Info

401(k) Fridays Podcast

The 401(k) Fridays Podcast features a weekly conversation with an expert guest to help employers and their service partners keep up with workplace retirement plan topics and trends. Listen today, improve your retirement plan tomorrow!
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
401(k) Fridays Podcast
2023
February
January


2022
December
November
October
September
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2021
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
March
February
January


2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
December
November
October
September
August
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: April, 2018
Apr 27, 2018

My conversation with Lynn Avitabile, Managing Director in the the Multi-Asset Group of J.P Morgan Asset Management and Wei Hu, Vice President of Financial Research at Financial Engines really cleared some things up for me on the role of Target Date Funds and Managed Accounts in workplace retirement plans.  We have talked about Target Date Funds several times on the podcast, but Managed Accounts not so much.  As we are accustomed to doing we start with some definitions of terms and then quickly jump into how they compare and contrast with target date funds, how to determine if your plan participants could benefit from one or both strategies.  Great dialogue and good input all around.  After listening you tell me, do target dates and managed accounts go together like oil & water or peanut butter and jelly? Hope you enjoy, and you don’t want to miss next weeks episode.  

Guest Bios

Lynn Avitabile, managing director, J.P. Morgan Asset Management is a Client Portfolio Manager within Multi-Asset Solutions, based in New York. She focuses on our Target Date Fund solutions, and leads our educational efforts on that topic. An employee since 1984, Lynn spent 20 years within Human Resources. She headed Human Resources for J.P. Morgan Global Investment Management and served as a member of the investment company's senior leadership group for six years prior to joining Multi-Asset Solutions. Lynn earned a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Quinnipiac College and an MBA from Duke University. She is Series 7, 63 and 3 licensed.

Dr. Wei-Yin Hu is Vice President and head of the Financial Research group at Financial Engines. His team’s responsibilities include the development of the analytical models that generate Financial Engines’ recommendations and forecasts, and the design of new retirement advice services.  Dr. Hu has expertise in asset pricing, capital markets, taxation, and retirement economics.  He joined Financial Engines after leaving a position as an economics professor at UCLA, where he taught for five years.  Throughout his career, he has published research in leading academic and practitioner journals and has given invited lectures in numerous academic and non-academic settings.  Dr. Hu received a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.

401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview

Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over one hundred prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Apr 20, 2018

Unfortunately, mistakes are made when running workplace retirement plans.  My guest, Marcia Wagner, the founder of The Wagner Law Group brings her over thirty years of experience working on ERISA matters to the podcast today and shares her list of the top 10 mistakes she sees retirement plan sponsors make.  For a little background, Marcia is perennially listed as one of the most influential people in the retirement industry, is frequently quoted in the Wall Street Journal and other publications and regular guest on FOX, CNN, Bloomberg, NBC and other news shows.  You can find out more about Marcia and this episode at 401kfridays.com/wagner.   Back to our conversation today, not surprising, her top ten list is spot on and she does an excellent job explaining the issues, how they happen and probably most importantly how to avoid and thoughts on how fix them if needed.  Along the way, we also have a little fun and share some laughs.  As far as top ten lists go this one makes my personal list top ten list! 

Guest Bio

MARCIA S. WAGNER has been practicing in the employee benefits field for over 30 years, founded The Wagner Law Group over 20 years ago and is the Firm’s Managing Partner.  Ms. Wagner is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Cornell University  and a graduate of Harvard Law School.  Ms. Wagner is highly regarded for her broad and deep knowledge of the law, flexibility, creativity and sound judgment.  She has been at the very forefront of legal and best practices developments in the benefits arena virtually her entire career.

 

Ms. Wagner’s experience in employee benefits is wide-ranging and she is recognized as an expert in a variety of employee benefits matters, including qualified and non-qualified plans, fiduciary issues, deferred compensation, and welfare benefit arrangements.  Her experience in employee benefits includes plan design, drafting and preparation, compliance, tax planning and consultation on all manner and aspect of ERISA issues.  Because of her experience and reputation, she has been retained as a legal consultant to other law firms, consulting firms, employee benefits organizations, large corporate and public plan sponsors and as an expert witness in prominent ERISA litigation matters.

 

As counsel to all types of plan sponsors, she has worked closely on qualified plans, 403(b) and 457 plans, IRAs, employee stock ownership plans, executive compensation arrangements and retiree medical benefits (including 401(h) accounts) regarding plan operation and maintenance, plan terminations, mergers and acquisitions, tax treatment of plan participants, use of life insurance and annuities, and derisking pension liabilities.  Ms. Wagner has also advised on the design and redesign of retirement, executive, and health and welfare plans and engages in ongoing, day-to-day counseling of plan sponsors and compliance audits.

 

Ms. Wagner also specializes in Title I of ERISA, and she has obtained advisory opinions, information letters and prohibited transaction exemptions.  Her broad and in-depth range of experience includes handling fiduciary matters impacting plan sponsors, investment and other fiduciary committees, investment managers and advisors, recordkeepers, broker-dealers, banks, and other financial services firms.  She advises on the avoidance and rectification of prohibited transaction issues, development of compliance programs and investment policies, and day-to-day compliance issues arising under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.

 

Ms. Wagner has worked on numerous Department of Labor, IRS and PBGC audits of plans and financial institutions that service plans, and negotiated favorable closing agreements with all agencies.

 

Ms. Wagner was appointed to the IRS Tax Exempt & Government Entities Advisory Committee and ended her three-year term as the Chair of its Employee Plans subcommittee, and received the IRS’ Commissioner’s Award (that agency’s highest honor).  Ms. Wagner has also been inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, has an “AV” peer review rating by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell indicating very high to preeminent legal ability and integrity and has received over 50 professional commendations and honors.  For eight years, 401k Wire listed Ms. Wagner as one of its 100 Most Influential Persons in the 401(k) industry, and she has received the Top Women of Law Award in Massachusetts and is listed among the Top 25 Attorneys in New England.  Ms. Wagner has written hundreds of articles and 15 books.  Ms. Wagner is a frequent and highly sought after lecturer, is widely quoted in business publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Pension & Investments, is a prolific writer and contributor to the most prestigious journals and periodicals in the benefits area, and has been a guest on FOX, CNN, Bloomberg, NBC and other televised media outlets. 

401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview

Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over one hundred prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

 

Apr 13, 2018

The inspiration for this episode came from a request for proposal I received recently from a company in my day job as a workplace retirement plan consultant  After giving it a quick read through, my initial reaction was wow, this company is in a fiduciary defensive shell.  Their entire focus was on managing and limiting their fiduciary liability.  I guess if you consider the lawsuits and fiduciary messaging I can understand their positioning.  So, that got me thinking, should workplace retirement plan fiduciaries be thinking defensively or offensively when making plan decisions? 

 

To bring some perspective to the conversation I was excited to have Jaime Fleckner, a Partner and Chair of the ERISA Litigation Practice at Goodwin Proctor join me.  He has a pretty impressive background and experience defending retirement plan fiduciaries which you can check out at 401kfridays.com/fleckner.  I won’t steal Jaime’s thunder but I will tell you that if you’re looking for some fresh thoughts on the current retirement plan fiduciary state of affairs he does not disappoint. 

 

If you enjoy Jaime’s insights as much as I did, please tell a friend, share on social media or leave a review or comment on iTunes or your favorite podcast app.  Enjoy!

Guest Bio

Jamie Fleckner is a partner in Goodwin’s Financial Industry Practice and Chair of its ERISA Litigation Practice. Mr. Fleckner represents clients in a wide array of complex commercial litigation, with a focus on financial services and products, including investment management. He regularly litigates class and derivative actions under ERISA, the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and related federal and state laws. His practice also focuses on regulatory investigations and governmental proceedings, and has represented clients before the U.S. Department of Labor, Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Justice, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and state authorities.

Mr. Fleckner's success in litigating cutting edge legal issues has been profiled in The American Lawyer, Big Suits. Accordingto Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business where Mr. Fleckner has been selected for inclusion since 2014, Mr. Fleckner is “at the top of his game,” and is “a rare thought leader” on ERISA litigation. Since 2015, he has been recognized as a leading lawyer in the list of Who’s Who Legal: Pensions and Benefits.

401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview

Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over one hundred prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

 

Apr 6, 2018

Today we take a little detour from talking about the usual 401(k) or workplace retirement plan topics and focus on the challenge for many people around the country who are gainfully employed but don’t have access to a retirement plan at work.  Personally, when I first heard some of the stats we discuss today they were surprising to me.  I have two guests which both shared great perspective today, Lisa Massena, the Executive Director of OregonSaves the first state retirement plan to go live and Andrew Biggs, a resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has a wealth of data and research about retirement savings at his finger tips.  As hopefully you have heard in prior episodes when I have two guests on that usually means they are not always going to agree on everything.  Our conversation starts with a conversation around the data, what options individuals who don’t have access to a retirement plan at work have today and how the conversation will evolve in the future.  With Lisa here, we also spend some time talking about how state retirement plans factor into the coverage conversation.  She shares Oregon’s experience, early results and reactions after their launch in late 2017.  Good stuff and I hope you take as much away from our conversation as I did.   

Last thing, we had a little challenge with Andrew’s connection, you can hear everything he says but it is a little scratch, just a heads up.  Technology is a great thing until it isn’t!

Guest Bios

Lisa Massena, Executive Director, OregonSaves - Ms. Massena joined OregonSaves as its first Executive Director in September of 2015. With its Board and a strong team of internal and external collaborators, Massena helped design and launch the innovative retirement savings program that, when fully implemented, is expected to be available to over 1 million Oregonians who currently do not have access to retirement savings at work. 

A native of the Northwest, Ms. Massena began her career in Oregon focused on investment and retirement solutions for employers and individuals, co-founding an investment consultancy in 1991 that specialized in defined contribution plans. When the internet beckoned, she joined a startup firm in San Francisco providing online portfolio advice for 401(k) savers. In 2001 Massena was recruited to State Street Corp. where from San Francisco and Boston she led regional, Americas and global teams providing investment analytics services to institutional clients. She earned a B.A. from Portland State University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. 

Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Social Security reform, state and local government pensions, and public sector pay and benefits.

Before joining AEI, Biggs was the principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), where he oversaw SSA’s policy research efforts. In 2005, as an associate director of the White House National Economic Council, he worked on Social Security reform. In 2001, he joined the staff of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Biggs has been interviewed on radio and television as an expert on retirement issues and on public vs. private sector compensation. He has published widely in academic publications as well as in daily newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has also testified before Congress on numerous occasions. In 2013, the Society of Actuaries appointed Biggs co-vice chair of a blue ribbon panel tasked with analyzing the causes of underfunding in public pension plans and how governments can securely fund plans in the future. In 2014, Institutional Investor Magazine named him one of the 40 most influential people in the retirement world. In 2016, he was appointed by President Obama to be a member of the financial control board overseeing reforms to Puerto Rico’s budget and the restructuring of the island’s debts.

Biggs holds a bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, master’s degrees from Cambridge University and the University of London, and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview

Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over one hundred prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

1