November 1996

It’s good to be the president

Even a single term in the White House can make you an instant pension millionaire. Just ask Bill Clinton-or, if he wins in November, Bob Dole.

And now, out come the knives

The MASTERS/PRIM merger is expected to save Massachusetts millions of dollars a year. One key savings: Shrinking the outside manager roster.

GM loses a round

An appeals court ruling says the auto giant must stop charging retirees for health benefits. The decision could cost GM hundreds of millions of dollars

Untangling the rules

The IRS tries to make it easier for non-qualified plan sponsors to figure out how much pay FICA taxes they have to pay.

Trading on the Front

Investor suspicions about traditional markets have helped alternative market systems flourish. But a new system, OptiMark, promises to go further, reducing trading to a low-cost technical process focused on something new: the degree of customer satisfaction.

Scientific revolution

How recent advances in supercomputing, plus a unique new algorithm, made OptiMark possible.

Real Estates information age

Leery of the next market downturn, investors are demanding more and better information from real estate managers. Our roundtable participants discussed what plan sponsors want, and how they want to receive it.

Energy Project Finance

Steady, predictable cash flows start to attract pension investment.

Opting in

Two UK employers allow switching from cash balance to defined benefit plans

LEGISLATION & REGULATION

What gridlock? Minimum wage bill contains grab-bag of goodies for pension sponsors

Pension Simplification and Much More

Many of the pension simplification provisions in HR 3448 previously appeared in the budget tax hill that President Clinton vetoed last year.

The numbers game:

SEC lets money managers use more historical data in prospectuses

Multinational pensions

New products are being developed for multinationals' globe-trotting execs

Trouble on the canals

A dispute over pension contributions nearly shuts down one of Venice's best-known institutions-the musicians who perform in its gondolas

Report card for state funds

Unfunded liabilities continue to fall at state retirement plans, thanks in part to heavier equity investment. But more improvement may be needed.

Virginia’s Retirement Tiff

A confidential information request for a defined contribution plan study provokes a dust-up between the state and the Virginia Retirement System.

Last holdout?

A constitutional challenge threatens to make West Virginia the last state that still bars its employee pension funds from investing in equities.

Fidelity shapes its world

The world's biggest mutual fund company has been instrumental in creating the defined contribution plan as we know it. Here's how-and what the future holds for Fidelity and its rivals.

Developing new markets

As the US retirement market matures, Fidelity is looking for new audiences in places like Japan. Step one: education.

Rating the providers

A Plan Sponsor survey of 401(k) sponsors shows that they like the hand their providers have dealt them in education, communication, and recordkeeping services. But one area investment performance shows room for improvement.

Non-profit pension plans under pressure

The IRS is ending lax enforcement of 403(b) plan rules-one more headache for a group of plan sponsors already suffering from low participation rates and overly conservative investment profiles.

Promised land, or paperwork hell?

Now that nonprofit employers can offer 401(k)s as well as 403(b)s, is a big switch imminent? Do not count on it.

Building blocks

Plans assemble risk management systems to more closely scrutinize their portfolios

Back to fundamentals

Using valuation measures to decide which global equity markets to buy

Three-year plan

How Mead's push to centralize benefits led to total benefits outsourcing

Frank Lyons

Retired immigration judge, 73