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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: March, 2019
Mar 29, 2019

Today we explore the changing landscape of Third Party Administrators, better known as TPAs.  With me, I am excited to have Jerry Bramlett, Head of TPA Solutions for Acensus.  During our wide ranging and insightful conversion we cover the current realities and challenges of TPAs, why consolidation wave has begun and how will the business and service models of TPAs either change or stay the same going forward.  We also hit on a few questions I received from listeners such as the impact of fee compression on TPAs, whether their will be any local TPAs going forward and how do things like ERISA 3(16) fiduciary services and payroll integration evolve.  Fun stuff!

Guest Bio

Jerry Bramlett was the Founder, President and CEO of The 401(k) Company (1983), which was sold to Charles Schwab in 2007. At the time of the sale, The 401(k) Company had 350 employees and served over 100 clients with approximately $25 billion in plan assets and more than 425,000 plan participants.


After the sale of The 401(k) Company Mr. Bramlett assumed the role of President and CEO of BenefitStreet, a financially troubled firm with 7,000 retirement plans under administration, over 400 employees and 10 subsidiaries. After taking BenefitStreet through a restructuring process, Mr. Bramlett and Peter Lynch, Vice Chairman of Fidelity Investments, acquired the assets of BenefitStreet and founded a new firm, NextStep, which was sold to The Newport Group in 2010.
Between 2010 and 2018, Mr. Bramlett has been engaged in industry consulting with some of the largest defined contribution investment advisory and asset management firms in the country.


In 2018, Mr. Bramlett became head of Ascensus TPA Solutions, which has acquired over 20 TPA firms since 2016. These firms, which offer services through 41 locations across the country, administer over 34,000 retirement plans.

Mr. Bramlett holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Southern Methodist 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!

Mar 15, 2019

The worst nightmare of many retirement plan fiduciaries is to find themselves the target of a class action ERISA or 401(k) lawsuit.  My guests today, are intimately familiar with that feeling and more importantly, lived to tell about it.  Returning to the podcast I have Jamie Fleckner, ERISA Litigation Chair at Goodwin and Diane Gallagher, the Chair of the American Century Corporate Retirement Plan Committee. During this fascinating conversation you will hear how the 401(k) class action against American Century got started, what the plaintiffs were alleging, what it was like to be personally named in a multi-million dollar lawsuit, defending fiduciary decisions at trial and much more.  This episode is probably one of the more timely, informational and even emotional ones to date, enjoy!  

Guest Bios

Diane Gallagher is the Chair of the American Century Investments Corporate Retirement Plan Committee.  She is responsible for developing content and value-add programs for clients and is also a spokesperson on retirement investing. 

Diane originally joined American Century Investments in 1995 and developed communication programs for clients of J.P. Morgan/American Century Retirement Plan Services. Prior to returning to American Century in 2012, Diane was vice president, Retirement Insights for J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Previously, she led product marketing for J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services and directed the participant communications and education department. Prior to 1995, Diane served as media relations manager for the Mutual Fund Education Alliance (MFEA). She also worked in Corporate Communications and Marketing for Sinai Health Care System in Detroit, Michigan. 

Diane earned a bachelor’s degree in communications, magna cum laude, from the University of Detroit. She is accredited by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and has earned many awards for her communication programs. She is a Board member of the Hands & Hearts Auxiliary for Children for Children’s Mercy Hospital and is a member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurions Leadership Program, class of 2019. 

She is Past-President of the Board of Directors of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City and currently serves on its Advisory Board. In 2007, Diane was named one of Kansas City’s “40 Under 40” leaders by Ingram’s magazine. A frequent conference speaker, she holds Series 7, 63 and 24 licenses.

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’s Big Suits and Litigator of the Week features. According to 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!

 

Mar 8, 2019

Maybe its just that time of year again, but a few articles have popped up recently about how we need to overhaul 401(k) plans, or how we need to scrap the 401(k), you get the picture.  However, my guest today, Sarah Holden, Senior Director of Retirement & Investor Research at the Investment Company Institute has some powerful data which tells a different story.  While few would suggest that 401(k) plans are perfect, Sarah and ICI have spent years delving into  what people really think about their 401(k) plans.  I won’t spoil this too much, but safe to say Sarah will leave you feeling good about 401(k) plans and the benefits they offer employees and the positive feelings they evoke even from people who don’t have one yet.  

Guest Bio

Sarah Holden, Investment Company Institute (ICI) senior director of retirement and investor research, leads the Institute’s research efforts on investor demographics and behavior and retirement and tax policy. Holden, who joined ICI in 1999, heads efforts to track trends in household retirement saving activity and ownership of funds as well as other investments inside and outside retirement accounts. She is responsible for analysis of 401(k) plan participant activity using data collected in a collaborative effort with the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), known as the EBRI/ICI Participant-Directed Retirement Plan Data Collection Project. In addition, she oversees The IRA Investor Database™, which contains data on more than 17 million IRA investors and allows analysis of IRA investors’ contribution, rollover, conversion, and withdrawal activity, and asset allocation. Before joining ICI, Holden served as an economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. She has a PhD in economics from the University of Michigan and a BA in mathematics and economics, cum laude, from Smith College.

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!

Mar 1, 2019

It’s been a little while since we have focussed an episode on plan design of behavioral finance.  So, no time like the present to make that happen!  To provide the mental muscle behind the conversation I was excited to have Steve Shu, a Managing Principal at Digitai and a Researcher, at the City University of London.  As an expert in behavioral science and someone who has worked with the likes of Schlomo Bernartzi and other pioneers in the field, he brings some current and unique insights on how behavioral finance continues to drive retirement plan design, technology and influences retirement outcomes.  We start with an update on the auto features, move to nudges, predictive technology, deaccumulation, digital fiduciary concept and much more.  Be sure not to miss Steve’s thoughts on democratizing of behavioral science.  

Guest Bio

Steve Shu specializes in incubating new initiatives and business lines with a primary focus on services, technology, and behavioral science. He serves as a Managing Principal at Digitai, a behavioral economics consultancy and innovation firm. Steve has consulted to or had management roles at organizations such as The Voya Behavioral Finance Institute for Innovation, Allianz Global Investors Center for Behavioral Finance, Allscripts, Nortel Business Consulting, PRTM Management Consultants (acquired by PwC), and numerous startups.
Steve holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and both an ME and BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. In parallel with Steve’s work with Digitai, he conducts behavioral finance research as part of City, University of London, Cass Business School.

Steve has put his decades of experience into his solo-authored books, Inside Nudging: Implementing Behavioral Science Initiatives and The Consulting Apprenticeship.

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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