We took a chance with the cover of this issue of Plan Consultant. The cover story, by Joseph Faucher, Bruce Ashton, and Fred Reish, is all about what TPAs need to know about 408(b)(2), the new, final disclosure regulations the industry has been anxiously awaiting for months. It’s an important topic, something that will have a discernible impact on most retirement plan professionals from recordkeepers to advisors. And that’s why we got the best in the business to explain it all for you.
But let’s face it, the topic itself is a little bit dry. Technical. It doesn’t readily lend itself to eye-catching illustration. We discussed several options—transparent piggy banks, nest eggs, and Alice Through the Looking Glass among them. No “aha” moments were forthcoming.
Then an image occurred to me. It’s a painting from 1822 that hangs in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, a self-portrait by the 81-year-old Charles Willson Peale to promote his dream of providing a natural history museum for the masses. In the painting, Peale is facing the viewer and lifting aside an elegant, red curtain to reveal people enjoying the wonders of the natural world (and taxidermy) behind it.
It’s an iconic image in American art, but I wasn’t sure if anyone would know it. I mentioned it to our artist, Kelly Bowse, and she was enthusiastic. Not only did she know it, she said, but it’s one of her favorite paintings. And perfect for conveying the idea of “full disclosure” that was the subject of the cover article.
So we exchanged ideas about how to adapt the image to our purposes, went through a couple of drafts, and came up with what you see—a TPA lifting the curtain to disclose the inner workings of a 401(k) retirement plan.
So if you recognize the reference, remember it from a trip to the museum or from some art history course in college, great. If not, Google “Peale’s Museum” and check out the original.
But even if you don’t do that, please read “Full Disclosure: The Impact of the Final 408(b)(2) Regulation on TPAs,” the cover story of the summer issue of Plan Consultant magazine. But there are other wonders to be revealed when the curtain of ASPPA membership is swept aside:
- Brian Graff dispels the five misconceptions that threaten the health of the U.S. retirement system;
- Former White House staffer Peter Swire (senior fellow with the Center for American Progress and the Future of Privacy Forum) lays out the case for electronic disclosure;
- Steve Athanassie (managing principal of Trademark Capital) demystifies target-date funds;
- David Witz (managing director, FRA PlanTools) explains what it takes to be an expert witness;
- Gary Blachman and Bret Clark (attorneys with the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation group at Thompson Hine LLC) show how to correct plan defects and Lauren Bloom covers how to admit mistakes without jeopardizing your reputation.
- Also: Report on the 401(k) SUMMIT, what the ASPPA Government Affairs Committee has been up to, and a selection of tempting cheap technology to make your life easier.