Fee Policy Statement, Fiduciary, Compliance

Should a Retirement Plan Implement a Fee Policy Statement?

For the client who may be concerned about fiduciary compliance, a fee policy statement may give comfort. Like all other fiduciary actions, the value of this statement is a function of how well it is written (not too loose nor too tight) and how consistently a plan sponsor actually describes/practices the process documented. So, a fee policy statement can potentially create problems in addition to … Continue reading Should a Retirement Plan Implement a Fee Policy Statement?

Board of Directors, Liabilities

Board of Directors’ Liabilities

Virtually all plan documents name the sponsor as “plan administrator.” Typically the Board of Directors of a company  (sponsor) is seen as the official governing body of the sponsor, and thus plan document language directs that they, in effect, are the plan administrator. Most Boards of Directors are not involved in the day-to-day operations or decision making in regards to their plans, thus without effective … Continue reading Board of Directors’ Liabilities

Gamifying retirement planning, video games, games,

Next Generation Thinking – Let Gamification Energize Participant Engagement

Humans are game players We’re hardwired to compete, solve problems, and achieve goals. Enter gamification: the art and science of applying game design to engage and motivate employees. While it has had success with all demographics, it has proven especially effective with millennials, who have grown up with the Internet and online games (earning the label “digital natives”). In the last few years, gamification has … Continue reading Next Generation Thinking – Let Gamification Energize Participant Engagement

Plan Sponsor, Plan Participants, Retirement Goals

A Mission of Retirement Plan Investment Design

Why Should Plan Sponsors Support a Mission of Investment Design? Plan design auto features—automatic enrollment, automatic escalation, and even safe harbor match, to name a few—have been hot topics. But what about investment design? Investments fall into the plan’s strategy when optimizing the retirement plan, and a carefully constructed investment menu can help participants maximize their retirement income potential. Unlike auto features and the added … Continue reading A Mission of Retirement Plan Investment Design

market conditions, fixed income

Weathering All Market Conditions

In today’s market environment, many people are asking themselves “where can I find opportunity in fixed income?” It is a fair question; as rising rates will inevitably hurt the performance of most fixed income sectors. Participants have been riding a massive wave of decreasing rates and have become accustomed to 8% annual rates of return to their retirement plans from their core fixed income fund. … Continue reading Weathering All Market Conditions

Automatic Enrollment, Pension Protection Act of 2006, Plan Participation

Case Study: Automatic Enrollment Revisited

Nine years have passed since the Pension Protection Act of 2006 virtually blessed automatic enrollment for defined contribution plans and almost 15 since we at 401(k) Advisors began advocating the same. Has automatic enrollment turned out to be the panacea intended? In 2007, 401(k) Advisors worked with a financial services center whose plan participation languished below 50%.  Since the client had multiple branch offices of minimum … Continue reading Case Study: Automatic Enrollment Revisited

DOL, Department of Labor, Fiduciary

DOL Regulations, Part II: Who is Not a Fiduciary?

Last month we brought you DOL Regulations, Part I: Who is a Fiduciary? It discussed the DOL’s latest attempt at redefining ERISA’s definition of “fiduciary” and who the proposed regulation identifies as a fiduciary. Now we will look at who is not a fiduciary. The Carve-Outs The DOL carved out seven types of advice that will not cause the person who provides certain types of … Continue reading DOL Regulations, Part II: Who is Not a Fiduciary?

DOL Regulations, Fiduciary

DOL Regulations, Part I: Who is a Fiduciary?

Recently, the DOL released its second attempt at redefining ERISA’s definition of “fiduciary” for the era of participant-directed retirement savings. The new, proposed regulation is significantly different than ERISA’s existing definition, broadening both the group of individuals and firms considered fiduciaries, as well as expanding the retirement savings vehicles covered by the new fiduciary standards to include IRAs. Advisers, consultants and brokers are most significantly … Continue reading DOL Regulations, Part I: Who is a Fiduciary?

Social Security, Social Security Benefits, Retirement

When should I take Social Security benefits?

Before deciding when to begin taking Social Security, consider these factors: Other sources of income. Work with your retirement plan consultant to evaluate the tradeoffs involved in taking your Social Security benefits earlier (and letting other assets grow untouched for a longer period) vs. dipping into retirement assets immediately and deferring your Social Security benefits. Your taxable income. Tax-related factors could also affect your decision. … Continue reading When should I take Social Security benefits?

Retirement Plan, Funds, Forfeiture Dollars

Forfeited Retirement Plan Funds

Forfeiture dollars are to be allocated annually in accordance with your plan document’s direction. Typically forfeitures can be used to pay allowable and reasonable plan expenses and/or to offset employer contributions. If dollars remain they should be allocated back to participants in the year for which they are accrued (again, as directed in the plan document). The issue with not allocating forfeitures for the year … Continue reading Forfeited Retirement Plan Funds