Ray Harmon

Ray Harmon

Ray Harmon

By Ray Harmon7/31/2014 • 0 Comments

The U.S. Senate passed legislation July 29 to fund the nation’s Highway Trust Fund — legislation that does not include a pension smoothing provision. The vote tally on the $8.1 billion bill was 79-18. READ MORE

By Ray Harmon7/24/2014 • 0 Comments

In a piece published in The New York Times on Tuesday, July 22, Gene B. Sperling, former Director of the Economic Council under the Office of White House Policy for President Obama, put on a white lab coat and diagnosed the tax incentive system for private retirement savings with a serious illness by cherrypicking data points to paint his desired picture. It’s no surprise that during Sperling’s time working for Obama, the President borrowed his favorite line and called the system “upside-down.” I criticized the President then for that misdiagnosis and I’ll criticize “Doctor” Sperling now for it too. 
READ MORE

Craig Hoffman

Craig Hoffman

Craig Hoffman

By Craig Hoffman7/23/2014 • 0 Comments

The 2014 ASPPA Annual Conference, scheduled for Oct. 26-29, is only three months away. This year’s program is filled with topics that should not be missed. Once again, Sunday’s opening general session will include a Washington Update on legislative and regulatory developments presented by ASPPA’s government affairs experts, Brian Graff, Executive Director; Craig Hoffman, General Counsel; and Judy Miller, Director of Retirement Policy (as well as ACOPA’s Executive Director). READ MORE

John Iekel

John Iekel

John Iekel

By John Iekel7/28/2014 • 0 Comments

Is the Form 5500 worth filling out and filing in the first place? Not everyone is convinced, reports Benefitspro. But file they must, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has come to the rescue, offering suggestions in its recent report, “Private Pensions: Targeted Revisions Could Improve Usefulness of Form 5500 Information” regarding how the form could be made more useful. READ MORE

By John Iekel7/28/2014 • 0 Comments

Plan participants take money out of their 401(k)s prematurely for different reasons — such as plan loans and hardship withdrawals. But the biggest driver of leakage, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), is cashing out when changing jobs.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/25/2014 • 0 Comments

It’s easy for inertia to take over when financial decisions have to be made, especially when it comes to investment choices in a 401(k) plan. In “Using Re-enrollment to Improve Participant Investing and Provide Fiduciary Protections,” a white paper prepared for JP Morgan Chase & Co., Fred Reish and Bruce Ashton discuss one solution — re-enrollment, or requiring participants to re-invest in the plan by making new decisions about how the funds in their retirement accounts are invested.
READ MORE

By John Iekel7/24/2014 • 0 Comments

This year’s ASPPA Annual Conference features a new opportunity for business leaders to network, discuss best practices and meet with peers. We’ve just added a reception for business leaders to the conference program, providing an event at which you can interact with others who share your interests and concerns. The reception will be sponsored by PensionPro Software, LLC.
READ MORE

By John Iekel7/24/2014 • 0 Comments

Is Washington obsessed with rollovers? ASPPA Executive Director and CEO Brian Graff thinks so. “There’s no one who doesn’t care about this issue. There is an obsession with the rollover issue in D.C.,” said Graff in the July 22 webinar, “Washington Update: Rollovers, Rollovers, Rollovers — it’s All About Rollovers.” He and ASPPA Director of Government Affairs Ron Triche discussed the ways in which rollovers are front-and-center on the federal radar screen. 
READ MORE

By John Iekel7/23/2014 • 0 Comments

Expenses charged to 401(k) plan participants declined in 2013, says a new study from the Investment Company Institute (ICI). In “The Economics of Providing 401(k) Plans: Services, Fees and Expenses, 2013,” the ICI reports that last year, participants spent less when they invested in equity, hybrid and bond funds.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/21/2014 • 0 Comments

Target date funds (TDFs) are growing and likely to comprise a larger percentage of 401(k) assets, says Paladin Registry, an independent educational resource for investors.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/18/2014 • 0 Comments

Seventeen states have, or are, considering measures that would allow private-sector employers to automatically enroll employees in IRAs. None of these measures has yet resulted in a law that does, although three states — California, Connecticut and Oregon — have enacted measures that create boards to study the matter, and an executive order in Maryland does so. But 14 of these states, if they enact an auto IRA law, will face an inconvenient little problem — they already have laws on the books that prevent such arrangements.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/17/2014 • 0 Comments

ASPPA will kick off the new year with its first-ever Business Executives and Managers Conference, to be held in the Lone Star State on Jan. 26-27 at the Sheraton North Houston Hotel. It will offer great opportunities to establish new connections and strengthen those you already have, exchange ideas, and grow professionally.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/17/2014 • 0 Comments

The PBGC is stopping its enforcement efforts in open cases involving ERISA Section 4062 (e), and will not take on any new ones until after Dec. 31, 2014. In a July 8 press release, the agency said it is doing so to ensure that its efforts are targeted at cases in which pensions genuinely are at risk. The agency also said that it plans to work with the business community, labor and other stakeholders during this period. READ MORE

By John Iekel7/15/2014 • 0 Comments

ASPPA is now seeking nominations for the Harry T. Eidson Founders Award. The award, established to honor the memory of ASPPA’s founder, Harry T. Eidson, FSPA, CPC, acknowledges individuals who have made significant contributions to ASPPA and/or the private pension system.
READ MORE

By John Iekel7/15/2014 • 0 Comments

Millennials’ embrace of savings is robust, says a report the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies issued on July 15. The report says that employees born between 1979 and 1996 have a strong interest in saving and preparing for retirement.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/14/2014 • 0 Comments

The IRS on July 11 announced that it is withdrawing a proposal it made in 1981 for an amendment to regulations governing IRA rollovers. The proposed amendment to Treas. Reg. § 1.408-4(b)(4)(ii) would have applied the rollover limitation on an IRA-by-IRA basis. This withdrawal affects individuals who maintain IRAs and financial institutions that are trustees, custodians, or issuers of IRAs. READ MORE

By John Iekel7/9/2014 • 0 Comments

Just added to this year’s Western Benefits Conference, July 27-30 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas: an update on ERISA-related litigation and the U.S. Supreme Court, which has been very active recently in the employee benefits area. READ MORE

By John Iekel7/9/2014 • 0 Comments

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has announced that its ERISA Advisory Council will be examining issues and considerations related to facilitating lifetime retirement plan participation. In explaining its rationale for doing so, it cites the recent movement of participant assets out of defined contribution and defined benefit plans, and into retirement accounts not covered by ERISA — such as IRAs or other savings accounts — or as plan distributions.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/9/2014 • 0 Comments

In honor of Ed Burrows’ contribution to the advancement of the general understanding of pension knowledge, an annual honorary payment of $2,000 is awarded for the best paper submitted on a topic selected by the Ed Burrows Award Committee. The winning submission will be the paper that in the committee’s judgment both adheres to that year’s topic, and best advances the understanding of the national retirement system.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/7/2014 • 0 Comments

Growing professionally, making new connections and strengthening existing ones, exchanging ideas on actions you can take to build your business — there’s never a bad time for any of these. But the start of a new year is an especially good time, and ASPPA will be offering an ideal opportunity in the first-ever Business Executives and Managers Conference, to be held in Houston on Jan. 26-27, 2015 at the Sheraton North Houston Hotel. READ MORE

By John Iekel7/3/2014 • 0 Comments

We heard you! Market research that ASPPA is conducting has given us a good look at which industry trends cause you the most pain, and we have compiled the top eight concerns.

READ MORE

By John Iekel7/2/2014 • 0 Comments

The Treasury Department issued a rule July 1 that essentially allows employees to convert part of their IRA or 401(k) balances into a longevity annuity. Under the rule, an IRA or 401(k) can allow participants to use $125,000 or up to 25 percent of their IRA or 401(k) — whichever is less — to buy a longevity annuity. The dollar limit will be adjusted for inflation in $10,000 increments.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/1/2014 • 0 Comments

Nondiscrimination tests, sometimes described as the “rocket science” of the tax compliance world, can make an employer run afoul. And that’s exactly what happened to 57,277 of the 401(k) plans that Judy Diamond Associates reports in a study it recently released. The study says that the plans in question failed the most recent nondiscrimination tests they conducted in compliance with IRS regulations.  READ MORE

Judy Miller

Judy Miller

Judy Miller

By Judy Miller7/28/2014 • 0 Comments

Recently, in the review process for determination letter applications, the IRS has taken issue with “412(d)(2)” plan amendments. Some plan sponsors have been told by IRS reviewers that the amendments were not permissible if adopted after the close of the plan year, and that a closing agreement would be necessary to avoid disqualification. ASPPA and ACOPA sent a letter to IRS on June 9, 2014, expressing disagreement with the position being taken as contrary to the clear statutory language of IRC Section 412(d)(2). READ MORE

By Judy Miller7/11/2014 • 0 Comments

On Thursday, July 10, both the House Ways and Means (W&M) and the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) marked up bills to extend funding for the highway trust fund. Both bills include extension of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) interest stabilization provision to provide part of the necessary funding.  READ MORE

John  Ortman

John Ortman

John Ortman

By John Ortman7/23/2014 • 0 Comments

Retirement-sector veteran Nevin Adams will join ASPPA next month to head its rapidly expanding media and marketing businesses.  READ MORE

By John Ortman7/15/2014 • 0 Comments

The three-week voting period by credentialed members on the ASPPA Board of Directors’ restructuring proposal is now about halfway through. Have you cast your vote yet? READ MORE

By John Ortman7/11/2014 • 0 Comments

The conference brochure for the 2014 ASPPA Annual Conference is now available on the Annual Conference website. Just click on the “Raising the Bar” artwork in the right margin to download the 30-page pdf. 
READ MORE

By John Ortman7/9/2014 • 0 Comments

Voting by credentialed members on the ASPPA Board of Directors’ proposal to restructure the organization is now open. Have you cast your vote yet? READ MORE

Andrew Remo

Andrew Remo

By Andrew Remo7/23/2014 • 0 Comments

Congress is expected to wrap up its business for the summer in the next two weeks as members continue to work through an extremely limited set of issues in which the two parties can find common ground in this election year.  READ MORE