Allowable Plan Expenses: Can the Plan Pay?

The payment of expenses by an ERISA plan (401(k), defined benefit plan, money purchase plan, etc.) out of plan assets is subject to ERISA’s fiduciary rules. The “exclusive benefit rule” requires a plan’s assets be used exclusively for providing benefits. ERISA also imposes upon fiduciaries the duty to defray reasonable expenses of plan administration. General … Continue reading Allowable Plan Expenses: Can the Plan Pay?

Changes in Employee Demographics May Impact Owner’s Percentage of Retirement Plan Contributions

A common goal for successful business owners when designing a retirement plan is to provide a reasonable benefit level to their employees while maximizing the benefits to themselves. Most times this is accomplished with an aged-based or "cross-tested" design that allocates differing contribution levels based on an employee's class. It is important to understand that … Continue reading Changes in Employee Demographics May Impact Owner’s Percentage of Retirement Plan Contributions

Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Buck! – Negotiating Retirement Plan Fees with Your Provider

According to plan sponsors, one of the most harrowing aspects of their fiduciary obligations is to ensure that plan fees are reasonable. From administration and recordkeeping to compliance and investment management, how can a plan sponsor feel assured that they are aware of all plan fees, understand them thoroughly and then determine their fair and reasonableness? … Continue reading Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Buck! – Negotiating Retirement Plan Fees with Your Provider

Competing with Starbucks / Franchising of 401(k) Advisory Services

Imagine you own an independent coffee shop and Starbucks offers you a franchise with no upfront costs and a healthy revenue share going forward. Well, you could continue to figure out where to buy your napkins, how long to roast the beans, and a thousand other operational details, or you can implement a proven business … Continue reading Competing with Starbucks / Franchising of 401(k) Advisory Services

The Importance of Qualitative Review

The qualitative review of a mutual fund helps support the quantitative analysis within the Scorecard System™ by providing color and insight into the portfolio and the investment performance. The qualitative review process is structured in its approach and designed to identify the factors that will ultimately drive future investment performance. The three primary factors include: … Continue reading The Importance of Qualitative Review

The Scorecard – A Former Portfolio Manager’s Perspective

I began my investment career in 1995 as an Equity Analyst at AIM Investments and later managed the Invesco Large Cap Growth fund for 12 years. During that time I had exposure to and was judged by many investment scoring systems.  I always had questions about their methodology and was often frustrated by their shortcomings. … Continue reading The Scorecard – A Former Portfolio Manager’s Perspective