3rd Quarter 2017 Capital Market Review

Q3-2017The third quarter of the year was more of the same for equity markets. Between three hurricanes, gridlock over health care and tax reforms in Washington, interest rate increases, threats of nuclear war with North Korea, rising tension with Russia, a horrific domestic shooting, widespread social unrest, the looming Federal Reserve balance sheet tapering, and general tightening by Central Banks around the world, the markets did not slow down. Consumer optimism is reaching all-time highs, inflation is stubbornly low (confounding the Fed), wages are ticking up, and the job market remains tight with unemployment hovering near all-time lows. Continue reading

Why Do We Even Have a Retirement Plan?

7K0A0223If you make decisions regarding the administration of your employer’s retirement plan or its investment choices, then you are a fiduciary to the plan. As a fiduciary, you are charged with making decisions that can impact the employees’ assets in the plan, and ultimately their retirement readiness. Those decisions must be prudent, but they should also drive your plan toward being a good plan. However, you may ask what does it mean for a plan to be a good plan?

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Pension Consultants, Inc. Named a 2017 NAPA Top DC Advisor Firm

1(Springfield, MO, September 26, 2017) – Pension Consultants, Inc. (“PCI”), a leader in offering performance-driven retirement plan management, was recently named on the National Association of Plan Advisors’ (NAPA) first-ever Top Defined Contribution (“DC”) Advisor Firm List. NAPA’s Top DC Advisors is a compilation of leading individual advisor firms and advisor teams, ranked by DC assets under advisement. Nevin Adams, Chief Content Officer of the American Retirement Association and Editor-in-Chief of NAPA-Net states that the list “. . . highlights the contributions these firms are making in helping build a more financially secure retirement for millions of Americans.”1

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2nd Quarter 2017 Capital Market Review

Q2-2017 Quaterly Market ReviewThe 2nd quarter of 2017 continued the streak of new highs in equity markets.  While this bull market has already lasted longer than most; investors still seem to be overly cautious, expecting a pullback at any moment.  However, this nervousness is likely the reason the pullback has not happened. The longer the nervousness continues, the longer the market can run.  Aiding the uptrend continues to be improving corporate earnings, low unemployment, low interest rates, low inflation, and a much improved consumer balance sheet. Continue reading

The Tools Your Retirement Plan May Be Missing: Auto-Enrollment & Auto-Escalation

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What are your goals for your retirement plan? Are you a plan sponsor reviewing your plan and wondering to yourself, “Why is my plan not performing competitively against others,” or even more so, “How do I increase employee participation in my retirement plan?”

The answer could be, as we will outline in this post, something as simple as adding auto features to your plan design.

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DOL Fiduciary Rule is Here – Are You Prepared?

FiduciaryDutyIn an earlier blog, “DOL Fiduciary Rule Delayed: Future Still Remains Unclear,” we communicated that the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Conflict of Interest Rule (also known as the Fiduciary Rule) would become applicable June 9th, 2017. As a result, after today, investment advice providers to retirement savers will become fiduciaries, and the “impartial conduct standards” will become requirements of the related prohibited transaction exemptions. Continue reading

Pension Consultants Hosts Annual Pension Focus Conference

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Over this past week, Pension Focus hosted another successful year of the Pension Focus Conference (“PFC”).

Hosted at the beautiful Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Missouri, the PFC focuses on providing in-depth, retirement plan management education for both plan fiduciaries and plan administrators.

This year PFC was fortunate to have several speakers from various avenues of retirement plan management ranging from ERISA attorneys, to a consumer behaviorist, to a Department of Labor representative. Among those speakers was our nationally-recognized keynote speaker, Mr. Bradford Campbell, ERISA attorney at Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP. Continue reading

A way forward for the Plan Adviser industry – investment selection and removal

Performance transparency is the plan adviser’s path to a better future. As a group, we need to openly choose to move off of the path we have been on and move onto this new path. The one we have been on was set for us by the historical roots of the financial services industry. That failed path based its “professional” value upon relationships and is leading us off the cliff. Continue reading

Checksmart Excessive Fee Suit Requires Closer Look at Fund Performance

Excessive Fee Lawsuit FiledA recently filed lawsuit attempts to hold plan fiduciaries to what has been an unprecedented standard until now. Previous lawsuits accused plan fiduciaries (with a slight amount of industry knowledge) of what could be considered “a no brainer”: don’t pay too much. If there is an identical or nearly identical investment option offered at a lower cost, choose the lowest cost option. If it is not feasible to switch to the lowest cost option, retain the fund but rebate revenue sharing. Simple, provided you know what you’re looking for. This new lawsuit requires fiduciaries to put more thought into the plan’s fund lineup, particularly with respect to fund expenses relative to fund performance. Continue reading

An Open Letter to the Plan Adviser Industry

Open Letter to Plan Adviser IndustryIt is time for the Plan Adviser profession to move past our relationship mentality, jettison our past and grow into the profession that will serve our clients and us better. Relationships, or more correctly stated, our dependence upon them, are holding us back and threaten the unrealized value of our profession. Continue reading