Welcome to the Fixing the 401(k) Blog.
This blog is intended to provide you, the reader, with timely and useful information concerning fiduciary responsibility, ERISA, and developments in the rapidly changing 401(k) industry. It is based on my strong belief that our country's retirement system is broken and in critical need of repair and transformation. The ideas and issues that will be addressed and my commentary are also influenced by my book Fixing the 401(k): What Fiduciaries Must Know (And Do) To Help Employees Retire Successfully.
Systemic issues such as lack of transparency, conflicts of interest, the impact of excessive (and often hidden) fees, ineffective plan design, and unsuccessful investment experiences by participants all contribute to the problem. Without a doubt, many of these problems can be traced back to the retirement industry. However, plan fiduciaries are not without fault for having allowed these issues to exist for far too long without requiring greater accountability and for failing to protect the interests of the people they serve.
At the end of the day, plan fiduciaries are the only ones who have the power to bring about the change required to protect the interests of participants (and their beneficiaries) and help them retire successfully and with meaningful benefits. As ERISA attorney Stephen D. Rosenberg suggests in his review of my book:
"Plan participants have neither the power, responsibility nor authority to do so, and outside vendors - particularly ones who do not rise to the level of a fiduciary or who will at least argue that they do not - likewise may lack, at a minimum, the incentives to address these problems. The Wall Street implosion just drives these points home further; fiduciaries alone are in a position to protect plan participants from the pressures and potentially explosive risks in retirement investing by means of company plans such as 401(k)s, and there really isn’t anyone else with the authority, power or interest in doing so."
My goal for this blog is threefold:
- To inform you about recent and interesting issues in the retirement plan industry
- To provide you with thoughtful commentary about these issues
- To empower and equip anyone who is a retirement plan fiduciary with the information, knowledge and best practices they need to improve their fiduciary decision-making process and ultimately, deliver better retirement outcomes for the participants and beneficiaries they serve.
It is my hope that my experience as a professional independent fiduciary and industry observer will allow me to put some of the issues in a useful context and enable readers to increase their expertise and understanding of these areas. I welcome any suggestions on how I can improve the overall effectiveness and usefulness of this blog for readers. Please feel free to contact me at using the secure email form found here.
Thanks for reading!