Fred Barstein

Fred Barstein

Fred Barstein

By Fred Barstein5/22/2014 • 0 Comments

While assets in IRAs are larger than those in DC plans, the vast majority of their growth comes from rollovers, according to research from EBRI. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein5/20/2014 • 0 Comments

With the growth of auto-plan features, plan sponsors are subject to many misconceptions and fears that prevent them from doing the right thing for their employees. Missouri-based Pension Consultants Inc. identifies the seven biggest misconceptions about auto features, and provides solid answers that plan advisors can use with reluctant clients.

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By Fred Barstein5/13/2014 • 0 Comments

Concerns about the impact and usefulness of the 408(b)(2) summary guide rule the DOL proposed in March are building and coalescing. Groups representing large plan sponsors and advisors have expressed concern about the proposal. And earlier this year, a coalition of industry groups that includes SPARK, which represents record keepers and DCIOs, was equally apprehensive about the new rules.

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By Fred Barstein5/9/2014 • 0 Comments

Speaking at a Washington legislative update meeting on May 5, Assistant Labor Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration Phyllis Borzi said that while there is no set date for issuing the rule that will redefine fiduciary, she will not wait forever. Most insiders predict that the rule will not be released before the congressional elections in November. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein5/3/2014 • 0 Comments

Reacting to a forensic investigation initiated by state employees, North Carolina’s $87 billion state pension system may be moving from a sole trustee to a board soon. As reported in P&I, a panel convened by State Treasurer Janet Cowell (D) is recommending the change amid allegations set forth in a forensic investigation commissioned by the State Employees’ Association of North Carolina. READ MORE

Ray Harmon

Ray Harmon

Ray Harmon

By Ray Harmon5/15/2014 • 0 Comments

On May 15, the IRS issued Notice 2014-37 containing additional post-Windsor guidance for 401(k) or (m) safe harbor plans in response to an informal request by the ASPPA Government Affairs Committee.  READ MORE

John Iekel

John Iekel

John Iekel

By John Iekel5/31/2014 • 0 Comments

The ASPPA Annual Conference — an ideal opportunity to share quality time with representatives from every aspect of the retirement plan industry — will be held Oct. 26-29. Registration for the 2014 conference is now open. READ MORE

By John Iekel5/28/2014 • 0 Comments

More often than not, employees who obtain investment advice do not follow it. And that’s among those who bother to seek it in the first place. The Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey suggests that advisors have some work to do in boosting plan participants’ interest and confidence in professional advice.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/28/2014 • 0 Comments

The so-called DoL “conflict of interest rule for investment advice” — formerly known as the fiduciary redefinition rule — has been delayed until January 2015. The delay was revealed in a posting of the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which notes that a second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will not be issued until January, but it does not state a specific date.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/28/2014 • 0 Comments

This white paper by Lowell M. Smith of Inspira looks at the problems posed by uncashed pension checks, which include handling interest on the funds awaiting transfer, notification requirements and how appropriate corrective actions are, not to mention the added complication of there being no clear guidance from the IRS and the Department of Labor on the subject. This paper examines the regulatory issues surrounding uncashed checks as well as possible solutions for handling them. READ MORE

By John Iekel5/27/2014 • 0 Comments

More than 90 percent of the plan sponsors that filed their final Form 5500 filings the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) examined in its “Final Return With Assets Project” had at least one error, the IRS reports. Final Forms 5500 are required even if a plan has been exempt from filing a Form 5500-EZ (the annual return of a one-participant retirement plan) in previous years. READ MORE

By John Iekel5/27/2014 • 0 Comments

The ASPPA Board of Directors has decided that the best way to serve the society’s traditional members going forward is to create a new sister organization focused solely on their unique needs and concerns. The Board has recommended keeping the ASPPA name for the new sister, given its almost 50-year brand identity among retirement plan professionals. The “new ASPPA” would join ACOPA, NTSA and NAPA as part of a new “hub” organization to be named the American Retirement Council.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/24/2014 • 0 Comments

A May 21 Senate Finance subcommittee hearing that purported to be about strengthening Social Security morphed into a critical discussion of the merits of the defined contribution system and industry.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/21/2014 • 0 Comments

Exercising the fiduciary duties of prudence and disclosure regarding target date funds (TDFs) can be challenging, and a white paper by Richard Glass of Investment Horizons, Inc. discusses the issues 401(k) fiduciaries face and provides suggestions for addressing them.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/21/2014 • 0 Comments

A recent study by Financial Engines and Aon Hewitt says that if a plan participant invests all or nearly all of their retirement assets in target date funds (TDFs), it can affect returns. Barrons also weighs in on the issue, quoting Bloomberg’s Ben Steverman.  
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By John Iekel5/19/2014 • 0 Comments

The PBGC wasted no time in responding to a study critical of proposed increases in PBGC premiums. It issued its response on May 14, the same day the Pension Coalition released “Increasing Pension Premiums: The Impact on Jobs and Economic Growth,” reports BenefitsPro. The PBGC agreed that premiums need to be reformed, but also sought to deflect blame for the proposed hikes. READ MORE

By John Iekel5/16/2014 • 0 Comments

Auto enrollment and escalation can be very useful in boosting plan participation and setting in motion all the good effects that result from that. But like medicines, they should be used properly — and if they’re not, they can cause harm. So argues a new white paper from Milliman, “Auto enrollment: Two Sides to Every Coin.”  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/15/2014 • 0 Comments

Some states and cities have found that cutting cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to the pensions they provide their employees is a way to loosen the financial vise of pension liabilities. The Center for Retirement Research of Boston College in its recent study, “COLA Cuts in State and Local Pensions” discusses this child of the Great Recession and generous pension plans whose context has changed.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/14/2014 • 0 Comments

Some 30 percent percent of small businesses say it is at least somewhat likely they will eliminate their existing retirement plans if the DOL adopts its proposed, expanded definition of a fiduciary, according to a study by Greenwald & Associates released May 14. READ MORE

By John Iekel5/14/2014 • 0 Comments

ASPPA and other groups that represent thousands of employers urged the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in separate letters to oppose any efforts to further increase premiums paid to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation by sponsors of single-employer DB plans. READ MORE

By John Iekel5/14/2014 • 0 Comments

The IRS will soon launch a new pilot program that will give relief to certain plan sponsors and administrators from penalties for filing the Form 5500 or Form 5500-EZ late. Only those who are not entitled to automatic relief under Title I of ERISA will be eligible under the pilot program.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/9/2014 • 0 Comments

Workers are more concerned about — and more interested in doing something about — their retirement income than they are about financing their health care, a new Towers Watson study reveals. In fact, not only are they more concerned about setting something aside for their retirement, a majority said they are even willing to trade other benefits for guaranteed retirement income later.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/7/2014 • 0 Comments

Much has been made about providing fee disclosure statements to plan sponsors and participants. But a paper by Mercer and the Stanford Center on Longevity, “Retirement Income Statements May Help Avert a Looming Crisis,suggests that participants would be at least as interested — if not moreso — in electronic statements about projected retirement income from their accounts. READ MORE

By John Iekel5/7/2014 • 0 Comments

The Office of Management and Budget has approved revisions to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s standard termination, distress termination and missing participants forms and instructions. The new forms and instructions can be found on the Plan Terminations page of PBGC’s website.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/7/2014 • 0 Comments

The funded status of private- and public-sector pension plans is a classic example of bad news/good news. To wit: Corporate pensions’ funded status fell in April, but only very slightly; and some states’ pensions are in bad shape, but funding of public-sector pension plans overall is improving.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/6/2014 • 0 Comments

The Great Recession wrought a lot of havoc — and 401(k)s did not escape the maelstrom. Many consider the recovery of the U.S. economy to be very gradual; a recent report by Gallup indicates that the same may be said for that of confidence of those not yet retired in 401(k)s as a primary source of retirement income.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/6/2014 • 0 Comments

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has revised two schedules to be used with 2014 Form 5500 filings. The PBGC modified the Schedule MB (multiemployer defined benefit plan actuarial information) and the Schedule SB (single-employer defined benefit plan actuarial information) and related instructions. The PBGC seeks the Office of Management and Budget’s approval of the modifications before it issues the revised schedules for use with 2014 filings. 

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By John Iekel5/5/2014 • 0 Comments

Pension plans have a lot of adjustments to make in order to comply with the PBGC premium payment rules, which the PBGC amended for plan years beginning in 2014 and beyond. And even if a plan does not owe the PBGC a premium, it still must make a premium filing. READ MORE

By John Iekel5/2/2014 • 0 Comments

House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) didn’t mince words at a May 1 event on multiemployer pension plan reform: the current state of affairs “will inflict a lot of pain on homes and workplaces,” and something needs to be done. He made his remarks at an event the Quality Construction Alliance and Bloomberg Government held in Washington, D.C.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/1/2014 • 0 Comments

There are things you should do — and not do — in using social media. And it’s especially complicated for those in the retirement plan industry, since social media communications must comply with the rules promulgated by regulatory bodies and others. Join us for an upcoming webcast, “Realities of Social Media in a Regulated Industry,” on Thursday, May 15 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. 

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John  Ortman

John Ortman

John Ortman

By John Ortman5/12/2014 • 0 Comments

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has created a task force to explore how his state can improve retirement security for private sector employees, with an eye toward recommending further action. READ MORE

Andrew Remo

Andrew Remo

By Andrew Remo5/22/2014 • 0 Comments

The Joint Economic Committee, a bicameral congressional committee charged with studying matters relating to the United States economy, held a hearing May 21 that examined the unique issues that women face in retirement. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), vice-chair of the committee, convened the hearing to follow up on a report the committee issued in April which concluded that due to lower lifetime earnings, women age 65 and older collect $11,000 less in annual median income than men. READ MORE

By Andrew Remo5/14/2014 • 0 Comments

Lauding the federal Thrift Savings Plan as “one of the most efficient savings plans in America,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) urged that the DC plan for federal employees be made available to private workers nationwide. READ MORE

By Andrew Remo5/8/2014 • 0 Comments

The Connecticut legislature passed legislation May 8 that would establish a board to study, and then implement, a public retirement plan for private sector employers. The measure awaits the signature of Gov. Dannel Malloy (D).

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Ronald Triche

Ronald Triche

Ronald Triche

By Ronald Triche5/28/2014 • 0 Comments

Relying on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in Owens v. Auto Machinists Pension Trust, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in Boulds v. Nielsen that the benefits payable from an ERISA-covered defined benefit plan can be divided between domestic partners as “marital property” pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO).  READ MORE