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John Iekel

Making it possible for participants to take a loan from their retirement accounts is a common plan feature. But it also is not unusual for mistakes to be made concerning those loans. A recent article, as well as the IRS, offer some suggestions regarding how to identify and fix them, as well as... READ MORE
President Trump on June 21 named seven new members to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC) Advisory Committee. The PBGC Advisory Committee is a body appointed by the president that represents the interests of labor, employers and the public. Its duties under ERISA include providing... READ MORE
How do your clients’ participants envision their retirements? Are they riding astride unicorns on cotton candy tufts of cloud? Or are they Sisyphus, endlessly pushing to an idyllic summit they’ll never reach? A recent blog entry outlines five myths concerning retirement planning that may help plan... READ MORE
The July 31, 2019 deadline for most employee benefits plans that must file the Form 5500 for reporting about 2018 is fast approaching. So the June 20 ASPPA Webcast, “Form 5500 Update,” was a well-timed reminder regarding changes that affect the form and its use and filing. Presenter Stephen Forbes... READ MORE
July 1 is the registration deadline for the next wave of employers for the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program, a retirement savings vehicle for private sector employees in Illinois who do not have access to an employer-sponsored plan. Employers with 100-499 employees must register with the... READ MORE
The IRS on June 17 issued a third quarter update of its 2018-2019 Priority Guidance Plan. As in such previous such plans, retirement benefits are among the many areas in which the IRS plans to take action. In the update, the IRS also reports on progress in projects it has listed in the plan.The ‘To... READ MORE
Compliance is serious business and audits of an employee benefit program are no joke. But the mere fact that one is scheduled need not spell imminent doom. As a recent blog entry points out, there are steps one can take to be ready — and, in the process, better ensure that the plan is in compliance... READ MORE
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series about creating and managing retirement plan committees. Part 1 is here. Fiduciary duties and fulfilling them includes managing the investment of plan assets — and one of the tools for accomplishing that is the investment committee. Investment... READ MORE
The American Retirement Association, as well as a broad coalition of groups and associations, on June 18 sent a letter to the Senate expressing their support for the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (SECURE) Act.The House passed the measure on May 23 by an overwhelming margin of 417-3. The... READ MORE
Please hold on to the bar. That’s sound advice when seated in an amusement park thrill ride. But a recent blog entry suggests that the maxim is applicable to how a plan fiduciary approaches how participants invest their funds amid the vagaries of market volatility. The rises and falls in the... READ MORE
Defined contribution plans are practically ubiquitous. But like most things that are common, the mere fact that they are does not necessarily mean that comprehension of investing the funds they contain is. A recently released research paper discusses the problem posed by poor financial literacy and... READ MORE
Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series about establishing and managing retirement plan committees. The last 10-plus years have brought into sharp relief the importance of fiduciary duties and fulfilling them as ERISA requires. Offering a retirement plan has many moving parts, and... READ MORE
The average funded status of the 100 largest corporate pension plans in the United States dropped slightly from April to May, while volatility of both assets and liabilities rose slightly, according to recently released data. According to NISA Investment Advisors, average funded status dropped by... READ MORE
The official hurricane season has just begun (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it starts June 1). But we’ve already had a tropical system in the Atlantic (Andrea) — and that serves as a reminder that it can be helpful to a service provider and plan administrator to prepare…... READ MORE
The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is responsible for overseeing millions of employee benefit plans, including investigating retirement plans when necessary. A recent blog entry examines what an employer should know about that. In Thompson Coburn LLP’s blog... READ MORE
Words matter. Don’t think so? The publisher of a King James Bible in the 17th century who left out the word “not” in the commandment “thou shalt not commit adultery” and who suffered the consequences would beg to differ. And words matter in retirement plan communications as well, as recent analyses... READ MORE
Cyber threats morph and evolve as quickly as the technology and data they compromise. Speakers at SPARK’s national conference in Falls Church, VA suggested ways to protect against them. Evolving Challenges Wendy Young Carter, a VP and Defined Contribution Director, Public Sector at Segal Group,... READ MORE
Oregon employers that do not comply with the rules of OregonSaves — the Beaver State’s state-sponsored retirement program — will face penalties starting next year. Gov. Kate Brown (D) has signed into law SB 164, a measure which provides that an employer found not to be in compliance will face... READ MORE
The workforce, like the economy, is changing rapidly. That has implications in many areas, including retirement savings and retirement plan coverage. A June 4 session at the SPARK National Conference held in Falls Church, VA discussed some of those circumstances and how they may be addressed. John... READ MORE
The Department of Labor (DOL) is preparing to act on a variety of issues relevant to retirement plans and participants, according to a department official who offered an outline at a June 5 session of the SPARK national conference held in Falls Church, VA. Jeanne Klinefelter Wilson, Deputy... READ MORE

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