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Is It “Buyer Beware” with New Rollover Self-Certification?
Barb Van Zomeren, Vice President, ERISAFederal agency retirement plan guidance has taken some interesting and surprising turns in recent months. But if there is a prevailing direction to these developments, it is toward minimizing the expenditure of ...
Why Are Fees Our Only Focus?
If I were to name one ongoing issue that has absorbed more time and energy for retirement industry regulators, and has been the paramount compliance concern for plan administrators, it would have to be plan fees. Investment fees, administrative...
Will Fiduciary Rule Survive Rising Tide of Lawsuits?
The first week of June saw the filing of two lawsuits challenging the Department of Labor’s final fiduciary rule and its accompanying exemptions. Those in a position to know were confident that it was only a matter of time before additional law...
Let’s Hope the Regulation is Worth It
I’m sure that “the regulation” needs little, if any, further definition. Just as “the drive” in Super Bowl annals will always be associated with John Elway and the Denver Broncos, “the regulation” is a good candidate to forever be associated with the...
Final Fiduciary Regs Pack Less Than Hurricane-Force Punch
I’ve never directly experienced a hurricane. But on Tuesday April 5th, the day before the Department of Labor (DOL) officially issued its final fiduciary regulations, I found myself imagining what it would be like to stand on a coastal beach an...
IRS “Future State” Could be Sad State of Affairs
“Nothing is more certain than death and taxes.” Certainly you’ve heard that expression. These days there is a great deal of uncertainty as to the future of taxpayer relationships with the IRS. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson r...
Ends Seem to Justify Means for Partisan DOL
For starters, we can dispense with the notion that federal agencies are always impartial and unfailingly neutral. We know better. We know that the heads of federal agencies often dance to the tune played by the administration in pow...
2015 a Year of Mixed Blessings
When we were youngsters, one of the lessons our parents tried to teach us was that we were unlikely to get everything we wanted. We were to be appreciative when things went our way, but not be whiners when they didn’t. The 2015 year now e...
DOL Stretches Credibility and Precedent in New State Plans Guidance
Several months ago, when the retirement industry was chiefly absorbed in the Department of Labor’s proposed conflicted advice regulations, a colleague commented that many would be surprised by soon-to-be-released guidance on state-based retirement sa...
Whose Responsibility is Socially Responsible Investing?
We sometimes complain when the federal agencies that oversee retirement plans drag their feet and fail to issue badly needed guidance. Occasionally, however, the reverse is true, and we get an answer to a question that few – if anyone – has ask...
Some Retirement Savings Numbers of Note
If ever there was an enterprise inextricably tied to numbers and statistics, it is our retirement industry. Numbers are the bedrock of retirement plan operations and recordkeeping. We continually analyze rates of worker access to retireme...
Is it Manpower Shortage, Intrusiveness – or Both – Behind New Form 5500-SUP?
Beyond the divisiveness and unwillingness to compromise that seem to have infected many of our lawmakers in Washington, D.C., there is also a growing distrust of some government agencies. Actually, this distrust is encountered from Pennsylvania...
Battle Lines Are Drawn in Fiduciary Regulations Fight
Long ago, in distant elementary and junior high school days, some of the most galvanizing words on the playground or in the neighborhood were heard in the battle cry “Fight…fight..” Brawls major or minor have always had the power to stir t...
Many Ifs, Ands & Buts in EBSA’s Fiduciary Solution
When we were young, we may have been told that beginning a sentence with the word “but” was inappropriate. We believed it because the people who said so were adults, and were supposed to know such things. Later, we learned that “but” is a...
The New Fiduciary Rule is Here. But Where is “Here?”
There has probably not been a retirement plan regulations proposal more contentious or debate-stirring than the “conflicted advice” regulations recently issued by the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). That’...
“March Madness” an Apt Name for Fiduciary Regulations Battle
Perhaps it’s fitting that the country is in the period we’ve come to know as “March Madness.” As even casual sports fans know, the term refers to the NCAA men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments. It’s a time when basketball jun...
Does Retirement Saving Cost, or Pay?
February will likely be remembered in our industry for a seismic response to the Obama administration’s launch of a campaign to generate support for regulations governing fiduciary behavior in the advising of retirement savers. We certainly h...
Where Are We Bound in 2015-16?
The turn of the New Year can be a time to start fresh, which is why so many people make New Year’s resolutions, vowing to change some behavior, or in some way live differently than in the past. On a less personal level, for workers and most b...
Let’s Help Participants Invest With Knowledge, Not Ignorance
One of the ways we understand and manage the world we live and work in is through statistical analysis. We use it to determine worker efficiency and productivity, company profitability, marketing effectiveness, and many other things. In...
Some Roth is Good; “More” May Not Be
One of the “grand old men” of the U.S. Senate in the modern era was William Roth, the late lawmaker from Delaware. Senator Roth championed tax-advantaged retirement savings options to assist American workers in preparing for a secure retireme...
What Might Mid-Term Elections Mean for Retirement Saving?
Charles Dickens could have been describing the biennial American election cycle when he set down the opening lines to A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times...” The months leading up to the first Tuesday in...
What are EBSA’s Plans for Brokerage Windows?
The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has had brokerage windows on its radar since the agency issued final regulations on investment and fee disclosure for participant-directed retirement plans in October of 201...
Let’s Enable More Edelivery
The electronic data revolution has been a blessing in many, many ways. It has had a few bumps in the road, to be sure. Data breaches in the systems of major retailers have put sensitive customer data at risk. We’re all familiar wi...
IRS Verdict is in, But Buyer Jury is Out, on QLACs
The Internal Revenue Service took a needed step toward making delayed or longevity annuities a viable option for retirement savers, with its July issuance of qualifying longevity annuity contract (QLAC) final regulations. This action will mak...
Happy Anniversary, ERISA!
Because summer is a popular time for weddings, it’s also a time of many anniversaries. 2014 marks an important anniversary that is unrelated to marriage but most certainly marks an important commitment to fidelity. 2014 is the 40 annive...
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