October 2008

Outward Bound?

"The brothel is not yet open, but there is a line of sailors around the block." That's one unnamed observer's comment on the growing number of financial entities—investment banks, private equity firms, insurance companies, and hedge funds—that are looking to position themselves for the next great opportunity in defined benefit investment management: risk transfer.

Reading between the Lines

It was interesting recently to hear the perspectives of "the industry" when federal regulators made a formal—and, to my ears, anyway—unequivocal statement that current law did not allow companies to transfer their pension obligations to unrelated firms.

A Sure Thing

By some accounts, I recently spent a week in "retirement"—driving around sightseeing, reading some good books and, yes, even sitting on a beach.

October 2008

PLANSPONSOR.com news articles that also appear in the Upfront section of the October issue.

October 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.

October 2008

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

2008 PLANSPONSOR Stock Plan Administration Buyer’s Guide

A recent study by Fidelity Stock Plan Services found that three-fourths (74%) of respondents at companies that offered a stock option plan, stock purchase plan, and a restricted stock plan feel more loyal to their company as a result, and 76% said they work harder. Moreover, about half indicated a stock plan offering made them less likely to change jobs.

2008 PLANSPONSOR Employee Benefits Attorneys Guide: Fiduciary Forces

You are not in this business very long before you find yourself confronted with—if not confounded by—the law. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is perhaps most commonly invoked, but there are, of course, others—not to mention a whole sector of employee benefit programs that operate beyond ERISA's structures.

When It Rains . . .

Private equity now accounts for 5% and 3%, respectively, of the assets at public and private pension plans that have added it to their portfolios.

Inform All

Paul H. Anderson, etc. v. Board of Trustees of the Northwest Ohio United Food and Commercial Workers Union and Employers' Joint Pension Fund

Open Season?

Proposed regulations released in late August from the Department of Labor (DoL) purport to offer clarification on the Pension Protection Act (PPA) exemption for offering investment advice, and a model that can be used by advisers to satisfy the fee disclosure requirement for Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and 401(k) investment advice.

Two Cheers for 401(k) Plans

There's a broad consensus that 401(k) plans have replaced defined benefit (DB) plans as the retirement savings program for American workers.

Let’s Do Lunch

The United States Department of Labor recently amended its "Enforcement Manual" regarding how DoL investigators treat meals, gifts, and entertainment provided to ERISA plan fiduciaries.

Revenue Sharing: What Is It?

The 401(k) industry calls it revenue sharing. The mutual fund industry calls it 12b-1 fees, subtransfer agency fees, shareholder servicing fees, and profit-sharing payments. The Department of Labor (DoL) calls it indirect payments. Plaintiffs' attorneys call it "hidden and excessive" fees.