Category Archives: Public Employee Plans

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ERISA plan record retention: how long is long enough?

Attorney Rush Nigot blogging about Document Retention and Electronic Discovery on his new Blog, Rush on Business, tells us that in today’s business environment, organizations need to respond to an increasing number of document requests, from regulatory compliance issues to internal investigations to full-scale litigation. And there’s certainly an ERISA component to that. So in … Continue Reading

Will 403(b) plans ever be subject to ERISA?

A few months ago, I wrote about the possibility that a class action law suit might be filed against the National Education Association (NEA). Well, now it’s happened. The law suit claims that the NEA accepted payments from the 403(b) providers to endorse those retirement plans, and  that the fees and expenses charged by the … Continue Reading

If it looks like a 401(k), acts like a 401(k), and sounds like a 401(k), then it must be a 403(b) – Part Two

Yesterday, I discussed the first of two big changes ahead for 403(b) plans that would make 403(b) plans resemble 401(k) plans, proposed IRS regulations that would be effective in 2008. Here is the second big change, the IRS Universal Availability Project. The IRS is sending out letters and questionnaires to public school districts regarding their … Continue Reading

If it looks like a 401(k), acts like a 401(k), and sounds like a 401(k), then it must be a 403(b)

Major changes are on the way for 403(b) plans. Named after Section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code enacted in 1958, 403(b) plans are retirement annuity contracts, mutual fund custodial accounts for employees of certain tax-exempt organizations, public educational organizations, and retirement income accounts established by churches or church-affiliated organizations. The Internal Revenue Service is … Continue Reading

“I’m from the government, and I want you to come to work for us.”

That’s obviously a twist on the old joke. But it’s not a joke. This country faces new and difficult challenges, and we need the best and the brightest more than ever to work for the federal government. Two organizations, the Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation … Continue Reading

One way to deal with an underfunded public employee retirement plan – create a two-tier benefit system

Public employee retirement plans are wholly underfunded. Some states like Kansas with over $5 billion in unfunded liabilities are trying to deal with it by increasing its contributions and issuing pension obligation bonds. Kansas is going one step further. Kansas Senate Bill No. 362 creates a two-tier retirement benefit system so that some public employees … Continue Reading

Life (insurance) after death

Why tax payers get upset. A California water agency added benefits to the contract of its general manager, including a $20,000 life insurance policy, about 13 hours after his death according to a story in the San Diego News. It hasn’t been confirmed that the Board members knew that general manager was dead when they … Continue Reading

Institutional investors want today and every day to be Earth Day

Last month a group of more than 60 institutional investors and asset managers with collective assets totaling more than $4 trillion, and leading publicly traded corporations, issued a climate policy call to action requesting Congress and the Federal government to take prompt action on global climate change. The coalition, called Investors and Business for U.S. … Continue Reading

Hockey, maple syrup, and dueling public employee pension funds

Just one week after reports that the largest investor in Bell Canada was putting together a consortium to take the company over, BCE, Bell Canada’s parent, announced that it was talking about going private with another investor group. BCE, which is widely held, has a market value of about US$26.5 billion. A buyout of the … Continue Reading

Educational institutions, 403(b) plans, and class action law suits

Keller Rohrback, a Seattle-based law firm and one of the leaders in 401(k) class action law suits, has now turned its attention to 403(b) plans. The firm, whose website is named ERISAfraud,com, announced its investigation into ithe National Education Association (“NEA”) Valuebuilder 403(b) variable annuity plan. As background, the NEA has 3.2 million members who … Continue Reading

Welcome back public employees

My very first client was a municipality whose retirement plans covered uniformed police and firefighters with collectively bargained benefits and the civilian employees covered by civil service rules. Somewhere along the line, we drifted away from public employee retirement plans, but now some years later here we are again – working with benefit plans in … Continue Reading

Two classes of retirees emerging: those having government pensions and those that don’t

More and more, retirees are finding that it pays to have worked for the government instead of the private sector. That’s the headline of a recent article in USA Today reporting that retired government workers are twice as likely to get a pension as their counterparts in the private sector with a benefit more generous. … Continue Reading

They’re back! Retirement plan bad boy clauses

Back in the day, pre-ERISA day, many retirement plans had “bad boy” clauses. That is, a provision in the plan under which a participant could forfeit all benefits for being a “bad boy.” That usually meant among other misdeeds criminal conduct. Well, they’re back – at least as far as Congress is concerned. Last November, … Continue Reading