November 2010

Unknown Quantities

By the time you read this, we will—hopefully—know the outcome of the mid-term elections. Some will be happy with those results, some not so much; and doubtless there will be those who are happy now, but perhaps less so a year hence.

Interests Bearing

Last month, the Department of Labor (DoL) issued a proposal that would, by its reckoning, provide the first update to the definition of an ERISA fiduciary since shortly after the birth of the federal regulation. 

War Stories – November 2010

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.

Bells & Whistles – November 2010

Each month, Bells & Whistles highlights recent product introductions that plan sponsors­ may find of interest. More information on these announcements can be found on If you have a product announcement that you believe would be of interest to our ­readers, drop us a line at

Higher Grounds

Tough times have been good for high-yield returns

Jersey Sure?

The SEC gets tough on public fund accounting

Inside “Out”?

What employers should consider as they look at allowing in-plan Roth 401(k) conversions

Best Intentions

The sole best interests of investors versus national social policy

Roth Is Wrong—for Some People (Part II)

In my August column, I wrote that Roth is wrong—for some people. Basically, my analysis was that, for many, and perhaps for most, participants, their retirement incomes will be so low that they will pay little if any taxes on that income. However, if they were making Roth deferrals while working, they were paying income taxes on the deferred amounts. Thus, in making pre-tax deferrals, they violated one of the basic principles of taxpaying: Always pay your taxes when you are in the lowest bracket.