Welcome to the Advisor Services section of our site.
Our mission statement reflects our dedication to the advisors of our clients who are responsible in no small part for delivering the best possible retirement plan for our clients’ owners and employees. We seek your input and suggestions on ways to deliver exceptional our services to you and our clients better.
You can obtain the following information and services from this section:
- Request a proposal for designing or redesigning a retirement plan.
- Link directly to the websites of some of the mutual fund and insurance company 401(k) investment platforms used by our clients.
You can also send us an e-mail to request enhancements and improvements to the Advisors Section.
Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program
We have written regularly in our newsletter, the dana report, about this state-mandated retirement program that Illinois employers will need to offer to their employees if the employer does not already offer a retirement plan.
Originally expected to become effective in 2017, the state has delayed the program now to 2018. See our firm memo below about this new Illinois mandate.
Monitoring Plan Investments After Tibble
It may seem obvious that fiduciaries have an ongoing duty to monitor 401(k) plan investments but the US Supreme Court recently weighed in on this topic.
We are posting an article called Fiduciary Monitoring An Economic Analysis that provides one approach for evaluating plan investments.
Employer Stock in a 401(k) Plan
Generally speaking, only publicly traded companies can offer an investment option in their 401(k)s plan that includes employer stock.
For those financial advisors who work with these companies, you know there has been considerable litigation on whether an employer stock fund should be retained or terminated.
We are enclosing an excellent article by two attorneys with considerable experience with this topic on how the company should make this evaluation.
Investment Committee Meeting Checklist
For our financial advisor partners, we are posting a sample checklist prepared by Thomson Reuters Practical Law for conducting periodic reviews with a plan’s investment committee.
The checklist is not exhaustive and does not fit every situation but it certainly provides an excellent starting point for advisors to review their own service models relating to their retirement plan clients.
Gender-Specific Retirement Education
Research by various companies that track these kinds of things show that more and more women are making financial decisions, including decisions for their household.
According to the attached article by the Employee Benefit News, there is a need for gender-specific financial education.
The article also concludes that women are open to receiving this kind of education from their employers and more likely to take advantage of investment tools, programs and education when it is offered.
Legal Considerations When Hiring a Financial Advisor
We strongly believe that plan sponsors should engage the services of a professional financial advisor if their retirement plans require participants to direct the investment of their retirement plan accounts.
We offer to our financial-advisor partners the following article as additional information for them to better articulate their value to their clients and prospective clients.
Financial advisors can be one of the most important players in a successful plan and it is crucial for plan sponsors to understand if they have a good one or if they are evaluating selecting a new advisor.
Longevity Annuities Are They a Good Idea?
In 2014 the IRS issued regulations relating to the purchase of deferred “longevity” annuities in 401(k) plans and other defined contribution plans, as well as IRAs.
These regulations only address issues under the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules. The regulations do not address whether these annuities are actually a good idea.
The Brookings Institute has weighed in on this topic and we reprint their white paper below.
The white paper is also posted under the DC Plan Annuities tab where you can find other materials on this topic.
7 Reasons for Hiring a Dedicated Retirement Plan Advisor
We strongly believe a dedicated financial advisor is a key component of a successful employer-provided retirement program.
The following article clearly describes the various roles the advisor plays to his/her retirement plan clients and offers an effective way to communicate his/her services.
The Fallacy of the Fully Bundled Retirement Plan
Employers are lead to believe that bundling their retirement plan with a single vendor results in improved efficiencies and lower costs. The fallacy of this belief has been demonstrated in spades with the recent court decision in Tussey v ABB Inc. (Call our office to get a copy of the court’s opinion.)
This is one of the few improper fee lawsuits against the 401(k) mutual fund industry that actually went to trial. In a scathing opinion, the judge vilified the plan sponsor and Fidelity Investments for failing to monitor record keeping costs, failing to negotiate rebates, selecting more expensive investment options (including removing a lower-cost but higher-performing Vanguard fund with a Fidelity fund) and paying Fidelity fees that exceeded reasonable amounts.
The MorningstarAdvisor article below makes for good reading if you are open to an alternative approach to administering a 401(k) plan. Please give us a call if you would like additional information.
Investment Policy Statements
Most financial advisors we work with use investment policy statements (IPSs) with their retirement plan clients. This is unquestionably a “best practice” component for any advisor but what should be in a good IPS and perhaps what should be excluded? The following article by Fred Reish, Esq., identified four “problems” in IPSs he has reviewed.
Comment: It should go without saying that if you are going to have a client adopt an IPS, it better be followed. We never cease to be amazed how many IPSs are simply downloaded from a website and then “put in the file.” IPSs are not merely for window-dressing and “putting in the file.” They are among a fiduciary’s first line of defense in any challenge to how he/she has conducted the investment affairs of a retirement plan.
For additional strategies on best practices for ERISA fiduciaries, please visit the Advisor Services tab.
Are You Just a Commodity?
"Nothing is more frustrating to the highly specialized and skilled professional of today than being viewed as simply another commodity." This quote is taken from an excellent article that every professional should read, whether you are an accountant, investment advisor or other professional.
With permission from the author, we proudly present the article below about how commodization is a scourage inflicting all professionals and what we can do about it.
We strongly recommend that every professional service provider download and study this important article.
Fiduciary Issues When Switching Vendors
The economic downturn invariably puts pressure on business owners to cut costs. We know of one mutual fund company who consistently underperformed in the market who has dramatically reduced their fees in order to attract new business.
Business owners and their financial advisors need to be very sensitive to their fiduciary duties under ERISA before they change plan vendors just to cut costs.
The following article provides an excellent discussion about the fiduciary issues which the owner and his advisors need to consider.
Links to Fund Providers
We offer in this section direct links to some of the mutual fund and insurance companies that are selected for the investment menu of our clients’ plans.
Click the link above for more information.
Message and Suggestions
This website is intended to be a resource to our advisor partners. We invite our partners to give us suggestions on ways to improve the functionality of the website and information you need access to.
If you need immediate assistance with a retirement plan matter, please feel free to e-mail us here or call Lee T. Jennings at 630-802-7644 (cell).
If you e-mail us, please enter “Dana Consulting Group, Ltd.” in the Subject line of your e-mail.
Ask how we can assist you.
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