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Plan Health

BY John Iekel | 7/24/2014
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... Read More
BY Jerry Bramlett | 7/23/2014
In 2009, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, Bill Gross coined the term, “new normal.” Describing the new normal nearly five years ago, Gross told Forbes that “our future... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 7/22/2014
In what has been a groundbreaking case study for state and municipal pension plans, Detroit retirees agreed to a 4.5% cut in benefits and no cost of living increases. If the former municipal workers... Read More
BY John Ortman | 7/18/2014
Sometimes the simplest advice is the best advice — it just needs to be communicated clearly and internalized fully by participants, not just go in one ear and out the other. In a two-part... Read More
BY John Ortman | 7/11/2014
Nobel Laureate Robert C. Merton created quite a stir last month. In an article published in the July-August issue of the Harvard Business Review, Merton accused 401(k) sponsors and... Read More
BY John Iekel | 6/30/2014
Early withdrawals — loans taken against plan balances, hardship withdrawals and retirement account payouts when changing jobs — can provide participants quick infusions of cash that help meet... Read More
BY John Iekel | 6/20/2014
Automatic enrollment and automatic escalation can drive the solution to the retirement readiness problem, Putnam’s Bob Reynolds said in a recent interview with Forbes. Reynolds cited a study his firm... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 6/16/2014
After a fruitless investigation into the practices of companies that delay match payments until the end of the year — made famous by IBM and infamous by AOL last year — Massachusetts’ chief... Read More
BY John Iekel | 6/1/2014
Employees who are terminated may be gone, but they’re not always forgotten — at least regarding the retirement plan. A growing number of plans allow terminated employees to live on as participants,... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 5/19/2014
At a Washington, DC roundtable discussion sponsored by the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA), Harvard professor Brigitte Madrian presented research findings... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 5/15/2014
With the growth of auto-plan features, plan sponsors are subject to many misconceptions and fears that prevent them from doing the right thing for their employees. Missouri-based Pension Consultants... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 4/30/2014
The news in Fidelity’s latest quarterly report on 401(k) plans and IRAs is generally good. Average 401(k) account balances were $88,600 in Q1 2014, up 9% from a year earlier and 92% since Q1 2009.... Read More
BY Don Trone | 4/29/2014
As a NAPA member, you should be very familiar with the term procedural prudence. The term is the cornerstone to an understanding of a fiduciary standard of care. I associate procedural prudence with... Read More
BY John Iekel | 4/5/2014
New guidance from the IRS may make the plan-to-plan rollover process a little smoother. Revenue Ruling 2014-9, issued on April 3, is intended to make it easier for plan participants to consolidate... Read More
BY John Iekel | 3/24/2014
So many actions have unintended consequence. A perfect example: enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which may have an unintended impact on retirement plans. “One would think... Read More
BY John Iekel | 3/12/2014
Offering participants too many options can discourage enrollment. But what’s the “sweet spot” in terms of the optimal number of enrollment options? A test by Fidelity found that 78% of participants... Read More
BY Warren Cormier | 2/22/2014
In a recent article in Forbes, Dr. Jeffrey Brown addresses an important point about the focus of 401(k) plans being ultimately on spending capacity throughout retirement. I have written before about... Read More
BY John Iekel | 2/20/2014
What constitutes an “ideal plan”? That’s what The Plan Sponsor University (TPSU) asked plan sponsors. NAPA Net Editor-in-Chief Fred Barstein, who also founded TPSU and serves as its CEO, recently... Read More
BY John Iekel | 1/29/2014
Your clients offer 401(k) plans, and all have 401(k) plan committees. Those committees have fiduciary responsibility, and it’s in your clients’ interest to make sure they are fulfilling their duties... Read More
BY John Iekel | 1/23/2014
Your clients made retirement plans available to their employees, and like most plan sponsors, they chose to allow participants to take loans from their accounts. Seemed like an innocuous enough... Read More
BY Warren Cormier | 12/23/2013
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ted Benna, the co-creator of the 401(k), to get his perspective on the future of DC plans and how participants can maximize their retirement readiness. By... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 12/10/2013
Running a DC plan is complicated. Most plan advisors and sponsors rely on their TPAs and record keepers to help them stay up to date and in compliance. But regardless of the quality of their third... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 11/8/2013
Having an effective investment committee has become virtually a must for all but the smallest DC plans. A paper from PlanPilot offers some tips on building and running one:• Size — smaller is better... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 11/8/2013
A concise yet complete white paper from Mercer reviews best practices for monitoring and negotiating DC plan fees. Recommendations include:• Administrative fees should be based on the number of... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 10/31/2013
Many DC plans are going through dramatic changes that promise to greatly improve participant outcomes, with new features like auto-enrollment, auto-escalation and stretch matches. As a result, most... Read More