189 episodes

The 401(k) Fridays Podcast features a weekly conversation with an expert guest to help employers and their service partners keep up with workplace retirement plan topics and trends. Listen today, improve your retirement plan tomorrow!

401(k) Fridays Podcast Rick Unser

    • Investing

The 401(k) Fridays Podcast features a weekly conversation with an expert guest to help employers and their service partners keep up with workplace retirement plan topics and trends. Listen today, improve your retirement plan tomorrow!

    Employee Data & Cyber Threats: Retirement Plan Issues For the Times

    Employee Data & Cyber Threats: Retirement Plan Issues For the Times

    Originally, this was going to be a cyber episode, but based on a recent conversation with plaintiff’s attorney Jerry Schlichter and some subsequent litigation, thought it might be good to expand our horizons to include employee data. My guest today, Jenny Eller, Principal and co-head of the Fiduciary Practice at Group Law Group brings her experience and perspective to the conversation. We first dive into the data side of the conversation with some general thoughts on the business practices around data, whether it is a plan asset, and why it could be a hot topic for the foreseeable future. Then we make a soft pivot to cyber risks, share thoughts on where employers might be worrying too much and where maybe they are not worrying enough. Jenny also makes some interesting points on how ERISA doesn’t even contemplate some of the losses we are experiencing in plans today and what plan sponsors can to to protect their plan, participants and themselves. Good stuff! 
    Before we get started, I am so excited to share that with some help, I finally got the website in much better working order. Check it out when you have a chance. For more information about this episode go to www.401kfridays.com/cyber2020, to see prior episodes click on “Podcast Episodes” on the top and if for any reason you are not subscribed you can take care of that while you are there as well. 
    Guest Bio
    In her practice, Jennifer Eller advises financial institutions on the design and delivery of products and services to the retirement plan marketplace, and advises large corporate and public plan sponsors on all aspects of ERISA fiduciary compliance.
    Jenny writes and speaks frequently on fiduciary issues, appearing at conferences held by the Fiduciary Risk Management Association, the Practising Law Institute, and the ALI CLE among others.  
    Jenny is co-head of Groom’s Fiduciary Practice Group. In her role as practice group co-head, Jenny is responsible for ensuring that the strategic direction and new initiatives of the Fiduciary Group position Groom to serve the needs of its financial, corporate, and public plan clients. 
    401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview
    Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!
     

    • 1 hr 6 min
    SECURE Act: Workplace Retirement Plans Impact & Analysis

    SECURE Act: Workplace Retirement Plans Impact & Analysis

    Despite the divisiveness in our government right now, they were able to get things together and bring us the SECURE Act, arguably the most significant retirement legislation in over a decade. Today, my guest & I, Bob Holcomb, Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at Empower Retirement, discuss how this came back from the dead, this significance for employers and employees, and much more. We dive into new retirement income provisions, multiple employer plans, the new concept of a long-term part-time employee, changes to required minimum distributions, and the introduction of birth and adoption distribution provisions. Also, Bob and I debate the effectiveness or impact some of these changes could have. As we wrap-up, we take a look into the future of what could be coming down the road and how the 2020 election could impact retirement plans. Finally, there is a great bonus question on the website for this week that Bob answers. Check that out at 401kfridays.com/secure. 
    Before we get started, if you have been enjoying the podcast, please take 30 seconds and leave us a rating and review. The easiest thing to do is go to Apple Podcasts, search “401(k) Fridays”, scroll to the ratings and review section and tap on that, select a star rating, leave a short review or comment and hit submit. Thanks in advance, this goes a long way to help more people discover the podcast.
    Guest Bio
    Robert A. Holcomb, is Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for Empower Retirement. 
    In his role, he oversees retirement policy efforts on behalf of Empower. In addition, he interprets pension-related legislation and regulations, consults with clients and internal partners on legislative and regulatory issues, and represents the organization in advocacy groups. 
    Bob joined the organization in 1991 and has been in the retirement services industry for 30 years, serving in client management, operations, technical consulting and sales support roles. Bob is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law. 
    401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview
    Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!
     

    • 56 min
    2020's Perspective: The Death of... Investment Diversification?

    2020's Perspective: The Death of... Investment Diversification?

    The last decade came to a close with us in the midst of a bull market in for the ages, while that was great, what's next? Will the good times continue to roll? Or, will the 2020’s be a lost decade for returns? Or something in between? To help chew on this, I was happy to welcome back Rob Arnott, Chairman of Research Affiliates to the podcast. If you are not familiar with Rob, despite his fancy titles, he plays an active role in the firm’s research, portfolio management, product innovation, business strategy, and client-facing activities. He has pioneered several unconventional portfolio strategies that are now widely applied, such as tactical asset allocation, global tactical asset allocation, tax-advantaged equity management, and the Fundamental Index™ approach to investing. His success in doing so has resulted in a reputation as one of the world’s most provocative practitioners and respected financial analysts. During our conversation about what the next decade could hold for the financial markets, he shares the difference between a nowcast and a forecast, some amusing “death of” statements, inflation, and a few truisms. He also provides the best explanation I have heard of yet about negative interest rates and their impact on individuals, economies, and the markets. 
    Before we get started, if you a new to the podcast, don’t forget to check out our nearly 200 prior episodes with expert guests like Rob. You can easily scroll through them and listen on-demand on your favorite podcast app, if you are looking for something specific and can’t find, shoot me an email to feedback@401kfridays.com and we will see what we can do to tackle it in a future episode.
    For the episode transcript, bonus questions and more go to www.401kfridays.com/arnott2020
    Guest Bio
    Rob Arnott is the founder and chairman of the board of Research Affiliates, a global asset manager dedicated to profoundly impacting the global investment community through its insights and products. The firm creates investment strategies and tools based upon award-winning research, and delivers these solutions in partnership with some of the world’s premier financial institutions. Rob plays an active role in the firm’s research, portfolio management, product innovation, business strategy and client facing activities. With Chris Brightman, he is co-portfolio manager on the PIMCO All Asset and All Asset All Authority funds and the PIMCO RAE™ funds.
    Over his career, Rob has endeavored to bridge the worlds of academic theorists and financial markets, challenging conventional wisdom and searching for solutions that add value for investors. He has pioneered several unconventional portfolio strategies that are now widely applied, including tactical asset allocation, global tactical asset allocation, tax-advantaged equity management, and the Fundamental Index™approach to investing. His success in doing so has resulted in a reputation as one of the world’s most provocative practitioners and respected financial analysts.
    In 2002, Rob founded Research Affiliates as a research-intensive asset management firm intent on delivering innovative and impactful products and insights. Using a unique business model, Research Affiliates delivers investment solutions globally in partnership with leading financial institutions. Rob served as chairman and CEO from 2002 to 2018.
    Prior to establishing Research Affiliates, Rob managed two asset management firms. As chairman of First Quadrant, LP, he built up the former internal money manager for Crum & Forster into a highly regarded quantitative asset management firm. He also was global equity strategist at Salomon Brothers (now part of Citigroup), the founding president and CEO of TSA Capital Management (now part of Analytic Investors, LLC), and a vice president at The Boston Company.
    Rob has published more than 130 a

    • 54 min
    2020's Perspective: Jerry Schlichter on the Future of 401(k) Litigation

    2020's Perspective: Jerry Schlichter on the Future of 401(k) Litigation

    My now annual conversation with Jerry Schlichter, plaintiffs attorney with Schlichter Bogard & Denton has been one of the more popular episodes on the 401(k) Fridays podcast. This year was one of our best and most forward looking. In case you are not familiar with Jerry and his work in successfully brining 401(k) or ERISA litigation against employers, he has a pretty impressive track record. He burst onto the scene with a flurry of litigation in 2006 and to date he has secured settlements of over $300 million and what he would call significant improvements in their plans. In total, this relief is valued at more the $1.5 billion. In Jerry’s prior appearances on the podcast we have talked about how the modern era of 401(k) litigation started, his unanimous victory in the Supreme Court and several other of his thoughts and observations. This time, we briefly touch on the current state of litigation and spend most of our time talking about how he thinks litigation will evolve in the coming decade. This is a great listen, be sure to stick around for the end when I ask him about his third act in retirement plan litigation. 
    If you want to check out my prior conversations with Jerry you can either search or scroll through your podcast app and look for titles with "Boogey Man" in it. Those are not required listening to follow along in this episode, but are good none the less. Also, please share your thoughts on this episode on social media. Be sure to tag me, Rick Unser or the 401(k) Fridays Podcast. Or, if you would prefer send me a private message or an email to feedback@401kfridays.com. 
    For the episode transcript, bonus question and more information go to https://www.401kfridays.com/schlichter2020
    Guest Bio
    Jerry is founding and managing partner of the firm. He has been repeatedly elected by his peers for inclusion in "Best Lawyers in America” and “Lawyer of the Year” and is listed in the 2019 edition.
    Jerry has been featured in numerous national publications, including the New York Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal, for his and the firm’s success in pioneering claims of excessive fees in 401(K) plans and obtaining precedent-setting results involving claims of excessive fees against large employers, and for the reduction in fees his cases have caused throughout the 401(k) industry.
    He and the firm have obtained settlements in these 401(k) excessive fee cases of more than $300 million for employees and retirees, in addition to significant improvements in their 401(k) plans; in total, this relief has been valued at more than $1.5 billion. He also was lead attorney for the firm in the first and only full trial of an excessive fee case in the country, resulting in a verdict of $36 million. In recent rankings of the most influential people in the 401(k) industry by 401kWire.com, Jerry has repeatedly ranked in the top 5.
    According to a recent article published in Reuters, the CEO of Brightscope, an independent company which evaluates 401(k) plans, stated, speaking of Mr. Schlichter’s national impact on 401(k) plan fees, that “[h]is impact has been humongous." The New York Times has referred to Jerry as “a Lone Ranger of the 401(k)’s,” and he has been referred to by Investment News as “public enemy no. 1 for 401(k) profiteers” and by Chief Investment Officer as “the industry’s most feared attorney.” In describing the effect of his work on behalf of employees in 401(k) plans, the Wall Street Journal referred to it as being “Schlicterized”.
    In 2014 and 2015, Mr. Schlichter’s firm obtained the two largest 401(k) excessive fee settlements in history. The first was a settlement for $62 million against Lockheed Martin on behalf of Lockheed Martin employees, which included significant changes to the Lockheed Martin 401(k) plan. The second was a settlement for $57 mil

    • 1 hr 9 min
    2020's Perspective: Will 401(k) Plans Fade or Flourish This Decade?

    2020's Perspective: Will 401(k) Plans Fade or Flourish This Decade?

    Welcome back to another year and another decade of the 401(k) Fridays Podcast! Sorry for the delay in getting new episodes out, had some last minute scheduling challenges along with sickness that got us off track. Don’t fear though, we are back and ready for an exciting 2020! To kick things off, I am excited to welcome back Andrew Biggs, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute to the podcast. As a retirement policy expert and researcher he brings a sober perspective of how our private workplace retirement plan system is really doing. During our conversation we hit on why there is so much focus on how 401(k) plans are broken, data on how current retirees are doing, somethings to future retirees can expect and much more. 
    Coming up on the podcast we welcome back a fan favorite Jerry Schlichter, the plaintiffs attorney who has shaped retirement plan litigation, Bob Holcomb of Empower to talk in more detail about the new SECURE Act and Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates to discuss what he sees coming for the markets in the near and not so near term. Exciting stuff, please be sure to share with anyone you think could benefit from listening. 
    Guest Bio
    Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Social Security reform, state and local government pensions, and public sector pay and benefits.
    Before joining AEI, Biggs was the principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), where he oversaw SSA’s policy research efforts. In 2005, as an associate director of the White House National Economic Council, he worked on Social Security reform. In 2001, he joined the staff of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Biggs has been interviewed on radio and television as an expert on retirement issues and on public vs. private sector compensation. He has published widely in academic publications as well as in daily newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has also testified before Congress on numerous occasions. In 2013, the Society of Actuaries appointed Biggs co-vice chair of a blue ribbon panel tasked with analyzing the causes of underfunding in public pension plans and how governments can securely fund plans in the future. In 2014, Institutional Investor Magazine named him one of the 40 most influential people in the retirement world. In 2016, he was appointed by President Obama to be a member of the financial control board overseeing reforms to Puerto Rico’s budget and the restructuring of the island’s debts.
    Biggs holds a bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, master’s degrees from Cambridge University and the University of London, and a PhD from the London School of Economics.
    401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview
    Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

    • 58 min
    Retirement Plan Trends In Healthcare: Five Prescriptions All Retirement Plans Can Take

    Retirement Plan Trends In Healthcare: Five Prescriptions All Retirement Plans Can Take

    While every industry has its own unique characteristics, not every industry has enough of them related to retirement plans to deserve a special report or podcast episode to discuss them.  Healthcare though, is one of those industries which does. To dive into the topic I was excited to welcome back to the podcast Brodie Wood, National Practice leader for Healthcare, Education and Not-for-Profit markets at Voya Financial.  We quickly jump into multiple hot topics such as outcomes based approaches, financial wellness, employer contribution strategies, recruiting, student loan debt and much more. If you like what you hear today, be sure to check out Voya’s Healthcare Survey that was just released this week. You can find that, a bonus question from Brodie and the episode transcript all at 401kfridays.com/healthcare2019.  
    Tis the season for sharing, whether you are a new or long time listener please take a moment and share the podcast with a friend, colleague or someone you think could benefit.  You can do that by liking or sharing a post on social media, showing them how to subscribe to a podcast on their mobile device, or send them to 401kfridays.com/subscribe.  
    Guest Bio
    Brodie Wood is Senior Vice President, Healthcare and Education for Voya’s Tax-Exempt Markets business. He is responsible for developing and maintaining new and existing relationships with plan sponsors, intermediaries and consultants to support the broader strategic growth of the firm’s Tax-Exempt Markets business. He has more than 20 years of industry sales experience, with a broad knowledge of products, services, distribution channels and the competitive landscape – specifically within the 403(b) and 457 plan markets. Most recently, Wood served as senior vice president of Healthcare, Education and Not-for-Profit Markets at Transamerica. He has also served on the board of the American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity in Health Management since 2010. He has been involved in the retirement plan field for the past fifteen years helping participants become retirement ready. He earned his B.A. with a dual major in Spanish and Business from Utah State University. He has also completed his M.B.A. from Brigham Young University in 2002. He is a Six Sigma Green Belt and holds FINRA Series 26, 7, 63, and CRPC designations. Registered representative of Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. (member SIPC).
    401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview
    Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over 175 prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

401(k) fan ,

Keep up the good work!

Timely content and good selection of guests.

GDP in LV ,

Great job Rick!

Rick, kudos to your hard work with this podcast. It’s entertaining and interesting... most importantly it’s filled with actionable information. Keep them coming Rick!

H. Dodge ,

Student Genius

I look forward to this podcast each week to learn more about ways to not only maintain and improve the health of our retirement plans but also, the overall wellbeing of our employees financial health. I found the "Student Genius" podcast particularly interesting, as it's a topic and area of interest for my employer, with so many millennials working for us and burdened with student debt.

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