September 2008

A New Track For Transitions

For most pension plans, the short bursts of hard, unpleasant work known as portfolio transitions are an infrequent event—maybe one episode every three or four years, assuming all goes well with the investment managers

“Gold” Mettle

By the time you read this column, the Olympics will be a distant memory. Despite the challenges of trying to keep up with events that are occurring halfway around the world, there have been exciting finishes and new world records (and the ability to catch it all at a more convenient hour via the Internet).

September 2008 news articles that also appear in the Upfront section of the September issue.

September 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.

What About the DoL’s Fee Disclosure Proposal?

In July, the Department of Labor published its much-anticipated proposed participant fee disclosure regulations. A week later, I asked readers for their perspectives on the matter.

September 2008

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

Property Values

Adding alternative asset classes, such as real estate, to traditional portfolios usually aims for two intended results: to boost returns by exploiting new types of risks, or to reduce volatility by adding uncorrelated returns.

Inside the Guide – 130/30 Manager Survey

To help sponsors make sense of the biggest money management product push of the new century, earlier this year, PLANSPONSOR reached out to managers offering the new strategies known variously as "long-short extension" or "130/30" funds.

Outsourcing Myths and Realities

Amid a tough economy, a lot of employers that did big human-resources outsourcing deals in the past few years are now rethinking them, says Denise LaForte, a Chicago-based Senior Consultant at Watson Wyatt Worldwide.

Short Comings?

Middle-income Americans now retiring will have to reduce their standard of living by an average of 24% to avoid outliving their financial assets, a new study finds.

“Out” Standing

Craig Wangberger v. Janus Capital Group, Incorporated; Plan Advisory Committee, and Charles Schwab Trust Company; Advisory Committee; Steven L. Scheid; G. Andrew Cox; Paul F. Balser

Fees Able?

Almost from the moment federal regulators announced they intended to beef up required plan disclosures, the message they heard most often from retirement services industry members was simple: One size disclosure does not fit all.

Income Tacks

Under current rules, if an employer sponsors a "tax-qualified" plan—a DB plan or a 401(k) plan—the employer gets a deduction when it makes a contribution to the plan, but the employee does not recognize income until he or she actually gets paid.

Absolute Assurances

Winston Churchill once said that America and Britain were "two nations divided by a common language." It's a division exacerbated by our habit of using the same words to mean different things on opposite sides of the Atlantic—such as, in the financial sector, the expression "absolute return fund."

Trying Time?

The U.S. Department of Labor is working on three significant regulatory projects regarding 401(k) fees.

The Cost of Knowledge

I recently received a question from a reader about one of my articles concerning disclosure of expenses to participants.