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

TDFs Vulnerable to Interest Rate Rise

Could a rise in interest rates create a problem for short term TDFs? With many TDFs moving to bonds for safety as their target dates approach, they’re vulnerable to losses if interest rates rise and bonds slump — which many are predicting. Risk can be determined by calculating the duration of the bond — for example, the value of a bond portfolio with a five-year duration could drop 5% with just a 1% rise in interest rates.   Read More

Wary Investors Spending Less on Investment Help

American investors, waiting for the other shoe to drop after their experience with the Great Recession, continue to spend less on investment expenses. The $151 billion spent on advice, commissions and custody in February 2013 represented 1.3% of personal consumption, equaling the average since the market downturn. Compare that with 1.6% over the previous 12 months and the 16.3% spent on health care.   Read More

Ready for the New 3.8% Income Tax Hike?

Just when you thought you could stop worrying about taxes now that April 15 has passed, there’s another new income tax that took effect Jan. 1, 2013. To fund Obamacare, a new 3.8% tax on investment income applies to couples making more than $250,000 and singles making more than $200,000. Investment income such as dividends, capital gains and interest above the $250,000 threshold for couples is taxed at 3.8% — in addition to any other tax that might be owed.   Read More

34th Annual Telly Awards Honor ASPPA’s ‘Save My 401k’ Campaign

The “SaveMy401k” campaign developed by the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) and Beekeeper Group has won a Telly Award for being an industry leader in media innovation. The campaign won a bronze award out of a group of nearly 12,000 submissions, including advertising agencies, television stations and corporate video departments worldwide.   Read More

California Case Raises Thorny Fiduciary Issues for Record Keepers

In Santomenno v. Transamerica Life Ins. Co., a case that may have a significant impact on small market insurance record keepers, a court in the Central District of California rejected a motion to dismiss and raised serious questions about whether the record keeper’s ability to add and delete funds and change the fee schedule were the actions of a fiduciary.   Read More

Just Saying You’re a Fiduciary Destroys Trust Instead of Building it

Noted thought leader Michael Kitces makes a very interesting point: Advisors who focus on or lead with the fact that they are fiduciaries can actually destroy trust. Advisors who focus too much on their fiduciary status are making the implied statement that clients can trust them — but trust is earned, not demanded. And bashing other advisors who are not fiduciaries — implying that by definition they are not trustworthy, as Martin Smith did on this week’s “Frontline” program — can create distrust for all advisors and the entire system, argues Kitces.   Read More

Focus on Successful Outcomes

Recent anti-401(k) stories in the popular media — most recently this week’s “Retirement Gamble” episode of PBS’ “Frontline” show — have promulgated a meme that misrepresents plan advisors’ role in helping plan participants achieve the goal of a dignified retirement. How seriously do retirement plan advisors take their responsibility to help bring about favorable outcomes for individual plan participants? Watch this video interview on the new NAPA Network video channel featuring Michael Coelho, AIF, of SageView Advisory Group and Tim Dougherty, MSFS, CFP, ChFC, CFC, of Windsor Financial Group, and see for yourself.   Read More

Retirement Plan Services Are Not Orange Juice

On April 23rd, PBS ran an episode of its “Frontline” program entitled “The Retirement Gamble,” which it touted as an “eye opening investigation of a financial services industry that may be draining your retirement savings with every passing year.” The core thesis of this documentary — or perhaps more accurately, docu-drama — is that for retirement savers, fees are by far the most important factor to be considered when choosing an investment.   Read More

Marc Robinson on the SaverNation Cash-Back Program

In a video interview with NAPA Net, Marc Robinson, founder of the SaverNation cash-back rewards program, explains how this innovative plan optimization feature helps plan participants and plan sponsors boost plan contributions — and how plan advisors can use it as a door opener and key differentiator. The video is now posted on the new NAPA Network video channel.   Read More

Client Disclosures: When Do They Help vs. Hurt?

Amid the hype over providing disclosure to financial consumers, it’s important to identify when disclosure can be helpful and beneficial versus when it can hurt and confuse the client. In an article in the April issue of Research magazine, AdvisorOne’s Bob Clark notes, Michael Finke of Texas Tech argues that disclosure can not only fail to help consumers but also contribute to declines in the quality of the products and advice they receive.   Read More

ASPPA: ‘Main Street’ Workers Benefit Most from Retirement Tax Incentives

New research by ASPPA shows that middle- and lower-income Americans benefit more from retirement tax incentives, mostly due to the non-discrimination rules in DC plans. Putting aside the fact that unlike other tax incentives, savings that taxpayers get by taking advantage of the retirement tax rules are deferrals, not permanent exclusions, the research shows that 71% of the tax benefit from DC plans goes to people with an AGI of less than $150,000.   Read More

Ripple Effects

The recently released White House budget proposal for 2014 includes a plan to raise $9 billion over 10 years by imposing a retirement savings cap for tax-preferred accounts. While initial reports focused on the aggregate dollar limit of $3 million included in the text, it soon became clear that that figure was merely a frame of reference for the real limit – the annual annuity equivalent of that sum, $205,000 a year in 2013 for an individual age 62.   Read More

Jania Stout: Use a Holistic Approach to Helping Participants

The 2013 401(k) Advisor Leadership Award was presented to the advisory team at Fiduciary Consulting Group at PSA in Hunt Valley, MD, during a session of the 12th annual NAPA/ASPPA 401(k) Summit in Las Vegas. Jania Stout, Retirement Plans Practice Leader at PSA, received the award on behalf of the team. In a video interview with NAPA Net, Stout shares her take on the importance of a holistic approach to helping plan participants, and comments on how plan advisors can combat negative coverage of 401(k) plans in the popular media.   Read More