Recent Articles From John Iekel

John Iekel

John Iekel

John Iekel

By John Iekel10/8/2014 • 0 Comments

The fiscal pressure that public pension plan obligations exerts on state governments is not going away, the Cato Institute cautions in a report it recently issued. Cato expects that the cost of those plans will be a major driver of state budgets.

By John Iekel10/6/2014 • 0 Comments

The digital world offers public — not just private — plans revolutionary means to communicate, store and share data. But using it in a responsible and ethical manner is as important as it is challenging, as Lauren Bloom, an expert on professional ethics and risk management, pointed out in the recent webcast, “Ethics and Professionalism in the Digital Age.”

By John Iekel9/29/2014 • 0 Comments

Pennsylvania and neighbor to the east New Jersey, no strangers to bracing news regarding the effect of their financially strapped public pension plans, have received yet more tough assessments. And the Keystone State’s neighbor to the west, Ohio, has as well.

By John Iekel9/26/2014 • 0 Comments

The Office of Personnel Management on Sept. 24 announced that surviving same-sex spouses of federal annuitants, employees or former employees who died before June 26, 2013 may apply for death benefits.

By John Iekel9/24/2014 • 0 Comments

Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler recently presented the legislature with recommendations from the state’s Retirement Security Task Force for increasing Oregonians’ retirement savings, access to a retirement plan and ability to enroll in one.

By John Iekel9/18/2014 • 0 Comments

In “Public Pensions in Flux? A Review of State Retirement System and Alternatives to Traditional Defined Benefit Plan,” Ellie Lowder of TSA Consulting and Mike Webb of Cammack Retirement shared their insights on state retirement systems, current cutbacks, and the opportunities and challenges that come with developments concerning these plans. 

By John Iekel9/18/2014 • 0 Comments

Public pensions at all levels became healthier in 2013, according to recent studies. Wilshire Consulting’s examinations of state, county and city pension plan funding show that their funding ratio improved last year.

By John Iekel9/16/2014 • 0 Comments

Washington has been training its eye on fees and transparency for years now. But so is the industry; the North American Securities Administrators Association is the latest organization to convene a group trying to make sure broker-dealers are giving investors fee disclosures they can understand.

By John Iekel9/11/2014 • 0 Comments

The Garden State is the latest state whose credit rating has suffered due to a pension funding shortfall. Credit agencies have downgraded their ratings of New Jersey debt due to the state’s worsening pension funding ratio.

By John Iekel9/11/2014 • 0 Comments

The California Controller’s office soon will make information about the state’s approximately 130 public pension systems available on a new website. The site does not provide data on California public pension plans, but the controller’s office says that it will later the fall.

By John Iekel9/9/2014 • 0 Comments

The Rhode Island Democratic primary is being touted as more than a way to decide who their 2014 gubernatorial candidate will be — in a sense the reform of the state pension system is on the ballot as well. Rhode Island Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, implemented the reform in 2011.

By John Iekel9/8/2014 • 0 Comments

The Land of Lincoln has earned a dubious distinction, according to a new report by Moody’s: It is without peer in how its state pension liability compares to its revenue. Moody’s says that Illinois’ pension debt amounted to a whopping 318% of its revenue in 2012. Its three-year average for the period 2010-12 was almost as bad, at 258%. And that trend has continued.

By John Iekel9/2/2014 • 0 Comments

Prospects for state and local employees’ financial security in retirement are better than that of their private-sector counterparts, according to a new paper from the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators (NAGDCA). Nonetheless, the paper argues, steps still should be taken to improve their readiness.

By John Iekel8/26/2014 • 0 Comments

The 2014-15 budget that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed into law does more than fund state functions: it also expands state control over state pension fund investments.

By John Iekel8/19/2014 • 0 Comments

Gov. Chris Christie (R) seems to have read the tea leaves correctly in setting up a commission to make recommendations on how to reform New Jersey’s public pension system. And that’s not just regarding the needs of the system — it also appears to be prescient regarding the views of his constituents, according to a study Quinnipiac University released on Aug. 11.

By John Iekel8/19/2014 • 0 Comments

It’s hurricane season, which brings handling emergencies into sharper relief. Under a 457(b) plan, a hardship distribution can only occur when the participant is faced with an unforeseeable emergency.

By John Iekel8/19/2014 • 0 Comments

You provided an employee with a 15-year catch-up last year, but you find out that the employee was not eligible for it. Do you just distribute it as 1099 2014 income? Is it considered an excess deferral under Code Section 402(g)? In this week's Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder provides the answers and addresses the consequences. 

By John Iekel8/19/2014 • 0 Comments

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled recently that an inherited IRA is part of a bankruptcy estate and subject to creditors’ claims. This raises questions: if that is the case with IRAs, does that then have implications for retirement plan assets belonging to those who declare bankruptcy? In this week's MarketBeat, Michael Webb discusses what the Court’s ruling means for those who are in just such a place. 

By John Iekel8/12/2014 • 0 Comments

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Aug. 8 appointed nine members to a non-partisan commission to make recommendations regarding how to reform New Jersey’s public pension and health benefit systems.

By John Iekel8/12/2014 • 0 Comments

Distinguishing who the fiduciary is within a 403(b) plan or other qualified plan is an important determination, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s an easy or clear determination. Quite the contrary: it is a highly confused, misinterpreted and somewhat gray area that many plan sponsors wish to forgo and would gladly delegate the role to another third-party. In MarketBeat, Kimberly Flett, CPA, QKA, QPA, discusses whether and how that can be done, and provides some common applications of the role of the fiduciary. 


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