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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!
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Now displaying: 2019
Dec 13, 2019

While every industry has its own unique characteristics, not every industry has enough of them related to retirement plans to deserve a special report or podcast episode to discuss them.  Healthcare though, is one of those industries which does. To dive into the topic I was excited to welcome back to the podcast Brodie Wood, National Practice leader for Healthcare, Education and Not-for-Profit markets at Voya Financial.  We quickly jump into multiple hot topics such as outcomes based approaches, financial wellness, employer contribution strategies, recruiting, student loan debt and much more. If you like what you hear today, be sure to check out Voya’s Healthcare Survey that was just released this week. You can find that, a bonus question from Brodie and the episode transcript all at 401kfridays.com/healthcare2019.  

Tis the season for sharing, whether you are a new or long time listener please take a moment and share the podcast with a friend, colleague or someone you think could benefit.  You can do that by liking or sharing a post on social media, showing them how to subscribe to a podcast on their mobile device, or send them to 401kfridays.com/subscribe.  

Guest Bio

Brodie Wood is Senior Vice President, Healthcare and Education for Voya’s Tax-Exempt Markets business. He is responsible for developing and maintaining new and existing relationships with plan sponsors, intermediaries and consultants to support the broader strategic growth of the firm’s Tax-Exempt Markets business. He has more than 20 years of industry sales experience, with a broad knowledge of products, services, distribution channels and the competitive landscape – specifically within the 403(b) and 457 plan markets. Most recently, Wood served as senior vice president of Healthcare, Education and Not-for-Profit Markets at Transamerica. He has also served on the board of the American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity in Health Management since 2010. He has been involved in the retirement plan field for the past fifteen years helping participants become retirement ready. He earned his B.A. with a dual major in Spanish and Business from Utah State University. He has also completed his M.B.A. from Brigham Young University in 2002. He is a Six Sigma Green Belt and holds FINRA Series 26, 7, 63, and CRPC designations. Registered representative of Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. (member SIPC).

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 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Dec 6, 2019

In a somewhat related follow-on to our conversation last week about the long term impact of automatic enrollment, today we tackle the emerging auto concept of auto portability.  My guest, Spencer Williams, Founder & CEO of Retirement Clearing House has been intimately involved in the  process to get this off the ground and available in a workplace retirement plan near you! As you might expect, we discuss what auto portability is, the retirement challenges it intends to solve, how it differs from todays auto-cashouts or auto-rollovers and much more. We also wax philosophical once or twice and be sure to stick around for the end where Spencer shares how employers or retirement service partners can help move the auto-portability concept further down the road.  

As we get ready to kick off a new year and new decade for that matter, I would love to get any input on bigger picture topics or guests you would like me to tackle.  Send your ideas to feedback@401kfridays.com.  We will take it from there.  

Guest Bio

Spencer Williams is Retirement Clearinghouse’s Founder, President and CEO. Retirement Clearinghouse is a specialized provider of portability and consolidation services for America’s mobile workforce and has serviced more than 1 million job-changing participants during Mr. Williams’ 9 year tenure with the company. Prior to joining Retirement Clearinghouse, Williams served in a number of senior executive roles at MassMutual Financial Group, and as a retirement Services executive at Federated Investors, Inc.  

Williams earned his B.A. degree in English from the United States Naval Academy and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh.

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 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Nov 22, 2019

Automatic enrollment has been a regular theme on the podcast, in fact when I first launched the podcast I got a little worried because we seemed to hit on it in nearly every episode regardless of the topic.  Today, I am excited to welcome back Josh Dietch, a Vice President with T. Rowe Price and the group manager of Retirement Thought Leadership. Without stealing too much of his thunder, Josh and his team have just released a very interesting and thought provoking report called “Auto-Enrollment’s Long-Term Effect on Retirement Savings”.  As you will hear, some assumptions we have made about the benefits of automatic enrollment hold up, but other conclusions they come to were eye opening and have made me rethink a few things.  You can find a link to the study, this week’s bonus question and the episode transcript at 401kfridays.com/trp2019.  

Before we get started, ’tis the season to be thankful so on that note I want to thank all of my amazing guests on the podcast who have shared their time and expertise.  Also, thank you to all of our listeners.  I really appreciate the feedback, interaction on social media and sharing with friends.  As the podcast continues to grow, I look forward to a great 2020 with more new episodes, guests and topics.  

Guest Bio

Joshua Dietch is a vice president of T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., and the group manager of Retirement Thought Leadership. Joshua joined T. Rowe Price in 2017 and is responsible for leading a team of researchers and writers who create retirement thought leadership in support of the firm's workplace retirement, intermediary, and institutional businesses. Prior to joining the firm, he held a number of senior industry roles, including head of Retirement and Institutional with Strategic Insight, managing director with Chatham Partners, director of Product Marketing and Management with ADP Retirement Services, and associate director of Institutional Markets with Cerulli Associates. In addition to his current role at T. Rowe Price, Joshua is an Executive Committee member of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association and is chair of its Retirement Research Board. He earned a B.A. in history from Bates College and is a Series 7 and 66 registered representative.

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 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Nov 15, 2019

When we get to tackle new topics and shed some light where there is confusion, that get’s me really excited. Regardless of what state you live in, this is timely and relevant as we tackle cannabis companies and their unique challenge of setting up 401(k) plans.  My guest, Jewell Lim Esposito an ERISA Attorney with FisherBroyles has specific hands on experience working with companies in the cannabis, hemp, cbd space.  She shares some of the challenges they face in setting up 401(k) plans for their employees, why various service providers have been hesitant to enter the space and what cannabis and other similar companies can do to provide a 401(k) plan to their employees. Also, if you are like me and are a little confused on the difference between marijuana, cannabis, hemp and cbd is, we discuss that as well.  Really great conversation and a ton of information for employers and retirement service partners who are trying to figure out what to do.  

During our conversation Jewell references supporting material from her blog All Things ERISA. You can find the link, the bonus question for this week, an episode transcript and more at 401kfridays.com/cannabis.  

Guest Bio

Jewell Lim Esposito offers decades of in-the-trench practical experience in the Employee Benefits/Tax legal world. She further sub-specializes in Title I (Department of Labor fiduciary issues) and Title II (IRS tax qualification issues) under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Ms. Esposito's strength is understanding the business and demographics of her clients, who are headquartered across the nation. That is, with her practice being federal law, the location of the US client needing ERISA/Tax guidance on tax compliance and fiduciary duties is immaterial.

She advises in "plain English," even when the issues are complex and is able to size up exposure for C-suite executives to help them select an optimal Tax and ERISA strategy. The range of Ms. Esposito's practice extends to work in the areas of government pension plans, Executive Compensation, the Affordable Care Act, COBRA, health and welfare fringe/prevailing wage under the Service Contract Act and Davis-Bacon, and ERISA prohibited transaction exemptions.

In the area of cannabis/hemp/CBD, Ms. Esposito counsels associations, member companies, and growers/distributors/dispensaries/license holders on how Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code affects their payroll, 401(k), health benefits, and insurance deductions. She currently chairs and coordinates her firm's efforts in showcasing all the legal services already provided to the Cannabis, Hemp, and & CBD industry and in education related to marijuana use to the general workplace.

Ms. Esposito is the editor of and contributing author to the AllThingsERISA blog.

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 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

 

Nov 8, 2019

We revisit our sponsor spotlight theme on the podcast this week! Tony Tomich, the Head of Pension Investments at Farmers Insurance® shares some great perspective on the company and their retirement plan.  We had fun digging into how their plan works, how it helps with recruiting and retaining talent, how decisions are made and much more.  One major theme we dig into is the concept of retirement readiness and retirement income.  Both hot topics in their own right and really impactful to hear how Tony thinks about both. Finally, despite Farmers® being a very large company with a very large retirement plan, there are plenty of great take aways for companies and plans of all sizes.  

Before we get started, we have several exciting episodes coming up where we will welcome back some prior guests, tackle new topics and have all sorts of retirement plan fun.  If you have an idea for a topic, guest or question we should tackle on the podcast I would love to hear about it.  Just shoot me an email to feedback@401kfridays.com.  

Now, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Tony!

Guest Bio

Tony Tomich manages Farmers’ retirement investments. He has a BBA and an MPP from The College of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, VA. Tony began his career in NYC in the banking industry then moved to the internet and telecom industries in the Silicon Valley in the early 2000s. He joined 21st Century Insurance in 2004 and held multiple positions during his tenure with the organization, ranging from Treasurer & Investment Relations Officer to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. 21st Century Insurance was purchased by AIG in 2007 and was subsequently sold to Farmers in 2009. Tony transitioned Farmers’ $3B DC plan to an open architecture, white‐label structure in 2013. Tony also manages the company’s Socially Responsible Investments portfolio and has multiple leadership roles in the space. These range from a 3 term member of the California Insurance Commissioner’s COIN Advisory Board (inaugural chairperson) to an Investment Committee member for the California Fair Plan to the Chairman of Impact Community Capital, LLC, a for‐profit entity that facilitates over $1B in SRI investments in California and beyond. Farmers Insurance provides P&C, specialty, life, commercial and other insurance and financial services products.

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 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Nov 1, 2019

The business of being in the 401(k) business has been one of our more popular themes on the podcast.  Today, should be no different.  My guest Tim Wulfekuhle, President of Northwest Plan Services and I dive into the topic of independent recordkeepers.  We start with some thoughts about different types or categories of recordkeepers, what the litmus test for an independent recordkeeper is, how in a rapidly changing environment for service providers they are positioned and what does scale mean.  Tim also shares thoughts on consolidation trends, bright shiny objects, capturing employer and employee attention when you don’t have a household brand name and what the future of the retirement business could look like.

Guest Bio

Tim Wulfekuhle is President and CEO of Northwest Plan Services, Inc. (NWPS), which is a non-producing retirement plan recordkeeping and administration firm headquartered in Seattle.  NWPS provides services to all sizes of clients, from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies.  He has over 30 years of retirement plan recordkeeping, administration and consulting experience and has been an owner of NWPS since 2002. Prior to joining NWPS, Tim was the Director of Retirement Plan Administration Services for Howard Johnson & Company. Throughout his career he has specialized in large, complex defined contribution relationships and has been the lead consultant for numerous national clients.

Tim holds a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Washington State 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 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Oct 18, 2019

Today we have a little fun, I am excited to welcome back J.D. Carlson who by day is the President & CEO of Plan Design Consultants, a Third Party Administration firm and by night is a YouTube sensation as one fourth of the Retireholiks. Our conversation is a follow-up to one we had on the podcast last year where we tackled some tricky workplace retirement terms to either decipher some industry jargon, declare they are pure Gibberish or if they are real terms or concepts that can be confused or jumbled together. I think the conversation we have falls into the edutainment category. Oh, and two things not to miss this week, our bonus question which you can find a 401kfridays.com/jgj2019 and when JD gets fired up towards the end of the episode.

While you don’t have to listen to the first version of Jargon, Gibberish or Jumbled, you can find it by scrolling through your favorite podcast app and look for the title Frustrated Complex 401(k) Terms in March of 2018. While you are there, we do have over 175 episodes in our podcast library. If you find something else that catches your eye, give it a listen as well. Our episodes are evergreen and don’t tend to expire over time.

Guest Bio

We're Plan Design Consultants, Inc. a retirement company that since 1975 has been providing businesses with affordable, quality plans customized to meet the specific needs of our clients.

Over four decades in the business has given PDC the experiences we need to evolve our service model to what it is today.  A smart, easy process centered on the needs of our clients.  A service model designed to be AWESOME!

It is our deep understanding of all areas of retirement plans combined with a constant commitment to customer service that sets us apart.  We share our expertise with our clients to make sure they are comfortable and confident in making decisions around maintaining a successful Employer sponsored plan.

As an independent company, client advocacy is a major strength of our firm.  We partner with Financial Advisors to offer our clients a very healthy choice in vendors.  A strong understanding of fees and services allows PDC to help clients find the perfect fit.

Thousands of retirement plan clients from all over the country have relied on PDC to assist them in offering the right plan to help their employees reach retirement goals. 

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!

Oct 11, 2019

When you listen to this episode, some of what we talk about might not directly impact you if you are not a caregiver.  However, as you will hear the odds are someone you know, work with or is a client likely is.  My guest today, Bill Harmon, President of Corporate Retirement Markets at Voya Financial and a caregiver himself, talks candidly about how to define caregiver, the challenges they face in the workforce, how employers can help and why introducing more support for caregivers in the workplace through a wellness or other similar program just makes good sense.  As in interesting tidbit, you might be surprised by which generation is the most likely to be a caregiver.  We also reference specific links, statistics, checklists, this weeks bonus question and episode transcript can all be found by going to 401kfridays.com/care2019.  

Before we get started, each week I create a LinkedIn and Twitter post to share the podcast episode and links to listen. This week, the image we use is actually of Bill and his son, not a stock image like I typically use.  If you are not connected with me on LinkedIn or Twitter take a moment and do that. Please like, share or comment on the post for this episode. We discuss some powerful info that needs your support to help raise awareness.  

Guest Bio

William Harmon is president of Retirement Corporate Markets for Voya Financial. 

In his role, Harmon oversees all aspects of the Corporate 401(k) market, including sales, relationship management, strategy and profitable growth for all segments of the market — from small- and mid-sized companies to some of the nation’s largest corporate employers. He and his team support Voya Retirement’s efforts to deliver next-generation customer experiences and solutions that drive positive retirement outcomes. 

Harmon is a member of CEO of Retirement Charlie Nelson's leadership team, as well as Voya's Operating Committee. 

Most recently, Harmon served as senior vice president, Core Markets, for Empower Retirement, where he was responsible for the segment’s overall success. During his 29-year tenure at Empower, the U.S. retirement business of Great-West Lifeco, he contributed to significant growth in plan sales, assets and earnings. 

For 11 years, including five as president, Harmon served on the board of Adam’s Camp, a group of non-profit organizations providing a variety of intensive, personalized, and integrated therapeutic programs for children with special needs and their families. He has also been closely involved with organizations supporting the special needs community including Special Olympics and Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association. 

Harmon holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. 

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 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Sep 27, 2019

Interest rates could be a significant risk to retirement savers that is hiding in plain sight. During my conversation with Mike Barry, President of O3 Advisory Services, we connect a lot of dots on how low interest rates could impact the retirement of current and future retirees.  We also hit on several reasons why interest rates have been trending lower, whether student debt plays into the conversation and why employers who are even considering pursuing a retirement income strategy should think very carefully about all of this prior to making a decision.  Mike and I definitely get into the weeks on a few things but pull everything together in a way that will leave you with a better understand of the impact of interest rates on retirement plans.  

Before we get started, a simple rating or comment on  your favorite podcast app goes a long way to help others discover the podcast. Next time you log on, if you could give us a rating or leave a comment that would be great. Also, if you have a favorite podcast app that you can’t find us on please shoot me an email to feedback@401kfridays.com and we will get the show added.  

Guest Bio

Michael P. Barry is a senior consultant at October Three and President of O3 Plan Advisory Services LLC, which provides retirement plan regulatory analysis targeted at plan sponsors and those who provide services to them. Plan Advisory Services publishes analyses of regulatory developments affecting private employer defined benefit and defined contribution plans, focusing on the challenges, opportunities, and consequences for sponsors that regulatory changes present. Mike has had over 40 years’ experience in the benefits field, in law and consulting firms, concentrating on the regulation of private employer DB and DC retirement plans.

Beginning law practice in 1976, the year that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) became effective, Mike has worked with and studied the evolving complexities of regulation in this heavily regulated field. Before founding Plan Advisory Services in 1998, Mike was Managing Director at Bankers Trust and, before that, a New York benefits partner at LeBeouf, Lamb, Greene & McRae. He writes a regular column for PLANSPONSOR magazine (“Barry’s Pickings”). Mike blogs at moneyvstime.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @PlanAdvisorySvc. His book – Retirement Savings Policy – Past, Present, and Future, published by De|G PRESS is available on Amazon

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 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Sep 20, 2019

We last spoke with my guest Fred Reish, ERISA Attorney and Partner at Drinker Biddle in the immediate aftermath of the demise of the DOL Fiduciary Rule.  Today, we catch-up on what has happened since and what implications they have for employers, their employees and retirement service providers.  Without stealing too much of Fred’s thunder, we start with why this conversation and regulations exists, what has changed in concept and with new and newish players entering the fray like the SEC and several states.  We also put a finer point to some concepts that sound the same but have different meanings like conflict of interest & prohibited transaction or fiduciary & best interest.  Also Fred is pretty candid about what he thinks the result of these regulations will be and for my closing question, I get him to wax a little philosophical.  

As a reminder, check out the website for todays episode at 401kfridays.com/reish2019 for a full transcript, links to Fred’s blog and other information he puts out as well as his answer to this weeks bonus question.  To give you a little preview, Fred shares his opinion on whether the DOL will revisit the fiduciary rule and what that could look like.  

Guest Bio

Fred Reish is an ERISA attorney whose practice focuses on fiduciary responsibility, prohibited transactions and plan qualification and operational issues. He has been recognized as one of the “Legends” of the retirement industry by both PlanAdviser magazine and PlanSponsor magazine. Fred has received awards for: the 401(k) Industry’s Most Influential Person by 401kWire; one of RIABiz’s 10 most influential individuals in the 401(k) industry affecting RIAs; the Commissioner’s Award and the District Director’s Award by the IRS; the Eidson Founder’s Award by the American Society of Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA); the Institutional Investor and the PlanSponsor magazine Lifetime Achievement Awards; and the ASPPA/Morningstar 401(k) Leadership Award. He has also received the Arizona State University Alumni Service Award. Fred has written more than 350 articles and four books about retirement plans, including a monthly column on 401(k) fiduciary issues for PlanSponsormagazine. Fred Co-Chaired the IRS Los Angeles Benefits Conference for over 10 years, served as a founding Co-Chair of the ASPPA 401(k) Summit, and has served on the Steering Committee for the DOL National Conference.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Sep 13, 2019

Depending on who you ask, fiduciary liability insurance might not be on the top of their list as the most exciting topic, but it is important.  For my guest today, Reid Eanes, a Senior Vice President with Lockton Insurance Brokers, helping insure fiduciary is from workplace retirement plans is a key part of his day job.  We start with a few basics on how fiduciary liability insurance works and differs from other types of insurance programs a company might have, we then delve into what types of “issues” can be covered, thoughts on how to determine the amount of fiduciary liability insurance and what types of plans are harder or more expensive to insure.  Finally, with all the talk of cyber liability we hit on what employers can do to insure potential risk there.  Oh, and don’t miss the part where we talk about what to do if you think you want or need to make a claim on your fiduciary liability insurance policy, some definite do’s and don’ts.  

Before we get started, if you have been enjoying the podcast if you could either go to your favorite podcast app and either like or leave a comment.  Based on the way their technology works, that goes a long way in helping other people find the podcast.  As our audience grows, it helps me continue to attract great guests and bring you their unique perspectives on workplace retirement plans.  

Guest Bio

Reid is a Senior Vice President and Practice Leader for the Pacific South region of Lockton Financial Services (LFS), the National D&O and Governance Risk Management Group. Reid has responsibility for the Los Angeles, Irvine, and San Diego LFS teams.

Reid is responsible for operations and client servicing for Executive Liability coverages. He provides full contract analysis, coverage negotiation, claims advocacy, and alternative program design. Reid is well versed in the financial and analytical review of companies, from a risk management perspective. 

Reid is a regular pubic speaker on the topic of Executive Risk insurance and Governance Risk Management. 

Reid works with a diverse set of clients, especially those with more complex risk needs. His expertise includes public and private companies, financial institutions, and healthcare risks 

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

 

Sep 6, 2019

This week we try something a little different.  This episode is the audio portion of a webinar I hosted a few weeks ago.  The content was great and I thought it would make sense share with you.  My conversation features Sam Henson and Ethan McWilliams, both members of Lockton's ERISA regulatory and compliance team and both spent time as investigators with the Department of Labor.  We start with a quick overview of an employer's fiduciary responsibilities, then compare and contrast how they relate to retirement and benefits plans, next we hit on the DOL's enforcement priorities, the every popular topic of HSA plans and where they fit in the fiduciary conversation, plan assets and fees and close out with everyone's favorite topic compliance and reporting. 

I host several webinars are year, if you did not get an invite to this one and would like to in the future, just go to www.401kfridays.com/subscribe today and join our email list.  Next one is coming up in November and will feature a prior podcast guest as we talk about how a plaintiff's attorney views your retirement plan.

Guest Bios

Sam Henson serves as Director, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs
for Lockton Retirement Services. He acts as a subject
matter expert on ERISA compliance, DOL/IRS activities,
and the legislative landscape. In addition, Sam supervises
compliance services for more than 1,000 Lockton
retirement clients and 100 retirement Associates.

Prior to joining Lockton, Sam spent almost 10 years
with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits
Security Administration. While with the DOL, Sam was
a Senior Investigator, conducting more than 100 civil and
criminal investigations of employee benefits plans, service
providers, and fiduciaries. Sam supervised enforcement
efforts for benefit plans funded by prevailing wage laws
under the Service Contract Act and Davis-Bacon Act.
In his current role, Sam is able to leverage his past
experiences to assist employers with reducing their
fiduciary risks.

Ethan McWilliams brings five years of ERISA regulatory compliance
experience to his position as Lockton Benefit Group’s
Senior Compliance Analyst. At Lockton, Ethan’s
primary responsibility is heading up the newly launched
simulated Department of Labor investigation service,
ACE.


Working with client or prospect representatives and
Lockton’s account teams, Ethan simulates every step of
the DOL investigation process with the ultimate goal of
preparing plan sponsors for the process of a real DOL
investigation. Through a review of plan documents
and mock fiduciary interviews, Ethan identifies red-flag
items and suggests available remedies, recommends
the implementation of best practices where established
procedures may be weak, and educates plan sponsors
on exactly what to expect when their benefit plans are
chosen for investigation.


Before joining Lockton, Ethan worked
as an Investigator for the US Department of Labor -
Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). At
EBSA, Ethan conducted a variety of employee benefit plan investigations on both the retirement and health/
welfare sides, running the gamut from complex defined
benefit pension plans and 401(k)/403(b) defined
contribution plans to multi-option medical, dental, and
life insurance plans. Ethan also served as a member of
several regional and national project teams, including
initiatives aimed at identifying best practices for plan
procedural prudence and establishing baselines for
reasonable plan fee calculations.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Aug 30, 2019

Should employers focus their efforts to help employees on the journey to retirement by providing true investment advice or more in the trenches financial support?  To debate the finer points and provide his in the trenches experience, I was excited to welcome back Peter Dunn, aka Pete the Planner to the podcast.  Pete has a pretty unique vantage point as he provides employers with a suite of financial wellness tools but he also has a support center for employees of his clients to speak, email or text with.  During our conversation, Pete shares some common real life questions and challenges his team gets from real life employees.  We hit on why honesty and empathy is important in financial conversations, examples of how investment advice only scratch s the financial surface for most employees, a few thoughts on where plan design fits in the conversation, a few sanity checks for me and strategies to move farther down the path towards providing holistic financial support to help improve employees financial wellbeing.  Also, don’t miss where I was actually more eloquent in describing something than Pete, defiantly a first for me. 

Before we get started, a few of the suggestions I have received to improve the podcast was to share more of my personal opinions.  This episodes definitely gets there.  If you have further ideas or suggestions to improve the podcast please shoot me an email to feedback@401kfridays.com.  

Guest Bio

Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning comedian and an award-winning financial mind. He’s a USA TODAY columnist and the author of ten books, six of which were featured in a nationwide launch at Barnes & Nobles stores in January of 2015. He is the host of the popular radio show The Pete the Planner Show on 93 WIBC FM and is a columnist for the Indy Star. Pete has appeared regularly on CNN Headline News, Fox News, Fox Business as well as numerous nationally syndicated radio programs. In 2012, Cision named Pete the fourth most influential financial broadcaster in the nation. Pete lives in Carmel, Indiana with his wife and two young children.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Aug 23, 2019

Wars have been started over words, and retirement outcomes for employees can also be impacted by words.  My guest today, Steve Jenks, a Senior Vice President and the Chief Marketing Officer at Empower shares his over 20 years of experience on how word choice can make a big difference to someone’s ability to retire.  Key words you find commonly in retirement plan communications like match, assets, participants, deferral percentage don’t have the meaning or impact you think it should have with your employees.  We also hit on the differences in impact of illustrations vs. words, the importance of keeping calls to action simple, how automatic plan features have changed communications, measuring results, social media strategies and much more.  Also, he had a surprising conclusion on how employees like to receive information about their retirement plans and their desire for in person meetings, don’t miss that.  

Steve also references a few white papers from studies he and his team have conducted at Empower.  You can find links to those along with his answer to a bonus question, the transcript from the episode and much more at www.401kfridays.com/words.  

Guest Bio

Steve Jenks is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Empower Retirement and Great-West Financial®.

Steve has 28 years of marketing, product and business leadership experience. He joined Empower and Great-West in 2014. Previously, Steve served as Head of Defined Contribution Product and Marketing for Putnam Investments, where he helped shape and execute growth strategies for the organization’s defined contribution, investment-only and rollover businesses. Steve began his investment industry career in 1990 with Fifth Third Bank. From there, he held leadership roles in marketing, product, finance and relationship management for Fidelity Investments from 1992 to 2009. Steve also co-founded Acceleration Retirement, a marketing analytics and outsourcing firm, and Stable Two Financial, a registered investment advisory company. He served as CEO of both companies.

Steve holds a bachelor’s degree with distinction in business analysis from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. He is a registered representative of GWFS Equities, Inc. and maintains FINRA Series 6, 26 and 63 securities registrations. Steve is currently on the boards of the American Red Cross, Mile High Chapter; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado; and Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) Colorado.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Aug 16, 2019

Could retirement plan loans be the next big fiduciary concern for plan sponsors?  Hard to tell, but my conversation today with Bruce Ashton, ERISA Attorney and Partner in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice at Drinker Biddle, will certainly help you understand why multiple regulators are taking a harder look at the retirement plan loans, especially defaults.  We cover a ton of ground including my opening question which is likely the first thing that would come to the minds of most employers, we delve into how loans become a fiduciary concern and much more.  I also ask Bruce the inevitable question of whether the time has come to eliminate loans in workplace retirement plans.  

Before we get started, don’t forget that we have bonus question on the website, a full transcript of the episode, a copy of the white paper Bruce authored on the loan challenges we discuss today and much more. You can find it by going to 401kfridays.com/ashton.  

Guest Bio

Bruce L. Ashton has more than 35 years of experience handling employee benefits matters. His practice concentrates on representing plan service providers (including RIAs, independent record-keepers, third-party administrators, broker-dealers and insurance companies) in fulfilling their obligations under ERISA. His experience includes representing public and private sector plans and their sponsors, negotiating the resolution of plan qualification issues under IRS remedial correction programs, advising and defending fiduciaries on their obligations and liabilities, and structuring qualified plans, non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements.

Combining his employee benefits and transactional experience, Bruce is also active in the installation and funding of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).

Bruce is a contributor to Drinker Biddle’s Broker-Dealer Law Blog, which provides practical insights on litigation, regulatory, compliance and fiduciary issues impacting broker-dealers. He has co-authored four books on employee benefits issues and a quarterly column in the Journal of Pension Benefits on IRS remedial programs, and is a frequent contributor to various tax and pension publications. He is a frequent speaker on employee benefits issues ranging from fiduciary responsibility to ESOPs, and is a regularly featured speaker at conferences sponsored by ASPPA, and other organizations.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Aug 9, 2019

There are three state run retirement plans that are now live.  Despite the fact they have been in the news, there are still a lot of questions about what they are, how they work and how they impact employers and employees who already have a 401(k) or other workplace retirement plan.  To help provide some information and clear up misperceptions I am excited to have Katie Selenski, the Executive Director of CalSavers, the newly launched California state retirement plan join on the podcast.  During our conversation, Katie takes care of the basics and also shares the highlights of some research they did when preparing to launch their plan, some of which might be a bit surprising and other points could help employers with some decisions about their own retirement plans.  We also discuss the profile of the businesses that will benefit from state plans, how wage theft laws provide some protection to employees who participate in them, whether there might be a national plan at some point in the future and what’s next for state plans.  

As we did on last week’s episode, Katie answers a written bonus question, we have a full episode transcript,  how to get in touch with Katie and more on the website.  You can find that by going to www.401kfridays.com/calsavers2019.  

Guest Bio

Katie Selenski was appointed in 2017 by the California State Treasurer to serve as the first Executive Director of the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board which operates CalSavers, the state’s pioneering retirement savings program. The program will provide a path to retirement security for millions Californians who currently lack access to a retirement savings vehicle at work.

Prior to taking the helm at CalSavers, Ms. Selenski was the State Policy Director for pension policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C., where she managed Pew’s efforts to help fiscally distressed states and cities undertake data-driven pension system improvements.  Previously, she was a senior manager with the nonpartisan public sector consulting firm Harvey M. Rose Associates, based in San Francisco, where she advised policymakers on a wide array of budget, management, and policy matters, including pensions. She has also worked as a municipal bond rating analyst, a legislative fellow in the California Assembly, and the director of an historic statewide nonpartisan youth voter turnout initiative. Ms. Selenski is a member of the advisory board of the Aspen Institute’s Leadership Forum on Retirement Savings. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard 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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Aug 2, 2019

After a quick hiatus in July, we are back and excited about what we have in store! To kick things off, this episode features my conversation with Jeff Holt, CFA and Director, Multi-Asset & Alternative Strategies with Morningstar Research Services and a lead author of the annual Morningstar Target Date Landscape Report.  This is the third time Jeff has been on the podcast and his return does not disappoint.  The broader theme of our conversation was the importance of avoiding oversimplifications when evaluating target date funds.  As you will hear, this ranges from cost, glide path, the classic too vs. through distinction, mutual funds vs. CITs and many more.  With the prevalence of target date funds in workplace retirement plans, I thought this would be a great way to get things going again.  

Before we get started, a few tweaks to look forward to going forward.  First, we will provide a transcript on the 401(k) Fridays website for each episode.  Second, also on the website each guest will provide a written answer to a bonus question.  For this specific episode, we have a link to the 2019 Target Date Landscape Report we discussed today.  You can find all this and more by going to www.401kfridays.com/holt2019. If you have any other ideas to improve the podcast please share them with me via email, feedback@401kfridays.com. 

Guest Bio

Jeff Holt, CFA, is director of multi-asset and alternative strategies for Morningstar Research Services LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc. He covers target-date funds and other multi-asset funds from various asset managers.

Before joining Morningstar in 2014, Holt spent nearly nine years at Jeffrey Slocum & Associates (since acquired by Pavilion Financial), where he was responsible for investment research to support the firm’s defined-contribution practice. He covered target-date funds, stable value funds, and other asset classes specific to defined-contribution clients.

Holt holds a bachelor’s degree in management, with a concentration in corporate finance, from Brigham Young University. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Jun 28, 2019

This episode is a follow on conversation to an episode a few months ago where we talked about the operational aspects of self-directed brokerage accounts in workplace retirement plans.  While you don’t have to listen to the prior episode first, it is definitely worth checking out if you are interested in the topic.  Today, Tom Clark, a Partner and ERISA Attorney with the Wagner Law Group and I jump into the sometimes scary and confusing fiduciary territory of offering self-directed brokerage accounts.  Tom shares great input on the general fiduciary concepts around self-directed brokerage, fee equity issues, discrimination issues, prohibited investments, the DOL’s attitude towards them and much more. Tom also talks about a few left turns employers can take off a cliff when offering self-directed brokerage accounts, a few great responses to participant questions about self-directed brokerage, thoughts on beanie babies  and his take on whether Ralphie will shoot his eye out.  

Quick reminder, this will be our last episode prior to a brief hiatus in July.  Rest assured we will be back in August with some exciting new episodes.  During the break, check out some of the 160 episodes we have released.  Most of them are evergreen and do not have an expiration to them.  Also, I will be thinking about ways to make the podcast more valuable.  Please shoot me any ideas for improvement, future guests, topics or questions I should be asking.  Love to hear what you have to say, shoot me an email to feedback@401kfridays.com.  

Guest Bio

Tom Clark leads the St. Louis office of the Wagner Law Group. His expertise encompasses all aspects of employee benefits programs, including the design, implementation and compliance of retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and executive and incentive compensation arrangements. He also has a robust practice assisting covered service providers in meeting their ERISA compliance needs.

Mr. Clark’s vast litigation experience complements the firm’s strong and growing ERISA and employment litigation department and includes work on landmark ERISA cases involving complicated ERISA fiduciary duty issues. He has been quoted extensively as an ERISA and employee benefits expert by outlets such as Reuters, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, and Forbes.

Mr. Clark teaches ERISA fiduciary law as an Adjunct Professor at The Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, his alma mater. He is a co-author of the Second Edition of "ERISA: Principles of Employee Benefits Law," the only treatise of its kind that provides an overview of the regulation of employee benefit plans by highlighting the central principles and competing policies of employee benefits law in a compact and accessible format for a broad audience of readers.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Jun 21, 2019

For the last several years a consistent message in the marketplace for retirement plan sponsors, participants and the industry has been the importance of investment fees. The good news is nearly all investment fees have been on a downward trend.  As the cost of many passive investment options approach zero, is expense still the most important factor when evaluating index strategies?  Today, I am happy to welcome Marty Kleppe, Head of Index Investing at Vanguard to share his thoughts.  With the continued popularity of index funds in retirement plans, Marty shares some timely thoughts about index investing is more than just low cost, what securities lending is and the role it plays and finally how there is skill involved in managing index funds.  This was a great conversation and one to definitely stick with to the end as I give Marty the opportunity to respond to some of comments active managers have shared about index managers over the years.

Also, Marty and his team put together a white paper on this topic which you can access from the link in the notes or by searching Vanguard Beyond Expense Ratio.  

Guest Bio

Martin Kleppe is the head of Equity Index Product Management in Vanguard Portfolio Review Department, where his team is responsible for conducting surveillance of competitor products and positioning, meeting with clients and prospects to discuss Vanguard's equity index lineup, publishing on noteworthy developments in the equity index marketplace and Vanguard lineup, and supporting equity index education initiatives. Mr. Kleppe joined Vanguard in 1989, and joined Portfolio Review in 2003. For the majority of his tenure with Portfolio Review, Mr. Kleppe was a senior member of the Product Strategy team, which is responsible for researching, designing, and launching new funds; monitoring the health of the existing fund lineup; researching, proposing, and implementing changes to the existing fund lineup; and coordinating these functions across five global jurisdictions. In 2016, Mr. Kleppe became the Global SMA Product Manager. His responsibilities included researching and defining the investment capabilities available to SMA (separately managed account) clients and overseeing the various organizational processes needed to support SMAs. He assumed his current role in 2017, and continues to work with SMAs. Mr. Kleppe earned a B.S. from The Pennsylvania State University and an M.B.A. Saint Joseph's University. In addition, he is a CFA® charterholder and is a member of the CFA Society of Philadelphia.

 CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Jun 14, 2019

One of the most popular questions we get from employers is what is going on with 401(k) or ERISA litigation, or the close cousin to the question, what is on the horizon that we should be aware of?  To share some perspective on that and much more, I am happy to welcome Carl Engstrom, a partner with Nichols Kaster, a plaintiff’s litigation firm who has secured over $100 million in ERISA settlements in the last few years. During our conversation, Carl does a great job sorting through some headlines and predictions that he agrees with and some that he does not agree with on the future direction of ERISA litigation.  As you will hear, Carl is not shy and shares his candid insights and predictions so I won't steal his thunder.  

One thing before we get started, our podcast community continues to grow.  Thank you for sharing the podcast with friends, colleagues or members of your professional network.  As our audience continues to grow, it helps me attract great guests to share helpful insights with you! 

Guest Bio

Carl F. Engstrom is a partner at Nichols Kaster, PLLP, a plaintiff’s litigation firm located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  As a founding member of Nichols Kaster’s ERISA litigation group, Carl has been counsel of record in every ERISA case brought by the group since its inception in 2015.  In that time, Nichols Kaster’s ERISA litigation group has helped negotiate settlements totaling over $100 million on behalf of defined contribution plan participants harmed by fiduciary self-dealing, excessive fees, and imprudent retirement plan investments. Notable settlements include cases against Deutsche Bank, American Airlines, Allianz Asset Management of America, Fujitsu, and BB&T.

Prior to entering the legal profession, Carl spent six years working as a financial advisor, providing retirement and investment advice to hundreds of clients, and earning the Certified Financial Planner™ designation, though he has not maintained his certification.  

Carl graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School and earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard College, where he also graduated with honors.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Jun 7, 2019

Student loans have gotten a lot of attention recently.  Whether it is due to the sheer number of loans and size of the outstanding debt, or due to the competition for talent, employers are weighing whether they should offer new benefit to help those who have them.  Today, we take a little different view on student loan debt and delve into the impact they might have on the economy and unpack a few popular narratives in the marketplace.  To provide the intellectual muscle to the conversation I was glad to have Scott Kimball, a portfolio manager for BMO Global Asset Management join me today.  Scott does a great job helping explain the impact of student loan debt on the economy and creates the case for why employers should consider their impact on the employees, even if you don’t have a lot of millennials.  Also, don’t miss his take on whether Student Loans are the next sub prime mortgages and stick around for Scott's thoughts on some other things he is concerned about that could pose a threat to the economy.  

Before we get started, we have a few more new episodes coming out in June before we take a little hiatus in July.  During the short break, I will be thinking about ways to improve the podcast, kicking around future topics and looking for future guests.  I would love to get feedback from our listeners.  Please shoot me an email to feedback@401kfridays.com if you have something to share.  Anything good, bad or just a note saying that you enjoy the show is appreciated. 

Guest Bio

Scott Kimball, CFA Director & Portfolio Manager is responsible for the firm’s investment policy and strategy and manages client portfolios. He joined BMO in 2007 and served as a research analyst prior to joining the portfolio management team in 2011. He is also a member of the management committee.

Previously, Scott held positions at Merrill Lynch and other boutique investment firms. He began his career in the investment industry in 2003.

Scott holds an M.B.A. from the University of Miami and a B.A. in international business from Stetson University. In addition, he is a CFA® charterholder.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

 

May 31, 2019

A few years ago, the idea that participants in 401(k) plans were going to keep their money in their retirement plans longer started to gain traction.  Today, my guest Sue Walton, a SVP and Senior Retirement Strategist with The Capital Group shares how that idea got started and more.  I start with sharing a few of my preconceived notions about how retirement plans work for retirees, Sue responds to a few cynical comments and then get into the meat of how to make your workplace retirement plan more retiree friendly and how that could help your company and employees.  With some potential help on the way in the form of legislation, don’t miss our conversation on the current state of retirement income and how employers could integrate that into their plans going forward.  Finally, I stepped all over Sue’s great wrap up, but i think it was worth it.  

Quick thought before we get started, next time you are on LInkedIn, be sure to follow the 401(k) Fridays Podcast page.  I use that to announce new episodes, give you opportunities to ask questions of future guests and more.  And, don’t be shy.  If you have a question you want me to ask a future guest, leave it in the comments or shoot me an email to feedback@401kfridays.com.  

Guest Bio

Sue Walton is a senior defined contribution strategist at American Funds, part of Capital Group. She has 21 years of industry experience and has been with Capital Group for two years. Prior to joining Capital, Sue was a director at Towers Watson Investment Services. Before that, she was an investment consultant at Mercer Investment Consulting and Ellwood Associates. She holds an MBA from DePaul University with a concentration in finance and a bachelor’s degree in business administration, economics and international business from Marquette University. Sue is based in Chicago.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Disclosure

Investments are not FDIC-insured, nor are they deposits of or guaranteed by a bank or any other entity, so they may lose value.
American Funds distributed by American Funds Distributors, Inc.

May 24, 2019

Thought it might be helpful to discuss a core retirement plan fiduciary concept, the duty to monitor.  To lend some muscle to the conversation I was excited to welcome back Jim Scheinberg, the Managing Partner and Founder of North Pier Fiduciary Management.  We kick off with one of the best explanations of what it means to be a fiduciary that I have heard and then we delve into the world what the fiduciary duty to monitor means, best practices for plan sponsors to follow and much more.  Jim also has some interesting points about how M&A in the retirement industry ties into monitoring, and some important differences between the roles of benchmarking, RFIs and RFPs.  Stick around for my wrap up this week to get an interesting story about one thing Jim and I had in common that we didn’t realize.

Guest Bio

Born and raised in the North Suburbs of Chicago, Jim Scheinberg came to Southern California in 1987 to pursue his B.A. in Political Science at University of California, Los Angeles. He achieved the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) designation in 2001 from The Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA®) in conjunction with the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. He has also earned the Accredited Investment FiduciaryTM (AIF®) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary AnalystTM(AIFA®) designations, awarded by the Center for Fiduciary Studies, which is associated with the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business of the University of Pittsburgh. He also earned the PLANSPONSOR Retirement Professional designation (PRP) from the PLANSPONSOR Institute and sits on the Steering Committee of The Center for Due Diligence. He is a quoted resource to journalists, a regular guest expert on a syndicated radio and a regular speaker at industry conferences. Jim also regularly serves as a consulting expert for U.S. government regulatory agencies and as an expert witness for Federal ERISA litigation.

 
Jim Scheinberg began his career in venture capital in 1990 moving to general securities with Smith Barney Harris Upham in 1992. He joined Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. in 1994 as an Associate in the Oppenheimer Consulting Group, the firm’s institutional investment management consulting department, where he worked with sponsors of trustee-directed plans and other institutional clients. In 2001, Jim founded what would become the Corporate Services Group of Oppenheimer Co., Inc. (CSG), where he eventually held the position of Director and Senior Vice President. CSG was an industry pioneer in providing conflict free, fee-only investment consulting and fiduciary advocacy for institutional, participant-directed plan sponsors. In 2008, Jim and CSG Partner Brant Griffin founded North Pier Fiduciary Management LLC. His tenure in the industry has also included experience in hedging and monetization, corporate executive services, and corporate cash management.
 
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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

May 17, 2019

We break new ground today on the podcast as we talk about FOMO, catching falling knives, Uncle Warren and chewing glass.  My guest today is John Allen, CFA the Chief Investment Officer at Aspirant.  We also hit on some other great concepts such as why it is important to understand vs. observe what your investment managers are doing, thoughts on the impact of investment bubbles in the short, medium and long term.  I also have a new word for my vocabulary, conflate, John makes some insightful observations about how that term applies to risk and return for some people which dovetails nicely into some other thoughts on whether some traditional guidance 401(k) participants get, still makes sense. Finally, John makes some not so rosy predictions for what the next seven to ten years could look like for investors and why that matters to 401(k) plans and participants. Not always fun to consider, but definitely worth the listen.  

Before we get started, a lot of the topics John and I cover on the podcast came from the quarterly newsletter John and his firm Aspiriant put out.  If you want to check them out or subscribe, the link is below.  Click on that and you can figure it out from there.  Finally, be sure to catch my post episode wrap up for a few more interesting tidbits on this episode and what we have coming up in future episodes.  

http://aspiriant.com/fathom/insight/

Guest Bio

John Allen joined Aspiriant in 2013 as Chief Investment Officer. As CIO, John is primarily responsible for leading the firm’s overall Investment Strategy & Research Group, broadly consisting of twelve investment professionals. The group is responsible for asset allocation, portfolio construction, manager selection and risk management. John is also the Chair of the firm’s Investment Committee and serves on a number of other committees. He has nearly twenty years of experience in investment management, investment banking, corporate finance advisory and business strategy consulting. 

Prior to joining the firm, John was a senior member of the client service team at Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo (“GMO”), which manages approximately $115 Billion across a wide-range of public equities, fixed income, hedge funds and asset allocation funds. In that role, John had primary responsibility for 80 clients and $6.5B in assets under management. 

Prior to joining GMO, John was the Head of Investments at a large family office in Los Angeles. There, John had responsibility for managing the firm’s overall investment portfolio as well as its direct investments. 

John established his career working in the investment banking department at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and in the business consulting practice at Stern Stewart & Co. Throughout his career, John has served on the boards of directors of three private companies. 

John earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree with high distinction from the Economics Department at the University of Virginia. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation. He is also a member of the CFA Institute and CAIA Association. 

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

 

May 10, 2019

This episode is a companion episode to a similar one we released a few weeks about which focussed on the equity side of the conversation.  Not require listening, but if this one caught your eye, you should check that one out as well. My guest today, John Bellows, PhD, a Portfolio Manager with Western Asset Management and a member of their US Broad Strategy Committee, the Global Investment Strategy Committee and the Global Portfolios team. We jump into the recent market action right out of the gate to help interpret some recent events and how they could impact fixed income investments in workplace retirement plans.  We also hit on some topics that can cause confusion such as do we want inflation which makes things more expensive and want to avoid deflation which makes things less expensive.  With the background set, John then shares some great input on evaluating the fixed income portion of investment menus.  Be sure to stick around for his comments towards the end about the index vs. active conversation in the fixed income space.  

Guest Bio

John L. Bellows, PhD, is a Portfolio Manager with Western Asset Management Company, LLC. Prior to joining the Firm in 2012, Mr. Bellows served at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, most recently as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy. At Western Asset, he is a member of the US Broad Strategy Committee and the Global Investment Strategy Committee. In 2018 he took on an elevated role in the Global Portfolios team where he is a leading voice for US and global macro strategies.

Mr. Bellows holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Dartmouth College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, and a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds the CFA designation.

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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

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