Making a Case for the 401(k) Annuity

Executives from major plan providers, including Christine Marcks, president of Prudential Retirement, along with trade group officials and ERISA experts, pitched ideas about in-plan income options at DoL/Treasury Department hearings Tuesday and Wednesday.

Research Roundup

Almost every controversial subject in the US today--from Fed policy to machine learning to immigration--contains an element or theme related to retirement policy. The articles reviewed in this month's Research Roundup are proof of that.

‘iTDFs’ Smooth the Bumps of Retirement Income

A former chief actuary of Denmark seeks a US target date fund company that might use his technology, the 'iTDF,' to create a seamless transition from pre-retirement savings to safe income during the first 20 years of retirement.

A Revolt Against PE-Led Annuity Issuers

Matt Zagula is an annuity wholesaler and fixed indexed annuity (FIA) designer. He and forensic accountant Tom Gober created the TSR ratio, a scale for rating FIA issuers. Mutual and fraternal insurers score best; private equity-led life insurers score worst.

Meet Meir Statman

Click on the headline to watch a four-minute video of Meir Statman discussing his new book "What Investors Really Want," or to read several brief excerpts from the book itself.

The Pros and Cons of 401(k) Annuities

One witness at the DoL/Treasury hearings this week asserted that mandatory annuitization of DC assets at retirement is needed. The government, as well as sponsors and plan providers, have largely ruled that out.

Eight Ways to Simplify Retirement Accounts

The government “spends” $118 billion a year on tax-deferred accounts whose complexities discourage many people from using them, according to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

In Search of Safe Harbors

At this week’s hearing on in-plan income options, industry executives asked the DoL for several kinds of regulatory relief—especially a safer ‘safe harbor.’

Quote of the Week

“The automatic annuitization of retirement balances could help workers achieve a steady stream of income that is guaranteed for life,” from The Report on Tax Reform Options, August 2010, issued by The President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Quote of the Week

“The fiduciary issue is so daunting that it ends the conversation. Sponsors ask, ‘We’re guaranteeing payments for 30 or 35 years?’ It stops the conversation. It’s a wall.” David Wray, director of the Profit-Sharing/401(k) Council of America, a trade group for plan sponsors.

Banks Selling More VAs, Mutual Funds

Bank variable annuity revenue was 16% higher during the first half of 2010 than during the first half of 2009, according to Kehrer-LIMRA

9 in 10 VAs Sold With Living Benefits

For the third consecutive quarter, GLBs were elected 87% of the time when any GLB is available for purchase. The guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) election rate remained at 64%.

The Six Emotional Stages of Retirement

New retirees and people who are three to five years from retirement bear the emotional brunt of the financial crisis, according to Ameriprise Financial's New Retirement Mindscape II survey.

Vanguard Launches New Index ETFs

With the expansion, Vanguard offers 55 ETFs, including eight new equity funds as well as ETFs targeting the growth and value segments of the S&P 500 Index and multiple segments of the S&P MidCap 400 and SmallCap 600 Indexes.