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New Definition of Fiduciary

As you are aware, in 2016 the Department of Labor (DOL) finalized regulations updating, and expanding, the definition of “fiduciary” in regards to the provision of investment advice. Originally these regulations were set to become applicable in April of this year. The current administration wanted to delay the applicable date to allow the DOL to fully examine the impact of the new rules. As a result the DOL pushed back the applicable date to June 9th. Then, days after…

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Benchmarks Are Not Created Equal

Because benchmarks are an important part of investment due diligence, a plan fiduciary should carefully consider their selection. Two of the most common are FTSE Russell1 and Standard & Poor’s2. The RPAG Scorecard3 utilizes Russell and here’s why: Russell ranks each company in the investable universe according to its total market capitalization. The market cap is the primary tool to determine where a company belongs in the Russell Index. S&P uses a committee to make these decisions. Russell indices…

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Fixed Income: A Sinking Ship or Much Ado About Nothing?

Time is a powerful modifier of perception and purpose. No need to look any further than the frequent rumblings surrounding fixed income in the current rising interest rate environment. That isn’t to say the frequently touted “bond bubble” and rising interest rate topics are unimportant or overstated, it’s merely a reaction to the volume and misappropriation of focus often exhibited in these ongoing conversations. Monitoring the trajectory of rising interest rates is a good idea, however letting it affect…

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Partial Plan Terminations

rules regulations waivers

A partial plan termination occurs when 20 percent or more of a company’s employees are laid off in one year. Routine turnover during the year is generally not considered a partial plan termination. To determine whether your turnover rate is routine, consider the following factors: What was your turnover rate during other periods and what was the extent to which terminated employees were actually replaced? Do the new employees perform the same functions as the previous employees? Do they…

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Millennial Workers Require Special Investment Menu Design

Millennials are the largest demographic cohort in the nation, U.S Census Bureau data shows. And up to 80 percent are already saving in their employer-sponsored retirement plans, according to a 2015 report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The newest generation of workers—which the Pew Research Center defines as those born between 1981 and 1997—has exhibited distinctive attitudes and behaviors that plan sponsors and their advisors must consider when designing menus. Plan administrators, too, must rethink some long-held beliefs…

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Should You Have Alternatives in Your Lineup?

The term “alternative investments” may conjure images of classic automobiles, fine wine, rare art and valuable jewels. Some may think about the Honus Wagner baseball card that sold for $3.12 million at auction in 2016. Or about the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold at auction for a whopping $34.65 million in 2014. Or maybe they set their sights even higher and think about the Hope Diamond, with an estimated value of $200-$250 million. While these treasures are fun…

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What is an ERISA fiduciary?

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was enacted in 1974 to protect employees who participate in retirement plans and certain other employee benefit plans. At the time, there were concerns that pension plan funds were being mismanaged, causing participants to lose benefits they had worked so hard to earn. ERISA protects the interests of plan participants and their beneficiaries by: Requiring the disclosure of financial and other plan information Establishing standards of conduct for plan fiduciaries Providing for…

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Fortified Decision-Making: Structure Your Plan Committee Meetings for Success

Defined contribution (DC) plan committees face increasing scrutiny on the myriad of decisions they make for their respective plans. During committee meetings, it’s no longer enough to run through an agenda of basic responsibilities; now, more than ever, leading plan committees recognize that they need to address all of the issues that they are responsible for, including emerging issues. As such, committee decision-makers need to strategically plan meeting agendas that cover both the micro job of looking closely at…

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Did Someone Order a Large Cap?

Any committee member sitting through their share of plan investment review meetings has heard the term “large cap” come up quite frequently. In our experience, large cap funds are top of list when the review turns to the stand-alone funds in the lineup. Given this place of prominence, it is critical to ponder its definition, its importance and how they can be utilized best in an efficient, participant-friendly manner within plan investment lineups. Large cap is an abbreviation of…

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Are You Ready for an Audit?

Several events can trigger a DOL or IRS audit, such as employee complaints or self-reporting under the annual submission of the Form 5500. Often times an audit is a random event, which is why you should always be prepared. Listed below are several key items typically requested in an initial letter sent by the IRS or the DOL in connection with a retirement plan audit. These items should be readily accessible by the plan administrator at all times the…

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