Pension Consultants Hosts Annual Pension Focus Conference

home page pic with keynote speaker

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

Morin, et al v. Essentia Health:  A New Twist on Fee-based Cases against Plan Sponsors

Excessive Fee LawsuitA case recently filed in Minnesota took a unique approach to accusing a plan sponsor of charging participants excessive fees. Essentia Health and its subsidiary maintained two plans. One retirement plan established in 1965. The second was a 403(b) plan established in 2009. The original plan consisted of approximately 16,848 participants and $982 million in assets and was recordkept by BMO Harris. The 403(b) plan consisted of $103 million in assets and was recordkept by Lincoln Financial.[1] Continue reading

What impact will the DOL fiduciary rule have on your plan’s financial adviser

DOL Fiduciary Rule Impact on Plan's Financial AdvisersAs the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) new, expanded fiduciary rule continues to become clearer (see our recent blog post), it’s important to step back and keep in mind what it means to be a fiduciary to a retirement plan.  The fiduciary standard of conduct is known as the highest standard of conduct under the law.  A fiduciary to a retirement plan, under ERISA, must (1) act solely in the interest of plan participants, and (2) act as a prudent person would act in the same situation. Continue reading

When to Buy and Sell Mutual Funds

The equity markets have been choppy over the last year and a half.  Last year we had one of the worst Septembers to immediately be followed by one of the best Octobers. January 2016 started with a large cap pullback in the 5% range to have the markets rebound close to 6.5% in March. [1]

When these market upturns and downturns occur, clients and participants of retirement plans often ask why their portfolio return is different from the total return reflected on a mutual fund fact sheet.  Before answering the question, a person first needs to understand the difference between total return and investor return within a mutual fund.  Continue reading

Underestimating Retirement

The financial planning industry has overplayed the marketing line ‘what’s your number.” I am referring to how financial literature and commercials primarily focus on having a particular asset value (i.e. one million dollars) and once you reach that mythical dollar amount you can have a successful retirement. Continue reading

Excessive Fee Lawsuits Keep on Coming

We’re now one month into 2016, and on pace to see more excessive fee lawsuits this year than in any previous year.  Schlichter, Bogard & Denton out of St. Louis has filed yet another law suit against a retirement plan sponsor for imprudently selecting and retaining poorly performing mutual funds, allowing participants to be charged excessive record keeping fees, and prohibited transactions between the plan and a party in interest. Continue reading

Independent Living vs. Assisted Living: What’s the Difference?

Where do you see yourself or a loved one living during retirement? If you’re like most people, you may think of independent living and assisted living as being essentially the same in terms of living types, amenities, and care options.  However, when you peel back the layers of services and living arrangements offered by both, one can quickly to understand the differences and the benefits each has to offer. Continue reading

Vendor Monitoring: Going Beyond the Determination of Reasonableness

As a responsible plan fiduciary (RPF),  the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires you  under Section 408(b)(2) to ensure that arrangements with your service providers are “reasonable” and that only “reasonable” compensation is paid for their services.  To ensure RPFs were provided the information they needed to make better decisions when selecting and monitoring service providers for their plan, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) estimated that the final rule would cost approximately $207 million1. Continue reading