation regulations to protect older, long-service participants. This letter focuses on other recommendations for the Guidance Priority List." (American Benefits Council)

[Opinion]
ASPPA Letter to EBSA on Asset Allocation Strategies, Model Portfolios and Need for Transitional Relief
"The American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries ..., the Council of Independent 401(k) Recordkeepers ... and the National Association of Plan Advisors ... are writing to request that [DOL] provide guidance which clarifies that asset allocation strategies and models are not themselves Designated Investment Alternatives ... under both DOL Regulation Section 2550.408b-2(c) (the '408(b)(2) regulation') as well as DOL Regulation Section 2550.404a-5 (the '404(a) regulation') ... and to provide for a good faith transition period in recognition of the uncertainties that remain in regard to the regulations' application." (ASPPA)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

The Evolving Say on Dodd-Frank's Say-on-Pay
"While shareholder disapprovals remain uncommon, it is clear that compensation and the manner in which it is awarded should be carefully considered before subjecting the compensation to a shareholder vote. CEOs often engage counsel to advocate for a compensation package. It is increasingly obvious, however, that compensation committees must also receive independent counsel to evaluate performance objectives and analyze executive compensation in similarly-situated companies." (Employee Benefits Counsel)

Press Releases

Soltis Investment Advisors Is Certified For Fiduciary Excellence
(Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX))



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