Many things shape and influence the composition of workplace benefits. Long established as a kind of "partnership" of employers, the government, and individual workers, the types of benefits provided, the incentives for providing them, and the perceived benefit in receiving them has varied over time, and between employment sectors.
In early 2008, with legislative blessing and new regulatory clarity, there was a lot of momentum for 401(k) sponsors to adopt automatic enrollment. By the end of the year, however, that momentum was nipped in the bud.
The stars seem aligned for cash balance plans now that there is regulatory and legal clarity that the design is not discriminatory.
Buffeted by the financial crisis, custodians emphasize innovation, stability
ETFs continue to be touted, but they are slow to gain traction
More employers looking at high-deductible plans and HSAs to control health-care costs
For plan sponsors in 2008, the LDI focus was bonds—high-grade corporate bonds
Executive pay levels likely to come under increased pressure from shareholders and regulators
Since performance measurement is not a core service, it appeared the contraction in the asset management world would affect this sector and, indeed, that was the case with the acquisition of services in decline and some industrywide layoffs.
As the Boomers cross the accumulation finish line, a new generation of solutions stands ready to carry them through retirement
With the economy pinching businesses from all sides, plan sponsors should be looking at the potential savings they can reap through the concept of revenue-sharing from their plan's investments.
The providers of risk management technology and services find themselves in a unique position at the moment—their products are needed, and business has been brisk. However, this bonanza of demand has to be juxtaposed against weakened and shrunken capital structure.
Last year, the prevailing perception of securities lending as a reliable, low-risk source of incremental alpha went through a metamorphosis. In 2008, sponsors saw borrowers default and not return lent securities, and lost money on reinvested cash collateral.
Even in these difficult days, with many 401(k) account balances plummeting, stable-value funds are living up to their reputation by continuing to offer positiveÂ returns to participants.
Employers likely to scrutinize total retirement outsourcing deals' prices and services
Transition managers brace for what could be coming
More employers with wellness programs consider requiring participation
Maybe we were solving for the wrong equation. When investment managers introduced the first target-date funds in the early 1990s, their primary goal was to help people accumulate assets in a way that automatically would account for the need to invest more conservatively as their investment horizon shortened.
Several years ago, I bought my dad—one of the world's most proficient worriers—a copy of the "Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook."
A survey published last month by Fidelity noted that workers cited health insurance, retirementÂ savings plan matching contributions, and dental insurance as the three most important benefits, with health insurance ranking as No. 1.
A listing of the stories in the 2009 The Ultimate Buyer's Guide issue of PLANSPONSOR magazine.