March 2011

2011 Plan Sponsors of the Year

2011 Plan Sponsors of the Year: California Savings Plus Program – Public Sector/457 Heritage Valley Health Systems – Nonprofit/403(b)  The Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri – Defined Benefit Ernst...

Months in the Making

As I’m sure you can appreciate, a lot of hard work goes into every issue of PLANSPONSOR. For the very most part, however, that hard work takes place within a relatively short window of time bounded by our monthly publication cycle. However, the work in this issue began months ago when we opened nominations for our Plan Sponsors of the Year. It continued till Christmas while Plan Sponsor of the Year nominees responded to our requests for information, till the end of January when we announced our selections as finalists, and culminates today with the publication of those we honor from that elite group as Plan Sponsors of the Year.

Warning “Labels”

Litigation—or, more accurately, the fear of litigation—frequently serves to put us on notice. It’s why we find labels on hair dryers cautioning against bathtub use, why hemorrhoid cream comes with an admonition that it is not to be taken internally, why that fast food coffee cup is emblazoned with a note that the contents are, in fact, "hot." Yet, we know that, as silly as these warnings seem, somewhere along the line either someone actually engaged in the activity in question, or some corporate attorney was afraid that they might.

War Stories – March 2011

We all have them: Those front-line experiences that are inevitable when one deals with the variety—and sensitivity—of issues associated with human beings and critical life events. Sometimes those stories are tragic, sometimes they are bizarre, and sometimes—admit it—they are just plain funny.

Have You Made a FICA-Inspired Participation Push?

That tax compromise bill signed into law as 2010 drew to a close means that everyone who pays into Social Security will see those FICA withholdings reduced (the Tax Extension Bill provides a Social Security "tax holiday" by decreasing the current payroll tax rate from 6.2% to 4.2% for one year). In early January, I asked online readers if they had made or were planning to make any kind of special enrollment/participation "push" related to the FICA withholding changes—and how that had been received.

Bells & Whistles – March 2011

Each month, Bells & Whistles highlights recent product introductions that plan sponsors­ may find of interest. More information on these announcements can be found on If you have a product announcement that you believe would be of interest to our ­readers, drop us a line at

A Light Touch

Skillful managers find there is still money to be made from within the EAFE universe

Risking Business

Study finds different risk priorities for U.K., U.S. plan sponsors

Audit Trials

Issues not to gift wrap for IRS executive-compensation auditors

Retirement Requirement

Does your company sponsor a 401(k) savings plan or a 401(k) retirement plan?