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By Fred Barstein7/25/2014 • 0 Comments

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on supplying advisors and broker dealers with value-added services and tools for free by providers. But what’s their impact? A new study by Chatham, led by Josh Dietch in collaboration with Bruce Harrington and Greg Melton, set out to answer that question through surveys with advisors, DCIOs, record keepers and broker dealers. The study ranked the top providers and created a loyalty index. Though having value-add does create awareness and can differentiate a provider, generally it is most effective in opening doors and breaking a tie.

By John Iekel7/24/2014 • 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.

By John Iekel7/24/2014 • 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. 

By Fred Barstein7/24/2014 • 0 Comments

Claiming that he’s more hurt than angry with Financial Telesis founder Jim Williams for selling his firm to LPL, RPAG CEO Vince Giovinazzo said that his firm was scrambling to help RPAG members that are part of FTI during the transition. 

By Fred Barstein7/24/2014 • 0 Comments

The SEC adopted new rules affecting the $2.6 trillion money market industry July 23, imposing a floating NAV like other mutual funds rather than a fixed $1 value. The purpose of the rules is to alert investors about the risk of investments that were thought to be guaranteed. 

Recent Columnist Articles

The Law of Decreasing Risk

ERISA requires fiduciaries to demonstrate their procedural prudence. Besides being a legislated and regulated requirement, it also makes good business sense. We can reduce the risk associated with a particular investment decision-making process by incorporating prudent practices — the more practices, the lower the risk. We refer to this in our training as “The Law of Decreasing Risk.” 
The New Normal and New Neutral and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In 2009, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, Bill Gross coined the term, “new normal.” Gross is once again defining the future markets in a simple thematic phrase. His new phrase, “new neutral,” represents a view that the Fed will keep rates close to zero (on a real basis) for at least the next three to five years, if not longer.
Case of the Week: Excluding Part-time Employees from a 401(k) Plan

Responding to a question from an advisor in Maryland, the ERISA consultants at the Columbia Management Retirement Learning Center Resource Desk addressed a common inquiry related to employee eligibility for deferring into a 401(k) plan.

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