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New annuities starting to address RMDs

April 1, 2019

Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America is launching an indexed annuity geared toward clients 70½ and older who don't need the money that the government requires they withdraw each year from retirement accounts in the form of required minimum...

401(k) adviser fees for small plans buck compression trend

March 29, 2019

Small 401(k) plans are proving to be an oasis of sorts for financial advisers even as fees for larger plans are declining rapidly.​ Average advisory fees for a $100 million 401(k) plan decreased by 9% in 2018 from the year prior, according...

Longest-running 401(k) fee lawsuit ends in $55 million settlement

March 29, 2019

Parties in the longest-running 401(k) fee lawsuit have agreed to a $55 million settlement, bringing to near conclusion a 12-year case that's one of the best-known of its kind. The lawsuit, Tussey v. ABB, was among the initial tranche of lawsuits...

How to handle a client with low risk tolerance

March 27, 2019

Risk tolerance questionnaires, scores and levels are a big focus right now in retirement income planning. While many of the tools are still rudimentary (e.g., your desire to skydive probably isn't tied to your investment risk tolerance), we...

Half of Americans approaching retirement have nothing saved

March 27, 2019

The bad news is that almost half of Americans approaching retirement have nothing saved in a 401(k) or other individual account. The good news is that the new estimate, from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is slightly better than...

Why the 4% rule may be irrelevant

March 27, 2019

The 4% retirement withdrawal rule has enjoyed a ubiquitous presence in the world of financial planning ever since William Bengen proposed it in 1994. Mr. Bengen's rule states that individuals should withdraw no more than 4% of their retirement...

Update on Social Security reform

March 26, 2019

Well, it's a start. A House panel held hearings in mid-March on a bill that would expand Social Security benefits and stabilize the long-term finances of the nation's premier retirement system. But don't get too excited. The Social Security...

Fiduciary duty and the choice between active and passive

March 26, 2019

There is nothing passive about being a fiduciary investment adviser, even when it comes to making decisions about passive investing. The duty of care requires the adviser to proactively exercise the skill, prudence and good judgment of a professional...

What 401(k) record-keeper consolidation means to retirement plan advisers

March 26, 2019

The recent report that Principal Financial is likely buying Wells Fargo's retirement record-keeping division could be a harbinger of massive 401(k) record-keeper consolidation that puts even more assets and participants in the hands of fewer...

Merrill adds to 401(k) fiduciary services

March 25, 2019

Merrill is expanding its roster of fiduciary services available to 401(k) clients, a move that comes amid a broader push by wirehouses and large brokerage firms to change the way they work with smaller retirement plans. Merrill announced Monday...

BlackRock pivoting to technology could serve as blueprint for other asset managers

March 23, 2019

The retirement asset management business is feeling the pinch. Fred Barstein, founder and CEO of The Retirement Advisor University, recently pointed out that asset managers are seeing margins shrink. The increasing use of managed accounts and...

Don't write off ESG investments out of habit — the demand is real

March 23, 2019

Opportunities in the financial services industry rarely look as inviting as the current market for investments focused on environmental, social and corporate governance factors. At around $12 trillion, which is up 38% from two years ago, ESG...

Levering tech for financial wellness

March 23, 2019

When employees struggle financially, their employers struggle. Recent research on short-haul truck drivers conducted at the University of Pittsburgh shows that when employees' financial stress rises, companies experience a $1.4 million increase...

Technology is essential component of growth

March 23, 2019

As the defined-contribution practices of financial advisers grow, so do the challenges. But advisers and their staffs are not properly equipped or trained to deal with many of those challenges. They include running a business rather than only...

Blockchain will upend the 401(k) market

March 23, 2019

Blockchain technology is poised to completely upend the retirement market and the way 401(k) advisers do business. The technology, while nascent among record keepers of defined-contribution plans, promises to boost cybersecurity, increase efficiency...

Cybersecurity poses strain between plan sponsors, record keepers

March 23, 2019

Data security breaches are an unfortunate part of our increasingly digital world. For plan sponsors, this means a responsibility — a fiduciary obligation, some say — to ensure the protection of their employees' personal data. So plan sponsors...

401(k) managed accounts becoming more diverse

March 21, 2019

Some record keepers of defined-contribution retirement plans are diversifying the managed-account products they offer to employers and their employees in a bid to boost uptake and diversify their revenue streams in an environment of fee compression,...

The U.S. retirement system is far too complex

March 21, 2019

For the past decade, the financial services industry has engaged in a heated debate over the appropriate market conduct standard for investment advice. The debate is ratcheted up a notch in the retirement arena, where the Department of Labor...

Meet our new retirement columnist

March 20, 2019

Most nights I go to bed thinking about retirement planning. Sometimes I dream about retirement planning. And typically, I wake up thinking about retirement planning. To be honest, I have become a bit obsessed with personal financial planning...

Choosing between a retroactive lump sum and a bigger monthly Social Security benefit

March 19, 2019

Jim Perry, a financial adviser with Edward Jones in Coral Gables, Fla., was surprised to learn that retirees who claim Social Security benefits after their full retirement age are eligible for up to six months of retroactive benefits paid in...

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