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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: June, 2019
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!

 

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