December 2007

DB in Flux: The Dodo Takes Flight

In the lobby of Alcatel Lucent ­ headquarters in Murray Hill, New Jersey, busts of storied inventors from the Bell Laboratories' era gaze down at visitors.

“Extinct” Shuns

Truth be told, I initially found the cover image of a dodo bird as a characterization of defined benefit plans somewhat offensive.

Heightened Sensibilities

I was at a conference a couple of months ago, when the CEO of a large, national consulting firm stood up and commented on the increased fiduciary burden that the Pension Protection Act had placed on plan ­sponsors—an obligation to ensure that participants' savings are sufficient to provide an adequate retirement.

December 2007 news articles that also appeared in the Upfront section of the December issue.

December 2007

We all have them: those front-line experiences that are -inevitable when one deals with the variety—and sensitivity—of issues associated with human beings and critical life events. Sometimes those stories are tragic, sometimes they are bizarre, and sometimes—admit it—they are just plain funny.

What Do You Think of QDIA Regs?

The ink was barely dry on the final qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) regulations when we asked readers in late October for their take on the final result.

December 2007

Each month, Bells & Whistles highlights recent product introductions that plan sponsors may find of interest.

High Yield

"High yield is a neglected asset class in the institutional world," says Andrew Feltus. "Most institutions see it only tactically, as part of a core-plus fixed-income mandate." One of the industry's top investors, Feltus is a Senior Vice President at Pioneer Investment Management, Boston, showing consistent top decile returns in domestic and global high-yield funds.

The Silver Tsunami

On October 15, schoolteacher Kathleen Casey-Kirschling became the country's first Baby Boomer to file for Social Security retirement benefits, and the Social Security Administration touted it as the beginning of "America's silver tsunami."

Reasonable Expectations

Louis Akouri and Nadia Akouri v. Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Company—UAW Retirement Board of Directors

‘Nothing’ Doings

In just a few weeks, the Pension Protection Act (PPA) will be upon us. Given recent interest-rate and asset-value trends, some defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors actually may see their contribution requirements go down.

Waiting Gains

On October 24, 2007, the Department of Labor (DoL) at last issued a final regulation addressing the selection of default investment options for defined contribution plans.

Process Serving

I recently served as an expert witness on prudent process. My testimony focused on what a "prudent process" is and what fiduciaries do to satisfy that requirement. To prepare for that testimony, I outlined the steps required for a prudent process—based on my experience and observations.

DB in Flux: And Then Some

The new product teams at investment management firms have had a new darling for the past year or so in 130/30 long-short equity funds.

DB in Flux: Blue Jay

Jay Vivian joined IBM in 1978 from business school. His ­contribution to that company—and to the pension industry—has been immense.

Coming up Fast

That might suggest that 2007 was a year about getting ready for change—but nothing could be further from the reality.

The Most Successful Retirement Plan Advisers

There is nothing like tumultuous times to highlight the value of, and reinforce the need for, expert help for plan fiduciaries and, yes, it surely plays to the advantage of a profession dedicated to helping plan sponsors construct the right programs, and participants make the best of them.