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Steff Chalk

By Steff Chalk | 5/5/2023
Having engaged plan fiduciaries who are aware of their roles and responsibilities—and who want to serve in that capacity—is an important key to avoiding litigation and addressing today’s staffing crisis. Retirement plan advisors and plan sponsor retirement committee members are currently either in... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 1/5/2023
How do plan sponsors approach retaining retirees’ assets in the plan? In any given month, retirement plan advisors and other industry professionals see more research than they can consume. When we encounter research-based articles that we don’t understand, or articles that tell a specific story,... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 11/3/2022
A closer look at the Biden administration’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt. President Biden has decided to eliminate student loan debt for millions of Americans with the stroke of a pen. The Speaker of the House has expressed concern that such power does not reside within the... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 9/14/2022
Diversification among individual securities does not guarantee specific investment returns, nor does it guarantee a profit or prevent a loss. Security diversification does, however, help to balance an investor’s risk and reward, resulting in the reduction of the variability of a portfolio’s return... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 6/29/2022
One question often asked of plan fiduciaries by advisors attempting to learn what’s on their minds is: What keeps you up at night when you think about your retirement plan? Interviews and industry conference sessions are built around that question. It probes deeply beyond time-consuming tasks or... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 2/23/2022
Last fall, the House Ways and Means Committee approved and inserted into the administration’s Build Back Better Act language requiring certain employers to offer and utilize an automatic enrollment feature within the plans they offer to employees. Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) strongly... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 1/6/2022
It’s not often that retirement plan advisors are presented a roadmap of opportunity that itemizes exactly what seems to be troubling plan sponsors. When charged with the daunting task of getting every plan participant to the retirement finish line, plan sponsors face both macro-level obstacles and... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 9/1/2021
A large insurance company recently allocated $100 million to Bitcoin.[1] In a 2020 survey of nearly 800 institutional investors from the United States and Europe, 36% of respondents confirmed that they are positioned with digital asset exposure; among U.S. respondents, 27% had long digital asset... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 6/23/2021
On Feb. 26, 2020, the CDC identified and announced the first non-travel related case of COVID-19 in the United States. At that point, a spiraling uncertainty gripped America that continues to affect families, gatherings, the workplace and lives of Americans. Not only have workplace environments... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 2/10/2021
Plan sponsors and fiduciaries have a lot on their minds these days. One’s duty as a retirement plan fiduciary often can be the most challenging of all job functions. Yet rarely is a new plan sponsor or a new retirement committee member fully aware of all the duties and responsibilities they assume... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 12/21/2020
Retirement plan advisors now conduct business amid a pandemic. Despite the incessant newsfeeds, updates and interviews with a plethora of experts, no one is certain if we are halfway into the pandemic, on the tail end—or still at the beginning.  Advisors and compliance departments have developed a... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 7/30/2020
I began my Spring column in NAPA Net the Magazine with this sentence: These are unusual times due to the state of the U.S economy. At that time, the country was flush with employment opportunities and there was intense competition for workers at every level. Then, as W.C. Fields is frequently... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 2/20/2020
Since the inception of the first pre-tax salary deferral in the early ’80s, evening news programs have chronicled the flows associated with 401(k) plans. Tabulation of “How much American workers saved for their own retirement last month” became a featured news story during the first week of every... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 11/19/2019
When compared with other fields – for example, the development of self-driving cars or human-brain mapping – the technological advancements in the retirement plan field over the last three decades seem remarkably insignificant.  Significant advances in the retirement plan industry did occur in the... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 7/23/2019
Overseeing another’s best interest is no simple task, whether as a parent, a caregiver or even a plan fiduciary. While there are many significant differences among these disparate roles, there are also similarities. In each of them there are differing attitudes when describing to what extent a... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 5/30/2019
Reflecting on the DOL fiduciary rule, many retirement plan advisors mentally compartmentalized the entire multi-year experience somewhere between “a complete waste of time” and “added expense that contributed nothing to plan participants.”  Plan advisors spent copious amounts time touting the... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 2/26/2019
Nearly 45 years after the passage of ERISA, plan sponsors as a group are still unclear on what they look for and expect from their plan providers, which includes the retirement plan advisor. And yet they are quick to declare what they do not want from their service providers: fiduciary... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 8/30/2018
As industry practitioners and retirement plan specialists we maintain more than a passing interest in seeing that plan participants are collectively progressing toward achieving better outcomes.“Better outcomes” is a relative term solely indicating a directional-based level of performance rather... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 6/14/2018
As if the distracting Department of Labor fiduciary-buzz over the last 10 years were not enough, the advisor community now faces the reality that retirement plan participants are also living longer in retirement. One of an advisor’s seldom-addressed concerns is that a client depletes their... READ MORE
By Steff Chalk | 11/16/2017
Our industry is under pressure. That pressure is spread among all retirement plan professionals, including investment complexes, investment managers, broker/dealers, registered representatives and registered investment advisors. No entity appears to be spared.Retirement plan advisors receive... READ MORE