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Insights: Research and White Papers

People Prioritize Wealth Over Health, but Retirement Savings Hurdles Remain

Summary: A new survey illustrates the vital role of 401k plans in helping workers save for retirement, but also identifies obstacles to saving effectively and a strong desire among participants for professional help in choosing the right investments. There is also widespread belief that retirement should be a major issue discussed by the presidential candidates in the upcoming debates.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, August 2015

Employees "Put Off" by Complexity of Asset Allocation Choices

Summary: A report by James Choi of the Yale School of Management and the National Bureau of Economic Research looked at how individuals make decisions in their workplace-sponsored defined contribution plans to gauge how they make economic decisions in general. Findings include employees being put off by the complexity of the asset allocation choice they must make in order to opt into the plan.

Source: Benefitnews.com, August 2015

DB, DC Plans: Looking Beyond a Simple Comparison

Summary: A new study of DB and DC plans goes a little farther than just comparing them, suggesting that the best approach may be to move past the debate over which one is better.

Source: Asppa.org, August 2015

Top 20 Industries With Best 401k Plans

Summary: Who takes the top spot in 401(k) offerings and participation? Who needs help getting up to speed? BrightScope released its list of the industries that rank highest.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, August 2015

The Economics of Providing 401k Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses

Summary: This 32 page report concludes that the downward trend in the expense ratios that 401k plan participants incur for investing in mutual funds continued in 2014. The average expense ratio that 401k plan participants incurred for investing in equity mutual funds fell from 0.58 percent in 2013 to 0.54 percent in 2014.

Source: Ici.org, August 2015

401k Fees Continue to Drop

Summary: 401k participants paid an average expense ratio of 0.54% of assets for equity mutual funds in 2014, continuing a long-term downward slide, down 30% from 0.77% in 2000, according to a new Investment Company Institute report.

Source: Forbes.com, August 2015

Most Americans Not Saving More for Retirement

Summary: Just 19% of working Americans are saving more for retirement now than they were one year ago, according to a new Bankrate.com report. Fourteen percent are saving less and 55% are saving about the same amount.

Source: Bankrate.com, August 2015

Contributions to Defined Contribution Pension Plans

Summary: Because individuals often have substantial discretion over how much is contributed to their DC plans, studying DC contribution choices provides general insights into the determinants of individual economic decision-making. Paper provides an overview of the effect of matching contributions, automatic enrollment, active choice deadlines, choice overload, financial literacy, peer effects, mental accounting, and personal experience on individuals' DC contributions.

Source: Nber.org, August 2015

Data Shows Retirement Plan Participants' Commitment to Saving

Summary: ICI's latest study of retirement plan savers' actions shows Americans' continuing commitment to saving for retirement. The study is based on defined contribution plan recordkeeper data covering more than 26 million participant accounts at employer-based DC plans.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, August 2015

Retirement Optimism Cited in Survey of African Americans

Summary: African Americans demonstrate continued optimism when it comes to finances, due to growing affluence, Prudential Financial found in its biannual "African American Financial Experience" report. However, many are not taking advantage of financial and investment tools, which may hinder long-term wealth accumulation.

Source: Plansponsor.com, August 2015

Money Market Reforms Are Coming: Is Your Plan Ready?

Summary: Following the financial crisis of 2008, when heavy redemptions broke the buck in money market funds, the SEC is planning changes for how those funds operate. The new rules will impact more than $375 billion of retirement assets, or nearly 64 percent of all defined contribution plans in America.

Source: Lockton.com , August 2015

Small-Business DC Plan Benchmarking Report

Summary: This 28 page benchmarking report is designed to help small-business DC plan sponsors understand how their plans compare with other small-business plans. Information can help small-businesses make more effective plan decisions and serve as a valuable reference tool.

Source: Vanguard.com , August 2015

Navigating Change in the 401k Market

Summary: This 10 page research paper examines several behavioral and attitudinal aspects of 401k plan sponsors that are likely to impact the defined contribution industry over the next several years. Data are based on the opinions of a representative sample of 401k plan sponsors responsible for plans ranging from less than $1 million to over $1 billion in DC assets.

Source: Marketstrategies.com , August 2015

Behavior Trends in 401k Plans

Summary: Analyzing plans on the Ascensus platform, the data assessed key information among 401k plan sponsors and employees. Ascensus identified a number of trends from this data.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, August 2015

New Research Provides Analysis of Roth IRA Investors

Summary: The report, "The IRA Investor Profile: Roth IRA Investors' Activity, 2007-2013," provides analysis of contribution, conversion, rollover, withdrawal, and asset allocation activity among Roth IRA investors, based on data for 5.2 million Roth IRA owners at year-end 2013.

Source: Ici.org, August 2015

Workers Rely on 401k Providers for Retirement Advice: Cerulli

Summary: A 401k provider is most often the primary source for retirement advice among retirement plan participants, according to recent data from Cerulli Associates. Only 15% of retirement plan participants under 30 rely on an advisor or planner. Cerulli finds that 17% of the respondents indicate relying on no source for advice at all.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, July 2015

Legal Considerations When Engaging an Investment Professional for a Participant-Directed DC Plan

Summary: Considering the potential liability that fiduciaries of ERISA plans face with respect to plan investments, it makes sense to structure a participant-directed defined contribution plan in accordance with Section 404(c) of ERISA. However, given that the legal status of the service provider under ERISA creates stark differences in the retained duties and liabilities of the plan fiduciaries, fiduciaries need to understand the provider's status and which scenario applies to their specific arrangement.

Source: Bklawyers.com , July 2015

Infographic: A Framework for Designing Your DC Investment Menu

Summary: With employees running the gamut from unengaged to motivated self-starters, employers face a challenge: How to assemble a core menu of investment options to serve all of their employees?

Source: Fidelity.com , July 2015

Analysis: Impact of the DOL's Fiduciary Proposal on Participant Investment Advice

Summary: The proposal will have a significant impact on broker-dealers. It will be difficult for advisors to avoid fiduciary status when assisting participants with investment decisions. Where broker-dealers receive variable/indirect compensation on the basis of advisor recommendations, all of the available PT exemptions are highly nuanced and challenging to satisfy. Otherwise, broker-dealers will need to re-examine their advisors' practices carefully to ensure that they are providing only investment education, or develop other strategies to avoid PTs.

Source: Drinkerbiddle.com, July 2015

Using Behavioral Finance to Shape Financial Planning

Summary: The field of behavioral finance is not new, but employing its core tenets is gaining favor among investors, advisors, and plan sponsors who recognize its value in influencing sound financial decisions. Paper explores these behaviors.

Source: Belr.com , July 2015

Proof That Americans Are Delaying Retirement

Summary: Think you'll retire at 65? The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies' 16th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey has found otherwise. The survey found that most workers in their 60s have dropped the American dream of fully retiring at age 65. A full 82% expect to work or are working past 65, or don't plan to retire at all.

Source: Wallstreetdaily.com, July 2015

Money Market Reform: An Update for DC Plans

Summary: Last year, the SEC approved amendments to Rule 2a-7 of the Investment Company Act of 1940 which governs U.S. money market funds. Plan sponsors should revisit the objectives and risk tolerance for their money market vehicles, especially those invested in prime money market funds which are most affected by the new amendments. This article provides an update on this topic.

Source: Rocaton.com , July 2015

Why Plan Sponsors Make Bad Plan Designers

Summary: Putting employers in charge of designing defined contribution plans and members in charge of managing them has undermined retirement outcomes, according to a paper by three financial policy and law researchers.

Source: Ai-cio.com, July 2015

NAPA National DC Recordkeepers List Updated

Summary: The mid-year update of NAPA Net's list of recordkeepers is complete. While the number of recordkeeper deals this year has been relatively low, the deals have been significant. Review the list and commentary in this article.

Source: Napa-net.org, July 2015

Customize DC Investments for Participant Success

Summary: Most participants in defined contribution (DC) plans are not on track to achieve retirement income adequacy. A key reason is that the investment lineups in most DC plans are structured in a way that reduces participants’ likelihood of implementing well-diversified and age-appropriate investment strategies. Since they are not investment experts, most DC participants would benefit from a simplified lineup.

Source: Aon.com , July 2015

New PSCA Survey Highlights 403(b) Plan Trends

Summary: The Plan Sponsor Council of America has released its 2015 403(b) Plan Survey of 478 organizations. The survey contains 124 tables of data that highlight retirement plan trends from non-profit organizations and public schools, colleges and universities. Select finds reviewed here.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, July 2015

Will the Average Retirement Age Continue to Increase?

Summary: This paper examines how changes in individual workers' past and present pension coverage, retirement incentives in Social Security, and retiree health insurance have contributed to retirement decisions for the 1931-1953 birth cohorts. It then uses these findings to project retirement behavior for the 1955-1987 cohorts.

Source: Bc.edu , July 2015

Do Catch-Up Contributions Increase 401k Saving?

Summary: To encourage Americans to save more for retirement, some suggest raising 401k "catch-up" contribution limits. To assess such an option, this analysis estimates the effects of a 2001 increase in 401k limits that also introduced a higher "catch-up" limit for those 50 and over. Findings are not encouraging.

Source: Bc.edu , July 2015

403(b) Automatic Enrollment Best Practices Guide

Summary: This new resource offers best practices for 403(b) non-ERISA plans is a comprehensive resource prepared by NTSA. It provides information relevant to all stages of providing auto enrollment of 403(b) participants including what an employer should consider before adopting an auto enrollment plan.

Source: Ntsa-net.org , July 2015

2015 Recordkeeping Survey

Summary: The questionnaire for the 2015 PLANSPONSOR Recordkeeping Survey was distributed to known providers of full-service and unbundled recordkeeping for both qualified and nonqualified defined contribution plans. This is a summary of the survey results.

Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2015

Four Strategies to Help Increase 401k Participation

Summary: Americans need to save for retirement, but many are unsure how to go about it. Employers realize that they are part of the solution that can lead employees toward making choices that can help to drive better outcomes. This white paper features four strategies and action steps which may help increase plan participation.

Source: Baml.com , July 2015

Change in Average Account Balances From January 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015

Summary: This is a chart of the change in average account balances (by age and tenure) from January 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015 among consistent 401k participants with account balances as of December 31, 2013.

Source: Ebri.org , July 2015

Relationship Between Automatic Enrollment and DC Plan Contributions: Evidence From a National Survey

Summary: This paper reexamines the determinants of 401k participation and contributions in the presence of automatic enrollment using nationally representative data from the Health and Retirement Study for 2006 through 2012. The results confirm previous findings that automatic enrollment is associated with a higher proportion of workers included in DC plans; however, automatically enrolled workers are less likely to contribute to their DC plans than voluntarily enrolled workers.

Source: Bc.edu, July 2015

Optimal Equity Glidepaths in Retirement

Summary: When systematic withdrawals are made from a retirement portfolio, glidepaths are often assessed via the probability of ruin (or success). This papers goal is to derive the optimal static glidepath with respect to this metric.

Source: Ssrn.com, July 2015

A Close Look at ERISA 403(b) Plans

Summary: Employees of educational institutions and other nonprofit employers who participate in 403(b) plans enjoy many investment options in their plans, according to a research study by BrightScope and the Investment Company Institute. Study also finds total costs of 403(b) plans decreased from 2009 to 2012.

Source: Ici.org , July 2015

The Plan Auditor Selection and Monitoring Process

Summary: After a recent DOL study found significant errors in auditor reviews of 5500 filings, plan sponsors should anticipates increased scrutiny around their process for choosing an auditor and evaluating their work. This white paper explains the DOL’s findings and provides recommendations for how to think about the auditor hiring process and where to ask questions when reviewing the final audit results.

Source: Lockton.com, June 2015

Using Alternatives in Defined Contribution Plans

Summary: Alternative investments have been used by DB plans for decades and it may be time for DC sponsors to consider a multi-alternative strategy to diversify plan line-ups. To the DC plan sponsor, offering a diversified set of alternatives can help increase the probability that participants reach their desired long-term return targets. For participants, a strategic allocation to alternatives may provide reduced volatility, a hedge against a variety of market risks and potentially improved total returns.

Source: Cloudfront.net , June 2015

Plan Sponsors' Loyalty Shows Slight Declines According to Chatham Partners

Summary: Plan sponsors' loyalty to their retirement service providers has declined slightly from 2014 levels, according to Chatham Partners' annual Provider Loyalty Index. The Provider Loyalty Index measures loyalty among plan sponsors with decision-making authority for their organizations' retirement plans.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, June 2015

Don't Roll the Dice on Department of Labor Audits

Summary: This resource guide is meant to walk employers through the process of an audit from the DOL. The white paper includes valuable information about how to prepare for an audit, the best way to acclimate staff to the audit process, what the DOL wants, and the most important elements of complying with requests.

Source: Ihdbenefits.com , June 2015

Auto-IRAs: How Much Would They Increase the Probability of 'Successful' Retirements and Decrease Retirement Deficits?

Summary: This paper analyzes the potential of a generic auto-IRA proposal to increase the probability of a "successful" retirement and decrease retirement deficits. Results were provided for all age groups from ages 35-64, but the primary focus was on the youngest cohort (ages 35-39), as they would have the longest period to benefit from this change and thus provide a better sample to assess the long-term effects of this proposal.

Source: Ssrn.com, June 2015

Financial Knowledge and 401k Investment Performance: A Case Study

Summary: Paper explores whether investors who are more financially knowledgeable earn more on their retirement plan investments compared to their less sophisticated counterparts, using a unique new dataset linking administrative data on investment performance and financial knowledge.

Source: Pensionresearchcouncil.org, June 2015

Social Interaction Effects and Individual Portfolio Choice: Evidence From 401k Plan Investors

Summary: Paper finds that participants are influenced by their coworkers when they make equity investment decisions. Using a rich dataset of 401k plans, researchers find that individuals are likely to increase their risky share when they have lower equity exposure than their coworkers in the last period. The effect is especially strong when the difference in equity exposure is substantial.

Source: Pensionresearchcouncil.org, June 2015

2015 Defined Contribution Plan Sponsor Survey Findings

Summary: This 30 page report provides insight into plan sponsors' interpretation of the roles of their DC plans, goals and philosophies in providing retirement benefits, considerations driving plan-related decisions and actions underway to help employees reach retirement success.

Source: Jpmorganfunds.com , June 2015

10 Best Practices for Global DC Plans

Summary: This 24 page paper provides a list of 10 best practices for global plan sponsors to help companies better capitalize on the potential of DC plans to further both their own business objectives and the retirement readiness of their participants around the world.

Source: Ssga.com , June 2015

Five Hot Trends in Retirement Planning

Summary: Retirement planning might be based on a few fundamental financial concepts, but the specifics are constantly changing. Technology and federal regulations have brought several big changes for employers and employees. Here are five trends in retirement planning every retirement plan sponsor and participant should know about.

Source: Bcigroup.com, June 2015

Locked Out of Retirement: The Threat to Small Business Retirement Savings

Summary: The DOL is expanding the definition of fiduciary investment advice under a federal law known as ERISA. The result would be that many traditional forms of compensation, such as commissions that vary from one investment to another, for financial advisors could become illegal under special provisions in that law called "prohibited transactions." According to this 13 page paper, a number of aspects of the proposal appear unworkable in actual practice, and would negatively impact how advisors assist small businesses in providing retirement benefits for their employees.

Source: Centerforcapitalmarkets.com , June 2015

Redefining the Retirement Plan

Summary: This paper is a guide to trends and strategies to help employers get the most out of their defined contribution programs. Defined benefit plans and Social Security were the simple answer to retirement for the past century. Life expectancy has improved though and an added strain has been placed on plan sponsors to help their employees replace their incomes in retirement. Fortunately, employers are equipped with more tools than ever before to help their employees retire with dignity.

Source: Axiaadvisory.com (registration may be required), June 2015

66,000 401k Plans Up for Grabs in 2015, Cogent Reports

Summary: Just over one in ten (11%) of 401k plan sponsors report they are very likely to replace their current recordkeeper sometime over the next 12 months. The likelihood of switching is highest among Mid-sized (13%), Large (20%) and Mega (18%) plans. These figures put the total estimated number of current plans likely to turn over at 66,000.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, June 2015

Which Is Better for 401k Retirees: Lifetime Annuities or Structured Withdrawals?

Summary: Far more workers are relying on 401k-style retirement plans than in years past. And while we know how to pay in to this new generation of retirement plans, we have not yet determined how best to structure the payouts. This paper examines the two basic methods put forth in professional literature and practice as opposing solutions to this problem facing retired households.

Source: Mercatus.org, June 2015

Stuck in the Mud or Road to Success? DC Plans and Fee Lawsuits

Summary: The message is clear for DC plan sponsors: follow best practices established for plan fees or risk getting stuck in a costly and time-consuming lawsuit. In this article, Callan describes select fee lawsuits and best practices to help plan sponsors stay on the path to success.

Source: Callan.com , June 2015

Are Managed Accounts a Better QDIA?

Summary: The basic premise of a managed account is the construction of a completion portfolio with participants' defined contribution assets, built around their whole asset profile and individual circumstances. Paper posit that managed accounts, customized at the participant level, have the ability to improve retirement outcomes if designed and implemented appropriately.

Source: Towerswatson.com, June 2015

Feng Shui of Defined Contribution Menu Construction

Summary: This paper addresses some of the issues that impact menu construction and investment product selection for defined contribution plans for the purpose of inspiring other sponsors to evaluate the harmony between their plan design and their menu construction.

Source: Multnomahgroup.com, June 2015

Workers See Regular, Roth 401ks As Same

Summary: Due to differing tax treatments, each $1,000 placed into a traditional, tax-deductible 401k costs less today than $1,000 placed into a Roth 401k, but that Roth will provide more money in retirement. New research indicates that workers don't recognize this difference between the two types of employer-sponsored retirement accounts when deciding how much to save.

Source: Bc.edu, June 2015

Survey Shows Lack of Planning for Retirement Savings Distribution

Summary: A survey released today by Pentegra Retirement Services, among over 1,000 employed U.S. adults (not already retired), showed several surprising results, particularly when it comes to people's lack of planning for accessing their retirement savings.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, June 2015

An Economist's Perspective of Fiduciary Monitoring of Investments

Summary: A central thesis is that ongoing oversight is an exercise in risk management and that risk management is a never ending process. The article emphasizes the importance of (a) examining multiple risk factors and not relying on performance numbers alone, (b) understanding the presence of financial leverage (should it exist), (c) clarifying the role of a service provider when an outside party is used, and (d) letting participants know about the type of monitoring being done by an investment committee.

Source: Pensionriskmatters.com , May 2015

It Pays to Set the Menu: Mutual Fund Investment Options in 401k Plans

Summary: This paper investigates whether mutual fund families acting as service providers in 401k plans display favoritism toward their own affiliated funds. Using a hand-collected dataset on retirement investment options, paper shows that affiliated mutual funds are less likely to be removed from and more likely to be added to a 401k menu.

Source: Pensionresearchcouncil.org, May 2015

DOL Publishes Plan Audit Quality Report

Summary: The DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration has published this 193 page study on the quality of benefit plan audits performed by certified public accountants. The report reveals serious issues with the current system including that 39 percent of the audits contained major deficiencies which put $653 billion and 22.5 million plan participants and beneficiaries at risk.

Source: Dol.gov , May 2015

Inspiring a World of Habitual Savers; Retirement Readiness Survey 2015

Summary: The U.S. is a leading country in terms of having one of the highest percentages of workers who are "habitual savers" who always make sure they are saving for retirement, according to a study released today from Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies in collaboration with Aegon. The Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2015 compares and contrasts the retirement outlook and preparations of 16,000 individuals in 15 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Source: Transamericacenter.org , May 2015

In-depth Report on Target-Date Fund Glide Paths

Summary: Report examines target-date fund glide paths "with the intention of differentiating the good from the bad. Our focus is on fiduciary responsibility and the characteristics of a glide path that make it prudent."

Source: Targetdatesolutions.com , May 2015

New Study Confirms 401k Limits Not Constraining

Summary: A recent study shows that raising the contribution limit would do little to increase retirement saving. Researchers looked at the impact of changes that Congress enacted in 2001, which increased 401k limits for all ages and established a new catch-up provision for workers age 50 or older, allowing them to contribute much more.

Source: Marketwatch.com, May 2015

DC Retirement Income Solutions

Summary: Today, defined contribution plans are the main source of retirement savings for many individuals. As many plans experience a maturing of their participant population, there's more discussion about encouraging ex-employees to stay in the plan, and about offering retirement income solutions to support retirees. However, action on these issues is slow in coming.

Source: Russell.com , May 2015

DC Plan Success Factors: Framework for Plans With an Objective of Retirement Income Adequacy

Summary: DCIIA has developed a best practices framework to outline actions that plan sponsors and fiduciaries can take to build plans that have the greatest potential to help participants achieve retirement readiness. The framework also addresses specific factors related to plan design, investment structure, and plan monitoring. Framework is laid out in this 10 page paper.

Source: Dciia.org , May 2015

Data Finds Increase in Both Employer and Employee 401k Contributions

Summary: Judy Diamond Associates has completed a comparative analysis of 401k plan contributions among both employers and employees in 2012 and 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. This research shows that together, employers and employees contributed a total of $13 billion more in 2013 than in 2012.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, May 2015

Mega 401k Plans Triple Use of Managed Accounts

Summary: Mega plan sponsors are pushing the envelope yet again by offering more personalization to their plan participants through managed account vehicles. The proportion of Mega plans offering these customized allocation solutions as their 401k plan default investment option has increased from 5% in 2014 to 18% in 2015 according to a Cogent Reports study by Market Strategies International.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, May 2015

Principal's Financial Well-Being Index: May 2015

Summary: This 11 page report is the results of a survey was conducted online within the United States on by Harris Poll between February 9 and February 17, 2015 among 1,111 employees. This is one in a series of quarterly studies to identify and track changes in the financial well-being of American workers.

Source: Principal.com , May 2015

Automation, Mobility and Advice Increase Employee Participation, Survey

Summary: In 2014, 78 percent of active 401k participants who made a change to their plan made a positive one, by either starting or increasing their contributions. Compared to 2013, the number of participants who contributed to their 401k account increased by 18 percent, according to the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch 401k Wellness Scorecard. This growth can be attributed in part to millennials' increasing focus on savings, as 64 percent more employees in this generation started contributing to a 401k account in 2014 compared to 2013.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, May 2015

Americans Likely Leaving $24 Billion in Company Match on the Table

Summary: A new research report, issued by Financial Engines, estimates that Americans leave $24 billion in unclaimed 401k company matches on the table each year. The company examined the saving records of 4.4 million retirement plan participants at 553 companies, and found that one-in-four employees (25 percent) miss out on receiving the full company 401k match by not saving enough.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, May 2015

Wisdom for Qualified Retirement Plan Sponsors: Focus on Your Five "T's"

Summary: Recent history has shown that conflicts of interest in the employee benefit context are not well understood and, as a result, oftentimes remain unidentified. Unfortunately, these latent conflicts can lead to enterprise-risks that can otherwise be easily avoided with just a bit of work up front. Focusing on the five "T's" -- Time, Talent, Tools, Trust, and Terms -- is an approach that should be applied when evaluating any service provider.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, May 2015

Retirement in America: The Fiduciary Definition in Context

Summary: The DOL recently proposed new regulations to address the changing times and to help eliminate conflicts of interest in retirement planning and investing. This 13 page white paper take a look at the bigger retirement picture, and consider how the DOL's proposal may affect retirement preparation in the United States.

Source: Mtrustcompany.com , May 2015

New Investment Opportunity for DC Plans - Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contracts Are Here

Summary: In an effort to help prevent retirees from outliving their retirement savings, the IRS and the Treasury Department finalized new rules that allow participants in defined contribution plans to invest in "longevity annuities" that do not violate the complex minimum required distribution (MRD) requirements, which otherwise mandate that participants start taking plan distributions upon reaching age 70 1/2. These complex new rules are summarized in this article.

Source: Groom.com , May 2015

Employees Favor Companies Playing More Active Role in Their Retirement Plans

Summary: Employees overwhelmingly favor their employers playing a more active role in their defined contribution (DC) retirement plans, but plan sponsors voice reluctance to doing so, a new study from Northern Trust shows.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, May 2015

Retirement Plan Termination Options

Summary: With any 401k plan termination, the participant will often have an opportunity to decide what to do with the assets currently in the plan. When this occurs, employees typically have three broad choices for their former retirement plan assets – roll the assets into an IRA, transfer the assets to the new employer-sponsored plan, or take a lump sum distribution. Each of these choices has benefits and restrictions worth considering.

Source: Clearygull.com , May 2015

Strategies to Help DC Plan Participants Improve Financial Wellness and Achieve a Secure Retirement

Summary: The time has come to adopt and implement proven features and solutions to help defined contribution plan participants achieve improved financial wellness and enjoy greater financial security in their retirement years. Paper outlines three strategies employers can adopt to accomplish this.

Source: Xerox.com , May 2015

Retirement Plan Coverage by Firm Size: An Update

Summary: This article builds on previous work and provides an update of the relationship between pension plan coverage and firm size among private-sector workers, using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation for 3 years: 2006, 2009, and 2012.

Source: Ssa.gov, May 2015

Employers Plan to Bump Up 401k Contributions

Summary: More than half (57%) of the roughly 90 multinational companies responding to Vanguard's survey expect the level of company contributions to their DC plans to increase "somewhat," and 14% expect them to increase "dramatically."

Source: Cfo.com, May 2015

Generating a Stream of Retirement Income in a World Without DB Plans

Summary: Many organizations that only offer a DC plan want to be able to offer their employees a secure stream of retirement income, without the unpredictable costs of maintaining a DB plan. This article describes guaranteed retirement-income products for DC plans, the pros and cons of each approach and the factors organizations should consider in reviewing these products.

Source: Sibson.com, April 2015

Best Practices for Creating an End-to-End Education Strategy

Summary: Research suggest that plan sponsors are grappling with a conflict between the belief that they provide valuable participant education and the recognition that too many employees are not making informed decisions about their retirement. A deeper understanding behind this disconnect may be the first step in developing a more effective participant education approach.

Source: Pnc.com , April 2015

Fiduciary Responsibility, Delegation & Oversight

Summary: This 25 page slide deck is from a recent webinar that covers the essentials that plan sponsors should know regarding their evolving responsibilities and duties of being an ERISA Fiduciary.

Source: Multnomahgroup.com , April 2015

Beyond the "Active versus Passive" Debate

Summary: To make appropriate investment decisions, investors need to examine many parameters beyond just "active versus passive" as part of their fund selection process. This paper will explore some of these issues, with specific attention to the fact that outperformance by either active or passive styles tends to occur in cycles.

Source: Belr.com, April 2015

Most Canadians Expect to Semi-retire or Not Stop Working

Summary: The report by HSBC found that 45% of working-age Canadians expect some period of semi-retirement before fully packing it in, while another 15% expect to never be able to fully retire.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, April 2015

An Overview of the Regulatory Framework Applying to Collective Trusts

Summary: Collective Investment Trusts are subject to a myriad of regulations. This Sutherland Asbill & Brennan 21 page webinar slide deck takes a deeper look at the CIT regulatory framework.

Source: Sutherland.com , April 2015

Defined Contribution Plan Participants' Activities, 2014

Summary: This 12 page report updates results from ICI's survey of a cross section of recordkeeping firms representing a broad range of DC plans and covering more than 25 million employer-based DC retirement plan participant accounts as of December 2014. The broad scope of the recordkeeper survey provides valuable insights about recent withdrawal, contribution, asset allocation, and loan decisions of participants in these plans.

Source: Ici.org , April 2015

More Workers Plan to Postpone Retirement, If They Can

Summary: Offsetting expectations of an impending retirement tsunami as U.S. Baby Boomers leave the workforce, the age at which workers expect to retire has been steadily rising. In 1991, just 11 percent of workers expected to retire after age 65. Twenty-four years later, in 2015, 36 percent of workers report that they expect to retire after age 65, and 10 percent don’t plan to retire at all, according to the 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey.

Source: Shrm.org, April 2015

Custom TDFs: When to Use Them and Why

Summary: Custom TDFs are starting to become popular in larger DC plans. But do they make sense for plans with less than $1 billion? According to a report by consultants at Rocaton, the answer is yes, but only in certain circumstances.

Source: Napa-net.org, April 2015

Data May Show a Decrease in New 401k Plans

Summary: Judy Diamond Associates has completed an analysis of new 401k plans launched in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, and discovered that substantially fewer new plans launched in 2013 than in 2012 possibly meaning fewer people are starting businesses or new businesses find 401k plans a luxury they cannot afford.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, April 2015

Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2015

Summary: Each year the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) conducts a survey to measure the retirement preparedness of the Boomer generation. This report, the fifth in the series, summarizes the results of the 2015 survey and analyzes key changes over the past five years.

Source: Myirionline.org , April 2015

Boomers' Confidence in Secure Retirement Sinks to Five-Year Low

Summary: The Insured Retirement Institute released a new research report that found Baby Boomers' confidence in having sufficient savings to last throughout retirement has dropped to a five-year low. Declining each year since 2011, the first year this study was conducted, the report found only 27 percent of Boomers are highly confident their savings will last.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, April 2015

Plan Sponsors Eyeing New Set of DC Investment Providers

Summary: As defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors continue to refine their investment lineups, there is a sizable shake-up among the top 10 DC investment managers plan sponsors think of when considering a change to their lineups.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, April 2015

403(b) vs. 401k: What Are the differences?

Summary: 403(b) plans are generally subject to fewer technical requirements and less administrative burdens than 401k plans. This two page chart compares 403(b) and 401k plan types in a columnar format.

Source: Consultrms.com , April 2015

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

Summary: Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (SIMPLE's) 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 , April 2015

Benefits of Collective Investment Trusts

Summary: Why do consultants, advisers and plan fiduciaries select CITs? This one page overview explores some of the benefits that make these investment funds increasingly popular in the retirement marketplace.

Source: Ctfcoalition.com , April 2015

Automated Investment Services: Are DC Plan Participants Better Off Using These Services?

Summary: This study delves deep to analyze the investment returns of do-it-yourself retirement plan investors vs. those using an automated investment allocation service. Key highlights: 1) The median return for participants using an automated investment allocation service was approximately 11.7% higher than the median return for participants using a DIY approach. 2) Automated investment allocation may decrease the likelihood of low or negative returns.

Source: Trsretirementservices.com , April 2015

Target-Date Fund Adoption in 2014

Summary: In 2014, the use of target-date funds in DC plans continued to grow rapidly. At the end of last year, 88% of plans offered a TDF, 64% of all participants were invested in the funds, and the funds accounted for 41% of total plan contributions. In this eight page paper you'll get the latest statistics on TDFs.

Source: Vanguard.com , April 2015

CIT Myths and Facts

Summary: Collective Investment Trusts (CITs) can be a valuable tool in developing a retirement plan lineup once the facts are distinguished from the myths. Here are several common myths about CITs, along with the related factual information.

Source: Ctfcoalition.com , April 2015

Overview of Collective Investment Trusts

Summary: As part of its CIT Awareness Week, the Coalition of Collective Investment Trusts released this 15 page white paper that provides a look at the history of collective investment trusts, an understanding of how the funds operate, their structure, and when they might be appropriate investment vehicles for eligible retirement plans.

Source: Ctfcoalition.com , March 2015

Study Profiles the Attributes of "Role Models" for Financial Preparedness

Summary: Voya's study found that out of three categories, both Workers and Retirees score highest on knowledge, but lowest in planning. Fewer than one-in-five Workers (17%) and only about one-quarter of Retirees (26%) had a written financial plan, while roughly one-third of Workers (31%) and Retirees (35%) had a comprehensive budget. The study also reveals gaps in retirement income planning.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2015

Paper Shares Insights for Alternative Fund Managers Looking to DC Plans

Summary: This paper explores: Elements of an attractive DC plan-focused alternative offering; How fund managers can address common reservations among plan advisors and fiduciaries; What DC plan advisors should consider communicating to DC plan fiduciaries; and, Critical evaluations for DC plans to make when considering alternative investments.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2015

How Much Needs to Be Saved for Retirement After Factoring In Post-Retirement Risks

Summary: This paper helps answer one of the most important questions that many defined contribution participant's face before retirement: How much do I need to save each year for a "successful" retirement? It includes three of the major post-retirement risks (longevity, investment, and long-term care).

Source: Ebri.org , March 2015

Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Benchmarks

Summary: This 36 page paper catalogues a summary of statistics and trends related to common features of retirement plans. The information and benchmarks included provide a useful comparison for evaluating the current status of your retirement plan program and may help you identify potential changes to consider, including automatic features that make saving easy for employees.

Source: Bmogamviewpoints.com , March 2015

Study Finds Hispanics Optimistic About Financial Future, Despite Challenges

Summary: Hispanics are feeling positive about their financial situation, according to new research commissioned by MassMutual, despite the slow growth in wages and still rebounding economy. The study examined the perceptions Hispanics have of their finances today as compared to the past, and how prepared they are for emergencies.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2015

DC Plan Participants Need More Than Just Retirement Advice

Summary: Employers, take note. Your employees are stressed and distracted by their finances, and it's affecting their jobs. According to the March 2015 State Street Global Advisors Biannual DC Investor Survey report, more than 3 in 5 defined contribution plan participants experience a moderate to high level of financial stress.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, March 2015

30 Most Generous Companies With the Best 401k Plans

Summary: BrightScope announced the second annual list of the 30 Most Generous Companies ranked by their 401k plans, showcasing companies that are placing an emphasis on helping employees prepare for their financial futures.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2015

Understanding the Conservative Options for DC Plans

Summary: This six page paper, produced by Fidelity Investments, reviews the conservative options available to DC plans, discuss the potential advantages/disadvantages of each type of fund offering, and highlight the investment and plan considerations associated with them.

Source: Fidelity.com , March 2015

Nine Hot Trends for DC Retirement Plan Sponsors

Summary: Looking back on the defined contribution industry and the U.S. retirement system in 2014, article has highlighted nine trends that plan sponsors, committee members and plan participants can expect in 2015.

Source: Cammackretirement.com , March 2015

Survey Finds Most Employees Stressed and Distracted by Financial Worries

Summary: State Street Global Advisors released the findings of its semi-annual employee retirement survey, which targeted approximately 1,000 employees between the ages of 20 and 69. Overall, the survey found that the stressors having greatest impact to workers include student loans and mortgages, health care costs and an unsettled feeling that one has not done enough to prepare for retirement.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2015

Retirement Plan Assets Grow

Summary: According to Spectrem report, the total assets held in employer-sponsored retirement plans were $11.3 trillion at the end of 2014.

Source: Spectrem.com, March 2015

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