The Investment Company Institute, the main mutual fund trade group in Washington DC, issued last month its retirement report for the 2020 fourth quarter with $22 trillion attributable to retirement plan assets alone, which is virtually the same size of the the market capitalization of the companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange as of years’ end 2020,  reported to have been $24.49 trillion.  Adding in the 12.2 trillion held in IRAs, these assets constitute over 2/3 of the reported value  of all publicly traded securities in the US., at  $50.9 trillion. This influence seem to be  rarely discussed
Continue Reading The Massive Influence of Retirement Plans on Capital Markets: the Days of ERISA as a “Backwater” are Long Gone

It seems that if policy makers want to have an impactful effect, suspend this tax during this crisis. I would not disagree with  my economist friends who may now caution against this seemingly rash move; to consider its long term impact; and to be concerned about the depletion of long term retirement savings. I am particularly sensitive to these concerns, of course, and they are valid.It  becomes a question of how to balance competing economic interests, but I suspect the widespread impact of that 10% penalty may weigh in favor of its temporary suspension.
Continue Reading The Immediate COVID-19 Retirement Fix Which Congress Missed in the Great Recession: Temporarily Suspend the 10% Early Distribution Penalty Tax

Long-time readers may recognize this as a version of the Mother’s Day blog I would periodically post in honor of Mom. It has been nearly two years since her passing, and I have not posted it since. But it seems that sharing these notions now, during Thanksgiving week, makes some sense. Hopefully, it may help

We have done this post a number of years in the past as an “Almost Annual Mother’s Day” piece; our attempt to put a very personal twist to the things we do,  with a larger and hopeful light on many of the mundane tasks that make up much of our business. We now post it

Remembering that ERISA does NOT preempt the application of other federal law (like the SEC, Anti-Money Laundering, and the Patriot Act rules-just to name a few), which we continue to learn to integrate into our practices, we now may find ourselves needing to deal with the Federal Trade Commissions standards as well. The issue arises from something as innocuous as the website privacy policies which are so commonplace on retirement plan vendor websites (you know, those things know one ever reads or pays attention to). Well, it appears to matter to the Federal Tead Commission.

Continue Reading Website Privacy Policies and the Federal Trade Commission’s Authority over Retirement Plans

I have tried to publish this as my “Annual Mother’s Day” posting. It puts a very personal twist to the things we do, and hopefully puts a larger and hopeful light on many of the mundane tasks that make up much of our business: 

ERISA wonks such as ourselves tend to get lost in the

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “Act” or “Affordable Care Act”) was signed into law early in 2010 and was the subject of much controversy and media attention for much of the two years before it was enacted. Yet today there remains an amazing lack of understanding about even the basic requirements and concepts found in this seminal legislation.
Continue Reading Affordable Care Act – So Much Information, So Little Understanding and Action