How do you audit a 403(b) in-kind distribution? There is no financial transaction, no cash changes hands, there is no change in investments. It really is only a nominal change in the records of the insurer. Yet, somehow, GAAP requires that the “transaction” be verified. There is no answer, yet, to this question, which means the industries (that is, auditors, insurers, and lawyers) will be pressed for finding a standardized approach for bringing audit certainty to this process. It even becomes a bigger issue than 403(b)s: QLACs and other distributed annuity contracts are all able to be distributed as “in-kind” distributions from 401(a) plans as well, and there is no acceptable “recordkeeping” method to audit.
Continue Reading Auditing Distributed 403(b) (and 401(a)) Contracts

Section 939A of Dodd Frank has a very interesting mandate to federal agencies. It requires federal agencies to review their regulations to determine those which require the use of a credit-agency rating in assessing the credit-worthiness of a security and:

“Each such agency shall modify any such regulations identified by the review conducted under subsection

Traditional annuities are inflexible. Period. You get the monthly benefit you pay for. They provide a very valuable benefit which should be part of anyone’s retirement planning, but this inflexibility can be scary, as it takes away from the participant the ability to address unexpected contingencies. This fear comes from the second point: the funds used to buy the traditional annuity are gone for good. Other than payments made under a survivor annuity, the traditional annuity doesn’t give the participant any access to funds to pay for contingencies, nor does it typically pay a death benefit. So what’s a fiduciary to do?
Continue Reading Addressing Fiduciary Concerns in the Purchase of 401(k) Distributed Annuities: Dealing With The Five “I’s”- Part 2, Inflexibility and Inaccessability

I sat sown this morning to follow up with Part 2 of my mini-series addressing the fiduciary risks in purchasing DC annuities (link here to Part 1), when a Plan Sponsor magazine article caught my attention. It spoke of a study which linked  the lack of pensions with the risk of poverty among women