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Medicare chief Jonathan Blum leaving Obama administration

By: Paul Demko, Modern Healthcare

Published April 22, 2014 - 12:35pm CST

The Obama administration's top Medicare official is stepping down from his post.

Small employers fuel recent growth of defined contribution plans

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 22, 2014 - 10:26am CST

More than 90% of pension plans that have been formed in recent years have been defined contribution plans, with the overwhelming majority of those plans set up by small employers, according to a new government report.

Funding of large employers' pension plans fell $5B in March: Milliman

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 16, 2014 - 11:19am CST

The funding levels of pension plans sponsored by large publicly held U.S. employers fell nearly $5 billion in March, primarily due to asset underperformance and interest rate decreases, according to a new report by Milliman Inc.

U.S. CBO estimates slightly lower deficits as health subsidies fall

Published April 14, 2014 - 2:31pm CST

(Reuters) — U.S. budget deficits over the next decade will be $286 billion less than previously estimated, the Congressional Budget Office said, attributing the decline to lower estimates of subsidy costs under the health care reform law.

School district would have to lay off teachers to comply with EEOC: Attorney

By: Judy Greenwald

Published April 11, 2014 - 2:56pm CST

A school district would have had to lay off school teachers to comply with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission demands in an age discrimination charge filed against it because of its early retirement incentive plan, says the district's attorney.

Katy Spangler joins American Benefits Council as health policy lead

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 11, 2014 - 2:25pm CST

Katy Spangler, a former congressional health policy staffer, will join the American Benefits Council next month as its senior vice president of health policy, the Washington-based employer benefits lobbying organization announced Wednesday.

Vanguard discontinues defined benefit administration services

By: Rob Kozlowski | Pensions & Investments

Published April 10, 2014 - 9:34am CST

Vanguard Group announced on Tuesday it will no longer offer administration services for defined benefit plans in order to expand services to defined contribution plan clients.

No new pensions at top 100 U.K. public companies: Towers Watson

By: Sophie Baker | Pensions & investments

Published April 10, 2014 - 9:24am CST

There are no companies left in the London Stock Exchange's FTSE 100 that offer a final salary pension plan as their primary retirement plan for new employees, according to research by consultant Towers Watson & Co.

Chicago pension reform measure passes Illinois Legislature

By: Rob Kozlowski, Pensions & Investments

Published April 09, 2014 - 3:25pm CST

The Illinois Senate passed a pension reform bill aimed at improving the funding of two Chicago retirement funds for laborers and municipal workers.

Maryland budget reduces pension catch-up contributions

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published April 08, 2014 - 9:01am CST

Maryland lawmakers approved a fiscal 2015 budget that trims pension contributions aimed at improving the funded status of the $44 billion Maryland State Retirement & Pension System, Baltimore.

Same-sex retirement benefits retroactive to June 2013, IRS rules

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 07, 2014 - 3:44pm CST

Employers are not required to retroactively offer qualified retirement benefits to married same-sex couples for plan years predating the U.S. Supreme Court's partial overturn of DOMA.

Senate panel approves mass transit tax break, some health premium subsidies

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 07, 2014 - 10:47am CST

New tax legislation would allow employees to make up to $250 a month in pretax contributions to pay for mass transit expenses through the end of 2015, while an expired but limited federal health premium subsidy would be restored.

Investors withdraw proposal after Exxon Mobil agrees on fracking disclosure

By: Barry B. Burr, Pensions & Investments

Published April 04, 2014 - 3:55pm CST

The New York City Retirement Systems, which have a combined $145 billion in assets, was a lead co-filer of the proposal with the $310 million Park Foundation, Ithaca, N.Y., which engaged the As You Sow Foundation, an environmental advocacy group, to work on its behalf on the Exxon Mobil issue.

Great-West to acquire J.P. Morgan Asset Management large-plan DC business

By: Christine Williamson, Pensions & Investments

Published April 03, 2014 - 1:47pm CST

Great-West Financial will acquire the large-plan defined contribution business of J.P. Morgan Asset Management, creating the second-largest U.S. record keeper by participants and tying for second based on assets under administration.

Largest public companies' pension plan funding levels jumped in 2013

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 02, 2014 - 11:52am CST

Pension plan funding levels among large publicly held U.S. employers soared last year as rising interest rates reduced liabilities, while strong investment results fueled a rise in the value of plan assets, according to a Milliman Inc. survey.

Oregon same-sex marriage ban 'wrong' and bad for business: Employers

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 02, 2014 - 10:52am CST

A group of large and midsize employers in Oregon says the state's ban on same-sex marriage is not only “morally and legally wrong,” it's also bad for business.

Pending Supreme Court case could make company stock option toxic

By: By Robert Steyer, Pensions & Investments

Published March 31, 2014 - 12:01pm CST

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments April 2 in a pivotal defined contribution case.

Towers Watson risk transfer program aims to offload retiree health care risks

By: Jerry Geisel

Published March 30, 2014 - 6:00am CST

A program that applies aspects of the pension plan risk-reduction concept to employers' retiree health care exposures could provide financial relief to some employers, experts say.

Proposed bill would allow employers to prepay PBGC premiums

By: Jerry Geisel

Published March 30, 2014 - 6:00am CST

A proposal to allow employers to prepay up to five years of insurance premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. could be an attractive short-term option for some employers, but the longer-term risks could outweigh the immediate financial rewards.

Manufacturer sees big boost in 401(k) enrollment

By: Jerry Geisel

Published March 28, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Even though Cox Machine Inc. offered employees a company match, less than half of new employees signed up for the company's 401(k) plan.

401(k) auto-enrollment helps workers, employers reach financial goals

By: Jerry Geisel

Published March 28, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Auto-enrollment has proved to be an effective way of boosting employee contributions to 401(k) plans. How does it work for employers?

Attorney fees can't come out of Medicare set-aside funds: Court

By: Sheena Harrison

Published March 24, 2014 - 3:18pm CST

Medicare set-aside accounts can’t be used to pay attorney fees associated with such arrangements, a Louisiana appellate court ruled.

Towers Watson unveils retiree health care risk transfer program

By: Jerry Geisel

Published March 24, 2014 - 8:05am CST

An innovative risk transfer program unveiled by Towers Watson & Co. will allow employers to assure continuation of the funding of health care coverage for retirees through the purchase of a group annuity from participating insurers.

U.K. pensions shake-up throws insurance industry into turmoil

Published March 20, 2014 - 10:37am CST

(Reuters) — Britain's insurers will lose control of a market worth £15 billion ($25 billion) a year under a surprise pension reform announced by the government and will struggle to make up the hit to profits any time soon, according to analysts.

Appeals court splits rulings on ABB 401(k) mismanagement, clears Fidelity

By: Robert Steyer, Pensions & Investments

Published March 19, 2014 - 4:11pm CST

A federal appeals court on Wednesday issued a split decision in a prominent 401(k) case involving claims by participants that a sponsor, ABB Ltd., Cary, N.C., and its record keeper, Fidelity Investments, breached their fiduciary duties.

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