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John Iekel

Plan fiduciaries and retirement plan committees would do well to consider the trends in the ways that retirement plan funds are invested and the behaviors and attitudes of plan participants, recommends a recent analysis. In “Emerging Trends in 401(k) and 403(b) Fund Menus,” a post on Greenspring... READ MORE
Pension plan funding, a perennial issue, was on the rebound as the recovery from the Great Recession took hold, but recent volatility in the financial markets compromised that improvement for many plans. A recent paper argues that one of the keys to buttressing a pension plan’s funding lies in its... READ MORE
In a major victory for the advocacy efforts of the American Retirement Association, the IRS has expanded its Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPRCS) self-correction program (SCP). The American Retirement Association (ARA) on April 4, 2018 had submitted a comment letter to the IRS to... READ MORE
The Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans has recommended that the Department of Labor (DOL) issue new guidance on ERISA bonding, as well as a summary of the requirements for securing a fidelity bond that complies with DOL guidance. The recommendations are contained in “... READ MORE
Fiduciary duty, who is responsible for fulfilling it, and the rules that will — or won’t — guide and regulate it have been generating great attention for years. And for good reason. In “A Cascading Behavioral Roadmap for Fulfilling Fiduciary Duties” a recent blog entry by Neal Shikes, Managing... READ MORE
The times they are a-changin’. At an exciting — and, perhaps in some ways terrifying — pace. But in order to compete, one must embrace and employ the dazzling attributes and developments of our dizzying age. Joey Coleman, Chief Experience Composer of the Design Symphony recently shared his... READ MORE
Terms and words adapt and evolve, including “retirement.” But that shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that financial planning for retirement is also obsolete, argues a recent column. In “Why You Don’t Want to Retire Retirement Planning,” a piece appearing in Forbes, researcher Bob Carlson writes... READ MORE
Consistent performance and downside protection are valued more by DC plan participants than funds that seek to outperform the market are, according to a recent report. Concern over recent market volatility has made participants less confident regarding the performance of their retirement plan fund... READ MORE
Preparing and fling the Form 5500 Series is one of the more onerous tasks associated with administering retirement plans. But one should resist the impulse to just sign the thing and get it all over with, argues a recent blog entry. In “The IRS Form 5500 – Look Before you Sign!” an entry in... READ MORE
Many factors are in play when you’re designing retirement income strategies. A recent analysis from T. Rowe Price argues that investors’ preferences and tolerance for risk should be most prominent. In “Incorporating Behavioral Risk Preferences in Retirement Income Strategy Design,” T. Rowe’s Anna... READ MORE
That the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) provides a financial safety net for millions of retirees and plan participants. But what are those threads made of? The Congressional Research Service (CRS) offers an answer. In “Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC): A Primer,” the CRS... READ MORE
Technology offers a dazzling array of ever-expanding options for retirement plans and participants. But not everyone is interested in tech. Some recent blog entries suggest ways to heighten the experience, as well as non-tech ways to serve a plan and its participants. Technological advances march... READ MORE
Discipline. It can be routine, it can be difficult, but its rewards can be many. Among them, argues a recent blog entry, is the ounce of prevention that consistent application of due diligence offers. In “Due Diligence Is a Piece of Cake — Unless You Don’t Do it,” a post published recently on the... READ MORE
The digital age means more than just a universe of information in the palms of our hands. It also means that plans and those who serve them have powerful new tools to facilitate and drive retirement readiness. Behavioral economist Shlomo Benartzi, Senior Academic Advisor for the Voya Behavioral... READ MORE
As a vital safety net for millions of pension plan participants and retirees, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is facing some difficult challenges. A recent report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) puts those challenges in comprehensive, and sharper, relief.  In “Pension Benefit... READ MORE
At the opening general session of the 2019 NAPA 401(k) Summit on April 7, Preston Rutledge, head of the DOL’s Employee Benefit Security Administration, and ASPPA Executive Director Brian Graff reported respectively on what EBSA and NAPA are anticipating in the coming year. Retirement plan... READ MORE
Offering lump sum windows to pension recipients recently got a green light of sorts. But not everyone is convinced that that’s a wonderful thing, and suggest that lump sums may not be exactly a panacea. The IRS in Notice 2019-18 said that it no longer plans to amend the required minimum... READ MORE
The Oregon Retirement Savings Board (ORSB) on April 2 reviewed a proposal to change the rules and amend OregonSaves to allow a presumption of employer exemption. The Oregon Treasury filed the proposal on Feb. 16. It held a public hearing on the proposal on March 19 and accepted public comments... READ MORE
It’s not exactly news that staying on the job past one's normal retirement age is a growing phenomenon. Of course, that has a direct effect on the employees who decide to prolong their tenure, but it has implications for employers and plans as well. Among them is how to handle pension payments in... READ MORE
Ultimately, a retirement plan exists to support the account holders and their dependents and beneficiaries. So distributions are of key importance — but that doesn’t mean that handling them is always smooth. A recent blog entry offers some ideas on how to handle difficult situations concerning that... READ MORE