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Columnist: Brian Graff

Brian is the author of the "Inside the Beltway" column for NAPA Net the Magazine.

He is the CEO of the American Retirement Association, and the Executive Director of NAPA. In the latter capacity he oversees NAPA’s operations. As a member of the Leadership Council, he charts the strategic direction for the organization.

Brian has been named one of 401kWire’s “50 Most Influential Persons in the 401(k) Industry” every year since 2007.

An attorney and certified public accountant, Brian was formerly Legislation Counsel to the U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Taxation. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, he was associated with The Groom Law Group, in Washington, D.C., which specializes in employee benefits. He received his doctoral degree in law, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia. He holds a bachelor of science in accounting with distinction from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Article Index

By Brian Graff 5/8/2015
Registered investment advisors may be thinking that the Department of Labor’s proposed “conflict of interest” regulation doesn’t have an impact on them. After all, they are already fiduciaries acting in the best interest of their client. However, when it comes to retirement savings, there’s a new... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 3/12/2015
Several months ago, ASPPA members overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new name and structure for the umbrella organization of our four sister associations — the American Retirement Association.  As such, the American Retirement Association steps into the role of coordinator, overall industry... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 1/9/2014
Here we go again. Yesterday, the Indiana Senate Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved legislation that would create a state-run multiple employer plan for private sector businesses in the state. The proposal is being pushed by AARP, which is arguing that there are no cost-effective... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 12/2/2013
It’s now less than a year until the next mid-term congressional elections, and the protracted talk about the critical need to reform our nation's tax laws has yet to result in an actual piece of legislation. So is it time to send the issue of tax reform into hibernation — until 2015 at the very... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 8/12/2013
By now you have undoubtedly heard about the recent effort by Prof. Ian Ayres of the Yale Law School to threaten plan sponsors with negative publicity for voluntarily offering their employees “high cost” 401(k) plans (see “Love Letters from Yale” and “Yale Responds”). ASPPA has sent our own letter... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 7/25/2013
As we reported last week, a Yale University Law School professor sent letters to over 6,000 plan sponsors suggesting their 401(k) plans were “high cost” and, among other things, implying that they may be violating their fiduciary obligations. We pointed out the serious flaws in the data being used... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 7/15/2013
We have recently learned that a Yale Law School professor has sent a letter to thousands of 401(k) plan sponsors. The professor is doing a “study” on the financial impact of plan fees and has identified the employers receiving the letter as sponsoring a “potential high-cost plan.” According to the... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 7/8/2013
The uniform fiduciary standard has become a holy grail of sorts for the financial advisor industry. Legends such as John Bogle tout how it is the only way to ensure that the interests of average investors will be protected. Proponents of the single standard stress that the current dichotomy between... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 5/9/2013
As you may be aware, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 passed the U.S. Senate on May 6. What you may not know is that ASPPA and NAPA are opposing the legislation in its current form. (In fact, a letter we wrote to members of Congress explaining our opposition was read in its entirety by Sen.... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 4/24/2013
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... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 2/19/2013
The Washington Post on Feb. 17 published yet another article attacking the 401(k) system. Fueled by academic studies with a clear anti-401(k) agenda, these articles seem to revel in the entirely unsubstantiated failure of current workplace retirement plans. Not sure who is more to blame: the... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 1/14/2013
Hardliners in the House of Representatives argue that America has maxed out on its credit card. But defaulting on a credit card payment only makes a bad situation worse. The idea of defaulting on our debt can only be described as epically stupid — it would have potentially catastrophic economic... READ MORE
By Brian Graff 1/2/2013
As you have probably heard, late last night the House of Representatives approved the legislation passed by the Senate on New Year’s Eve encompassing a deal to avoid the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for 98% of American taxpayers. That's the good news. But this show in DC is far from over. The... READ MORE