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Recordkeeper Data Show Continued Commitment to Retirement Saving

Summary: ICI's latest study of retirement plan savers' actions, based on defined contribution plan recordkeeper data covering nearly 24 million DC plan participant accounts, shows Americans' continuing commitment to putting away money for retirement.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, April 2014

Defined Contribution Plan Participants' Activities, 2013

Summary: Key Findings: Defined contribution plan withdrawal activity in 2013 remained low and was similar to the prior year's activity; the vast majority of DC plan participants continued contributing to their plans in 2013; most DC plan participants stayed the course with their asset allocations as stock values generally rose throughout the year; and, DC plan participants' loan activity remains elevated compared with five years ago.

Source: Ici.org , April 2014

GAO Report on Pension Tax Incentives

Summary: Over the 3-year span from 2009 through 2011, private-sector employers terminated about 106,000 DC and 9,000 DB plans. Thus, while tax incentives from increased contribution limits may have spurred new plan formation, other events--such as company consolidations and bankruptcies stemming from the recent recession--may have discouraged it.

Source: Gao.gov, April 2014

Principal Financial Well Being Index -- 1st Quarter 2014

Summary: Nearly half of workers (46 percent) feel stressed about their current financial situation, although stress seems to diminish with age and among those seeking help. Only a third (35 percent) of baby boomers report they feel stressed about finances compared to half of Gen Y workers (51 percent). Those working with a financial professional were much less likely to feel stressed about their finances (33 percent compared to 51 percent).

Source: Principal.com , April 2014

Retirement Security Tops List of Employee Concerns

Summary: Recent economic shocks have prompted American workers to rethink their long-term financial goals and security. Many of them are feeling the pinch of higher out-of-pocket health costs, stagnant wages, restructured retirement programs and lingering financial losses. So it's no surprise to find that workers have become more concerned about their retirement security. Despite their financial worries, many are increasingly willing to trade cash compensation for greater certainty and more generous health and retirement benefits.

Source: Towerswatson.com, April 2014

Why Asset Class Diversification Is Important

Summary: One of the most effective risk management tools available to investors is diversifi cation across multiple asset classes (e.g., stocks, bonds, and cash). A portfolio's distribution across various asset classes is referred to as the portfolio's asset allocation. Academic studies have shown that more than 90% of the variations in a portfolio's return can be attributed to the asset allocation decision.

Source: Manning-Napier.com , April 2014

Helpful Tips to Prepare for a Retirement Plan Audit

Summary: Knowing when and how to arrange for an audit of a plan's financial statements is an important responsibility for plan sponsors. While the rules governing audits may appear straightforward, there are important exceptions that can impact filings -- for example, the so-called "80-120 Rule."

Source: Leggmason.com , April 2014

Reasons for a Change in Retirement Age

Summary: Workers who report a change in their expected retirement age in 2014 most often cite the poor economy (25 percent), according to a new report from the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute. Other reasons cited included the inability to afford retirement (18 percent), a change in their employment situation (17 percent) and health care costs (12 percent).

Source: Ebri.org , April 2014

Rising Rates, Low Returns and High Volatility Worrying DC Consultants

Summary: Defined contribution plan consultants are concerned about rising rates, a low return environment and high volatility over the next three to five years, according to a survey by PIMCO. More than 70 percent of consultants surveyed said they are concerned or very concerned about each of these topics.

Source: Benefitspro.com, April 2014

Participant Preferences in Target-Date Funds: An Update

Summary: Summary results of survey conducted to determine the preferences of defined contribution plan participants, as opposed to those of sponsors and consultants, on the various investment features of target-date funds. The goal was to support plan sponsors in the target-date fund selection process by helping them align their choice with the preferences and attitudes of their plan populations.

Source: Inginvestment.com , April 2014

The Equitable Allocation of Revenue Sharing to Participants

Summary: Revenue sharing has become a hot issue. That includes the selection of mutual funds that pay revenue sharing, its use for paying plan expenses, and the allocation of revenue sharing to participants. The focus on those issues is largely due to class action lawsuits against large plans and the insistence of the DOL on revenue sharing disclosure. This article discusses the legal issues and alternatives for allocating revenue sharing in participant-directed plans.

Source: Napa-Net.org , April 2014

Lessons From Top-Ranked Retirement Systems

Summary: Like a smooth-running watch, Switzerland's retirement system is keeping pace with retirees' expectations and needs, suggests the 2014 Global Retirement Index. The Swiss system ranked number one in the survey by Natixis Global Asset Management, which examined 20 factors in four subcategories in retirement: health, material wellbeing, quality of life and finances.

Source: Plansponsor.com, April 2014

Target-Date Funds Continue to Draw Assets in Retirement Plans

Summary: Defined Contribution plan participants reduced their holdings in fixed income and increased allocations to U.S. small-cap and mid-cap equities in 2013, while target-date funds continued their steady climb as a top asset class, according to the second annual edition of Northern Trust's Defined Contribution Tracker.

Source: Northerntrust.com, April 2014

Target-Date funds: Looking Beyond the Glide Path

Summary: A target-date fund's glide path, or how its asset allocation changes over time, is critical to helping shape outcomes for TDF investors, which in turn makes the TDF glide path an important aspect for plan sponsors to focus on in conducting due diligence. In this paper, authors explore key factors that go beyond the construction of TDF glide paths.

Source: Vanguard.com , April 2014

ERISA Fidelity Bond and Fiduciary Liability Insurance: What's Required and What's Prudent?

Summary: If you are a fiduciary with respect to your company retirement plan, you are personally liable for any losses incurred by the plan due to a fiduciary breach. Consider the dollar value of assets in your plan and the degree of your personal liability. How do you protect yourself, as well as the plan participants, from losses due to fraud or dishonesty?

Source: Aktrps.com , April 2014

Fiduciary Handbook for Understanding and Selecting Target-Date Funds

Summary: Target-date funds are a good idea that could become a great idea. This book on understanding and selecting target-date funds is written primarily for pension consultants. It contains 51 pages in ten chapters. Each chapter has three sections: a statement of facts, legal guidance, and an ethical perspective.

Source: Targetdatesolutions.com , April 2014

Investing for Retirement: The Defined Contribution Challenge

Summary: This white paper introduces a framework based on a common-sense definition of risk: not having enough wealth in retirement. Viewing risk this way leads to highly customizable solutions. Paper shows that dynamic asset allocation -- moving your assets -- is an essential part of achieving retirement goals. This paper is divided into two parts. Part I frames the question and explain how our framework leads to flexible, customizable solutions. Part II demonstrates the importance of dynamic allocation.

Source: Gmo.com , April 2014

Creating Results With Benefits Communication -- Frequently Asked Questions

Summary: It is more important than ever that employers not only provide programs that support employees' health and financial security, but also invest in educating people and supporting them to make good decisions. Benefits account for almost 30% of total compensation spending. An effective communication program helps your company make the most of its investment.

Source: Benzcommunications.com , April 2014

Retirement Assets Reach Record High

Summary: Following a very strong equity market in 2013, retirement assets at year-end were the highest on record. Total retirement assets grew to $16.642 trillion in 2013 compared to $16.3 trillion at year-end 2012, according to the Retirement Market Insights Report 2014 by Spectrem Group.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, April 2014

401k Scorecard Finds Employees and Employers Taking Action

Summary: According to the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch 401k Wellness Scorecard, throughout 2013 employees demonstrated positive savings behaviors in their 401k plan. The report reveals year-over-year trends in plan participant behaviors, along with employers' adoption of 401k design features in plans serviced by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, April 2014

Study Reveals Previously Unpublicized Conflict of Interest Can Harm Mutual Fund Performance

Summary: What is this heretofore ignored conflict-of-interest. FiduciaryNews spoke with Ashish Tiwari about it. Tiwari, Associate Professor of Finance and Tippie Research Fellow, University of Iowa, identifies this culprit as "cross trading." He and his co-author published a study that formally provides evidence on the magnitude of the performance penalty imposed by the potential conflicts of interest related to cross trades.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, April 2014

Active vs. Passive Investment Management Marketing Practices

Summary: The issue of active versus passive management is a perennial debate for asset managers and investors. This white paper examines how three firms (American Funds, MFS and Vanguard) promote their services in the active and passive management spheres. The whitepaper compares the firms' marketing strengths and weaknesses and places a special emphasis on online thought leadership, examining the value, volume and website placement of the pieces the firms produce.

Source: Corporateinsight.com , April 2014

Participation Rate in 401k Plans Greater for Men Than Women

Summary: Wells Fargo announced key trends among the 4 million eligible employees for whom the firm provided an employer-sponsored 401k plan in 2013. Among the findings, when compared to Wells Fargo's recommended contribution index, which measures how many people are saving a minimum target of 10% in their 401k plan, including employer match, 43% of men contribute at this rate versus 39% of women.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, April 2014

TDFs to Jump to 75%

Summary: Vanguard says more than half, 55%, of its 401k participants hold a target-date fund, and TDFs accounted for one-third of total plan contributions in 2013. Furthermore, 40% of Vanguard participants were invested in a professionally managed account option. Of this group, over 30% are invested in a single target-date fund, and this figure is expected to jump to 48% in 2018, the fund family's research found.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, March 2014

The Paternalization of Participant-Directed Plans

Summary: Studies of 401k plan participant investment behavior indicate that much of the problem lies with the participants themselves. This paper examines the research covering participant investment behavior and how the industry and plan sponsors can address the issue so that the answer to the question, "Is the defined contribution system successful?" becomes an unqualified, resounding yes.

Source: Am-a.com , March 2014

Capitol Hill Briefing Presentations: The Role of Tax Incentives for Retirement Plans

Summary: Forty slide PowerPoint on the role of tax incentives for retirement plans finds the U.S. retirement system works well, there is no evidence that private-sector shift to DC plans will reduce retirement preparedness, and the risks to retirement security are unrelated to plan design.

Source: Americanbenefitscouncil.org , March 2014

Survey: 65% Do Not Believe Their 401k Plan Will Provide Enough Money for Them to Retire

Summary: Newly released Pentegra Retirement Services / Harris poll survey results show 65% of employed adults with a 401k do not believe or are not sure that their 401k plan will provide enough money for them to retire when they want to. On an encouraging note, 63% of U.S. employees who are currently enrolled in a 401k plan have increased their contribution at some point.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2014

Retirement Assets Total $23.0 Trillion - ICI

Summary: Total U.S. retirement assets were $23.0 trillion as of December 31, 2013, up 5.0 percent from $21.9 trillion on September 30, 2013, and up 15.6 percent from year-end 2012. Retirement savings accounted for 34 percent of all household financial assets in the United States at the end of the fourth quarter of 2013.

Source: Ici.org, March 2014

Target-Date Strategies will Capture 65% of 401k Contributions by 2018

Summary: Plan sponsors, consultants, and advisors have increased focus on target-date decisions as plan assets allocated to target-date funds have increased. New research from global analytics firm Cerulli Associates, predicts that target-date strategies will capture 63.4% of 401k contributions in 2018.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2014

Study: The Average 401k Participant Invests 60% in Index Funds

Summary: The use of low-cost index funds by participants in Vanguard 401k plans rose sharply from 2004 to 2012, with the average participant now investing 60% of his or her account balance in index funds, according to a new Vanguard study. The researchers noted that this percentage has doubled since 2004.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2014

Are Small Businesses Paying Too Much in 401k Fees?

Summary: Despite the industry's efforts to make 401k plans more transparent, accessible and low cost, a recent national survey by ShareBuilder 401k found that on average, small business owners who read fee disclosure statements still consider three percent a reasonable price to pay.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2014

DOL's Retirement Policy Agenda for 2014; What Plan Sponsors Need to Know

Summary: Congress may be consumed with the mid-term elections, but the regulators are busy. Here a few of the items covered in these slides: 408b-2 Round Two: Proposed Guide Requirement for Lengthy or Multiple Document Disclosures; Brokerage Windows -- DOL is Opening a New Regulatory Project -- Why, and What Might They Do?; Lifetime Income Projection -- "Pre-Rule" becomes Proposal -- Issues are Mandate and Methodology; Annuity Selection Safe Harbor -- DOL Likely to Address Safe Harbor Compliance Standards; Fiduciary Advice/IRA Regulation -- The Political Picture is Changing as SEC Slow-walks, DOL Lobbies, and FINRA Advances on IRAs. Where are we?; and, Target Date Disclosure -- ERISA Disclosures vs. SEC.

Source: Americanbenefitscouncil.org , March 2014

Are Workers Rethinking Retirement Age?

Summary: While the age at which workers expect to retire has been slowly rising over time, that trend could be slowing, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Source: Ebri.org , March 2014

Study: 84 Percent of Americans Concerned About Health Care Costs in Retirement

Summary: Research from Fidelity Investments' Retirement Savings Assessment study finds Americans are increasingly concerned about health care costs in retirement, with 84 percent of respondents wondering whether they will be able to cover them.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2014

EBRI's 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Rebounds Somewhat

Summary: Americans' confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has recovered somewhat from the record lows of the past five years, according to the 24th annual Retirement Confidence Survey, but it does not appear to be founded on improved retirement preparations and it may be limited to those with retirement plans.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2014

Self-Directed Investors Show Confidence in Reaching Retirement Goals

Summary: E*TRADE announced results from the most recent wave of its quarterly self-directed online investor tracking study. The of survey was conducted from Dec. 2 to Dec. 10 of 2013 among an online U.S. sample 900 self-directed active investors who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2014

Infographic on the "Retirement Crisis"

Summary: This is an interesting infographic that offers a perspective on the "retirement crisis" in the US.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2014

Decisive Demographic Drives Target-Date Fund Selection

Summary: Fiduciaries are instructed to choose their target-date funds on the basis of workforce demographics. So says the Department of Labor and prominent ERISA attorneys like Fred Reish and Marcia Wagner. The demographics that are frequently cited include salary, savings and age. In principle, demographics are supposed to lead the fiduciary to an appropriate glide path: the establishment of appropriate risk for young people and how that risk should adjust through time as an employee ages. This paper describes the decisive demographic that should drive the selection of target-date funds.

Source: Targetdatesolutions.com , March 2014

Eighth Annual Study of Employee Benefits Today & Beyond

Summary: The Eighth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond was fielded via the Internet during August and September 2013 and consists of three distinct surveys: one among employers, another among employees, and the third among group employee benefits brokers and consultants.

Source: Prudential.com , March 2014

Getting the Target Date Right: What Plan Sponsors Need to Know

Summary: This research supports several conclusions. First, it shows that target-date funds are widely expected to play an increasingly important role in workplace retirement plans. Second, the survey uncovered evidence that in evaluating target-date funds, plan sponsors tend to focus on metrics such as performance and expenses while placing less emphasis on an investigation of the workings of the glide path, or dynamic asset allocation, that the funds employ to achieve their objectives. Third, research found that plan sponsors generally desire to reduce risk to participants’ retirement income, but they have not adopted a disciplined approach for implementing relevant safeguards.

Source: Putnam.com , March 2014

Vanguard Reports That 55% of 401k Participants Own a Target-Date Fund

Summary: According to Target-Date Fund Adoption in 2013, 86% of 401k and other defined contribution plans at Vanguard offered a target-date fund, 55% of all participants held a position in TDFs, and TDFs accounted for one-third of total plan contributions.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2014

Report on Target-Date Fund Adoption in 2013

Summary: TDFs continue to grow in importance in DC plan investment menus. The funds replace the complex task of portfolio construction with a simplified choice -- the choice of an expected date of retirement -- and provide automatic age-based rebalancing over time. Because of the growing use of target-date options, Vanguard anticipate that nearly 6 in 10 participants and 80% of new plan entrants will be invested in a professionally managed option by 2018.

Source: Vanguard.com , March 2014

Most Households Favor Retaining Tax Incentives for DC Plans: ICI Survey

Summary: A strong majority of U.S. households favored preserving tax incentives for 401k plans and other defined contribution plans, according to a recent survey released by the Investment Company Institute. The survey, conducted from mid-November 2013 through mid-December 2013, covered a total sample of 3,021 American adults.

Source: Wolterskluwerlb.com, March 2014

Ten States With the Greatest Percentage of Top 401k Plans

Summary: Judy Diamond Associates released an analysis of the best states in which to have a 401k plan. Those states with the highest concentration of top plans have higher participation rates and more employer generosity than their peers.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2014

An Outcomes-Based Approach to DC Plan Design

Summary: The fundamental objective of a DC plan is to accumulate assets that will ultimately be withdrawn as a source of retirement income. Yet, the majority (96%) of plan sponsors do not know how much income their DC plan may be designed to yield. Moving forward, DC plans should be designed to target a percentage of an average earner's final net pay as an income replacement goal. Plan design is critical to helping participants with the key levers that contribute to better long-term outcomes such as participation, savings rates, and age-appropriate asset allocation.

Source: Fidelity.com , March 2014

Plan Sponsors Enhance Matching Contributions and Formulas

Summary: New analysis of historical survey results reveals that plan sponsors have enhanced key features of their retirement benefits over the last several years. Plan design features that saw aggregate improvements include employer matching contributions, formulas, schedules and vesting.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2014

Defined Contribution Assets Skyrocket to Record $5.06 Trillion

Summary: Defined contribution record-keeping assets surged to a record $5.06 trillion for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, as tracked by Pensions & Investments' annual survey of the largest recordkeepers. The latest results represent a 13.7% increase from the year-earlier $4.45 trillion.

Source: Pionline.com, March 2014

Video: Participating in Multi-Employer Plans

Summary: The FASB's Accounting Standards Update 2011-09, which essentially became effective for non-public entities for calendar year 2012, required entities that participate in multi-employer plans to provide more robust disclosure in their financial statements. Watch this quick, two-minute video to learn examples of this requirement.

Source: Erisasunscreen.com, March 2014

SIMPLE IRAs vs. Safe Harbor 401k Plans: What Are the differences?

Summary: Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (SIMPLEs) are frequently mentioned as a low cost alternative to 401k Safe Harbor Plans for providing employees the opportunity to save for retirement. This chart compares the differences between SIMPLE IRAs and Safe Harbor 401k Plans.

Source: Consultrms.com , March 2014

Job Changers Cost DC Systems Big Bucks

Summary: Employees who change jobs can have a major negative impact on defined contribution systems, according to a report by the Boston Research Group. When employees leave, plan sponsors face increased costs, risks and potential liability resulting from cash-outs, stranded accounts and missing participants.

Source: Benefitspro.com, March 2014

Few Use Robust Digital Tools to Address Challenges DC Plan Sponsors Face

Summary: Just a few leading recordkeepers address the challenges DC plan sponsors face with robust digital tools to help them embrace their fiduciary role, increase enrollment in plans and motivate their workforce to boost their preparation for retirement, a new study of DC plan sponsor websites from Kasina finds.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2014

Study: Employees Value Benefits More Than Ever

Summary: Guardian announced the results from the second annual Guardian Workplace Benefits Study, aimed at measuring the perceived value of employee benefits among American workers. The study reveals that while employees are placing greater value on their workplace benefits, employers are looking to control costs by asking workers to shoulder increasing responsibility for their coverage.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2014

Study Uncovers Shifting DB Plan Sponsor Attitudes

Summary: Bundled Defined Benefit and Total Retirement Outsourcing opportunities remain a strategically viable market for retirement service providers over the next five years according to Chatham Partners' most recent "DB and Total Retirement Outsourcing Insight Survey."

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2014

Defined Contribution Plans of Fortune 100 Companies

Summary: DC programs, such as 401k plans, are increasingly the main retirement savings vehicles for American workers. Given what's at stake coupled with reports of widespread retirement unreadiness, the design and operation of these plans warrant thorough evaluation. This Towers Watson analysis looks at eligibility and vesting rules, employee and employer contributions, plan investments and plan expenses, as well as seven-year trends in 401k automatic enrollment and contribution escalation, employer stock as a percentage of plan assets and investment returns.

Source: Towerswatson.com, February 2014

Plans That Work With a Professional Retirement Plan Advisor Are More Successful

Summary: This study of 400 employers that sponsor a 401k or 403(b) plan found that sponsors who partner with a Professional Retirement Plan Advisor enjoy superior outcomes in many areas. In particular, partnering with a Professional Retirement Plan Advisor entirely dedicated to retirement plans helps plan sponsors enhance the retirement readiness of employees.

Source: Retirementadvisor.us , February 2014

The Pervasive Problem of Excessive Fees and 'Dominated Funds' in 401k Plans

Summary: Notwithstanding ERISA's fiduciary requirements, a wide range of plan administrators establish investment menus with options that predictably lead to substantial underperformance of retirement portfolios. Utilizing data from more than 3,000 401k plans with more than $120 billion in assets, this paper provides evidence that fees lead to an average loss of 86 basis points in excess of low cost index funds. Also proposes several structural reforms.

Source: Ssrn.com, February 2014

Canadian Workers Worried About Retirement

Summary: While Canadian workers feel their financial situation has improved in the last two years, a survey finds that financial security is still a top concern. According to the Towers Watson Global Benefits Attitude Survey, half of the respondents under the age of 50 are worried about their current and future financial states.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, February 2014

The Impact of Employer Size on Retirement Plan Participation

Summary: The larger your employer, the more likely you are to participate in an employment-based retirement plan, according to new research by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute. More than half (54.8 percent) of those who worked for an employer with 1,000 or more workers participated in a plan, compared with just 13.5 percent of those working for an employer with 10 or fewer employees, according to the analysis.

Source: Ebri.org , February 2014

Debt Stops Canadians From Saving for Retirement

Summary: As Canadians struggle with high levels of household debt, saving for retirement is taking a back seat for many employees -- yet, on average, Canadians expect about one-quarter of their retirement income to come from personal savings. This is according to the 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, February 2014

5,000 Big Plans Hold 71% of All 401k Assets

Summary: Judy Diamond Associates released an analysis of the distribution of plan assets nationwide, revealing that the top 1% of plans hold 71.1% of all 401k assets.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2014

DCIIA Guide to DOL Tips on Selecting Target-Date Funds

Summary: There are many options for plan fiduciaries to consider when deciding whether to incorporate a TDF into an investment lineup. This paper emphasizes that considerable differences exist among TDFs; it points out the need for plan fiduciaries to understand the principal components of the various TDF strategies, as well as the primary differences among them, and to consider these factors when determining which, if any, TDF would work best for their plan. Several other central differences -- glide path and portfolio construction, off-the-shelf vs. custom, type of investment vehicle underlying the strategy, and cost -- are also discussed.

Source: Dciia.org , February 2014

Auto-Solutions Can More Than Double Retirement Savings

Summary: While some in the retirement industry say that auto-features are too expensive for many plan sponsors to consider, especially in a tough job market, New York Life has found a great reception for auto-solutions among its plan sponsor clients. Seventy percent of New York Life RPS' clients auto-enroll and of that number, half auto-enroll into managed savings. This infographic shows the value of 401k plan auto-features.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2014

Borrowing From the Future: 401k Plan Loans and Loan Defaults

Summary: Most active 401k plan participants have the option of borrowing from their retirement accounts, and nearly 40 percent do so over a five-year period. Paper shows that employers' loan rules have a strong endorsement effect on borrowing patterns; that is, in plans allowing multiple loans, participants are more likely to borrow and take out larger loans. Also notes that defined contribution retirement plans, while designed mainly to support old-age financial security, include important features for financing current consumption.

Source: Pensionresearchcouncil.org, February 2014

Retirement Readiness Rises in 2013, but Varies by Income and 401k Access

Summary: Overall retirement income adequacy for Baby Boomers and Generation X households improved last year, though factors like age, income, and especially access to an employment-based 401k-type retirement plan, can produce significant individual differences, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Source: Ebri.org , February 2014

Average 401k Balance Nearly Doubles at Fidelity

Summary: Fidelity Investments announced the average 401k balance continued its growth trend to end the fourth quarter of 2013 at a new record high of $89,300.00, up 15.5 percent from one year earlier, and nearly double what is traditionally considered the market low of March 2009 when it was $46,200.00.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2014

Retirement Plans for the Millennial Workforce

Summary: Baby Boomer managers are likely to take traditional approaches to designing retirement and savings plans. That may not resonate with Millennials, those born after 1980, resulting in lower appreciation for these programs. This paper offers some suggestions for improving the effectiveness of such plans and enhancing Millennial engagement.

Source: Buckconsultants.com , February 2014

DC Assets Jump 17%, More Than Double DB Growth

Summary: Defined contribution assets among the nation's largest 1,000 retirement plans grew 16.93% in the year ended Sept. 30, more than two times the 8.11% rate of defined benefit assets. The growth of DC assets among the largest 200 plans was almost as rapid -- 13.68% -- compared with 7.33% for the DB plans in the top 200, Pensions & Investments' annual survey found. Within the top 200 defined contribution plans, target-date strategies saw a very healthy rise, reaching $122.2 billion in the year ended Sept. 30, up 26.6% from the same period the year before.

Source: Pionline.com, February 2014

Building Retirement Security Through DC Plans

Summary: This paper discusses why employer-sponsored defined contribution plans and individual retirement accounts are such an important part of the U.S. retirement system. Discusses the numerous positive strides taken by many plan sponsors to increase participation, provide more diversified portfolios, and provide immediate eligibility to cater to a mobile workforce.

Source: Acli.com , February 2014

Study Finds Disagreement Between Couples on Retirement

Summary: Fidelity Investments fourth Couples Retirement Study finds that approximately 4 in 10 working couples (38 percent) disagree on the lifestyle they expect to lead in retirement. And many couples aren't just disagreeing about their future; more than half (51 percent) admit to arguing either frequently or occasionally about money.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2014

Mastering Retirement Decumulation

Summary: While the retirement industry and plan sponsors are very focused on helping participants accumulate wealth for retirement, they may not be as focused on what happens next. This paper takes an in-depth look at retirement withdrawals, also known as decumulation. It offers a few helpful guidelines for withdrawal strategies and share a number of considerations, such as longevity and capital market expectations, that should be factored in to any withdrawal strategy intended to stand the test of time.

Source: Issuu.com, February 2014

GAO Finds Clarity of Required Pension Reports and Disclosures Could Be Improved

Summary: In a study, the Government Accountability Office has found that the clarity of reports that pension plan sponsors are required to submit to various federal agencies and disclosures that are required to be made to participants could be improved.

Source: Wolterskluwerlb.com, February 2014

Full Scope vs. Limited Scope Audits in Retirement Plans

Summary: Not only are audits an essential part of the ERISA reporting structure, they also provide plan sponsors with an opportunity to evaluate the adequacy and efficacy of a retirement plan's internal controls. For qualifying plans, ERISA provides an option for a limited scope audit as a less comprehensive and costly alternative to a full scope audit. This white paper provides a comparison of the major aspects plan sponsors should consider when choosing to conduct a full scope or a limited scope audit.

Source: Multnomahgroup.com, February 2014

Retail Business Still Drives DC Plan Specialists' Perceptions

Summary: A new study by Cogent Reports reveals that financial advisors who focus on the defined contribution plan market still hold the bulk of their total AUM with individual clients. Thus, their perceptions of and exposure to investment managers and DC plan providers are largely shaped by their retail relationships and experience.

Source: Marketstrategies.com, February 2014

IRI Sees Drop in Retirement Confidence and Savings of Generation X

Summary: The Insured Retirement Institute today released a new research report on the retirement outlook for Generation X that shows a decline in retirement confidence and savings among members of the cohort.

Source: Insurancenewsnet.com , January 2014

Get Your Ducks in a Row: 58 Questions From the Department of Labor

Summary: One of the mechanisms the DOL uses to meet their objectives is the audit of retirement plan sponsors. These audits provide the Department a wide variety of data to analyze, but also provide plan sponsors insight into the issues that the Department is most interested in evaluating. This articl lays out 58 questions the DOL asks in their audits.

Source: Multnomahgroup.com, January 2014

Americans' Views on Defined Contribution Plan Saving

Summary: The survey polled respondents about their views on DC retirement account saving and their confidence in 401k and other DC plan accounts. Survey responses indicated that households value the discipline and investment opportunity that 401k plans represent and that households were largely opposed to changing the tax preferences or investment control in those accounts.

Source: Ici.org , January 2014

Success by Plan Design: Improving 401k Plan Health and Employee Wellness

Summary: For most employees, their 401k plan will be the primary source of retirement income. But research shows that many employees are not using their plans as well as they could be. This paper outlines action-based plan design strategies that can help participants contribute early, contribute at high-enough levels and help them pursue their financial wellness and retirement goals.

Source: Benefitplans.baml.com , January 2014

Survey: RIAs See Opportunity in Retirement Plan Market but Want Guidance

Summary: Most Registered Investment Advisors agree the U.S. retirement plan market represents a tremendous growth opportunity yet relatively few RIAs pursue this business in a significant way. What advisors want, according to a recent TD Ameritrade Institutional Advisor Survey, is a deeper understanding of the rules and more guidance in assembling the components needed to service 401k and other employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2014

Hispanic Americans and Retirement

Summary: A new study released by Prudential Financial found that the Hispanic American community is moderately confident in their future outlook for household finances, the local and national economy, and the attention paid to their needs by the financial industry and government. In addition, the Hispanic American community places a priority on funding near-term goals such as supporting their multigenerational families. These factors, according to the study respondents, make it difficult for the Hispanic American community to prepare for long-term financial security.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2014

401k Plan Committee Meetings: Preparation, Execution and Agenda Suggestions

Summary: Members of of the plan committee share the unique fiduciary responsibility for making decisions on behalf of the current and future beneficiaries of the plan. This fiduciary responsibility entails a long list of tasks, duties and responsibilities be perform each year. The plan committee meetings agenda suggestions here offer you a starting place to ensure that the committee is performing those tasks, duties and responsibilities.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2014

The Investment Policy Statement: Putting It in Writing

Summary: Among a plan sponsor's responsibilities is to offer sound investments options to participants. Your plan's IPS is a double win on that count. It not only helps you think through how best to fulfill this important fiduciary duty, it also is one of the most powerful tools available for protecting yourself against fiduciary liability by formally documenting the process you're using to select and monitor your plan's investment selections. What are some of the key components?

Source: Alliantwealthadvisors.com, January 2014

How to Reach Participants and Boost Engagement

Summary: Participants are eager for guidance on saving and investing for retirement and 67% of them expect their employer to play a role in providing it. Although many sponsors offer formal advice programs, other outreach efforts can be even more powerful, particularly when they take into account both how and where participants like to receive information. Plan sponsors and others are exploring communications strategies and channels to engage participants more fully.

Source: Ssga.com , January 2014

Many Have Access to 401k Loans, Few Have Outstanding Balances

Summary: While most 401k plan participants are able to take a loan from their 401k account, relatively few do—and this has been a consistent pattern that has held for nearly two decades. According to an analysis released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 87 percent of participants were in plans offering loans, but only 1 in 5 of those eligible for the loans had one outstanding.

Source: Ebri.org , January 2014

BrightScope Notes 30 Most Generous 401k Plans

Summary: BrightScope announced its inaugural list of the 30 Most Generous Companies ranked by their 401k plans -- uncovering the U.S. companies that value setting their employees up for a strong financial future. BrightScope determined a company's generosity by examining the vesting schedule, eligibility periods and all contributions to the plan made by the company for the sole benefit of the plan's participants.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2014

Business Best Practices: Not Your Ordinary TPA

Summary: To stay relevant in the rapidly changing retirement services industry, we must always question the status quo and seek new ways to improve our products and services. This article reviews the products and services your firm should be considering and how to innovate with technology.

Source: Scs-consultants.com , January 2014

Expectations of Long Life Delay Retirement Age

Summary: There is a major correlation between an individual's subjective life expectancy and when he expects to retire, according to a study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. As individuals become more optimistic about living past age 75, they extend their planned retirement dates and increase their expectations about working to the milestone ages of 62, 65 or Social Security's full retirement age.

Source: Benefitspro.com, January 2014

As Healthcare Law Affects Insurance Rates, 401k Saving Drops

Summary: Tax deferred retirement savings accounts, especially 401k's, have long been a standard for American workers looking to ensure some savings and income during their retirement years. But the economy and recent changes to healthcare law and insurance premiums are having a negative effect on saving rates. In fact, those closest to retirement are actually decreasing their planned savings for the future, according to a new survey.

Source: Cpapracticeadvisor.com, January 2014

Most Common 401k Retirement Plan Match Is Now Dollar-for-Dollar

Summary: Plan sponsors have had enough of lagging 401k account balances, so many are taking aggressive steps to help workers become better savers for retirement. Successful plans are ones that help workers save enough, as opposed to 2011's top response citing high participation rates, the survey shows.

Source: Workforce.com, January 2014

Fee Pressure Results in Move to More Passively Managed Investment Options

Summary: Passively managed investment options are attracting greater interest among defined contribution plans thanks to plan executives' efforts to reduce fees, according to the latest Callan Associates annual survey, released Tuesday. The survey of 107 plan executives -- most of whom represent 401k plans -- show that 24.1% expect to increase the proportion of passive funds in their lineup compared to 12.5% who increased the passive-fund proportion last year, said a report of the survey results.

Source: Pionline.com, January 2014

Outsourcing Certain Functions of Your Defined Contribution Program

Summary: Increasingly, every decision a fiduciary makes is under the microscope: plan design decisions, investment manager selections and arguably benefit adequacy. Lawmakers and regulators appear ready to attach a social responsibility on employers to ensure the adequacy of their worker’s retirement savings and provide them a pension-like income. Outsourcing certain functions to a qualified expert offers relief on a number of fronts.

Source: Nepc.com, January 2014

Health of Canadian DB Plans Reaches Record Level

Summary: The health of Canadian defined benefit plans recently reached the best level observed in more than 10 years. Mercer's Pension Health Index, which tracks the funded status of a hypothetical DB plan, was at 106% as of December 31, 2013, for Canadian plans, its highest level since June 2001. The index was at 82% in January 2013 and 98% in September 2013.

Source: Plansponsor.com, January 2014

The Role of Behavioral Finance in the Development and Evolution of Target-Date Funds -- How To Maximize Participant Outcomes

Summary: It was not until plan sponsors and regulators began to understand that behavioral finance concepts influenced participant behavior that auto enrollment, qualified default investment alternatives, and target-date funds began to gain traction in defined contribution plans. This paper will broadly examine several of the participant behaviors that necessitated the creation of target-date funds, and discuss ways that well structured target-date funds can and should be managed in order to maximize participant retirement outcomes.

Source: Manning-Napier.com, January 2014

The Benefits of Incorporating a Full Range of Lifestyle Options on an Investment Menu

Summary: A well-structured and well-communicated investment menu can help Plan Sponsors manage their fiduciary liability and is key to minimizing a wide range of common problems associated with participant-directed plans. Article suggests that a Plan's investment menu would be enhanced by the inclusion of a coordinated family of lifestyle or risk-based options that would provide investment solutions for a wide range of participants.

Source: Manning-Napier.com, January 2014

Tenure Tied to Larger 401k Balances

Summary: The longer you've worked for an employer, the larger your 401k account balance is likely to be, according to a new research report. According to a report released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Investment Company Institute, examining the interaction of both age and tenure with account balances in the EBRI/ICI 401k database reveals that, for a given age group, average account balances tend to increase with tenure.

Source: Ebri.org , January 2014

Harnessing ETF Momentum

Summary: This white paper explores the increase and broader use of ETF providers, and examines the differences between beta and rules-based selection criteria and what is driving loyalty among advisors. Conclusions and strategic implications for ETF companies will enhance the understanding of how to harness the momentum of ETFs as these firms shape their product strategy.

Source: Marketstrategies.com, December 2013

Video: Understanding Contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts

Summary: In this video, Stephanie Ortbals-Tibbs, ICI's Director of Media Relations, examines possible drivers behind relatively low contribution rates to traditional IRAs.

Source: Ici.org, December 2013

Ten Hidden Liability Pitfalls Retirement Plan Sponsors Should Avoid

Summary: There are certain instances where a plan sponsor is unaware that their action or inaction puts them at risk to liability from either plan participants or governmental agencies such as the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service. For plan trustees, that liability may be personal liability. This article details pitfalls, that plan sponsors are usually unaware of, that exposes them to potential fiduciary liability.

Source: Jdsupra.com, December 2013

Upgrade Your Retirement Plan Governance in 2014

Summary: Both the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor are intent on making certain that retirement plans focus on best practices and good plan governance. The expectation of these agencies is that the interests of participants will be better protected if plans operate at a high level. Having good plan governance and operating with best practices also limits the liability of plan fiduciaries. Here are 25 suggestions to improve your plan governance.

Source: Benefitsbryancave.com, December 2013

401k Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2012

Summary: This paper is an annual update to ICI and EBRI's ongoing research into 401k plan participants' activity. The report is divided into four sections: the first describes the EBRI/ICI 401k database; the second presents a snapshot of participant account balances at year-end 2012; the third looks at participants' asset allocations, including analysis of 401k participants' use of target date, or lifecycle, funds; and the fourth focuses on participants' 401k loan activity.

Source: Ici.org , December 2013

Overcoming Participant Inertia: Automatic Features That Improve Outcomes While Improving Your Plan's Bottom Line

Summary: This research report from Prudential Retirement indicates that the addition of auto-enrollment and auto-escalation features in defined contribution plans may produce markedly higher participation levels and deferral rates, significantly improving the likelihood of successful retirement outcomes.

Source: Prudential.com , December 2013

Five ETF trends to Watch in 2014

Summary: So much has happened in the exchange-traded fund space in 2013 that could fundamentally change the game for the industry in 2014 and beyond. Here are five that could gain traction in 2014.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, December 2013

Guidelines for Investing in Stable Value

Summary: The stable value industry has changed dramatically since the financial crisis of 2008. Sponsors of all sizes of Defined Contribution (DC) retirement plans are re-evaluating their capital-preservation choices. They are asking whether stable value is the right option, and if so, what they should look for when analyzing their own stable value funds. This paper should serve as a guide to potential areas of focus in the evaluation of stable value fund options.

Source: Russell.com , December 2013

401k Plans: Other Countries' Experiences Offer Lessons in Policies and Oversight of Spend-Down Options

Summary: The six countries GAO reviewed can offer U.S. regulators lessons on how to expand access to a mix of spend-down options for 401k participants that meet various retirement needs. Five of the six countries generally ensure that participants can choose among three main plan options: a lump sum payment, a programmed withdrawal of participants' savings, or an annuity.

Source: Gao.gov , December 2013

Rethinking Defined Contribution Communication and Education

Summary: How can plan sponsors do a better job of reaching employees, communicating the advantages of a DC plan or any employee benefits program? Knowing how employees think about their benefits and what triggers them to learn more is crucial to effective communication. Recognizing what vocabulary employees understand and how they organize their thinking is critically important. This paper explores how to better engage participants through communication and education and create more positive retirement savings outcomes.

Source: Dciia.org , December 2013

What Plan Sponsors Want From Their DC Plans

Summary: What do plan sponsors want to accomplish with their DC plans today? What goals and philosophies are driving their decision making? And how are they shaping the design, investment lineup, communications and administration of their DC plans to meet the growing retirement needs of employees while continuing to fulfill their role as fiduciaries? Findings from J.P. Morgan's 2013 Defined Contribution Plan Sponsor Survey.

Source: Jpmorganfunds.com , December 2013

Case Study: Strategies for Plan Design Success

Summary: In 2005, Bemis Company, a Wisconsin-based packaged goods company, embarked on a multi-year effort to enhance its retirement savings plans. In the last eight years, the company has introduced a series of initiatives -- from the introduction of automatic enrollment and automatic escalation programs to the use of target-date funds as a default investment option to an annual employee re-enrollment -- that demonstrate its commitment to the long-term well-being of its employees.

Source: Jpmorganfunds.com , December 2013

Defined Contribution Plans: Missing the Forest for the Trees?

Summary: For decades, the defined contribution industry has focused on the performance of individual funds at the expense of other plan metrics. This paper analyzes a series of variables -- fund selection, asset allocation, portfolio rebalancing, and increasing deferral rates -- to determine which factors may have the greatest potential impact on an individual's portfolio. The analysis suggests that putting fund performance front and center in terms of the plan sponsor's priorities is an error with far-reaching implications.

Source: Putnam.com , December 2013

More Are Saving -- Not Spending -- That Retirement Plan Distribution

Summary: While concerns remain about individuals spending their retirement savings prior to retirement, more workers appear to be saving -- not spending -- their retirement plan distributions, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Source: Ebri.org , December 2013

401k Fee Disclosures Making Little Difference

Summary: Fee disclosure regulations went into effect in 2012 for 401k plans but, a year later, do plan sponsors and plan participants yet know what they are paying in fees? Survey says 50 percent of retirement plan participants don't.

Source: Benefitspro.com, December 2013

Employers Playing Increased Role Helping Americans Navigate to and Through Retirement

Summary: During the last two years, the challenging and ever-changing economic, regulatory and public policy environment has caused HR professionals and other corporate benefit plan leaders to review their workplace benefits -- be they retirement, health care or related resources offered to employees. Due in part to increased complexity in these areas, the majority (73 percent) of HR professionals report having to develop greater expertise across various retirement and health care-related topics in order to effectively do their jobs.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2013

The Marriage of QDIAs and Managed Volatility in US DC Plans

Summary: Managing volatility is a way to enhance investors' experience by modifying the impact on participants when the risk of extreme losses is elevated. But DC plan sponsors sometimes have three "perception hurdles" when seeking to incorporate an approach to managing volatility in their plans' QDIAs: concerns over potentially higher costs, fiduciary liability and implementation issues. But these are perceived hurdles -- not substantial ones.

Source: Alliancebernstein.com, December 2013

Study Finds Typical Households of Color Have No Retirement Savings

Summary: A new report calculates the severity of the U.S. retirement security racial divide. The analysis finds that every racial group faces significant risks, but people of color face particularly severe challenges in preparing for retirement. Americans of color are significantly less likely than whites to have an employer-sponsored retirement plan or an individual retirement account (IRA), which substantially drives down the level of retirement savings.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2013

Retirement Savings: How Much Do Workers Really Have?

Summary: When considering employee well-being employers often wonder whether employees have adequate savings for retirement. While the assessment needs to be holistic, employers generally have no way of knowing about retirement savings and benefits workers have accumulated in previous jobs or from other sources. But this brief analysis shows many workers have amassed substantial savings outside of their current employer's plans, suggesting that workers' retirement prospects might be brighter than it appears from their current-job savings.

Source: Towerswatson.com, December 2013

Best Practices for Beneficiary Designations in Retirement Plans

Summary: Issues for plan sponsors to consider when it comes to beneficiary designations are very broad. There is no "one-size fits all" answer when designing a retirement plan to deal with beneficiary designations. The right approach for your plan will be based on a number of facts and circumstances. Article covers some issues plan sponsors should consider when administering beneficiary designations.

Source: Multnomahgroup.com, December 2013

Survey Reveals Sponsors May Be Getting Too Comfortable

Summary: As target-date funds become more sophisticated and build a history of performance, plan sponsors are gaining confidence in their target-date funds and other qualified default investment alternative offerings. However, with this confidence, there seems to be less concern regarding fiduciary risk, according to a 2013 survey of DC plan sponsors.

Source: Janus.com , December 2013

Most Workers Finds Retirement Projections Helpful, but Many Don't Understand Them

Summary: A new study by the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute (SRI) reveals that 9 in 10 U.S. workers find retirement income projections somewhat or very helpful. The study also uncovered workers' concerns about the validity of and calculations behind the projections.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2013

Paper Illustrates Important Role 401ks Play in U.S. Retirement System

Summary: Transamerica Retirement Solutions announced the results of a year-long analysis on the effectiveness of custom, target-date investment structures for participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans. The analysis focused on participants' personalized rates of investment return versus their investment risk, and examined the actual account performance for over one million plan participants during the course of 2012.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2013

The Impact of Market Recoveries on Retirement Preparedness

Summary: The latest analysis by the CRR indicates that, despite a strong rebound in the stock market and a modest rebound in housing, Americans' retirement prospects have not meaningfully improved. Recent research sponsored by Prudential found that employers share the concern. Sixty-five percent of finance executives believe that a significant portion of employees will have to delay retirement due to inadequate savings.

Source: Prudential.com , December 2013

Workers Shy From Savings Amid Retirement Health Worries

Summary: US employees who save for retirement through their employers' 401k plans are not planning to save more for retirement over the next year as compared to last year. And those closest to retirement are decreasing their planned savings, despite increasing concern about health care costs in retirement. So says the 2013 Mercer Workplace Survey.

Source: Mercer.com, December 2013

Study Reveals Effectiveness of Custom, Target-Date Investment Structures

Summary: Transamerica Retirement Solutions announced the results of a year-long analysis on the effectiveness of custom, target-date investment structures for participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans. The analysis focused on participants' personalized rates of investment return versus their investment risk, and examined the actual account performance for over one million plan participants during the course of 2012.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2013

Retirement Planning for Mobility & Talent Globally

Summary: For multinational companies, growing a business means leveraging the right talent in the right place. In the world of "global nomads" -- expatriates and third country nationals who spend much of their working lives away from their home country -- the provision of future financial security becomes ever more important. To attract and retain the right talent willing to move across borders, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, employers need to provide competitive compensation packages that include a retirement savings component. This paper details how to address retirement security for a mobile workforce.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2013

Improving Retirement Outcomes: Timing, Phasing and Benefit Claiming Choices

Summary: The Society of Actuaries' Pension Section has made available this research report evaluating several of the more common retirement timing and claiming strategies using a retirement simulation model that incorporates investment, inflation, health and long-term care risks.

Source: Soa.org , November 2013

Cost Shifting and the Freezing of Corporate Pension Plans

Summary: This paper establishes that firms that have frozen pension plans have reduced their costs of providing retirement benefits to workers even net of increases to 401k contributions over horizons ranging from one to ten years. Employees of these firms, on the other hand, have seen decreases in the net present value of their retirement benefits, again inclusive of increases to 401k plans. Furthermore, paper find that firms that have potentially more cost savings to gain by freezing plans are more likely to undertake pension freezes.

Source: Umich.edu , November 2013

Survey Finds Self-Employed Struggle to Regularly Save for Retirement

Summary: Being self-employed means more control over your working life, but it also means taking the reins on retirement planning. While the traditionally employed are being enrolled in company-sponsored 401ks with regular automatic contributions, nearly 70 percent of entrepreneurs, contractors and the like are often not saving for retirement on a regular basis -- if at all -- according to a new survey of self-employed Americans released by TD Ameritrade.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2013

Top Small-Cap Funds in America's 401k Plans

Summary: This is the 2013 list of the top 12 small-cap funds held by 401k and defined contribution plans. Noteworthy findings since the last release of this list ion August 2011 include Vanguard Small Cap Index climbing from the number three spot on the list to take the top honors at number one this year. The previous #1 fund, Neuberger Berman Genesis, fell completely off the list.

Source: Brightscope.com, November 2013

More 401k Plan Sponsors Opt for Roth Conversions

Summary: Plan sponsor adoption of 401(k) Roth provisions has jumped in recent years, thanks in part to IRS rules that took effect last year. Those make it possible for retirement plan participants to convert existing 401(k) plan balances to Roth 401(k) plan balances, whether or not the participant was eligible for a distribution.

Source: Benefitnews.com, November 2013

Secrets of the Highly Effective Retirement Savers

Summary: How Americans feel about the process of saving for retirement has a direct effect on their actions and success as savers. That is one of the key findings of BlackRock's annual Retirement Survey, released today, which revealed that the most successful retirement savers have certain psychological and emotional attitudes related to the actual process of saving that drive them to put more money away for retirement.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2013

Survey Predicts Engaging Participants With Customization and Enhanced Mobile Technology

Summary: Transamerica announced the findings from its "Prescience 2017: Expert Opinions on the Future of Retirement Plans" survey. New technologies along with improved plan design and products will drive personalized retirement planning that focuses on participant goals and outcomes suited to the mobile, data-driven worker.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2013

401k Participants Expect to Slow Retirement Savings

Summary: Employees who save for retirement through their employers' 401k plans are not planning to sock away more for retirement over the next year as compared to last. In fact, those closest to retirement are actually decreasing their planned savings for the future.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2013

Study Finds Higher Education Institutions Consolidating Retirement Plans and Features

Summary: Transamerica Retirement Solutions found Higher Education institutions are trending toward streamlining their retirement plans. According to a just released Transamerica study, institutions are making big changes to ease administrative burden and reduce costs.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2013

Some Canadians Don't Retire When They Want

Summary: While 80% of Canadians nearing retirement believe they'll choose when they leave their careers, in reality, 41% of retirees say they left sooner than expected, according to the RBC 2013 Retirement Myths & Realities Poll. Often employers asked them to step down (41%), or health issues sped up their departure (22%).

Source: Benefitscanada.com, November 2013

Passive Management Does Not Equal Passive Investing

Summary: Passive investments are often misunderstood. Instead of providing static positioning as implied by the label, they can be very capricious because of market and sector turbulence. To tame a passive asset, investors need to exert more active control over the dynamics of volatility. Sound confusing? Not really.

Source: Alliancebernstein.com, November 2013

Boosted by Resurgent Stock Market, 401k Average Balance Reaches New High

Summary: Fidelity announced its average 401k balance rose to a new high of $84,300 at the end of the third quarter, up 11.1 percent from a year ago, thanks in large part to a resurgent stock market (see chart). Employees who were continuously active in their 401k plan over the last 10 years saw the average balance rise 19.6 percent to $223,100 during the past 12 months.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2013

Employees' Stress About the Economy and Their Own Financial Security Increase

Summary: The study found that employees' financial wellness declined in Q3 to a level not seen since Q1 2012. The decline appears to be a result of employees growing more aware of their financial shortcomings in areas outside of day-to-day money management.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2013

401k Market Projected to Grow by 9% in 2014

Summary: Buoyed by economic growth, the 401k market is projected to grow by 9% in 2014, reaching $4.2 trillion by the start of 2015. That represents annual growth of 9% in 2013 and 9% in 2014, up from $3.6 billion at the end of last year, according to new research from Ignites Retirement Research.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2013

Retirement Plan Participation Generally Stable

Summary: The number of workers participating in an employment-based retirement plan has increased slightly, although the level of participation is down slightly, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2013

Understanding the DOL's Investigation Process

Summary: Each year, the DOL opens thousands of investigations to determine violations or potential violations to any provision of Title I of ERISA. Knowing what to expect during these investigations can help plan fiduciaries and service providers be better prepared in the event of an investigation. This paper details the investigation process covering each step from initial contact to closure.

Source: Bna.com (free registration required), November 2013

Understanding Nondiscrimination Testing

Summary: Nondiscrimination testing is the process of identifying when benefit limits are exceeded. Essentially, nondiscrimination regulations were created in order to prevent retirement plans from discriminating in favor of Highly Compensated Employees. The complex regulatory environment surrounding retirement plans have created unique challenges for plan sponsors. Nondiscrimination testing falls into four categories which are reviewed in this paper.

Source: Pentegra.com , November 2013

How to Build and Run a Retirement Plan Committee

Summary: An important first step in fulfilling plan governance requirements is establishing a retirement plan committee. Retirement plan committees serve as the backbone of any retirement plan governance structure. They’re responsible for making many of the decisions regarding the plan and are also the primary named fiduciaries of the plan. This guide offers insight to help create and manage a committee that operates in the best interests of plan participants.

Source: Planpilot.com , November 2013

Ibbotson Target Maturity Report 3Q 2013

Summary: This report reviews the target maturity industry during the 3rd quarter and for the last 12 months by examining the performance of retail target maturity funds and by investigating the drivers of performance. It also provide an update to industry-wide, retail fund flows over the past quarter and year. Finally, it explores how glide paths have changed during the years following 2008's financial crisis and the implications of those changes for plan sponsors and their participants.

Source: Thecfdd.com , November 2013

Employers Boost 401k Match Contributions, Relax Eligibility Rules

Summary: Employers are increasingly taking bolder actions to help ensure that participants achieve greater financial security through 401k and other defined contribution retirement plans, according to a 2013 survey by consultancy Aon Hewitt.

Source: Shrm.org, November 2013

Defined Contribution Plan Participants' Activities: First Half 2013

Summary: Findings include: DC plan withdrawal activity in the first half of 2013 remained low; Most DC plan participants stayed the course with their asset allocations as stock values generally rose over the first six months of the year; and, DC plan participants' loan activity continues to remain elevated compared with five years ago.

Source: Investment Company Institute , November 2013

Pursuing Rollovers in an Evolving Regulatory Landscape

Summary: The current regulatory environment and possible changes to the DOL fiduciary advice regulation can present challenges to advisors who provide services to retirement plans or retirement plan participants. This white paper identifies steps for advisors to consider in light of the current regulatory environment and anticipated developments pertaining to capturing rollovers.

Source: Pershing.com (free registration may be required), November 2013

Managed Volatility Funds Reach $200 Billion in Assets

Summary: As asset managers and investors realize the usefulness of managed volatility strategies, assets continue to rise according to Strategic Insight's newest in-depth research report, Managed Volatility: Tracking the Growth of an Investment Trend. Strategic Insight reports a rise in assets from $30.9 billion at the end of 2006 to $153.9 billion at the end of 2012, an annualized growth rate of 31%.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2013

Beyond the Automatic 401k

Summary: Using "nudge economics," auto-401k features turned the two main weaknesses of plan participants' behavior -- inertia and procrastination -- into virtues by automatically enrolling workers, automatically defaulting them into target date funds and, in some cases, automatically bumping up their salary deferral rate each year. But much more needs to be done, and nudge economics alone can't deliver better retirement outcomes.

Source: Investmentnews.com (free registration may be required), November 2013

Employers Boost Company 401k Match, Relax Eligibility Requirements

Summary: A growing number of employers have increased their company match to the 401k plan, according to a recent survey from Aon Hewitt. The most common match is now $1.00 per $1.00 on the first 6% of employee deferrals, with 19% of employers reporting this formula, up from 10% in 2011.

Source: Benefitnews.com, November 2013

 


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