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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, 2020
Jan 31, 2020

The last decade came to a close with us in the midst of a bull market in for the ages, while that was great, what's next? Will the good times continue to roll? Or, will the 2020’s be a lost decade for returns? Or something in between? To help chew on this, I was happy to welcome back Rob Arnott, Chairman of Research Affiliates to the podcast. If you are not familiar with Rob, despite his fancy titles, he plays an active role in the firm’s research, portfolio management, product innovation, business strategy, and client-facing activities. He has pioneered several unconventional portfolio strategies that are now widely applied, such as tactical asset allocation, global tactical asset allocation, tax-advantaged equity management, and the Fundamental Index™ approach to investing. His success in doing so has resulted in a reputation as one of the world’s most provocative practitioners and respected financial analysts. During our conversation about what the next decade could hold for the financial markets, he shares the difference between a nowcast and a forecast, some amusing “death of” statements, inflation, and a few truisms. He also provides the best explanation I have heard of yet about negative interest rates and their impact on individuals, economies, and the markets. 

Before we get started, if you a new to the podcast, don’t forget to check out our nearly 200 prior episodes with expert guests like Rob. You can easily scroll through them and listen on-demand on your favorite podcast app, if you are looking for something specific and can’t find, shoot me an email to feedback@401kfridays.com and we will see what we can do to tackle it in a future episode.

For the episode transcript, bonus questions and more go to www.401kfridays.com/arnott2020

Guest Bio

Rob Arnott is the founder and chairman of the board of Research Affiliates, a global asset manager dedicated to profoundly impacting the global investment community through its insights and products. The firm creates investment strategies and tools based upon award-winning research, and delivers these solutions in partnership with some of the world’s premier financial institutions. Rob plays an active role in the firm’s research, portfolio management, product innovation, business strategy and client facing activities. With Chris Brightman, he is co-portfolio manager on the PIMCO All Asset and All Asset All Authority funds and the PIMCO RAE funds.

Over his career, Rob has endeavored to bridge the worlds of academic theorists and financial markets, challenging conventional wisdom and searching for solutions that add value for investors. He has pioneered several unconventional portfolio strategies that are now widely applied, including tactical asset allocation, global tactical asset allocation, tax-advantaged equity management, and the Fundamental Indexapproach to investing. His success in doing so has resulted in a reputation as one of the world’s most provocative practitioners and respected financial analysts.

In 2002, Rob founded Research Affiliates as a research-intensive asset management firm intent on delivering innovative and impactful products and insights. Using a unique business model, Research Affiliates delivers investment solutions globally in partnership with leading financial institutions. Rob served as chairman and CEO from 2002 to 2018.

Prior to establishing Research Affiliates, Rob managed two asset management firms. As chairman of First Quadrant, LP, he built up the former internal money manager for Crum & Forster into a highly regarded quantitative asset management firm. He also was global equity strategist at Salomon Brothers (now part of Citigroup), the founding president and CEO of TSA Capital Management (now part of Analytic Investors, LLC), and a vice president at The Boston Company.

Rob has published more than 130 articles in such journals as the Journal of Portfolio Management, Harvard Business Review, and Financial Analysts Journal, where he also served as editor in chief from 2002 through 2006. In recognition of his achievements as a financial writer, Rob has received seven Graham and Dodd Scrolls, awarded annually by CFA Institute to the top Financial Analysts Journal articles of the year. He also has received four Bernstein Fabozzi/Jacobs Levy awards from the Journal of Portfolio Management. He is co-author of The Fundamental Index: A Better Way to Invest(Wiley 2008).

Rob Arnott received a BS summa cum laude in economics, applied mathematics, and computer science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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!

Jan 24, 2020

My now annual conversation with Jerry Schlichter, plaintiffs attorney with Schlichter Bogard & Denton has been one of the more popular episodes on the 401(k) Fridays podcast. This year was one of our best and most forward looking. In case you are not familiar with Jerry and his work in successfully brining 401(k) or ERISA litigation against employers, he has a pretty impressive track record. He burst onto the scene with a flurry of litigation in 2006 and to date he has secured settlements of over $300 million and what he would call significant improvements in their plans. In total, this relief is valued at more the $1.5 billion. In Jerry’s prior appearances on the podcast we have talked about how the modern era of 401(k) litigation started, his unanimous victory in the Supreme Court and several other of his thoughts and observations. This time, we briefly touch on the current state of litigation and spend most of our time talking about how he thinks litigation will evolve in the coming decade. This is a great listen, be sure to stick around for the end when I ask him about his third act in retirement plan litigation. 

If you want to check out my prior conversations with Jerry you can either search or scroll through your podcast app and look for titles with "Boogey Man" in it. Those are not required listening to follow along in this episode, but are good none the less. Also, please share your thoughts on this episode on social media. Be sure to tag me, Rick Unser or the 401(k) Fridays Podcast. Or, if you would prefer send me a private message or an email to feedback@401kfridays.com. 

For the episode transcript, bonus question and more information go to https://www.401kfridays.com/schlichter2020

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 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.

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

Jan 17, 2020

Welcome back to another year and another decade of the 401(k) Fridays Podcast! Sorry for the delay in getting new episodes out, had some last minute scheduling challenges along with sickness that got us off track. Don’t fear though, we are back and ready for an exciting 2020! To kick things off, I am excited to welcome back Andrew Biggs, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute to the podcast. As a retirement policy expert and researcher he brings a sober perspective of how our private workplace retirement plan system is really doing. During our conversation we hit on why there is so much focus on how 401(k) plans are broken, data on how current retirees are doing, somethings to future retirees can expect and much more. 

Coming up on the podcast we welcome back a fan favorite Jerry Schlichter, the plaintiffs attorney who has shaped retirement plan litigation, Bob Holcomb of Empower to talk in more detail about the new SECURE Act and Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates to discuss what he sees coming for the markets in the near and not so near term. Exciting stuff, please be sure to share with anyone you think could benefit from listening. 

Guest Bio

Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Social Security reform, state and local government pensions, and public sector pay and benefits.

Before joining AEI, Biggs was the principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), where he oversaw SSA’s policy research efforts. In 2005, as an associate director of the White House National Economic Council, he worked on Social Security reform. In 2001, he joined the staff of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Biggs has been interviewed on radio and television as an expert on retirement issues and on public vs. private sector compensation. He has published widely in academic publications as well as in daily newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has also testified before Congress on numerous occasions. In 2013, the Society of Actuaries appointed Biggs co-vice chair of a blue ribbon panel tasked with analyzing the causes of underfunding in public pension plans and how governments can securely fund plans in the future. In 2014, Institutional Investor Magazine named him one of the 40 most influential people in the retirement world. In 2016, he was appointed by President Obama to be a member of the financial control board overseeing reforms to Puerto Rico’s budget and the restructuring of the island’s debts.

Biggs holds a bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, master’s degrees from Cambridge University and the University of London, and a PhD from the London School of Economics.

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!

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