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<< Older News  |  August 2, 2021

News

All News > Retirement Plan Investments

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Should 401(k) Plans Permit Cryptocurrency on the Investment Menu?
Carol Buckmann, via RPA Convergence Link to more items from this source
Aug. 2, 2021

"Although the [DOL] has not come out with any guidance regarding cryptocurrencies, plan investment options must be appropriate for all participants, including less sophisticated ones. The DOL could determine that participants shouldn't be given an opportunity to gamble their retirement money and that cryptocurrencies shouldn't be a separate asset class on a plan's investment menu."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments

Fifth Circuit: Plan Participants Lacked Standing to Bring ERISA Fiduciary Breach Claims
Jackson Lewis P.C. Link to more items from this source
July 30, 2021

"[T]he Fifth Circuit observed that although the plan eventually began offering a stable value fund -- the plaintiffs' preferred type of capital preservation investment -- the participants never invested in this option. For that reason, the appellate court concluded that the participants failed to show that the challenged acts of the defendants caused their injury[.]" [Ortiz v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 20-10817 (5th Cir. Jul. 19, 2021)]

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Do You Understand Your Investment Policy Statement?
Verrill Dana LLP Link to more items from this source
July 30, 2021

"Even the most thorough and detailed IPS will be of limited utility unless the plan fiduciaries who are adopting the IPS can understand the document.... For that reason, an IPS should: [1] provide meaningful guidelines that committee members can apply in fulfilling their duties; and [2] be written a way that an intelligent and engaged committee member can understand and implement."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Seeing the Bigger QDIA Picture
planadviser Link to more items from this source
July 30, 2021

"A close look at selecting and evaluating qualified default investment alternatives (QDIA) forces some questions about the value an adviser can add to the process.... [Although] advisers may be good at helping to craft custom funds, this might not always be appropriate.... [T]here are so many different low-cost, off-the-shelf solutions that most plan sponsors can typically find one that meets their needs[.]"

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments

What Empower's Purchase of Pru Retirement Business Means for Advisers
Fred Barstein, via RPA Convergence Link to more items from this source
July 29, 2021

"What is the value of an adviser to record keepers? The overwhelming answer is that advisers sell the plan. They represent a sales force of almost 300,000 with personal relationships with plan sponsors. Providers do not have to recruit, manage or pay these advisers directly. Everything else is ancillary."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Investments

IRS Issue Snapshot: Fully Insured 412(e)(3) Plans
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 29, 2021

"This Issue Snapshot discusses requirements applicable to fully insured plans under IRC Section 412(e)(3). The IRS issued guidance in 2004 and 2005 to stop abuses involving the use of certain specially designed life insurance policies in retirement plans. See Rev. Rul. 2004-20, Rev. Rul. 2004-21 and Rev. Proc. 2005-25.... The issues from the guidance also form the basis of some of the issue indicators or audit tips."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Investments

DOL Official Sheds Light on Rollover Recommendations
American Retirement Association [ARA] Link to more items from this source
July 28, 2021

"Key Takeaways [from a discussion with Tim Hauser of EBSA:] [1] Suggesting investments that could occur after a rollover is tantamount to recommending a rollover, and if it meets the rest of the five-part test will constitute fiduciary advice, regardless of how it's phrased. It doesn't require the 'magic words.' [2] Rejection of the Deseret letter was the [DOL's] attempt to 'level the playing field' between advisors outside the plan and plan advisors with regard to rollovers. [3] 'Regular' basis at present isn't a function of frequency, but rather a reasonable expectation of an ongoing relationship. [4] A revisit of the fiduciary rule is on the agenda, but it would follow a notice and comment period."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

2021 RIA Benchmarking Study (PDF)
Charles Schwab Link to more items from this source
July 28, 2021

48 presentation slides. "Given the environment, firms experienced remarkable growth in 2020: AUM up 14.5%, revenue up 7.5%, and number of clients up 4.7% for all firms, at the median.... Firms adapted quickly to new business practices in 2020 ... This year's focus section centered around new client growth and tactics firms used to propel client acquisition during the pandemic."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments

Second Quarter U.S. Annuity Sales Jump Nearly 40%, Marking the Highest Sales in More than a Decade
LIMRA Link to more items from this source
July 27, 2021

"Total preliminary U.S. annuity sales were $67.9 billion in the second quarter, up 39% from second quarter 2020. Year-to-date, annuity sales were $129 billion, 23% higher than prior year ... Total variable annuity (VA) sales were $32.8 billion in the second quarter, up 55% from prior year. This represents the highest quarterly VA sales in nearly six years. In the first six months of 2021, total annuity sales were $62.8 billion, 33% higher than prior year."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments

Best Interest Standard, Part 60: Compliance with PTE 2020-02
FredReish.com Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 27, 2021

"[Some small firms] have opted for an educational (that is, no recommendations) approach to rollovers (because of the cost and effort to build compliant systems). Larger firms are adopting compliance approaches that can be automated. In addition, they will need to train hundreds or thousands of investment professionals on the new requirements by December 21."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

District Court: Plaintiff Lacks Standing to Challenge Retirement Plan Investment Options and Fees
Jackson Lewis P.C. Link to more items from this source
July 27, 2021

"The court found that plaintiff lacked standing to assert her ERISA claims for two main reasons. First, plaintiff included a list of the allegedly imprudent funds in her complaint, but Infinity provided evidence that all of her retirement assets were invested in a fund that was not included on the list.... Second, with respect to plaintiff's excessive fee argument, Infinity provided evidence that the one fund in which plaintiff invested did not pay any recordkeeping fees." [Lange v. Infinity Healthcare Physicians, S.C., No. 20-737 (W.D. Wis. Jul. 16, 2021)]

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investment Costs  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Competitive Pricing Rate for Pension Risk Transfer Costs Increases to 100.0% in June
Milliman Link to more items from this source
July 26, 2021

"During June, the average estimated cost to transfer retiree pension risk to an insurer rose, from 102.0% of a plan's total liabilities to 102.4% of those liabilities.... [A]nnuity purchase costs reflecting competition amongst insurers also increased, from 99.7% in May to 100.0% in June."

Tags: Funding of DB Plans  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Financial Wellness and Financial Health: What Are They, What Drives Them, and What Will People Do to Improve Them? (PDF)
Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association [DCIIA] Link to more items from this source
July 22, 2021

"[T]he behavioral changes people are willing to make require the least tangible effort. Despite these challenges, the employer-based retirement system provides both know-how and mechanisms to affect financial wellness."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Mitigating Fiduciary Risk: Lessons Learned About the Prudent Person Rule After 15 Years of Fee Litigation
Trucker Huss Link to more items from this source
July 21, 2021

"Many of the complaints in these cases are now formulaic, and plaintiffs have attacked fiduciaries of participant-directed retirement plans (401(k) or 403(b) plans) which range in size from tens of millions to multiple billions in assets.... As courts have grappled with questions of fiduciary responsibility, a body of case law has developed that provides valuable guidance on methods plan fiduciaries may use to mitigate their risk if faced with a lawsuit or government investigation. This article addresses the duty of prudence in monitoring plan investments, thereby mitigating fiduciary risk through the lens of that body of case law."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

How Should Retirees Respond to Inflation?
Charles Schwab Link to more items from this source
July 21, 2021

"[Y]our savings may be better able to cope with inflation than you might expect. For example, stock returns hold up better against both inflation and taxes than bonds and cash investments.... Your personal rate of inflation may be higher or lower than someone else's ... depending on your spending needs and goals.... [Take] the time to stress test the assumptions behind your retirement plan and portfolio. You may find that your financial plan already has some robust inflation expectations built in."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Fixed Income: Preparing for the Big Shift
State Street Global Advisors Link to more items from this source
July 21, 2021

"Low yields, new capabilities, and structural changes are driving a move towards indexing across the fixed income (FI) spectrum.... ETF performance during 2020 pandemic-related market stress highlights new investment possibilities for institutions.... No longer only for equities, ESG is coming for fixed income in a major way.... Most institutions will maintain or increase Emerging Markets exposure, and China's entry into key indexes is a rich source of potential."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments

Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors, Part 59
FredReish.com Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
July 21, 2021

"PTE 2020-02 offers relief from prohibited transactions resulting from recommendations to participants to rollover their accounts into IRAs. However, it does not provide relief from the fiduciary/best interest standard of care. In that case, financial institutions and investment professionals must engage in a prudent process to gather and assess the relevant information. That fiduciary requirement already applies and is not delayed until December 21."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Annuity Purchase Update, July 2021
October Three Consulting Link to more items from this source
July 21, 2021

"Annuity purchase interest rates decreased slightly for both Annuity Plan 1 and Annuity Plan 2. Pension Risk Transfer activity and insurance company competition remain high. Annuity purchase cost for retirees has consistently been between 98%-104% of the pension accounting value (GAAP PBO)."

Tags: Funding of DB Plans  •  Retirement Plan Investments

SEC Extracts $96 Million Settlement from TIAA Subsidiary for Rollover Practices
The Wagner Law Group Link to more items from this source
July 20, 2021

"[The authors] believe that this action by the SEC is meant to be fair warning and that other advisors can expect the SEC to bring charges for their rollover practices.... it is clear that paying different compensation for different advisory products brings conflicts of interest and so does paying more to roll assets outside of an employer-sponsored plan.... It is critical that advisors maintain appropriate policies and procedures, monitor that the procedures are being followed, and keep adequate records of their findings."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investment Costs  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Judge Moves Forward Lawsuit Challenging Use of Active TDF Suite
PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required Link to more items from this source
July 20, 2021

"[The judge] noted that of the 29 Fidelity funds in the active TDF suite, 17 of them trailed their respective benchmarks over their respective lifetimes ... [T]he active suite also had a significantly higher expense ratio than the index suite, despite consistently underperforming the index suite ... The defendants continued to use the active suite as the plan's [QDIA] for as long as it was an option in the plan's investment menu." [In re Prime HealthCare ERISA Litigation, No. 20-1529 (C.D. Cal. Jul. 16, 2021)]

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Dissecting TIAA Subsidiary's $97 Million SEC Rollover Settlement
John Manganaro, in planadviser Link to more items from this source
July 19, 2021

"TIAA has agreed to further significant internal reforms, including subjecting all rollover recommendations to a strict fiduciary standard; eliminating differential compensation for sales of managed accounts; eliminating or fully disclosing other adviser conflicts of interests related to recommending managed accounts; using plain language to disclose when advisers are not acting as fiduciaries; and training advisers to offer a fair comparison between managed accounts and employer-sponsored plans."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments

Participants Trending Toward a 'Do It for Me' Mindset
American Retirement Association [ARA] Link to more items from this source
July 19, 2021

"A majority (53%) of surveyed participants want help selecting their investment strategies and prefer to leave most ongoing investment decisions to experienced professionals. What's more, the number of participants who believe their employers have an obligation to help them pick the right plan investments has steadily climbed over the years -- rising from 29% in 2016 to 41% in 2021."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Capital Markets and Pension Funding Forecasts (PDF)
H.C. Foster & Company Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
July 19, 2021

"[A] negative economic outlook for the next ten years ... bodes badly for underfunded pension plans and retirees.... [T]he American Recovery Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) ... further weakens the minimum funding requirements: ARPA replaces the 7-year amortizations of each year's loss or gain in the unfunded liability with a single 15-year amortization requirement.... ARPA sets a grandiose scheme for interest rate manipulation through 2030[.]"

Tags: Funding of DB Plans  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Plan Sponsors: How to Know When It's Time to Update Your Investment Options
PlanPILOT Link to more items from this source
July 16, 2021

"You're seeing lower fees among similar plans ... If something is no longer fulfilling its original role in your plan's menu, consider taking a second look.... Performance has been subpar over the long-term ... [R]eplacing funds from time to time is critical to ensuring your plan participants have access to the best funds possible."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investment Costs  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Target Date Funds Face Increasing Congressional, Regulatory, and Legal Scrutiny
Morgan Lewis Link to more items from this source
July 16, 2021

"[As] TDFs have grown in popularity, there are signs of increasing scrutiny around TDFs used in participant-directed defined contribution ERISA plan investment lineups. This increasing scrutiny is expected to raise new regulatory initiatives generating new questions and may favor increased process review by ERISA plan fiduciaries."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments


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