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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: January, 2019
Jan 25, 2019

If you are looking for a some timely insights on where the economy and markets head from here, my conversation today with Dr. David Kelly, CFA Managing Director and Chief Global Strategist for J.P. Morgan Asset Management hits the mark.  We cover arguments for why the bull market may continue and why a bear market could set in.  We also share some thought provoking points for individuals sitting in the proverbial conference room making decisions about their investment  menu design.  And towards the end, don’t miss a great new quote, well it was from a Greek philosopher so not sure if that counts as new but, it involves a man and a river, pretty good analogy for where we are today in the market and economy.  

Guest Bio

Dr. David Kelly is the Chief Global Strategist and Head of the Global Market Insights Strategy Team for J.P. Morgan Asset Management. With over 20 years of experience, David provides valuable insight and perspective on the economy and markets to the institutional investor and financial advisor global communities.

David’s research focuses on investment implications of an evolving economic environment. He has written extensively on all aspects of the U.S. economy and his proprietary U.S. economic forecasting model helps shape his views on both the economic landscape and prospective asset class returns. He currently sits on JP Morgan Fund’s operating committee.

Throughout his career, David has developed a unique ability to explain complex economic and market issues in a language that financial professionals can use to communicate to their clients. He is a keynote speaker at many national investment conferences and a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, and other financial media outlets.

Prior to joining J.P. Morgan Asset Management, David served as Economic Advisor to Putnam Investments. He has also served as a senior strategist/economist at SPP Investment Management, Primark Decision Economics, Lehman Brothers and DRI/McGraw-Hill.

David is a CFA® charterholder. He also has a Ph.D and M.A. in Economics from Michigan State University and a B.A. in Economics from University College Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.

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!

Jan 18, 2019

I don’t know who said it first, but every company is a technology company.  That becomes very evident during my conversation with Tom Conlon of Betterment, a start-up fintech company or what some also refer to as a Robo Advisor in the 401(k) space.  Tom does a great job sharing how technology enabled companies are looking to disrupt the 401(k) space for companies and plans of all sizes.  You will hear him comment on different strategies they use to attract clients, how technology is drives their business and his responses to some criticism tech enabled 401(k) providers have received.

Guest Bio

Tom Conlon is Head of Client Relations at Betterment for Business, a technology-led 401(k) provider that aims to deliver better retirement outcomes and personalized advice. Tom has spent the last 10 years in the retirement services industry where he has held various positions leading teams and helping plan sponsors accomplish their goals for their retirement plans. His focus has always been on helping plan sponsors simplify plan design and administration to help achieve broader goals for impactful participant outcomes.

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!

Jan 11, 2019

The mere thought of a 401(k) lawsuit can send shivers down the spine of even the most experienced retirement plan fiduciary.  However, when you have a grasp on why workplace retirement plans are being sued, how the economics of a lawsuit work and what you can do to make the job of a plaintiff’s attorney harder, the risk can be a little easier to manage.  For answers to these and more questions, I thought it was time to invite Jerry Schlichter, the plaintiff’s attorney who has sued numerous 401(k) and 403(b) plans around the country and even successfully argued a 401(k) case before the US Supreme Court back to the podcast to share his thoughts. 

I was also able to work in several questions from our listeners into the episode.  If you missed your opportunity to submit a question be sure are one of our email subscribers, we often send announcements out about future guests and give you the opportunity to share your questions in advance.  Go to 401kfridays.com/subscribe today to take care of that.  If after listening to this episode you feel like you need a little fiduciary refresher, check out last week’s episode with Jason Roberts.  Some good points there to help you sleep better and keep the boogeyman away.  

Guest Bio

Jerry is founding and managing partner of the firm. He has been repeatedly elected by his peers for inclusion in "Best Lawyers in America” and “Lawyer of the Year” and is listed in the 2019 edition.

Jerry has been designated legal counsel for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers for many years and is currently designated legal counsel for the United Transportation Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. He has represented railroad workers in trials in many states and has had record-setting jury verdicts in numerous jurisdictions. He obtained a verdict of $27 million for the widow and children of a St. Louis firefighter for a defective breathing apparatus which caused the firefighter's death. This verdict, which was increased to $40.4 million with pre and post judgment interest, was the highest jury verdict in Missouri in 2007 and one of the highest in the United States. The entire amount was collected after appeal. He has also obtained multiple precedent-setting judgments against railroads, including successfully requiring a railroad and the Federal Railroad Administration to modify rules on certification of railroad engineers; successfully obtaining a permanent injunction against the Union Pacific Railroad on behalf of all of its employees, which stopped the railroad's practice of interfering with employees' ability to pursue injury claims; and obtaining the first and only jury verdict in the United States in which a jury determined that a locomotive was not crashworthy, resulting in a jury verdict of $4.75 million, which was the highest verdict against that railroad by an injured employee in its history.

Throughout his career, he has also handled major precedent-setting class action and mass tort cases on behalf of individuals.

Jerry has been featured in numerous national publications, including the New York Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal, for his and the firm’s success in pioneering claims of excessive fees in 401(K) plans and obtaining precedent-setting results involving claims of excessive fees against large employers, and for the reduction in fees his cases have caused throughout the 401(k) industry.

He and the firm have obtained settlements in these 401(k) excessive fee cases of more than $300 million for employees and retirees, in addition to significant improvements in their 401(k) plans; in total, this relief has been valued at more than $1.5 billion. He also was lead attorney for the firm in the first and only full trial of an excessive fee case in the country, resulting in a verdict of $36 million. In recent rankings of the most influential people in the 401(k) industry by 401kWire.com, Jerry has repeatedly ranked in the top 5.

According to a recent article published in Reuters, the CEO of Brightscope, an independent company which evaluates 401(k) plans, stated, speaking of Mr. Schlichter’s national impact on 401(k) plan fees, that “[h]is impact has been humongous." The New York Times has referred to Jerry as “a Lone Ranger of the 401(k)’s,” and he has been referred to by Investment News as “public enemy no. 1 for 401(k) profiteers” and by Chief Investment Officer as “the industry’s most feared attorney.” In describing the effect of his work on behalf of employees in 401(k) plans, the Wall Street Journal referred to it as being “Schlicterized”.

In 2014 and 2015, Mr. Schlichter’s firm obtained the two largest 401(k) excessive fee settlements in history. The first was a settlement for $62 million against Lockheed Martin on behalf of Lockheed Martin employees, which included significant changes to the Lockheed Martin 401(k) plan. The second was a settlement for $57 million from Boeing, which likewise included significant non-monetary relief.

Also in 2015, Mr. Schlichter won a unanimous 9-0 decision in the U.S. Supreme Court in Tibble v. Edison, the first U.S. Supreme Court case to consider fees in 401(k) plans.

In an order in the case of Nolte v. Cigna Corporation in 2013, the U.S. District Court judge stated: “As the preeminent firm in 401(k) fee litigation, Schlichter, Bogard & Denton has achieved unparalleled results on behalf of its clients. Jerome Schlichter and Schlichter, Bogard & Denton’s work throughout this litigation stands as yet another example of the firm’s acting as a private attorney general, risking breathtaking amounts of time and money while overcoming many obstacles for the benefit of employees and retirees. . . . Mr. Schlichter and the Schlichter, Bogard & Denton firm’s actions have led to dramatic changes in the 401(k) industry, which have benefited employees and retirees throughout the country by bringing sweeping changes to fiduciary practices.”

The U.S. District Court in Tussey v. ABB similarly found of “special importance . . . the significant, national contribution” made by the team led by Mr. Schlichter, which has “educated plan administrators, the Department of Labor, the courts and retirement plan participants” about the fiduciary obligations of 401(k) plan administrators.

Another example of his work on behalf of individuals is his representation of a class of African-American employment applicants in the case of Mister v. Illinois Central Gulf Railroad, a case in which he obtained an extraordinary Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision in which the court stated: "One could not imagine a stronger case of discrimination short of an announcement of it." This resulted in a $10 million settlement. In the Mister case, the U.S. District Court judge described his work stating: "The Court is unaware of any comparable achievement of public good by a private lawyer in the face of such obstacles and enormous demand of resources and finances." The judge also stated: "This Court finds that Mr. Schlichter's experience, reputation, and ability are of the highest caliber."

Jerry handled the nationally-recognized Times Beach dioxin case in which he represented a group of people in the community of Times Beach, Missouri who were exposed to dioxin when their streets were sprayed with the chemical. He obtained a record setting $19 million settlement on behalf of the residents against a chemical company in that case.

Jerry handled a national employment discrimination class action case on behalf of all women employees of Rent-a-Center. In that case, he confronted for the first time in a national employment discrimination class action a "reverse auction" in which the defendant attempted to destroy the case by an inadequate settlement with others. Jerry successfully defeated this attempt and obtained a $47 million settlement for the class as well as a complete revamping of company policies. This is one of the largest class action settlements for women in the United States and the U.S. District Court judge stated: "In essence, it is an example of advocacy at its highest and noblest purpose, and Class Counsel accomplished a great public good." The judge further stated: "I have never seen an effort like that effort put forth by the plaintiffs' counsel' – it's beyond an extraordinary effort."

Jerry is a past national President of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates. He has authored articles in the field of personal injury litigation and has spoken at numerous seminars on trial techniques, mass torts, class actions, and complex litigation. He has taught trial techniques as an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law.

Jerry has also been recognized for his involvement in community initiatives. He and his wife founded Mentor St. Louis, Inc., a not-for-profit organization which obtains adult mentors for disadvantaged elementary students in the St. Louis Public Schools, which has become the largest volunteer program in the St. Louis Public Schools and has been nationally recognized. He also successfully initiated and spearheaded the passage of a law, "The Missouri State Historic Tax Credit," which has been widely acknowledged for its role in revitalizing St. Louis and the State of Missouri, and which is the national model for legislation aimed at revitalizing older communities. He has also spearheaded and led the effort to pass the Missouri "Rebuilding Communities Act" designed to attract businesses to distressed communities and the "Neighborhood Preservation Act" to develop housing in distressed communities.

Jerry has received numerous awards, such as the Levee Stone Award and "What's Right with the Region Award" for his contributions to revitalization of the city of St. Louis and the state of Missouri.

In December 2013, Jerry was honored with the prestigious St. Louis Award, given to the person who has accomplished the most in the prior years for the development of St. Louis.

Jerry spearheaded the founding and development of another St. Louis not for profit, Arch Grants, which is a global competition for startup businesses in which winning entrepreneurs come to St. Louis, receive $50,000.00 and a broad package of support services including business mentoring, discounts on office space, and free legal, accounting, and marketing services. Arch Grants has provided grants of $50,000.00 to 114 startups since its founding in 2012, and has been the subject of numerous national articles describing its building of entrepreneurial businesses in St. Louis.

Education: University of Illinois, B.S., Business Administration, 1969, (in 3 years) with honors; James Scholar. University of California at Los Angeles, J.D. 1972; Associate Editor, UCLA Law Review.

Admitted: California (1972); Illinois (1973); Missouri (1982).

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!

Jan 4, 2019

Happy New Year and here is looking forward to another successful year on the 401(k) Fridays Podcast! We kick things off with my conversation with Jason Roberts, ERISA Attorney and the Founder & CEO of the Pension Resource Institute.  As a prior and early podcast guest, the two prior episodes we did are still very relevant.  While you don’t need to listen to them prior to this conversation, they are good to check out when you have a minute.  

Prior Episodes: Are You Running Your 401(k) Committee Meeting Wrong & A Misunderstood Risk In Your 401(k) Plan

This time we connect on what has or hasn’t changed relating to fiduciary governance since we last got together, we also delve into the three distinct buckets of fiduciary duties Jason recommends plan sponsors think about, what the Department of Labor has on their focus list, the double edge sword of fee disclosure, everyone’s favorite fiduciary topic, target date funds, and some unique insights on “proprietary” investments.  Jason also hits on a the hot topic of missing participants and a few investment policy statement tips and a few other nuggets.  

Guest Bio

Jason C. Roberts, Esq. is the founder and CEO of the Pension Resource Institute (PRI), a consulting firm that delivers strategic, compliance, training and technology-based solutions to financial institutions, retirement plan sponsors and asset managers. He is also a founder and shareholder at Retirement Law Group (RLG), a law firm specializing in ERISA and investment-related matters.

Prior to founding PRI and RLG, Jason was a partner and co-chair of the Financial Services Group at a leading ERISA law firm and the head of the Investment Fiduciary practice for a prominent securities industry legal defense firm.

Jason has been repeatedly recognized as one of the “100 Most Influential in Defined Contribution” by the 401(k) Wire and a “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers Magazine. In 2015, he was selected by InvestmentNews as one of the “Top 40 Advisors and Associated Professionals under 40” in the financial planning industry.

Jason has published numerous articles focusing on ERISA and securities compliance, fiduciary best practices and is a frequent speaker at retirement plan and financial industry conferences. He is a contributing author and faculty member for the Practicing Law Institute (PLI). Jason is also currently serving a two-year term as an advisor to the finance committee for the Beach Cities Health District.

Jason received his B.S.B.A. in Finance & Banking from the University of Missouri and his J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law. He is a graduate of FINRA’s Compliance Boot Camp and has obtained the designation of Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst™ from the Center for Fiduciary Studies.

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!

 

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