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Monday, October 10, 2016

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Retirement Plan Lawsuits on the Rise

A number of prestigious colleges and universities, including several Ivy League schools, have recently appeared in the headlines as defendants in class action lawsuits relative to their retirement plans.

Starting in 2006, the law firm of Schlichter, Bogard and Denton filed a bevy of lawsuits against corporate giants relative to the 401(k) plans sponsored by each corporation. A common thread through all of the suits was excessive fees, but the overarching theme was the alleged failure on the part of the plan fiduciaries to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities and obligations. Settlements have been reached in several of the suits, resulting in settlement amounts in the tens of millions of dollars.

Lawyers on behalf of retirement plan participants are now setting their sights on non-profit institutions, including one hospital in New York. This is a wake-up call to all non-profit organizations to make sure their retirement plan fiduciary oversight is robust and compliant.

Join this webinar to help you better understand and mitigate this often overlooked risk.The webinar will discuss:
  • an overview of retirement plan litigation;
  • the risk to the healthcare and not-for-profit industries;
  • preventative measures to avoid litigation; and
  • what the future may hold.

PRESENTER: James J. Kelley, President, Strategic Benefit Services
James Kelley directs all of the activities and services for Strategic Benefit Services. He has more than 20 years of experience in the institutional retirement market. Jim has spent much of his career working with healthcare and other not-for-profit organizations. He holds his New York State life, accident, and health and variable annuities license. He has his FINRA Series 6, 63, and 26 licenses. He is an accredited Plan Sponsor Retirement Professional. In Jim's role as senior executive for all SBS operations, he sets firm policy and has responsibility for all operations, customer service, and personnel for retirement plan services, employee benefits, and all other Advisory Services.

Monday, October 3, 2016

UPDATED REPORT! Report Offers Steps for Building an Optimal Retirement Plan Investment Menu

A retirement plan’s overarching goals are to help participants accumulate wealth during their years of employment and to provide them with income during their retirement.

The challenge for fiduciaries is to successfully navigate the options available and build an optimal investment menu that is designed to guide participant choices and improve their retirement readiness. Since plan fiduciaries may be exposed to personal liability, it is prudent to have a process in place for the selection and monitoring of investment options.

Strategic Benefit Services has outlined a four-step process for constructing an optimal investment menu that:
  • fosters ERISA compliance;
  • provides desirable investment choices for plan participants; and
  • impacts retirement outcomes.

Read 4 Steps to Building an Optimal Retirement Plan Lineup for Participants to learn more. If you have any questions, or would like to begin talking to a retirement plan advisor, please get in touch by calling (855) 882-9177 or e-mail us at

Monday, September 12, 2016

Understanding Custom vs. Proprietary Target Date Funds

Target date funds (TDFs) are characterized as either proprietary or custom. The U.S. Department of Labor encourages plan fiduciaries to consider a custom solution. Custom TDFs are typically offered in separate account or collective trust vehicles. These vehicles are not registered as investment companies under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and therefore are precluded from use in 403(b) plans. Proprietary TDFs are defined as pre‐packaged investments that usually are comprised of underlying mutual funds of a single investment firm. Therefore, it can be challenging to ensure “best in class” managers are offered across the underlying funds within the proprietary TDF.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Target Date Fund Basic Definitions - Part 2

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration issued tips intended to help plan sponsors select and monitor target date funds (TDFs) in their investment lineups. These target date fund basic definitions will help plan fiduciaries navigate the Department of Labor Tips for ERISA Plan Fiduciaries.
  1. Asset classes are groups of securities that exhibit similar characteristics. The three main asset classes are equities (stock), fixed-income (bonds), and cash. Additional asset classes that may be employed within a target date fund are: world bond, emerging markets, and/or real assets like commodities and real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Guidelines for Reviewing Target Date Funds

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration issued tips intended to help plan sponsors select and monitor target date funds (TDFs) in their investment lineups. It is incumbent on plan fiduciaries to establish a process or fiduciary best practice for comparing and selecting target date strategies, especially when they serve as the plan’s Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA). Fiduciaries should implement a process to perform periodic reviews to have a clear understanding of the investments and how they will change over time, and to compare the funds’ fees.