Practice Management

Practice Management

Practice Management includes the ways that advisors can profitably and successfully run their businesses from practical topics like business systems, advisor fees and client services to professional development and growth strategies. Also covered are overall industry trends, ethics and compliance, as well the various service providers and vendors that advisors need to partner with in order to build, grow and manage their practices.

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

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

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 Iekel5/21/2014 • 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 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 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 Iekel5/9/2014 • 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 Iekel5/1/2014 • 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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