August 11, 2006

Huey Lewis & The News to Play NASPP Annual Conference

Like last year’s blowout with Hootie & the Blowfish, this year’s NASPP Annual Conference – in Las Vegas – will include a special entertainment event. The NASPP, along with Fidelity Investments, is excited to announce that immediately after the Gala Opening Reception on October 10th, all Conference attendees are invited to join the NASPP and Fidelity on the beach at Mandalay Bay for an exclusive private concert featuring Huey Lewis & The News!

The concert is offered to NASPP Conference attendees only. There is no additional charge to attend – but space is limited and you must register with Fidelity in advance. Alas, major conferences will never be the same for me…

The Pension Protection Act of 2006

Last Thursday, the US Senate passed the Pension Protection Act of 2006, a pension reform bill approved by the House of Representatives on July 28th. The Act addresses a wide range of employee benefit-related issues, including the first change to the definition of “plan assets” under ERISA since 1986. Among many other changes, this Act will now permit managers of hedge funds, funds of funds and other investment vehicles that accept investments from public and private, non-US and US ERISA plans – that do not otherwise qualify for an exception or exemption from the plan asset rules – to accept significantly more capital from ERISA plans.

We have been posting law firm memos about the implications of the new Act in our “Pension Plans” Practice Area.

Former SEC Secretary Jack Katz on an “Overlawyered” SEC

Former long-time SEC Secretary Jonathan “Jack” Katz penned an editorial for Tuesday’s WSJ, following up on Harvey Pitt’s recent editorial about the SEC being over-lawyered. Jack agreed with Harvey’s identification of the problems at the SEC – but Jack doesn’t think that hiring more economists and fewer lawyers solves the problem.

Instead, Jack wants the SEC to play a more active role in monitoring rules once they’re adopted: “Over-lawyering is not merely a reflection of the personnel working at the SEC, it’s also a product of the institution’s definition of itself.” Jack’s thoughts are consistent with recently departed Commissioner Glassman’s emphasis on the need to discern the real-world implications that SEC rule-making initiatives will have before the so-called problem-solving is effectuated. It’s rather jolting to see Jack’s name on something other than an SEC order – and he certainly has a world of experience as he sat “in the room” for more than two decades at the SEC.