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John Iekel

Plan fees often elicit complaint and sometimes serious action, as lawsuits and court rulings attest. A recent article discusses the Department of Labor (DOL) rules for controlling fees and what they require, as well as how to protect employees from excessive fees. There is a range of reasons for... READ MORE
A recent study bolsters the findings and arguments of those who suggest that retirement doesn’t necessarily mean not working any more. The LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute reports that approximately of 20% of retirees actually continue to work in some capacity. “Today retirement is better defined... READ MORE
The mercury may have soared in July, but the funded status of the biggest corporate pension plans fell, says a recent report. The Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index (PFI), through which Milliman provides information on the 100 largest corporate defined benefit plans, reports that in July their... READ MORE
The IRS has determined that if an individual receives a distribution check from a qualified plan and does not cash the check, that individual cannot exclude the amount of the designated distribution from gross income and the employer remains subject to withholding and reporting obligations. The IRS... READ MORE
Multiple employer plans (MEPs) figure prominently in many discussions about workplace retirement plans today. And with those discussions including changes that would expand their availability and use, an Aug. 6 webinar provided a useful refresher on the federal rules governing MEPs. In the... READ MORE
A missed deferral has ripple effects and is not an isolated event. The sooner it is addressed the better, argued an industry expert in an Aug. 7 ASPPA webcast. “It is important to get it right and ger the participant where he/she would have been if the error had not happened,” said Mike Smith, a... READ MORE
Talking about financial investments and products at home can help lead to greater financial literacy and a greater propensity to save for retirement, says a recent study. The LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute in “The Roots of Financial Literacy: The Impact of Family on Financial Knowledge and... READ MORE
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) on Aug. 6 announced that its multiemployer insurance program continues to be in worsening financial shape, while its single-employer counterpart has exactly the opposite condition. The PBGC, in its FY 2018 Projections Report, says that the... READ MORE
Periodic checkups with a physician are a good thing; they can provide reassurance that all is well and sometimes identify problems so they can be addressed and health restored forlong-term vitality. Much the same can be said of checkups of employee benefit plans, observes a recent blog entry.  In... READ MORE
Much has been made of how well the Millennials are — or are not — saving for retirement. A recent analysis dispels three myths that discourage their preparations for those golden years.  In “3 Myths Busted To Help Millennials To Save For Retirement,” an article appearing in Forbes, Kimberly... READ MORE
The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued temporary penalty relief related to certain Form 5500 requirements for multiple employer plans (MEPs) subject to ERISA §103(g). The relief is contained in Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2019-01, which the DOL issued on July 24.  Under §103(g) of ERISA,... READ MORE
Legislation the House of Representatives passed on July 24 is intended to assist financially troubled multiemployer DB plans that meet specified criteria, but that help would come with a hefty price tag, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). In a two-page report updated July 19,... READ MORE
  A more personal approach is key to better engaging with individuals and building clientele and sales, argues the head of an organization that provides retirement education in a recent webcast. In “Three Ways to Improve Client Engagement and Increase Sales,” Edward Dressel, President of ... READ MORE
Missing participants, and the problems they occasion, are becoming a more prominent problem for plan administrators, argues ERISA attorney Heather B. Abrigo, Esq. “It’s really come to the forefront,” said Abrigo, a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, in a July 16 ASPPA webcast. “Plan... READ MORE
There are many important topics to cover when educating plan participants about a 401(k) plan and saving for retirement. In the process, it’s not hard to miss some matters that should be covered. A recent blog entry argues that five important topics often are omitted. In “5 Top Education Topics... READ MORE
While it’s clear that mergers and acquisitions comprised the largest share of restructuring in the last two decades, their effect on retirement benefits is less so, says a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. In “Retirement Security: Trends in Corporate Restructurings and... READ MORE
American Retirement Association Chief Government Affairs Officer Will Hansen and past ASPPA President Stephen Dobrow offered testimony concerning benefit plan audits and how they may be improved at the June 25 meeting of the Department of Labor’s Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension... READ MORE
The IRS and the Department of Labor should establish a formal way of collaborating on oversight of prohibited IRA transaction exemptions, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended. The GAO undertook the study that led to its report, “Individual Retirement Accounts: Formalizing... READ MORE
Recent developments at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) have resulted in new forms, a new final rule and a new page listing notices for plan participants. New Form and Instructions The PBGC has announced that a new form and instructions for requesting a determination regarding... READ MORE
Since employees and their behavior are at the root of most decisions about retirement plan participation and how individual accounts are managed, insight into behavior that affects those decisions can be a useful tool in understanding how those choices are made. In a July 9 webcast, “Behavioral... READ MORE

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