Managing a Practice

Managing a Practice covers the ways that advisors can profitably and successfully run their businesses. It includes practical topics like business systems, advisor fees and client services, as well as professional development and growth strategies. Also covered are overall industry trends and ethics and compliance, as well the various service providers and vendors that advisors partner with to build, grow and manage their practices.

Managing Your Practice

By John Iekel8/4/2014 • 0 Comments

If you receive a request for a loan from a participant who finished paying off a previous loan from his 403(b) four months ago, can you permit a $50,000 loan from the account since he has no outstanding loans in any plans of the employer? In Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder addresses what can be done in such a circumstance. 

By John Iekel8/4/2014 • 0 Comments

The SEC adopted new rules affecting the $2.6 trillion money market industry late in July. The purpose of the rules is to alert investors about the risk of investments that were thought to be guaranteed, and they impose floating net asset value like other mutual funds rather than a fixed $1 value. In MarketBeat, Fred Barstein notes that the rules will apply only to funds institutions hold, and also discusses more about what the rules mean.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/29/2014 • 0 Comments

A plan sponsor has many investment options it can make available to plan participants. Should the plan offer funds that are invested in stable value or mid cap growth funds? Emerging markets? Real estate investment funds? Target date funds? But there is something else a plan sponsor can keep in mind. In MarketBeat, Earle Allen posits the notion that a plan sponsor also should consider whether it will offer funds that are invested in companies that act with a social conscience.    READ MORE

By John Iekel7/28/2014 • 0 Comments

Defined benefit plans’ decline and a proportional rise of future retirees’ need for expert help in establishing and managing retirement accounts spelled growth for the financial services industry. But the market may be saturated — there are many advisors, but the universe of clients is flat or shrinking.  READ MORE

By John Ortman7/16/2014 • 0 Comments

Are graft and fraud the next big thing for state pension plans? An industry segment already beset by massive underfunding, bankruptcy court proceedings and other litigation, politics and pension envy doesn’t need any more bad news. But that may be exactly what it gets.  READ MORE

By John Iekel7/11/2014 • 0 Comments

When the IRS writes its essay about how it spent its summer vacation, it will report about how it rolled out a new compliance initiative project focusing on whether non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements are operating in accordance with Internal Revenue Code Section 409A. So says Linda Segal Blinn in MarketBeat.


By John Iekel7/8/2014 • 0 Comments

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has announced that its ERISA Advisory Council will be examining issues and considerations related to facilitating lifetime retirement plan participation. In explaining its rationale for doing so, it cites the recent movement of participant assets out of defined contribution and defined benefit plans, and into retirement accounts not covered by ERISA — such as IRAs or other savings accounts — or as plan distributions.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/30/2014 • 0 Comments

In nearly half of the states, state pension benefits have changed —  often in a way that reduces them. This not only hurts retirement accounts and income, it also heightens a sense of urgency in boosting participation in 403(b)s and 457(b)s in order to bolster employees’ savings. One of the ways to do that, writes Ellie Lowder in MarketBeat, is to focus on employees’ financial literacy.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/27/2014 • 0 Comments

Cash and securities holdings of the 100 largest public employee pension systems in the United States —   which account for 89.4 percent of domestic public pension financial activity — grew during the first quarter of 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Quarterly Survey of Public Pensions. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/25/2014 • 0 Comments

The federal government, a purveyor of regulations and legislation, has set before the 403(b) community a veritable blue plate special — and one with a long shelf life to boot. NTSA President Susan Diehl of PenServ Services, Inc., outlined what’s on that plate at NTSA’s 403(b) Summit in Washington, D.C., on June 24.


By John Iekel6/25/2014 • 0 Comments

That’s the specific — and implied — message of three experts offering their take on how to increase plan participation. TSA Consulting VP Steve Banks, Hendershot Financial Group’s Tom Hendershot and Teresa Ward, Retirement Plans VP at OppenheimerFunds, made their remarks to attendees at a June 23 session of the NTSA 403(b) Summit in Washington, D.C. READ MORE

By Thomas Clark6/17/2014 • 0 Comments

In spring 2013, a nationwide wave of class action lawsuits were filed against five large hospital systems claiming affiliation with the Catholic Church. The claims were all the same: The defined benefit pension plans sponsored by the hospitals were not eligible for the church plan exemption under ERISA. During the last year, we have had substantive decisions in three of the cases on what the scope of the church plan exemption should be. In this week’s MarketBeat, Thomas E. Clark, Jr. discusses this litigation and what may happen next.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/17/2014 • 0 Comments

If the holder of a Roth 403(b) is over age 59½ and has held his account for more than five years, is the plan administrator required to withhold 20 percent for federal income tax since the distribution is eligible to be rolled over?  In Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder says yea or nay. 


By John Ortman6/11/2014 • 0 Comments

The Millennial generation views benefits, especially retirement plans, very differently than older generations do — a trend that will reshape key aspects of the relationships among participants, plan sponsors and advisors. In a fascinating article in the latest issue of Benefits Quarterly magazine, generational authority Neil Howe traces what it all means. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/10/2014 • 0 Comments

Many sobering reports have been issued regarding the degree to which U.S. workers are preparing — or not — for retirement. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Personal Savings Initiative (PSI) may not be the first effort that seeks to help turn the tide of poor savings rates, but it has heft and features a far-reaching and ongoing discussion of the problem and ways to address it.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/10/2014 • 0 Comments

If a client is age 72, and has worked for three years for an employer that offers a 457(b) plan, what are the rules regarding when he can retire with an unreduced benefit? In Tech Talk, Ellie Lowder explains what he needs to do and whether any catch-up contributions are possible. READ MORE

By John Iekel6/10/2014 • 0 Comments

How can a plan participant determine how much can safely be withdrawn from an account after retirement? What is your clients’ risk tolerance? Find out at the 2014 NTSA 403(b) Summit, to be held in Washington, D.C., June 22–24.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/10/2014 • 0 Comments

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in U.S. v. Windsor — in which it said that retirement plans must treat a same-sex spouse just they would any other spouse for purposes of benefits under the retirement plan — one year ago, on June 26, 2013. That makes this an opportune time for Ellie Lowder in MarketBeat to review some of the latest guidance that implements the Court’s ruling and with which you must comply. 


By John Iekel6/9/2014 • 0 Comments

The federal government and U.S. workers agree that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — a.k.a. Obamacare — will affect the timing of retirements. However, IFAwebnews reports that there’s a wide gap between what the government and many workers expect that effect to be, according to a survey conducted for READ MORE

By John Iekel6/3/2014 • 0 Comments

Simplified investment platforms are becoming more common for 403(b) plans, and target date funds are among the most widespread investment options, according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America’s sixth annual 403(b) plan survey. The Principal Financial Group sponsored the study. READ MORE

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