Fred Barstein

Fred Barstein

Fred Barstein

By Fred Barstein6/18/2014 • 0 Comments

Adding fuel to the fire, an attack on the IRA rollover industry by Bloomberg cites numerous examples of advisors preying on retirees rolling their 401(k) money into IRAs. One expert claims that IRAs are the “Wild West,” with limited oversight and regulation. The report focuses on one advisor who had built a business working with retiring AT&T employees and ended up with 37 FINRA complaints.
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By Fred Barstein6/11/2014 • 0 Comments

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) has asked Labor Secretary Tom Perez to look at potential conflicts of interest among pension consultants that recommend their own investments to clients, The Wall Street Journal reports.  READ MORE

Craig Hoffman

Craig Hoffman

Craig Hoffman

By Craig Hoffman6/13/2014 • 0 Comments

Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 412(d)(2) was originally enacted as part of ERISA over 40 years ago. It provides that certain plan amendments adopted after the close of the plan year may be given retroactive effect. In an informal answer to a question raised in conjunction with the 2011 Enrolled Actuaries Conference, the IRS seemed to contradict the clear meaning of this wording. 
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By Craig Hoffman6/12/2014 • 0 Comments

ASPPA has suggested ways in which the Department of Labor could improve the proposed amendment to the Section 408(b)(2) fee disclosure regulations. READ MORE

John Iekel

John Iekel

John Iekel

By John Iekel6/30/2014 • 0 Comments

Fiduciaries of an ESOP are not entitled to any special presumption of prudence with regard to purchases or sales of employer securities, except as the duty of prudence relates to diversification of plan investments, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 25.  In an ASPPA asap, Ilene Ferenczy of Ferenczy + Paul LLP, offers her insights on this case and what the ruling means.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/27/2014 • 0 Comments

According to Acting Director of IRS Employee Plans Thomas Petit, the IRS still lists 401(k) plans among its top examination priorities. Petit provided that confirmation to attendees of the ASPPA Regional Conference in Chicago. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/26/2014 • 0 Comments

It will be a good deal more congenial than testifying before the Treasury Department — but just as informative. Maybe moreso! Robert M. Kaplan, who has more than 30 years’ worth of experience and is the recipient of the Pension Administrator’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Institute of Pension Administrators and has indeed testified at Treasury, will share his expertise on working with safe harbor 401(k)s in a July 17 webcast. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/26/2014 • 0 Comments

Early withdrawals — loans taken against plan balances, hardship withdrawals and retirement account payouts when changing jobs — can provide participants quick infusions of cash that help meet pressing needs. But these forms of “leakage” can come at the expense of their future retirement security. A new analysis by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) provides empirical data on the full impact of leakage on 401(k) balances.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/26/2014 • 0 Comments

Proposed increases in Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums are a fool’s errand at best, says a report prepared for the American Benefits Council (ABC). “Further PBGC Premium Increases Pose Greatest Threat to Pension System,” a report Quantria Strategies, LLC prepared for the ABC, warns that it would it be more than pointless to raise PBGC premiums — it would be counterproductive. 
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By John Iekel6/26/2014 • 0 Comments

There are just a few days left to weigh in on which industry trends cause you the most pain! There’s still time — but only a little — to be part of the market research ASPPA is conducting.

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By John Iekel6/26/2014 • 0 Comments

At their current savings rate, many Americans will have tough choices to make as they age. Not only that, but a low savings rate has broader serious implications for the U.S. economy and its solvency. “Another Penny Saved: The Benefits of Higher U.S. Household Saving,” a paper by Oxford Economics, paints a sobering picture of the current savings rate and its consequences for retirement. But it also offers some suggestions regarding how to address and maybe even reverse it, and what could result from that. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/24/2014 • 0 Comments

Critics of 401(k)s argue that they will not deliver on what they promised. But MSN Money reports that the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) has provided empirical evidence that their assessments may be very much off the mark. 
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By John Iekel6/20/2014 • 0 Comments

You were sure your filing with the IRS was accurate, but you double checked and found that you made a mistake. It’s tempting to stand pat and hope that the IRS won’t notice, but you know it could — and that could have negative ramifications. What to do?  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/20/2014 • 0 Comments

Defined benefit plans, DC plans and 403(b) annuity arrangements, take note: July 31 is right around the corner. That’s the day by which most plans must file the dreaded and onerous Form 5500. The clock is ticking on filing the form that reports on 2013.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/19/2014 • 0 Comments

Quick! Name a way to increase employees’ retirement readiness. Did you respond, “build employee engagement”? That’s the answer Richard Glass of Investment Horizons, Inc. would give. In his white paper, “Employee Engagement, Corporate Profitability, and Retirement Readiness," Glass argues that there is a connection between how engaged employees are and how well they prepare financially for their retirement. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/19/2014 • 0 Comments

The ink is barely dry on the legislation that raised the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) premiums, and already there is a proposal to hike them again. In an op-ed that appears in Roll Call, Judy Miller, ASPPA’s Director of Retirement Policy, writes about the prospect and what it means and portends. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/19/2014 • 0 Comments

Generally, federal law requires employee benefit plans with 100 or more participants to have an audit as part of their obligation to file a Form 5500. Note that some pension plans with fewer than 100 participants also may be required to have an audit if they fail to meet certain conditions relating to their plan investments, bonding, and disclosure requirements. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/18/2014 • 0 Comments

Investment committee members generally are satisfied with the diversity of the committees to which they belong, according to a study by Vanguard. Nearly 30 percent defined diversity of their investment committee in terms of members’ backgrounds, and nearly 40 percent said it concerned the experience and expertise of its members. 
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By John Iekel6/13/2014 • 0 Comments

Do you know of an ASPPA member who has made a significant contribution to pension education, especially in the last 12 months? You can help make it possible for him or her to receive recognition! Nominations are now being accepted by the ASPPA Retirement Plan Academy Advisory Group for ASPPA’s Educator’s Award. But you need to act soon — the nomination window closes June 30. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/13/2014 • 0 Comments

Funds held in inherited IRAs are not retirement funds and must be included in a bankruptcy estate, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 12. The Court’s 9-0 ruling in Clark v. Rameker, No. 13-299 (U.S. 6/12/14), aff’d 714 F.3d 559 (7th Cir. 2013)) was definitive in drawing a distinction between inherited IRAs and retirement funds, and between inherited IRAs and other funds to which the Bankruptcy Code’s exemptions apply. The Court’s ruling ended years of ping-pong litigation in which successive courts reversed decisions by lower courts.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/11/2014 • 0 Comments

Have you voted yet in the market research ASPPA is conducting? The results are rolling in, but you can still participate in ASPPA’s effort to identify industry trends that regularly cause the most pain.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/11/2014 • 0 Comments

Which factors most influence plan sponsors when they choose a plan provider? At the top of the list: trustworthiness and customer service, according to a new survey conducted by the National Association of Retirement Plan Participants (NARPP). Next are technology, education, administrative service and pricing, according to a Planadvisor article.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/10/2014 • 0 Comments

Many sobering reports have been issued regarding the degree to which U.S. workers are preparing — or not — for retirement. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Personal Savings Initiative (PSI) may not be the first effort that seeks to help turn the tide of poor savings rates, but it has heft and features a far-reaching and ongoing discussion of the problem and ways to address it.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/9/2014 • 0 Comments

Plan sponsors are committed to helping plan participants prepare for their retirement, says a study Brightwork conducted for the Principal Financial Group. The study looked at the responses of 283 plan sponsors, all of whom offer a 401(k), have more than 50 eligible employees and use the services of a paid professional to help them choose and monitor investment and service providers, design plans, conduct enrollment meetings and resolve problems with service providers.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/8/2014 • 0 Comments

The federal government and U.S. workers agree that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — a.k.a. Obamacare — will affect the timing of retirements. However, IFAwebnews reports that there’s a wide gap between what the government and many workers expect that effect to be, according to a survey conducted for MoneyRates.com.

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By John Iekel6/8/2014 • 0 Comments

ASPPA is conducting market research with TPAs and consultants in mind to help develop our educational offerings. Please take five minutes to participate in a fun, interactive online voting tool — tell us what industry trend regularly causes you the most pain and prevents you from becoming more successful.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/3/2014 • 0 Comments

When it comes to having sufficient funds during retirement, expectations are low and fears rife everywhere, according to a recent study. In “The Changing Face of Retirement: The Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2014,” the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and Aegon polled 16,000 employees in 15 counties in North and South America, Europe and Asia and found that while a growing number of respondents expect their finances — and their countries’ economies — to improve in the short term, that optimism does not translate to confidence about the more distant future. 
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By John Iekel6/2/2014 • 0 Comments

Employees who are terminated may be gone, but they’re not always forgotten — at least regarding the retirement plan. A growing number of plans allow terminated employees to live on as participants, notes Robert Leahy of Alliance Benefit Group.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/2/2014 • 0 Comments

Fear of running out of money during retirement is common, but it’s mitigated by interest in saving — the importance of which is not lost on younger employees, according to a new BoA Merrill Lynch report. The Spring 2014 Merrill Edge Report is based on a semi-annual study that looks at the concerns of the “mass affluent” — those with household incomes between $50,000 and $250,000. READ MORE

Judy Miller

Judy Miller

Judy Miller

By Judy Miller6/26/2014 • 0 Comments

The Senate Finance Committee met June 26 to consider a modified chairman’s mark of revenue raisers to pay for an extension of the highway trust fund through the end of the year. The hearing adjourned with no action, but with the stated intention of reconvening to mark up a proposal early in the week following the July 4 recess. Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) indicated that in the interim, he and ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) would be discussing the revenue provisions with House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) with the goal of reaching common agreement. READ MORE

Andrew Remo

Andrew Remo

By Andrew Remo6/2/2014 • 0 Comments

The political dynamic at play between the House of Representatives and the Senate regarding the annual federal spending bills also applies to taxes, as Congress considers tax legislation that includes provisions impacting IRAs and multi-employer pension plans.  READ MORE

Sarah Simoneaux

Sarah Simoneaux

Sarah Simoneaux

By Sarah Simoneaux6/19/2014 • 0 Comments

Which sign are you more likely to obey: “Keep off the Grass!” or “Please Walk on the Pathways”? Research shows that we comprehend a positive statement 30 to 40 percent faster than we do a negative statement. Using positive language doesn’t mean always saying “Yes.” However, delivering a message in the most positive way possible is key to avoid triggering negative emotions.  READ MORE