Category Archives: Uncategorized

S&P STRIDE Target Date Funds: Making STRIDEs in Evaluating the Performance of Retirement Solutions

Back in the Great Recession of 2008-2009, participants experienced a dramatic stock market decline.  The S&P 500 index had a “peak-to-trough” decline of 51 percent! Coincidentally, many retirees and near-retirees were gaining their initial experience with something called a Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA). The QDIA is a “safe harbor” (Department of Labor Regulation 29 Read more […]

Optimal Timing and Strategy for Claiming One’s Social Security Retired-Worker Benefits

The decision to claim social security benefits is not as straightforward as it seems and involves a number of key considerations.  Given that it is a one-time decision and locks in one’s benefits permanently, aside from periodic cost of living adjustments, it is important for retirees to rethink whether there is an optimal timing and Read more […]

A Framework for Offering Income in DC Plans

According to the latest Department of Labor statistics, more than 640,000 employer-sponsored defined contribution (DC) plans are in existence in order to help nearly 90 million participants prepare for retirement.[1] To date, traditional measures of success included factors based on a plan’s inputs, such as participation rates, savings levels, and the relative performance of underlying Read more […]

Don’t Confuse Income With Yield

Yield conventions differ for stocks and bonds, but the various calculation methods for both asset classes have an important characteristic in common—they are alternative expressions of price.  Measures of yield specifically relate current price to how much dividend or interest income holders of a particular security are likely to get.  Thinking of yield as income Read more […]

Potential Risks When Constructing a Sustainable Lifetime Income

In retirement, financial ruin is taken to mean when one’s savings have been depleted before one passes away.  If one’s savings are invested in a diversified portfolio, financial ruin is taken to mean the combined effects of withdrawals and adverse market conditions that can potentially deplete the portfolio before one’s passing. Financial ruin to one’s Read more […]

Retail Fee Premium and its Impact on Fund’s Performance: Observations From SPIVA® Institutional Year-End 2016 Scorecard

The impact of fees on managers’ performance continues to make headlines.  With the most recent round of actively managed fee reductions[1] taking place in February 2017, market participants can benefit from lower fees as managers compete for capital.  In the recently issued “SPIVA Institutional Scorecard – How Much Do Fees Affect the Active Versus Passive Read more […]

Financials Gain More Prominence in Latest Low Vol Rebalance

Volatility has been generally subdued so far this year.  In the latest rebalance, the S&P 500® Low Volatility Index’s most significant sector shift was to Financials (adding 5% to bring the sector to 21% of the index).  Allocation in the remaining sectors did not deviate too far from the last rebalance. Technology’s weight, which increased Read more […]

How to Address Retirement Income in Investment Policy Statements

Recently, the US Department of Labor (DOL) turned its attention to the adequacy of a retirement plan participant’s account balance, stimulating two debates about how to improve participant outcomes.[1] The first debate concerns how to help participants measure their “retirement readiness” in terms of income replacement at retirement. The second centers on whether there are Read more […]

Green Bonds: Addressing Solvency II Benchmarking Requirements

Solvency II is the new region-wide supervisory framework for insurance and reinsurance companies operating in the European Union.  The new regime includes three pillars, calculation of capital reserves, management of risk and governance, and reporting to the national supervisory authority.  Moving to a risk-based approach in calculating solvency capital requirements (SCR) will require reassessment of Read more […]

History of the 401(k)

Thirty-nine years ago, the Revenue Act of 1978 was signed, adding section 401(k) to the Internal Revenue Code and creating the first US defined contribution plans. While the code itself simply described a provision under which employees would not be taxed on the portion of income they chose to receive as deferred compensation, it ushered Read more […]