Here you’ll find all news stories and all posts by our Portal Conductors, with the newest item at the top.

Trends in Outsourcing Have Led to Open MEPs – What’s Next?

Mike Montgomery, an advisor and industry thought leader on MEPs (and NAPA Net’s MEP Conductor), reviews the trends in outsourcing that led to today’s open MEPs, and projects where the market might be headed in light of the 2012 DOL restrictions and the advent of 3(16) administrative fiduciaries. Plan sponsors have outsourced an increasing number of duties and liabilities as they try to back away from managing their 401(k) plans — but given the recent enactment of state-run MEPs, will this trend eventually lead to the nationalization of small-business retirement plans?   Read More

Women Eclipse Male Wealth Managers in AUM

Female wealth managers now manage an average of 5% more assets than their male counterparts, according to Fidelity’s 6th annual Broker and Advisor Sentiment survey. Behavioral finance research shows that women take less risk than men and are more realistic, while men tend to be more confident and optimistic. Women make up less than 10% of plan advisors, so advisor firms and broker dealers may be wise to recruit women to help plan sponsors and their participants with financial planning — not only to distinguish themselves but also to gather more assets.   Read More

Financial Finesse Releases Its Second Annual Retirement Preparedness Report

The firm’s second annual study finds that employees are making some positive changes to their retirement planning, but poor money management skills and long-term economic challenges present major obstacles. With looming increases in health care expenses, taxes, inflation and life expectancy  coupled with decreases in government and corporate retirement benefits  more employees are taking plan loans and making hardship withdrawals. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.   Read More

Is There a Silver Lining for State-Run MEPs?

Are state-run MEPs a potential boon for plan advisors? Though there is concern about the government trying to nationalize small-business retirement plans, would state-run plans actually be an opportunity for advisors? Jamie Kalamarides, SVP at Prudential, suggests in an interview that there could be a silver lining in these state initiatives. But small-business DC plans are sold — primarily by advisors and payroll companies — so it is doubtful that a “build it and they will come” mentality will be effective unless state-run retirement plans are made mandatory, which is harder to enact and raises a whole host of other issues.   Read More

Using Google Alerts

Social media maven (and NAPA Net Conductor) Sheri Fitts explains how advisors can use Google Alerts to proactively keep them informed on relevant topics or news about clients and prospects. Google Alerts are easy to use and set up, but the really good news is that there are no compliance issues. Look for more helpful posts from Sheri and visit her NAPA Net forum, Social Media Strategies – she’s a fount of helpful, insightful information.   Read More

Obama or Romney? Red or Blue? What’s the Likely Impact on Advisors?

As you may have heard, there’s an election coming up in about a month. In a video shot just before the first presidential debate, NAPA’s Executive Director and Washington insider Brian Graff explains his take on the presidential campaign as it enters the stretch run, the likely political balance in the House and Senate, and what it all may mean for plan advisors.   Read More

408(b)(2.0) – The Next Steps for Plan Advisors

Finally, after months — perhaps years in some instances — of preparation, diligent providers of services to retirement plans have now completed their disclosures in satisfaction of ERISA Section 408(b)(2) and they lie in the hands (or at least the inboxes) of the responsible plan fiduciaries. The final deadline, July 1, has passed. While that milestone may merit a collective sigh of relief, the work is just beginning for the service providers that delivered the disclosures and the plan sponsors that received them. It is critical that both develop sound protocols to maintain compliance and to be prepared for what lies ahead.   Read More

Proactive Advisors Can Leverage Plan Participant Concerns

Participants’ concern about their retirement is growing, according to the 4th Annual 2012 DC Participant Experience Study by KK & Company and Greenwald & Associates. To address that concern, participants prefer more proactive steps to increase their retirement readiness and provide them with more analysis. Almost half of participants feel they are behind schedule on saving for retirement, and three in five wish their employer did more to educate them about their retirement plan. Advisors that provide hands on education and advice are better positioned to address these concerns and win new business.   Read More

Advisors Need to Help Clients Focus on the Right Variables to Improve Outcomes

For decades, the defined contribution industry has focused on the performance of individual funds at the expense of other plan metrics. In a recent white paper, W. Van Harlow, Director of Research, Putnam Institute, analyzes a series of variables — fund selection, asset allocation, portfolio rebalancing, and increasing deferral rates — to determine which factors may have the greatest potential impact on an individual’s portfolio. Though it may seem intuitive that deferral and asset allocation have a greater affect than fund selection, the analysis may be helpful to show clients where to focus attention and resources.   Read More

Calif. Creates State-Run Private Retirement Plan

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation Sept. 28 that will create the nation’s first state-administered retirement savings program for private-sector workers, over the objection of critics who said it creates a new liability for taxpayers. The bill will establish the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program for more than 6 million lower-income, private-sector workers whose employers do not offer retirement plans.   Read More

Coming Pension War Makes Election Look Tame

Mitt Romney’s reference to the divide between the 47 percent of citizens who don’t pay income taxes and those who do may not be as important the pension divide, between those few who have a guaranteed cushion in the form of defined benefit pensions. How the candidates address this divide, cultural as well as political, is crucial, far beyond November.   Read More

Government Takes Another Run at Fixing the Retirement System — But is it Broken?

A proposal by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) to address what he calls the “retirement crisis” would shore up Social Security and also create a new retirement fund run by the government but funded privately. What appears to be a government-sponsored IRA intended to provide pension like lifetime income benefits called “Universal, Secure and Adaptable (USA) Retirement Funds” seems to be another attempt to fix the DC system by creating another one.   Read More

401k Heaven Redefined

Nearly 10 years ago, when there were 120 national 401(k) recordkeepers, it was easy to guess which ones were likely to exit the market next. The hard question was which ones would never exit because of the assets and participants under management built by brand and distribution who are in “401k Heaven.” Today, with fewer than 40 national recordkeepers remaining, the definition of 401k Heaven needs to be expanded to those that are competitive and would surprise most of us if they sold or exited. Fewer than 25 of the nearly 40 recordkeepers, or about 60%, can survive the coming “nuclear winter” in the 401(k) market.   Read More

Six Good Websites for Research

NAPA Net Conductor Nevin Adams highlights his favorite websites that advisors can use for research and statistics, including EBRI, The Bureau of Labor Statistics, IRS, DOL/EBSA, The Ballpark E$timate and American Savings Education Council. While it’s difficult for an advisor to be a thought leader, citing relevant and useful statistics to clients, as well as leveraging thought leaders like Nevin, have a better chance of retaining clients and winning new business.   Read More