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Monday, December 4, 2017

DOL Delays Fiduciary Rule

On Monday, November 27, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that some key provisions of the fiduciary rule will be extended for 18 months.

The fiduciary rule, in its most basic context, requires brokers and advisors to act in the best interests of their clients who have retirement accounts, including IRAs and rollovers from qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) and 403(b) plans.  The DOL first proposed the regulations in October 2010 but withdrew them in 2011 after opposition from the financial services industry as well as some members of Congress.  The regulations were reintroduced in 2015 with the final rule becoming effective June 7, 2016.  Compliance with the rules surrounding broker conduct and disclosure was delayed until April 10, 2017.  A transition period for compliance with some of the provisions was put in place from April 10, 2017 until January 1, 2018.  This latest delay will extend implementation of the enforcement provisions of the rule until July 1, 2019.  During this now extended transition period, fiduciaries will be required to meet the Impartial Conduct Standards, which requires that they receive only reasonable compensation, make no misleading statements, and act in their clients’ best interest.  Clearly, the path of these regulations has been arduous and the recent delay only makes it more so.

Monday, November 13, 2017

HANYS Benefit Services' Carol A. Idone Receives Prestigious SPARK Advisor Award

Vice President, Client Relationship Management and Consulting,
Honored for Leadership in "Plan Design & Administration Innovation"


HANYS Benefit Services (HBS) is pleased to announce that Carol A. Idone, CFP®, AIF®, Vice President, Client Relationship Management and Consulting, is the recipient of the 2017 SPARK Advisor Award: Plan Design & Administration Innovation. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

7 Ways to Mitigate Retirement Plan Fiduciary Liabilities

1. Document all decisions— Appoint a secretary to take notes on all actions and decisions.

2. Hold retirement plan committee meetings regularly—Quarterly is the best practice; make sure your people get there and have a good attendance record.

3. Appoint qualified committee members—If you want to bring in people from different departments within the hospital to have them more involved in the retirement plan process, be sure that people are chosen who understand how the retirement plan and investments work. You also need to have an odd number of people on the committee to avoid votes that end in a tie.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Retirement Plan Administration Best Practices

Retirement plan sponsors have a difficult challenge: balancing the desire to offer a valued and valuable retirement plan to their employees, with the administrative and regulatory requirements and expense of maintaining the plan.

Experts agree that plan sponsors can help address these issues by consistent adoption of plan administration and oversight best practices.These steps can lower costs, increase plan enrollment, boost savings rates, and better prepare employees for a more secure retirement, while helping mitigate the risk borne by plan fiduciaries.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fiduciary Responsibilities: ERISA Standards of Conduct

  • Act solely in the interest of plan participantsThis may seem obvious, but you cannot prioritize your board, president, or local community interests over the plan participants.
  • Act prudentlyThe duty to act prudently requires expertise in areas such as investment. Lacking that expertise, a fiduciary should hire someone with that professional knowledge. Fiduciaries are responsible for a decision process, not investment results. The process used to make decisions must be documented to show fiduciaries acted prudently. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Active vs. Passive Investing Styles: An Age Old Rivalry

Active vs. Passive investing styles is an age-old debate in the investing world. Investment managers on either side tend to be steadfast advocates of the merits of their approach. Active managers seek to exploit market inefficiencies by relying on analytical research, forecasts, and their own judgement and experience to decide which securities to buy, hold, and sell. Passive investing involves simply tracking an index to avoid the management fees and trading costs that can be a drag on performance by adhering to a buy-and-hold strategy.

However, no one strategy always triumphs. It cannot be ignored that both investing strategies have positive attributes and have helped define the historical and current investing trends we have witnessed in the retirement marketplace.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

11 Questions Employers Should Ask About Stable Value Funds

Stable value investments have been a core investment option in defined contribution retirement plans since the 1970s and are an attractive alternative to money market investments due to steady returns and principal preservation guarantees. Stable value funds have proven their worth to investors during the protracted period of low interest rates present since the recent financial crisis. Consider the following comparison of 2007-2016 calendar year total return for the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund (VMFXX)[i] to the HBS MetLife Stable Value Fund.

1.           What is a stable value fund?