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.

Research Roundup

We summarize four recent papers: 'Portfolios for Long-Term Investors,' 'What is the Value of Annuities?,' 'Public Economics and Inequality: Uncovering Our Social Nature,' and 'Financial and Total Wealth Inequality with Low Interest Rates.'

An Annuity’s ‘Moneyness’? There’s an App for That

How will variable annuity contract owners use their income benefits? That question is vital to annuity issuers and to fiduciary advisers with clients who own VAs. This Texas Dep't of Insurance actuary knows a product that can help them find out.

A Chip Off the Old Rock?

Bloomberg reported this week that Prudential is considering selling its retirement plan recordkeeping business. Prudential didn't confirm the report, but several industry insiders did. Low interest rates, high costs of IT makeovers, and sticky stable value fund guarantees are driving the move, RIJ was told.

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.