Retirement plans come in all shapes and sizes: DC Plans, DB Plans, Non-Qual, 401(k), 403(b), 401(a), 457, SEP IRA, Simple IRA, Roth IRA, Cash Balance, HSA… and any other number letter combinations that you can think of.
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The steep uptick in 401k plan trades in reaction to the wild market swings over the last several weeks could be a precursor of a mass reallocation of participant portfolios to more conservative investments.
Among the primary choices a plan sponsor has when considering the management of their 401k plan is bundled or unbundled. For many plan sponsors initiating a smaller plan, the bundled approach may seem more appropriate due to its lower cost. As many later find out, the lower costs also mean they are not getting the advice they need or are being plagued by hidden fees.
Just as most 401k plans are unique in their offerings and operations, so too are the investment committees that should be formed to guide them. However, in confronting the critical issues facing employers in the management of their plans, all employers, and their investment committees should address one key question, if not quarterly, at the very least, annually.
As is customary with the proposal of any new regulatory rule or provision, the Department of Labor has opened the floor to comments regarding its proposed rule change to extend fiduciary responsibilities to all advisors who work with qualified retirement plans.
After a rather tumultuous decade in which the overall performance of 401k plans is best described as anemic, we may be entering a period of redemption that could have 401k plan sponsors and participants smiling again.
If a recent employee retirement survey is an indication, retirement plan sponsors have a tremendous opportunity to significantly improve worker productivity, optimize plan participation while fortifying their liability firewall – all in the name of plan management best practices.
Making good on a promise made by President Obama earlier in the year, the Department of Labor has come out with its highly anticipated proposed rule that would require any broker who advises a retirement plan to act in a fiduciary capacity – that is, to act in the best interest of the client.
Most company 401k plans offer individual account plans in which participants direct their own investments, so should be taking advantage of Section 404(c) of ERISA. This is the provision that frees you and your company of certain fiduciary liabilities for the investments they offer.