New BeFi Ideas May Lead to Better Retirement Plans

It seems like we’re just at the beginning of exploring other simple yet effect ways to help people save more for retirement — without increasing the costs and administrative burdens for plan sponsors. For example, Harvard’s Brigette Mondrian assigned students in her master class on Behavior Economics and Public Policy the task of coming up with creative new ideas.   Read More

Bills Would Require Auto IRAs, Simplify Plan Rules

Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) recently introduced two key bills in Congress affecting retirement plans: the Automatic IRA Act of 2013 (H.R. 2035), which would require employers with more than 10 employees to enroll their workers in IRAs via an automatic payroll deduction arrangement; and the Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act (H.R. 2117), comprehensive legislation that includes five proposals developed by ASPPA’s Government Affairs Committee.   Read More

Millennials Mirror Older Investors’ Advisor Preferences

Millennials tend to be more independent investors than members of the Gen X and Baby Boomer generations, but young 30-somethings who choose advisors are looking for the same qualities valued by older investors, according to research from Spectrem Group. Also, wealthier Millennials give more weight to an advisor’s link with a nationally known brand or company, while others are somewhat more likely to consider transparency and an advisor’s track record.   Read More

Is ING a Takeover Target?

According to a recent Barron’s article, ING may be a legitimate candidate for a takeover. The article cites a report by a BTIG analyst who thinks the stock is undervalued. ING, now trading as Voya, went public in late May at $19.50/share and is now trading in the mid-$20 range.   Read More

DOL Gets Aggressive on Abandoned Plan of Bankrupt Company

As an indication that the DOL’s EBSA will be more active in bankruptcy cases where an ERISA plan is abandoned, the agency has filed suit in the Northern District of New York to have an independent fiduciary be appointed to administer the plan and distribute assets. The defunct Syracuse construction company’s assets were sold in 2008 in auction and went bankrupt in January 2010, but no one assumed responsibility for the plan.   Read More

Sizing up Auto-Enrollment

Employees who are auto-enrolled tend to be defaulted into the plans at lower savings rates than if left to their own devices, according to data from Aon Hewitt. The majority of individuals who are auto-enrolled default at a savings rate of 3% — while those who enroll on their own determine their own savings rates and often strive to fully match their employers’ matching contributions.   Read More

House Bill Would Slow Uniform Fiduciary Rules

In an effort to slow the SEC’s effort to create a uniform fiduciary standard for financial advisors authorized but not mandated by Dodd-Frank, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) convened a panel of the Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises to review her proposed legislation. Wagner’s bill would require the SEC to consider the economic effects of a uniform fiduciary standard.   Read More

Auto-enroll, Step-up Deferrals and TDFs Increasing

Interest among plan sponsors in automatic enrollment, step-up deferral rate solutions and target date funds continues to increase, according to Mesirow Financial’s 2013 Retirement Plan Survey Report. The results of the survey confirm three top initiatives plan sponsors are considering to keep their plans competitive while fulfilling their fiduciary duties.   Read More

Retirement Tax Incentives Back on the Chopping Block?

On May 23, members of the Senate Finance Committee met for one of 10 private briefings on tax reform options. This briefing was on “economic security” topics, including retirement savings. While no specific recommendations were made, the paper that committee staff prepared for the briefing included proposals that would decimate the private retirement system, including Simpson-Bowles type proposals to “significantly reduce or repeal” the tax incentive for retirement savings and the proposal to convert the current exclusion into a uniform refundable credit.   Read More

More or Less?

Recently, the Wall Street Journal’s Anne Tergesen wrote a story titled, “Mixed Bag for Auto-enrollment.” Citing data presented at the recent EBRI Policy Forum, the article claimed that “employees who are automatically enrolled in their workplace savings plans save less than those who sign up on their own initiative.”   Read More

COI: the Best Source of Referrals

While many advisors focus on client referrals for new accounts, research shows that attorneys, CPAs and other centers of influence (COI) may be more productive sources. According to a study by CEG Worldwide, a consultancy to financial advisor firms, 61% of advisors said that professional COIs were their best source of referrals.   Read More

Help Shape the 2014 NAPA 401(k) Summit

Ever left an industry conference disappointed that the workshops didn’t fully address the things you really wanted to learn about? Then you’re going to like this — it’s a unique opportunity to help shape next year’s NAPA 401(k) Summit, March 23-25, 2014 in New Orleans. NAPA has launched an innovative online voting tool to pick the best ideas for session topics at the Summit. But beware: It can be addictive.   Read More

Updated Record Keeper and DCIO Lists

As a result of our recently published and widely read posts listing the top DC providers and broker dealers, we received some thoughtful comments. Both lists — DC national record keepers and DC investment only providers — have been updated. Please keep sending updates as changes occur or if you see any “issues” with the lists. The changes include   Read More

Why DB Plans Are Outperforming 401(k)s

It’s not surprising that DB plans — mostly run by professional managers who are not emotionally attached — perform better than DC plans, but the gap in 2011 was the greatest since the mid-90s, according to a recent TowersWatson study. The real questions are why and how DC plans can catch up — the subject of a blog post by Reuter’s Linda Stern.   Read More

Don’t Fall into a Form 5500 Audit Trap

Gina Gurgiolo of the Multnomah Group offers a sprightly rundown of the most common Form 5500 audit traps — that is, responses on the 5500 that are most likely to draw attention from the IRS or DOL. Also featured: tips on how to avoid falling into one of these traps.   Read More