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Plan Optimization

BY John Iekel | 3/4/2014
Many employers match a certain percentage of what their employees defer into their 401(k)s. In the wake of the recent debacle at AOL, Investment News recently looked at the advantages and... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 3/4/2014
The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is taking a hard look at the £12 billion annuities market, with the possibility that annuities will be banned entirely, according to one expert... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 3/4/2014
Concerned that participants are being shortchanged by the practice of lump sum, end-of-year payment of matches (brought to light by AOL’s recent misfire), Massachusetts’ Secretary of the Commonwealth... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 2/28/2014
Will myRAs give people a false sense of security that they are saving enough for retirement? That potential problem was raised by UCLA Anderson professor and noted behavioral economist Shlomo... Read More
BY John Iekel | 2/28/2014
Investors — and those who manage their funds — are no strangers to risk. But acceptance of risk does not equate to helplessness, nor to inevitable loss. “Using Tactical Asset Allocation to Manage... Read More
BY John Ortman | 2/26/2014
According to a recent survey by Investment News and The American College, 95% of advisors provide retirement income planning services — yet 94% of those polled believe most advisors and wealth... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 2/25/2014
Reacting to recent news about the practice of companies like AOL and IBM withholding matching contributions until after the end of the year, William F. Galvin, Massachusetts’ secretary of the... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 2/20/2014
According to a recent LIMRA SRI study, 27% of U.S. workers age 55-64 do not know how they will use their DC savings in retirement. Women are twice as likely as men to be unsure. Two thirds of pre-... Read More
BY Jerry Bramlett | 2/20/2014
In an IMF Working Paper, “Financial and Sovereign Debt Crises: Some Lessons Learned and Those Forgotten,” authors Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff provide some interesting insights into the... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 2/19/2014
According to this year’s annual survey by Deutsche Bank involving 413 global investors, net inflows into hedge funds are expected to triple in 2014, from $63.7 billion last year to an estimated $171... Read More
BY John Iekel | 2/19/2014
Variable annuities are part of many Americans’ efforts to save for retirement. But they can be complicated, so the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has provided some information on the... Read More
BY Jerry Bramlett | 2/13/2014
The word “great” is often used to describe a big shift in the markets: the Great Deflation (1870-1898), the Great Depression (1929-1942), the Great Recession (2007-2009). Now a new term has emerged:... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 2/13/2014
Though the accepted wisdom is that auto-enrollment is a good thing, the pace of plans adopting the feature appears to be slowing down. Unlike TDFs, which seem to be on a non-stop growth pattern,... Read More
BY John Ortman | 2/13/2014
When it comes to how plan sponsors and participants view participants’ “customer experience,” there are far more differences than similarities, Warren Cormier notes in his column in the most recent... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 2/12/2014
We all know that someday, retirement income solutions will be prevalent for people retiring with assets in DC plans and IRAs, which currently include more than half of all retirement assets and will... Read More
BY John Iekel | 2/11/2014
The words have barely faded from the teleprompter, but retirement experts have wasted no time in expressing caution regarding the "myRA" retirement accounts President Obama unveiled in his State of... Read More
BY John Iekel | 2/11/2014
Participants in AOL’s 401(k) plan learned last week that their employer match would be delivered in a lump sum in the following year instead of per pay period. But the idea was consumed in the... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 2/10/2014
BlackRock’s Chip Castille argues that in light of the new realities of people working longer and retiring later, we should consider raising the required mandatory distribution (RMD) age from 70-1/2... Read More
BY Jerry Bramlett | 2/6/2014
In an interesting article about fiduciary risks, Fiduciary News’ Chris Carosa promotes the idea that an excessive weighting of bonds in 401(k) plans could increase fiduciary liability. Reference is... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 2/3/2014
Inflows into index mutual funds in 2013 were double the amount of their previous best year, reaching $115 billion. According to the ICI, inflows surpassed the previous high of $61.1 billion set in... Read More
BY John Ortman | 1/31/2014
With the equity markets reaching new highs, participants in 401(k) plans are still unprotected from significant market drops. The majority of target date funds used in plans today are not designed to... Read More
BY Jerry Bramlett | 1/29/2014
In a rather provocative article, Stacy Schaus, PIMCO’s DC chief, sounds the alarm about plan sponsors who “engage in a myopic search for the lowest fees possible for their DC plan.” Schaus is... Read More
BY John Ortman | 1/17/2014
Could the process of fund selection and oversight, along with advisors’ thirst to acquire more clients in an increasingly competitive marketplace, actually worsen participant outcomes by causing... Read More
BY Fred Barstein | 1/15/2014
As U.S. corporate pension funding levels reach 95%, more plans are eschewing equities and buying bonds instead to take risk off the table. The shift to bonds in Q3 2013 occurred at the fastest rate... Read More
BY John Iekel | 1/15/2014
You may know about the “butterfly effect” — essentially an action that ends up resulting in an unintended consequence, affecting things not originally in the line of fire. So goes the effort to... Read More