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November 1, 2012          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Client Service Manager - Taft Hartley Market
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services in MA

Plan Administrator
for Benefits of Missouri, Inc. in MO

Senior Compliance Specialist
for Benefits of Missouri, Inc. in MO

Account Manager
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

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

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Webcasts and Conferences

2012 in Review - A Look at Recent Developments Affecting Qualified Plans Webcast
Nationwide on December 13, 2012 presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

ERISA Related Party Transactions & Fiduciary Conflicts: Prohibited Transaction Exemptions
Nationwide on December 6, 2012 presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

EBIA’s 15th Annual Advanced Cafeteria Plans and Benefits Conference 2013
in Washington on July 10, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

We're From the Government, Ma'am, and We're Here to Help: When the DOL Comes to Visit
in California on November 13, 2012 presented by Western Pension & Benefits Council - San Diego Chapter

A Practical Guide to Plan Year End Webinar
Nationwide on November 15, 2012 presented by Multnomah Group

Benefit Consulting for the Tax Exempt Organization Webcast
Nationwide on December 4, 2012 presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

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Best Practices of Governmental Employers in Procuring Actuarial Services, 2012 Edition
"The Government Finance Officers Association ... recommends that state and local governments take the following steps to obtain high-quality actuarial services for their public retirement plans: 1) identify the actuarial services required; 2) establish selection criteria; 3) develop a clear and concise request for proposals (RFP); 4) determine, to the degree possible, the level of independence and objectivity of the actuary; 5) establish procedures for working with the actuary; and 6) periodically review and rebid actuarial contracts." (Government Finance Officers Association)


Learn the definition of business success at NIPA's 2013BMC

Sponsored by NIPA (National Institute of Pension Administrators)

NIPA's 2013 Business Management Conference (BMC) will provide insight into the evolution of successful TPA business management. This one-of-a-kind event is an open forum for TPA business owners to examine industry developments and challenges.

30% of Eligible Employees Take GM Lump-Sum Offer
"GM in an 8-K filing said it expects to close its annuity contract with Prudential Insurance Co. of America in early November. GM will eliminate about $29 billion in pension liability through lump sums and annuitizations. The company originally estimated transferring $26 billion, but the number increased as discount rates fell ... Lump-sum payments will account for about $3.9 billion." (Pensions & Investments)

The Fiscal Implications of Massachusetts Retirement Boards' Investment Returns (PDF)
"Even though the commonwealth's public pensions are funded better than most other states', the sea change in asset markets over the past few years calls for a reexamination of actuarial assumptions and funding plans." (Pioneer Institute)

Contra Costa Pension Board to Follow California Law But Faces Lawsuit by Union
"In a tortured 7-2 vote Tuesday, the Contra Costa Employees' Retirement Association board officially recognized legislation that starting Jan. 1, 2013, bans the inclusion in retirement calculations of so-called 'terminal pay' -- unused vacation, holiday, administrative or sick leave -- in excess of what workers would normally earn in a single year.... Public employee union leaders immediately after the vote declared plans to seek a court injunction blocking local implementation, pending the outcome of expected litigation." (Contra Costa Times)

Should Brokers Be Forced to Disclose Their Bonuses to Clients?
"RIA securities lawyer Patrick Burns and broker recruiter Mark Elzweig debate whether new rules are needed on advisor incentive compensation.... [D]espite the calls for vigilance [by SEC chairman Mary Schapiro], there have been no moves to actually regulate or force disclosure of upfront or retention bonuses, which remain as much a fact of life in the wirehouse world today as ever; indeed, a Reuters story points out that the recruitment arms race has only escalated, with bonuses in the millions of dollars for top teams. While Dodd-Frank regulates compensation for high-level executives, advisor bonuses are unaffected and the SEC is not currently engaged in rulemaking that would put teeth in Schapiro's jawboning about changing broker-dealer incentive compensation." (Advisor One)

Delving into the Ambiguities of California's New Pension Reform Law
"Among other things, the 10-point plan raises the retirement age and decreases the benefit factors for new members, requires new members to pay for a portion of their retirement benefits and includes a cap on the salary used to calculate pensions. Nonetheless, questions remain regarding how the measures contained in AB 340 will be interpreted and applied when the law goes into effect on January 1, 2013." (PublicCEO.com)

Returns on Corporate Pension Plans at the Top of State Street's Master Trust Universe
"The State Street master trust universe of retirement plans, foundations and endowments had a median return of 4.5% in the third quarter and a median return of 15.8% for the year ended Sept. 30. Corporate defined benefit plans had the highest median returns for the quarter, with 5%, followed by Taft-Hartley plans at 4.7%; public pension plans, 4.6%; and foundations and endowments, 4.5%." (Pensions & Investments)

Funded Status of Pension Plans Drops in U.S., Canada, Eurozone
"The typical funding ratio of U.S. defined benefit plans dropped to 73% from 75%, while Canadian plans dropped to 83% from 87%. The greatest decline of eurozone countries was the Netherlands, where the typical funding ratio dropped to 80% from 96% because of drops in the discount rates used to measure liabilities.... The typical funding ratio in the U.K. improved to 92% from 89%." (Pensions & Investments)

Second Circuit Allows Employer to Withdraw from Multiemployer DB Plan After Plan Entered Critical Status
"Although there is no explicit statement in the PPA of an employer's right to withdraw, the court found that the statute did appear to assume that there would be withdrawals in these circumstances by revising the calculation of withdrawal liability when the plan withdrawn from was in critical status. Specifically, ERISA Section 305(e)(9) provides that the calculations of an employer's withdrawal liability should disregard contribution surcharges imposed automatically once a plan enters critical status and benefit reductions required by a rehabilitation plan." [Trustees of the Local 138 Pension Trust Fund v. F.W. Honerkamp Co. Inc. (2d Cir.)] (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)


The 2012 Elections and Retirement Tax Policy
"[This article reviews] the 'front burner' policy issues that affect retirement plans and consider how a political change (or non-change) might affect them. Tax reform ... Reform of the retirement savings system ... PBGC premiums ... Definition of fiduciary ... Hybrid/cash balance plan regulations." (October Three)


The Impact of Tax Policy Changes on Retirement Benefits
"[This article considers] what is at stake for participants in this debate -- just how valuable are the current tax benefits to participants, and how would changes to Tax Code rules under consideration affect that value? [It focuses] exclusively on defined contribution/401(k) plans where ... most of the changes in rules are likely to take place. And [it focuses] on high margin taxpayer/participants, because the impact of changes will generally be greatest for them." (October Three)


Retirement Industry Likely to Go on Defensive No Matter Who Wins Presidential Election
"The conventional wisdom is again wrong. Many believe the retirement industry would gain in a Republican sweep on Election Day. But in reality, neither party's victory would be an unambiguous positive.... We can divine more about President Barack Obama's plans for a second term from his first-term record, including his annual budget proposals. The Republican platform, on the other hand, frames retirement strictly in terms of defined benefit plans: The 'current bottom line is that many plans are increasingly underfunded by overestimating their rates of return on investments.' Finding specifics requires reading tea leaves within the broader context." (Pensions & Investments)


Comments on Notice for Proposed Rulemaking on the Updating of Employer Identification Numbers for Retirement Plan Trusts
"[A] retirement plan trust can go many years without having to utilize its assigned EIN on a tax form. After a period of inactivity, the EIN is often canceled by the Service and ultimately reassigned to another taxpayer. To avoid this result and the confusion it creates, ASPPA recommends that the Service institute procedures to collect information on the active legal status of a trust associated with a retirement plan to avoid inadvertent deactivation of the trust's EIN." (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA))

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

IRS Gives Additional Time to Taxpayers and Preparers Affected by Hurricane Sandy; File and Pay by Nov. 7
"The Internal Revenue Service ... announced it is granting taxpayers and tax preparers affected by Hurricane Sandy until Nov. 7 to file returns and accompanying payments normally due today. The relief applies to taxpayers and tax preparers in an area affected by Hurricane Sandy or otherwise impacted by the storm that hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States this week.... IRS expects to grant additional filing and payment relief as qualifying disaster declarations are issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Details will be posted on the Tax Relief in Disaster Situations page on IRS.gov." (Internal Revenue Service)

NYSE and NASDAQ Proposed Compensation Committee and Advisers Independence Rules
"The NYSE and NASDAQ proposed rules are expected to be released by the SEC for public comment following an initial review period and are scheduled to be adopted by the SEC by June 27, 2013. Accordingly, these new rules may not be applicable in the 2013 proxy season for calendar year companies, but, as discussed in more detail [in this article], certain of NASDAQ's proposed rules relating to compensation committee responsibility and authority would become effective immediately upon SEC approval." (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)

CFOs Identify Cost of Benefits As Hindrance to Company Growth
"According to the survey, the biggest barrier to employee and company financial growth is the cost of employee benefits, with 56 percent identifying healthcare and pensions as the prime culprits. Furthermore, as the cost of healthcare grows, 77 percent of those surveyed anticipate company and employee contributions to increase over the next year. Yet benefits such as life insurance and disability are expected to remain mostly unchanged." (Grant Thornton)

Sixth Circuit Finds ERISA Section 510 Does Not Protect Unsolicited Internal Complaint (PDF)
[CORRECTED LINK] The question in this case is whether [ERISA section] 510 extends its protections to an employee's unsolicited, internal complaint to his employer that it has violated ERISA.... The Sixth Circuit has not yet had occasion to address the issue.... [T]he Court concludes that in this case Section 510 does not protect the plaintiff's unsolicited, internal complaint -- an email to his employer threatening to report its ERISA violations to state and federal authorities -- because it was unconnected to any 'inquiry or proceeding'.... A fuller explanation is that 'an employee's grievance is within Section 510's scope whether or not the employer solicited information,' provided that the employee himself solicited information. Without the asking for information, there is no 'inquiry'." [Sexton v. Panel Processing, Inc., No. 12-10946 (6th Cir., Oct. 30, 2012)] (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit)

Press Releases

Robert A. Corlito Joins Fiduciary Investment Advisors
Fiduciary Investment Advisors, LLC (FIA)

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Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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