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October 10, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Client Service Representative
Associated Pension Consultants
in CA

ERISA Compliance Administrator
City National Bank
in CA

Accounting Specialist
Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia
in GA

Account Mgr I - SRS
The Standard
in OH

Retirement Program Client Executive
in DC, MD

Enrolled Actuary
Matthews Benefit Group, Inc.
in FL

Regional Vice President, Sales
Transamerica Retirement Solutions
in CO

Team Leader II - Defined Contribution and Deferred Compensation Plans
in MA

Relationship Manager III - ESOP
Wilmington Trust
in DE, NJ, PA

Plan Consultant
T. Rowe Price
in MD

Plan Document Analyst
T. Rowe Price
in MD

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Webcasts and Conferences

Best Practices for Conducting an Advisor Request for Proposal (RFP)
October 17, 2013 WEBCAST
(University Conference Services)

An Economic Update: Growth or Chaos?
October 22, 2013 in CA
(Western Pension & Benefits Council - San Diego Chapter)

WiPN Fall Networking Event
October 27, 2013 in MD
(Women in Pensions Network)

Inside the 2014 Star Ratings for MA and Part D: Trends and Their Implications
October 29, 2013 WEBCAST
(Atlantic Information Services, Inc)

The Post-DOMA Impact on Employee Benefits
October 30, 2013 WEBCAST
(Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB))

ERISA Workshop 2013 - St. Louis
November 8, 2013 in MI
(SunGard Relius)

ERISA Workshop 2013 - Atlanta
November 8, 2013 in GA
(SunGard Relius)

View All Webcasts and Conferences

  LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook Hand-picked links to the web's best news articles,
official guidance, jobs, webcasts and more.
[Guidance Overview]

IRS Says No Automatic Beneficiary Revocation on Legal Separation
"Many retirement plans automatically revoke a participant's designation of his or her spouse as beneficiary upon either divorce or legal separation. The IRS has clarified that, while a plan may automatically revoke the election upon divorce, a plan may not automatically do so upon a participant's legal separation from his or her spouse. However, the participant may change the beneficiary designation without spousal consent." (Mazursky Constantine LLC)  


DATAIR! Smart By Design -- More Choices -- Less Cost

Sponsored by DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc.

Proposals, Testing, Valuation, IRS/DOL/PBGC Forms, Plan Documents
Includes Graded, 412(e)(3), Cash Balance, Combo Plans
(888) 328-2474    Sales@DATAIR.com    www.DATAIR.com

Retirement Savings Will Suffer if Congress Does Not End the Budget and Debt Ceiling Stalemate
"Estimates of the effect on retirement savings suggest that private pension assets could experience losses exceeding $2.4 trillion (in excess of 20 percent). Based on past experience, this current impasse predicts significant disruption to financial markets and yet another significant risk to retirement security. During the recent economic recession, private pension assets lost approximately $1.7 trillion (nearly 30 percent) in value. During the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations, private pension assets declined an additional 26 percent. The potential exists for significant losses that could deplete pension assets, creating adverse conditions for retirement savings." (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries [ASPPA])  

Not Your Ordinary TPA, Part 2 (PDF)
"[Small business owners] want to know: is the design working for me and are the benefits worth the hassles that the plan often brings? Can we mitigate the small business owner's fiduciary liability? ... A valued service provider would be one who can focus on what is important to his client, such as the plan design and why it works for the owner. Even better, a good service provider would annually review the plan design and plan provisions with the owner(s) to make sure they are still meeting the business's goals and objectives." (Simoneaux & Stroud Consulting Services via Journal of Pension Benefits)  

The Plan Sponsor's Guide to Delegating, Part 3: Money Managers -- The Faceless Vendors (PDF)
"What is a money manager?... Why do plan sponsors hire money managers?... How do money managers differ from one another?... Which traits should be examined when selecting a money manager?... The examination of objective and subjective traits is critical to create a legally defensible 'prudent process.' Subjective traits represent the greatest challenge for most plan administrators to evaluate." (Roland Criss via Journal of Compensation and Benefits)  

401(k), 403(b) Participants Concerned About Quality of Investment Advice
"More than three in four respondents to an AARP survey indicate that they are either 'very concerned' or 'somewhat concerned' by the fact that investment advice from 401(k) and 403(b) providers is not required to be in the best interest of individual plan participants.... Nearly four in ten (39%) said they would choose 'advice from someone that may make money from the investments I choose,' nearly as many (31%) indicated they would choose 'no investment advice at all,' while another 29% indicated they didn't know which option they would choose." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)  


Gain a fresh outlook from benefits leaders ahead of the curve

Sponsored by HRE's Health & Benefits Leadership Conference

It's a new era in employee benefits. Gain direct insight, innovative practices and new ideas from executives at leading organizations such as BP America, Cargill, Marriott, Twitter, Walgreens and more. Learn more.

The Importance of Growth Investing in Retirement Plan Portfolios (PDF)
"[C]urrently, participant asset allocations are skewed in favor of low growth, conservative investments. One potential solution to this dilemma is the inclusion of a diversified small cap growth mutual fund in a retirement plan portfolio. Such funds, when employed as part of a long-term, strategic asset allocation tactic, may help increase retirement plan balances with modest increases in volatility." (Ridgeworth Investments)  

Build a Retirement Plan With Just Seven ETFs
"[The world's] top 20 plans -- which account for 39% of the top 300's $14 trillion in total global assets -- invested 40% in equities in 2012, another 40% in fixed income and the remaining 20% in alternatives and cash. If this asset allocation is good enough for the world's biggest retirement plans, it should be good enough for the average investor. And you can build such a retirement portfolio using just a few exchange-traded funds[.]" (InvestorPlace)  

Market and Regulatory Fragmentation Poses Major Challenge to Asset Management Industry
"Often faced with low returns and a limited market size at home, asset managers are looking to developing economies and high savings rates in other Asian markets for growth.... Fifty-two percent of respondents said they need to make significant changes to systems and processes to meet the diverse reporting requirements of multiple jurisdictions.... 38 percent of managers are concerned about their firm's ability to assure compliance with fragmented and evolving regulation in these different jurisdictions. Fifty-one percent said they need to make substantial changes to develop strong risk management strategies tailored to each market." (State Street Corporation)  

State Pension Plans: A 'Critical Pressure Point' for Many States
"State pension systems didn't necessarily create the financial problems, but they certainly exacerbated financial hardships in many cases.... [A] common element among states that appear to have a firm grasp on managing their pension liabilities: They do not hinder pension solvency in times of fiscal stress. Unlike states that are allowed to 'kick the can' down the road, leaving greater liabilities for the future in hopes of better times, these states are required by law to pay the full contribution regardless of their economic or financial condition." (MuniNet Guide)  

San Jose Mayor to Propose Amendment to State Constitution to Stop 'Vested Rights' Doctrine
"'The government can't afford these benefits, and the employees can't afford these benefits,' [San Jose Mayor Chuck] Reed said. The two-term mayor said he hopes to file papers for a constitutional amendment in 'a couple days,' though whether it would go on the ballot in 2014 or 2016 remains to be decided.... 'The vested rights doctrine is being used to challenge even the most modest pension reforms,' Reed [said]." (San Jose Mercury News)  

Federal Retiree Groups Blast Proposed Switch to Less Generous COLA Formula
"Advocates for federal and military retirees are worried Congress and the White House will agree to reduce retirement benefits as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling. The proposed change, under consideration in several deficit reduction talks during the past year, involves switching to a less generous formula for determining cost-of-living adjustments for federal retirees and Social Security beneficiaries. The result would be lower COLAs for retirees, including federal and military retirees, over time." (Government Executive)  


Carolinas' Prayer For Alternatives?
"[A]lternatives are no panacea and the approach pension funds use is extremely important. Paying high fees while underperforming public market benchmarks is simply unacceptable. It's great for Wall Street but it increases costs and exposes these plans to liquidity, operational, investment and reputation risks.... [T]he funded status of these plans is what ultimately counts and they are doing fine in this regard. But this doesn't mean that the performance of alternative investments shouldn't be scrutinized." (Pension Pulse)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Proposes Pay Ratio Disclosures
"Despite receiving and considering over 22,000 comment letters prior to releasing the Proposed Rules for public comments, the SEC embedded within the Proposed Rules 60 particular requests for comments, more than 55 of which are directed at specific and, in most cases, controversial elements of the proposals.... [T]he Proposed Rules are expected to have the greatest impact on large multinational companies due to, among other things, the number of employees, variations in international payment practices, payment disparities among employees in different countries and the range of laws governing the collection and reporting of employment data[.]" (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)  

[Guidance Overview]

Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decisions Create New Rules for Employee Benefit Plans
"The effect of the Supreme Court's decisions and the agency guidance will depend on what benefits the employer is currently providing to same-sex spouses or domestic partners, and whether the employer wishes to avoid providing more benefits than are legally required. Each of the possible situations is discussed [in detail]." (Calhoun Law Group)  

U.S. Public Companies Concerned About Proposed CEO Pay Ratio Rule
"U.S. public companies are more concerned about the cost and effort likely to be involved in complying with the [SEC's] proposed CEO pay ratio disclosure rule than they are about how shareholders might react ... [O]nly one in 10 employers believes the CEO pay ratio disclosure will provide important information for investors and companies." (Towers Watson)  


Text of Comments by 14 Business Organizations to SEC Requesting Extension of Comment Period on Proposed Pay Ratio Rules (PDF)
"[A 60-day] extension [of the comment period] is necessary if stakeholders and interested parties are to even begin to have a chance to provide the diverse, detailed, and complex information sought in the overlapping requests for comments contained in this Proposed Rule. On the one hand, the rule requests comments within 60 days on dozens of narrow, sensitive, and highly-technical company-specific issues.... On the other hand, the proposal seeks comments on numerous broad, complex macro-economic issues.... The Proposed Rule goes on to solicit separate comments to [OMB] on the data collections and burden analyses associated with nine separate forms and schedules. The request for comments concerning these documents is subject to the admonition that 'comments are best assured of having their full effect if the OMB receives them within 30 days of publication.'" (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Society for Human Resource Management, and 12 other employer organizations)  

Cloud of Litigation Rains on a Plan
"The Ninth Circuit instructed the district court to consider whether the plan 'paid up only under the cloud of litigation.' If that were the case, the Ninth Circuit said, the participant likely achieved 'some degree of success' on the merits of her actions and would therefore be eligible for an award of attorneys' fees.... Plans may [now] face a Hobson's choice -- implement the change unilaterally, and risk the plaintiff seeking catalyst theory attorneys' fees; or, implement the change as part of a negotiated settlement with the plaintiff, and risk the plaintiff exacting some monetary payment in return for waiving the catalyst theory attorneys' fees claim." [Bryant v. Cigna Healthcare of Cal., Inc., No. 11-57249 (9th Cir. Sept. 30, 2013)] (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)  

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