Press/Articles/Quotes

Articles

When Isn’t An Investment Provider An Investment Provider? by Deborah Castellani, CFA and William Conrad, JD, November 2019

When isn’t an investment provider an investment provider?

Kind of a crazy question, but with regulators and lawsuits increasing every day, the answer is simple, when they are a retirement plan investment provider.

Yes, retirement plan investment providers must operate under SEC and/or FINRA. They must also take into consideration ERISA and understand it. Not only for their clients, the plan sponsor (and participants), but also for their own compliance.

 

Hello! It's almost 2020! Retirement Advisors Must Change to Compete by Deborah Castellani, CFA and William Conrad,  JD, November 2019

The retirement plan industry has changed and continues to evolve (see article “Compliance-Minded Service Providers Have a Competitive Edge”) and yet the sales process for most investment providers still starts out the same way.  Investment providers are still talking and leading with fees and funds during the sales process.   It’s almost 2020…hello.  Everyone has open platforms.  Everyone wants low fees.  True there’s a “new” twist because of the change in the industry, now many providers add talk about being a §3(21) or even a §3(38). But many investment advisors can’t describe §3(21) in plain English and too often §3(38) can trouble sponsors because of the "higher" fees or feeling of "giving up" control – again often because of the confusing explanation by the advisor.

 

3 Simple Ways To Help §401k Clients Decrease Fiduciary Risk by Deborah Castellani, CFA and William Conrad,  JD, October 2019

Compliance-minded investment providers are in a unique position to help educate plan sponsors. Being a fiduciary or not doesn't matter. What matters is understanding the principals of being a good advisor or adviser and understanding and appreciating compliance because the basics of both adhere to plan sponsors.

Registered Investment advisors, investment fiduciaries, understand firsthand the responsibility that’s required by a plan sponsor. All investment providers, however, have regulators and know the importance of things

 

Retirement Advising Takes More Than Just A Professional Designation by Deborah Castellani, CFA and William Conrad,  JD, October 2019

Compliance-minded investment providers are in a unique position to help educate plan sponsors. Being a fiduciary or not doesn't matter. What matters is understanding the principals of being a good advisor or adviser and understanding and appreciating compliance because the basics of both adhere to plan sponsors.

Registered Investment advisors, investment fiduciaries, understand firsthand the responsibility that’s required by a plan sponsor. All investment providers, however, have regulators and know the importance of things.

Today a retirement plan advisor needs more than designations - they need ERISA knowledge.

 

Compliance-Minded Service Providers - Plan Sponsors Want and Need Your Help by Deborah Castellani, CFA and William Conrad,  JD, October 2019

The word “fiduciary” use to be used almost exclusively by industry insiders and lawyers.  Today, it its used in headlines, articles, the internet, marketing and general conversation.  Because of the Department of Labor’s Conflict of Interest (aka Fiduciary Rule) and the SEC’s BI Rule, the word “fiduciary” is now much more commonplace for plan sponsors and service providers.

It has also created a great marketing advantage for compliance-minded service providers.

 

Compliance-Minded Service Providers Have a Competitive Edge by Deborah Castellani, CFA and William Conrad,  JD, September 2019

Times have changed...Forty years ago, the 401(k) market was born. For the first time businesses of all shapes and sizes were able to provide retirement benefits to their staff. Overnight, small and medium sized business owners went from running their own businesses to basically running an investment company where the clients were they employees. The Department of Labor didn't give business owners (aka plan sponsors) an owner’s manual, but business owners were now responsible for selecting assets, administration tasks, overseeing providers, educating participants, making loans, and having the oversight of 2 or 3 regulators among other things in addition to running their businesses.

 

Avoid Litigation By Helping Plan Sponsors Become Better Fiduciaries by Deborah Castellani, CFA, NAPFA Advisor, July 2014

While 401(k) plans continue to grow in popularity, so has the immense scope of complexity surrounding compliance.  lately there's more attention and scrutiny from regulators and lawyers, making it imperative for plan sponsors to understand their fiduciary roles, the overall process, and how to safeguard themselves before an examination.

 

401(k) Regulators Knocking? by Deborah Castellani, CFA, HRO Today, May 2014.  Click here for pdf version)

Investment fiduciaries are in a unique position to help educate plan sponsors because they understand what it means to be a fiduciary.  most other service providers aren't fiduciaries and thus don't truly understand a fiduciary's role and importance.

"The 5 Biggest Worries of 401k Plan Sponsors and What To Do About Them", by Christopher Carosa, CTFA, Fiduciary News, November 13, 2019

With markets seeming to break new highs every week, unemployment at historic lows, and the economy humming along just fine, it might seem odd that 401k plan sponsors continue to have worries about their role in the retirement savings plan universe. But they do.

Some of these worries are baked into the cake. Some rise to become a hot topic. What ever the case, there are ways to alleviate these worries. Here are the five biggest worries of 401k plan sponsors and what they might do to relieve that anxiety

 

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hiring A 3(38) 401(k) Retirement Plan Adviser, by Christopher Carosa, CTFA, Forbes, September 13, 2019

There comes a time in the life of all successful business owners when it’s necessary to start considering ways to delegate duties. Before that can be accomplished, however, it’s necessary to take an inventory of all those duties and prioritize them.

 

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hiring A 3(21) 401(k) Retirement Plan Adviser, by Christopher Carosa, CTFA, Forbes, September 11, 2019

Are you responsible for keeping the wheels rolling on your company’s 401(k) plan? It’s probably not your main job, and that’s the problem.  Supersize firms can afford to hire dedicated staff to manage and administer their 401(k) plan. You can’t. And if it’s your own firm, you may not want to.

 

October 17, 2017 - Akros Fiduciary Management Announces Strategic Alliance With FiPar Financial, Inc.

Akros and FiPar to work on bringing more and better fiduciary solutions to the financial services and retirement planning market

 

March 25, 2014 - DOL Proposed 401k Fee Roadmap: Merely Ineffective or A Major Plan Sponsor Sandtrap? by Christopher Carosa, CTFA, Fiduciary News, April 25, 2014

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued new proposed guidelines for it 408(b)(2) 401k Fee Disclosure Rule. Along with this formal proposal, the DOL issued a fact sheet called “Proposed Regulation to Require a Guide to Assist Plan Fiduciaries in Reviewing 408(b)(2) Disclosures.”

 

March 11, 2014 - New Online Tool to Help Reduce Increasing Risk to Employers, Fiduciaries and Plan Sponsors of 401(k) Plans

OTB Strategic Consulting, Inc. offers unique new assessment tool and useful information to help find and resolve 401(k) compliance issues, correct areas of liability and personal risk and educate on fiduciary roles.

 

March 11, 2014 - Austin-based WEBii Completes Dynamic Application Supporting 401(k) Fiduciaries

WEBii, an Austin-based custom web development firm, announced the completion of a unique application for The FIRE System.. The FIRE System is a 401(k) self-assessment tool for plan fiduciaries.

 

Industry Product of the Week – The FIRE System by Robb Smith, AIFA RS, Fiduciary Solutions. The Prudent 401(k) Blog, April 11, 2014

It is always a pleasure to introduce workplace plan fiduciaries (also called Stewards) and plan advisors to industry-related products and services that may make their fiduciary-related work easier, while potentially enhancing plan participant retirement income security.

 

Is Your Retirement Plan In Compliance With Federal Law? by Hannah Hamilton, MonsterThinking, April 7, 2014

In February, BenefitsPro reported that the U.S. Department of Labor “collected $1.69 billion in fines, voluntary fiduciary corrections and informal complaint resolutions, a 33 percent increase over 2012’s $1.27 billion tab.”

 

New Assessment Tool to Help Plan Sponsors Find and Resolve 401(k) Compliance Issues

  1. by Joshua Bjerke, Recruiter.com, March 19, 2014
  2. HR Marketer, March 11, 2014
  3. by Kevin McGuinness, PlanSponsor, March 11, 2014
  4. by Jyothi Swapna, HR.com, May, 2, 2014

New 401(k) tool helps fiduciaries maintain compliance by Paula Aven Gladych, BenefitsPro, March 5, 2014

OTB Strategic Consulting will launch on March 11 The FIRE System, an online 401(k) self-assessment tool for plan fiduciaries that quickly finds areas of non-compliance and provides solutions to correct them.

 

Learn From AOL's Missteps by Joanne Sammer, SHRM, March 3, 2014

When AOL Inc. CEO Tim Armstrong announced that the company would switch from matching employee 401(k) contributions each pay period to providing a lump-sum match at the end of each year, the way he framed the announcement could not have been worse.