29 Mar 2013

How Conflicts of Interest Can Taint 401(k) Advice

In 2013, the current industry standard when providing financial advice to individuals is to adopt a holistic approach. Advisers commonly ask their clients about their financial and estate planning goals, risk tolerances, tax situations, income expectations, claims on existing assets, retirement plans, even medical-related questions about how long they expect

25 Mar 2013

New EBRI Study Finds Americans Not Confident About Their Retirement Futures

The new “2013 Retirement Confidence Survey,” conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Mathew Greenwald & Associates, has some new data on the poor state of millions of Americans to enjoy a financially secure retirement. Here are some of the results.  (Note: The key points indicated by quote marks

22 Mar 2013

Financial Professionals’ Salaries Getting More Public Scrutiny

Any experienced financial professional knows mutual fund wholesalers are overpaid. These salaries have been discussed and criticized in my book (How 401(k) Fees Destroy Wealth and What Investors Can Do To Protect Themselves) and on this site as early as Oct. 29, 2011. Now, U.S. News & World Reports agrees.

19 Mar 2013

CALPERS Focuses on Fees and Passive Investing

The investment committee of the $265 billion California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) is evaluating the impact of fees it is paying for active management and whether those fees are justified, according to a report in Investment News. The problem is that it is expensive and problematical to pick the

15 Mar 2013

Better Late Than Never: FINRA Discovers Conflicts of Interest

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” (Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose) –French Proverb Today’s announcement that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA), the brokerage industry’s regulator, will be looking at information from 14 large firms regarding potential conflicts of interest related to

08 Mar 2013

SEC Not Embarrased By New Fee Study

For the past three decades, the SEC has been talking about investigating mutual fund company fee practices, including revenue sharing, sub-transfer-agent, 12(b)-1 and fund company conference support. Now, in March 2013, the SEC has again announced it will spring into action and conduct “a nationwide initiative to review mutual fund

07 Mar 2013

Stagnant Wages Fuel the Save-and-Splurge Cycle

A recent report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) finds that the gap between employee’s hourly compensation and their productivity is the highest it’s been since after World War II. According to a report from CNN Money, “this divergence is one of the major drivers of the nation’s growing income

05 Mar 2013

Most 401(k) Participants Still Uninformed About Expenses: Study

About half of 401(k) participants still do not know what they are paying in fees and expenses for their plans, according to LIMRA Retirement Research. The study found that this was about the same percentage that existed before the new Department of Labor (DOL) fee disclosure regulations went into effect