May 2008

Retirement Plan Adviser of the Year

When you have a plan that has grown over the years, and you see in the audience those factory workers you sat down with three years ago talking proudly about how they have saved toward their retirement, you know you've done something right," says John Barry, Principal at JMB Wealth Management/National Planning Corporation in Torrance, California.

Retirement Confidence

I hate going to the doctor for a checkup­—or the dentist, for that matter. I don't even like to take my car in for "scheduled maintenance."

May 2008 news articles that also appeared in the Upfront section of the May issue.

May 2008

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.

Are Fees Transparent Enough?

It's been a hot issue for some time—a topic of interest for Congress—and the Department of Labor (DoL) has laid out a three-pronged effort to help deal with fees, or more precisely, the transparency of fees paid by retirement plans and plan participants.

May 2008

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

Over Valued

After seven years of dominating the U.S. markets, value stocks trailed behind growth companies in 2007, and by a considerable margin.

The Quest for Alpha

"Buy some good stock, and hold it till it goes up," said American humorist Will Rogers, "and if it don't go up, don't buy it."

Moving the Goal Posts

When they faced the "perfect storm" earlier this decade, with equity markets declining at the same time interest rates dropped, many sponsors opted to stick with aggressive equity allocations rather than reducing risk, recalls Ellen Harvey, a Principal at Vanguard Investment Counseling & Research's investing strategy group.

Oral Argument

Marian Thompson Robinson v. New Orleans Employers ILA AFL-CIO Pension Welfare Vacation & Holiday Funds.

Wellness Plans

Media reports have spun a tale implying that recent Department of Labor guidelines will squash employers' ability to motivate workers to kick unhealthy habits.

Compared with What?

On the whole, I believe the movement from participant choice to target-maturity funds—a movement that is right now at the "inching forward" stage—is good.

Why PPA’s Autopilot Fails on Takeoff

While the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) is a decidedly 21st century addendum to the landmark Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, it more closely resembles 1984—as in the classic George Orwell novel of the same name.

Not the Last Word

Not unexpectedly, the Supreme Court recently ruled that an individual participant in a 401(k) defined contribution plan can maintain a breach of fiduciary duty claim under ERISA, even though the alleged breach affected only the value of his individual account.

Corporate Governance: ERISA-Style

The class-action litigation against Enron directors and committee members is a lesson about the need for corporate governance procedures for a company's ERISA plans.