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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: April, 2019
Apr 26, 2019

Today I welcome back Marcia Wagner, ERISA Attorney and founder of the Wagner Law Group, to tackle the not so straightforward lifecycle of a 401(k) or workplace retirement plan document.  Logically we start at the beginning on what it takes to create a 401(k) plan document, and move through common steps to maintain a document and things that happen along the journey, and close with terminating a retirement plan.  With several changes in rules, IRS programs and some general confusion in many of these areas, this was a fun and informative conversation that hopefully helps you as much as it did me! 

Guest Bio

Marcia S. Wagner is the founder of The Wagner Law Group, a certified woman-owned and operated business and one of the nation’s largest and most highly regarded boutique law firms, specializing in ERISA, employee benefits, executive compensation, employment, labor, human resources, personal law (estate planning, family and immigration) and investment management law. 

 

Ms. Wagner has been practicing employee benefits law for over 32 years.  She founded The Wagner Law Group more than 20 years ago and is the Firm’s Managing Partner.  She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University and is a graduate of Harvard Law School.  

 

Ms. Wagner is an authority on employee benefits matters, including qualified and non-qualified plans, fiduciary issues, deferred compensation, and welfare benefit arrangements.  Her experience in employee benefits includes plan design, drafting and preparation, compliance, tax planning and consultation on all aspects of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.  She consults with law firms, employee benefits organizations, and corporate and public plan sponsors, and serves as an expert witness in ERISA litigation.

 

She counsels plan sponsors on qualified plans, 403(b) and 457 plans, multiple employer plans (MEPs), IRAs, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), executive compensation arrangements and retiree medical benefits in matters involving plan operation and maintenance, plan terminations, mergers and acquisitions, tax treatment of plan participants, use of life insurance and annuities, and derisking of pension liabilities.  

 

Ms. Wagner also specializes in Title I of ERISA, and has obtained advisory opinions, information letters and prohibited transaction exemptions from the U.S. Department of Labor.  She handles fiduciary matters impacting plan sponsors, investment and other fiduciary committees, investment managers and advisors, recordkeepers, broker-dealers, banks, and other financial services firms.  Ms. Wagner advises clients on the avoidance and rectification of prohibited transactions, the development of compliance programs, and investment policies.  She is a renowned expert in issues concerning pension plan investments and fiduciary issues, and her opinion has been sought by noted authorities in the employee benefits area, including governmental agencies.  

 

Ms. Wagner works on Department of Labor, IRS and PBGC audits of plans as well as of financial institutions that service plans, and has negotiated numerous favorable closing agreements.  

 

She was appointed Chair of the Employee Plans subcommittee of the IRS Tax Exempt & Government Entities Advisory Committee and received that agency’s highest honor.  She is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and is the recipient of more than 50 professional honors.  

 

Finally, Ms. Wagner has written hundreds of articles and 15 books.  She is a highly sought after lecturer, and is widely quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Pension & Investments.  She has been a guest on Fox, CNN, Bloomberg, and NBC. 

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!

Apr 19, 2019

This episode is inspired by some recent conversations I have had with workplace retirement plan or fiduciary committees and some hesitancy they have had in speaking with managers of invests they offer in their plans.  My guest today is John Forrest, Head of the Research Practice at Russell Investments, and to say the least, he has a little experience in this area.  In my experience, some members of retirement plan committees have avoided speaking with managers as they don’t feel equipped to ask questions, or don’t feel they would be able to understand what a manager would share.  John does a great job sharing why it is valuable to speak with investment managers, questions you can ask, and things to listen for that can shed light on their people, process and perspectives.  We also talk about different questions or things to listen for when speaking with an equity vs. a fixed income manager, how the numbers or results are important but not the whole story, and why it might be more important than ever to take time to speak with a manager of investment you are considering replacing or adding to your investment menu.  

Guest Bio

John Forrest is head of Russell Investment’s global manager research practice. His role is to guideand support the manager research effort to ensure it continues to be an industry standard for identifying and recommending the very best managers globally. His role includes defining andrefining Russell Investments’ manager research process, training analysts in the art and science ofmanager research, developing and improving analytical tools and a variety of other activities that support, evaluate and improve the manager research practice.

As part of his tenure at Russell Investments, which began in 1997, John has spent more than a decade researching, interviewing, evaluating and recommending professional money managers forRussell Investments’ Funds and clients. He has applied his expertise in a range of asset classes and in multiple geographic regions spanning equity, fixed income, currency and property. John has also managed consulting client relationships and participated in specialist projects for selected clients in his areas of expertise.

Prior to joining Russell Investments, John was a senior analyst managing the BHP Superannuation Fund, a major Australian pension fund. John spent the early part of his career gaining practical experience working as a securities analyst and portfolio manager for a global money manager, specializing in equities, derivatives and property securities.

John has presented lectures to a variety of securities industry forums on topics including the investment process, the art of manager research, applied portfolio management and performance measurement.

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!

Apr 12, 2019

This week we take our first glimpse into self directed brokerage or brokerage accounts linked to workplace retirement plans.  Historically this has been a confusing and polarizing topic amongst retirement plan sponsors and the retirement industry.  To help with the conversation, I have Nathan Voris, Managing Director for Business Strategy of Charles Schwab Retirement Plan Services.  During our conversation, we tackle a statement popularized in a movie classic that probably applies to how some people view these accounts, we discuss the basics and mechanics of self-directed brokerage accounts, some creative things that plan sponsors are doing with them and trends to keep an eye out for in the future.  This episode focuses mostly on the operational side, my conversation with Nathan also has inspired me to bring back to popular podcast guests to discuss the fiduciary and regulatory side of the conversation in the near future. 

Guest Bio

Nathan Voris joined Schwab Retirement Plan Services in 2016. He is responsible for leading the client experience, platform, and product development strategy to help retirement sponsors, consultants, and participants meet their goals.

Mr. Voris previously worked at Morningstar, where he held several roles within Morningstar Investment Management, including portfolio management and asset allocation responsibilities. His most recent focus there was on product development and strategy for the retirement solutions, including wellness, advice and managed accounts, and target date solutions. He was also a consultant with R.V. Kuhns & Associates, where he worked with defined contribution plan sponsors to help improve asset allocation and solve other needs of plan participants. In that role, Mr. Voris was responsible for all aspects of portfolio construction, including asset allocation and manager selection/due diligence for plan sponsors, retirement plan providers, and asset managers. He began his career working for defined contribution plans, including Wal-Mart and the Ohio Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Mr. Voris has earned a bachelor’s in education from the Ohio 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 150 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

Apr 5, 2019

Numerous guests have hinted at the capital market forecasts they or others have made with the common theme of anticipating lower returns than we had in the last decade. I thought it might be timely and helpful to steer into this and talk about what that could mean for workplace retirement plan investment menus.  With me today, I have Andy Pyne, Executive Vice President and Equity Strategist at PIMCO to dive into the equity piece of the conversation.  We start with a quick discussion on the go forward predictions about growth and what that means for the markets, what late cycle means, address some of the challenges active managers had in the last decade and what the next decade could mean for them and whether plan sponsors as well as participants are performance chasers.  Andy also shares some specific investment concepts workplace retirement plans should consider going forward.  

Guest Bio

Mr. Pyne is an executive vice president and strategist in the Newport Beach office, focusing on PIMCO’s equity strategies. Prior to joining PIMCO in 2011, he was a managing director and client portfolio manager for fundamental equity at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, serving as a member of the growth team investment committee. Before joining Goldman Sachs in 1997, Mr. Pyne was responsible for product management at Van Kampen Investments. He has 26 years of investment experience and holds an undergraduate degree in business/economics from Wheaton College in Illinois.

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

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