We know that auto enroll and auto escalate have the most impact on plan participation and contribution rates. What is holding back adoption (besides cost)
Because it’s Thanksgiving! Last year we had family in for Thanksgiving so we had to cook dinner. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to try not one, but two new (to me) methods of cooking the turkeys. (This is a somewhat risky strategy because as you know the turkey is the linchpin of Thankgiving dinner – so I was more than a little nervous. I grilled one bird on the Weber, and smoked the other on the Traeger. Drumroll please . . . They came out great. We ate right on time – 4:00 PM and both birds were very well cooked. The smoked turkey on the Traeger took about 5.5 hours. The turkey on the Weber only took 2.75 hours. I cooked both to an internal temperature (instant read thermometer) of 170 degrees and then took them off. Preparation was simple. Two 15 lb fresh organic turkeys (from the local food co-op) brought to room temperature and then dressed with a simple rub of olive oil, salt, pepper and finely chopped fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. I chopped up some apples, drenched them in the rub and put them in the cavities – just for flavor. (No stuffing.) For cooking, I ran the Traeger on
In the old days, some plan sponsors treated 401k investment menus like a restaurant menu. If somebody (influential) wanted a fund in the lineup it was added. The result of this in many plans were investment menus with too many funds, overlapping funds and dominated funds. Lineups like that are confusing to participants and result in poor(er) asset allocation.
In 2013 the Department of Labor completed 3,667 401k plan investigations. Their audits found violations in almost 75% of the cases. The result (not including 88 criminal indictments) was $1.7 billion in re-imbursments and fines - an average of $618 k per plan.
This excellent article by Darla Mercado provides background and commentary on Mr. Schlichter, founder of St. Louis based Schlichter Bogard and Denton. He is well known within the 401(k) industry for launching (and winning) a volley of lawsuits against 401(k) plan sponsors and providers, focused mostly on breach of fiduciary duty in the form of excessive fees and funds that are not in the plan participant’s best interests.
In this article from Benefits Pro the author notes that DOL fines for non-compliance are up dramatically in 2013 and it is expected that this trend will continue in 2014. We have recently learned that the DOL has hired 15,000 new auditors over the last year. In 2013 the DOL collected $1.69 Billion in fines, up from 2012’s $1.27 Billion. As compliance becomes more complex and oversight increases, now is a good time for Plan Sponsors to ensure that their plans are in compliance. See this article for the Top 10 Audit Problems.