Here you’ll find all news stories and all posts on ASPPA Net, with the newest items at the top.

By John Iekel8/8/2014 • 0 Comments

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified companies that offer advances in exchange for receiving all or part of their pension funds and questionable practices that may put plan participants at risk. “Pension Advance Transactions: Questionable Business Practices Identified,” a report the GAO prepared for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, identified questionable elements of these transactions. READ MORE

By John Iekel8/8/2014 • 0 Comments

During the last week of July, the Bipartisan Policy Center hosted a panel on retirement security — and shared some interesting perspectives on the state of America’s retirement readiness. Pension professionals should understand these perspectives, as they could well find their way into future retirement policy proposals.  READ MORE

By ASPPA Net Staff8/6/2014 • 0 Comments

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has named the members of a panel charged with finding “…ways to better secure retirement savings for private-sector employees in Maryland.” Established by executive order in May and chaired by former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D), the task force brings together representatives from key sectors across the state to find ways to better secure retirement savings for private-sector employees in Maryland.  READ MORE

By John Iekel8/4/2014 • 0 Comments

The proposal to restructure ASPPA has received a seal of approval, and then some. To be exact, 90% approval of the credentialed members — something beyond even categorization as a landslide. After three weeks of voting, the credentialed members have spoken, and have endorsed the plan heartily.  READ MORE

By Ray Harmon8/4/2014 • 0 Comments

The Senate capitulated to the House on a bill to replenish the dwindling federal Highway Trust Fund by a vote of 81-13 on the evening of July 31. The final version of the bill that will now go to President Obama’s desk will include the MAP-21 pension smoothing extension initially rejected by the Senate on July 29. READ MORE

By John Ortman8/4/2014 • 0 Comments

So this year’s estimate of when the Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) trust fund will run out of money is 2033, the Social Security trustees reported July 28 — roughly the same as last year’s estimate. There’s just one problem: There is no such thing as an OASDI trust fund.
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By John Iekel8/1/2014 • 0 Comments

Offering participants too many options can discourage enrollment. But what’s the “sweet spot” in terms of the optimal number of enrollment options? A test by Fidelity found that 78% of participants preferred a three-part enrollment option — and that those who chose that option contributed more.  READ MORE

By John Iekel8/1/2014 • 0 Comments

A secure retirement and adequate retirement savings are targets many Americans can attain. That’s the conclusion that Prudential has reached, based on research by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research. In its most recent National Retirement Risk Index, the center found that to maintain the standard of living they had before retirement, the average American household needs their 401(k) to provide 35% of income during retirement. The exact percentage varies by income level.
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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 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 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 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.
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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.
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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. 
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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. 
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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

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 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

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

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