As a plan fiduciary, you are charged with overseeing plan management with the goal of providing a good plan for your employees.
Plan management includes selecting and monitoring plan investments, selecting and monitoring plan service providers, assisting employees in preparing for a successful retirement, and the administration of the plan.Each area of plan management will require fiduciaries to use discretion that may impact the participants in the plan and their beneficiaries.
On October 19, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service announced the 2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA)1 to the retirement plan limits.
Below is a chart outlining the COLA limits that become effective January 1, 2018, along with the two prior tax years’ limits:
The 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.
If 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?
(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
The 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
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.
In 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
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
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