The Best Retirement Research of 2012

For the second consecutive year, we bring you the most intriguing, influential and useful retirement-related academic research that came to our attention in the prior year.

Variable Annuity Carriers ‘Mix It Up’ in Q4

"We may be at an inflection point, with the first carriers beginning to tweak products in small ways for competitive advantage despite the ongoing low interest rate environment," writes John McCarthy, Product Manager, Annuity Solutions, at Morningstar Inc.

Sorry to Burst Your Bubble

A look at the way bond funds recover from rate hikes and a review of the effect of rate hikes in the 1970s and 1980s on bond funds shows that fears of a bond bubble may be overblown.

The Retirement Income Paradox

In a survey of advisors on the topic of retirement income, GDC Research and Practical Perspectives found the firm that certain "contradictions" are making it hard for firms to take advantage of the seemingly vast Boomer retirement opportunity.

Prudential Enters DIA Space with All-Bond VA

“The annuity space is book-ended at one end by the SPIA, and at the other end by the VA with a guaranteed lifetime income benefit. Our new product resides somewhere in the middle," says Bruce Ferris (left) of Prudential Annuities.

Ten Questions about Quantitative Easing

If quantitative easing and other unconventional monetary policies remain in place for too long, their side effects could be severe – and the longer-term costs very high, warns this ever-pessimistic economist.

Debate continues over capping 401(k) tax break at 28%

Under the “28% cap” proposal, someone in the 39.6% marginal tax bracket could reduce his federal income taxes by a maximum of $14,000 on a deferral of $50,000 into a 401(k) plan, rather than the potential $19,800 tax savings under current law.

Small plan participants pay as much as 1.97% in annual fees

The average target date fund expense in a large plan is .98%, while the balanced fund average is 1.12%. The average target date fund expense for a small plan is 1.37%, while the balanced fund average is 1.45%, according to the 13th edition of the 401k Averages Book.

Pacific Life announces new pension de-risking product

The product is intended to enable plan sponsors “to de-risk their pension obligations and stabilize their corporate balance sheets and income statements without affecting plan termination, said a Pacific Life executive in a release.