October 27, 2013 – Jim Dornan, ASPPA’s Political Director, explains how you can meet with congressional representatives on the Hill at the ASPPA Annual Conference. Click the link below to sign up.
September 12, 2013 — What are the current prospects for tax reform, especially in light of shifting priorities on Capitol Hill? NAPA Executive Director/CEO Brian Graff tackles that question in this month’s Washington Update video. As is often the case, the answer to the question involves numerous moving parts and what-ifs.
July 18, 2013 — ASPPA’s General Counsel Craig Hoffman discusses why the IRS should change its policy to allow forfeitures as permissible sources of funding for safe harbor contributions.
June 12, 2013 — In this update from the National Tax Sheltered Accounts Association (NTSAA), Executive Director Chris DeGrassi discusses how membership and advocacy efforts are bringing choice and transparency to the marketplace. NTSAA is leading an initiative called 403(b) Open that will change how public school employees receive information and understand how their retirement plans work. NTSAA is also drafting legislation to help states redesign 403(b) plans that will help public school employees save more money.
May 2, 2013 — ASPPA CEO Brian Graff explains how the upcoming debt ceiling deadline and the impending retirement of Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) could trigger the full bore tax reform effort for which the industry has been bracing.
April 15, 2013 — During CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, Rick Santelli talks with Brian Graff, the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries’ CEO, about who will get hurt the most in a proposal that limits pension contributions.
April 11, 2013 —ASPPA CEO Brian Graff slams two provisions in the President’s FY 2014 budget proposal. The first of these two “retirement plan clunkers” in the budget would result in double taxation of 401(k) plan contributions. The second “clunker” is the new $3 million lifetime aggregate cap on DC plans and IRAs.
March 13, 2013 — CEO and executive director of ASPPA Brian Graff clarifies the details of pending legislation in California on retirement plan coverage. The legislation requires employers to offer a plan to their employees, but does not require employers to use a single provider or state-run program. Graff explains that the legislation expands coverage without sacrificing a competitive market, strengthening workers’ ability to save for retirement. Look for other states to follow California’s lead—including Connecticut, Illinois, and Maryland.
February 22, 2013 — Since Congress passed a last minute deal to alleviate the fiscal cliff, tax reform has taken a backseat to other issues. ASPPA CEO Brian Graff talks about a working group that Congress created to study retirement plan tax incentives. Graff urges members to spread the word about savemy401k.com and tell Congress to preserve the retirement tax incentives that power American workers retirement.
January 15, 2013 — ASPPA CEO Brian Graff defines the issue and key players of “Fiscal Cliff 2″ and why the process will be a challenge to lawmakers and how it will all impact retirement professionals. Graff warns that things will heat up in Washington around the end of February, when the debt ceiling is reached, sequestration begins, and lawmakers begin looking for more revenue.
December 3, 2012 — ASPPA’s CEO Brian Graff discusses the ongoing negotiations on the looming “fiscal cliff.” He explains the proposals in play and the negotiating stances of both Republicans and Democrats. Graff also talks about the repercussions of the U.S. “going over the cliff” and stresses the need for leadership from the White House as time runs out for politicians to make a deal.
November 26, 2012 — As Democrats and Republicans debate tax reform in 2013, the retirement security of more than 60 million Americans will be at risk. ASPPA’s Executive Director Brian Graff shares how the grassroots “Save My 401k” campaign can engage ASPPA members, workers, and employers so Congress understands any proposal that cuts the contribution limits of 401(k) plans could have a devastating impact on the retirement savings of millions of middle-class workers.
November 7, 2012 — ASPPA’s Executive Director Brian Graff breaks down the results of the 2012 national election, calling it a “status quo” election with the Democrats maintaining control over the White House and Senate while Republicans continue their control of the House of Representatives. He discusses the election’s impact on tax reform, the possible resolution of the “fiscal cliff,” and the influence of these issues on the retirement industry.
October 11, 2012 — ASPPA’s Executive Director and CEO Brian Graff sits down with 2011-2012 ASPPA President Robert Richter to discuss the strong relationship between ASPPA and governmental regulatory agencies, future threats to the retirement industry, the upcoming battle over tax reform, the ASPPA Political Action Committee, and Richter’s tenure as ASPPA President.
October 3, 2012 — ASPPA’s Executive Director and CEO Brian Graff breaks down the upcoming 2012 Presidential election and offers his prediction on the outcome of several key national races and the election’s impact on tax reform and possible resolution of the “fiscal cliff.”
September 19, 2012 — ASPPA’s General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs, Craig Hoffman, discusses FAQ # 39 from the Department of Labor’s (DOL) recently released Field Assistance Bulletin 2012-02R. FAQ 39 replaced FAQ 30 which had indicated that plan fiduciaries may have responsibilities to monitor investments made through a self directed brokerage window and generated wide public comment. Hoffman discuss the clarification from DOL and the impact the new FAQ#39 will have on retirement plan professionals.
NTSAA Video: 403(b) Model Disclosure Form
July 25, 2012 — NTSAA has created a new video about the 403(b) Model Disclosure Form. Learn about how the model form gives public school employees the information they need about their 403(b) retirement plans. The video highlights the importance of the form and how it is designed to work.
July 17, 2012 — ASPPA’s General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs, Craig Hoffman, discusses FAQ # 37 from the Department of Labor’s Field Assistance Bulletin 2012-02. The guidance provides that enforcement actions will generally be unnecessary if a plan administrator or covered service providers has acted in accordance with a good-faith interpretation of the regulations and has established a plan to come into compliance with the requirements of the Field Assistance Bulletin.
June 14, 2012 — ASPPA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Craig Hoffman, explains the requirements for plan fiduciaries regarding brokerage windows under the Department of Labor’s Field Assistance Bulletin 2012-02.
May 31, 2012 — ASPPA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs Craig Hoffman explains how the recently released U.S. Department of Labor FAQ on the 404(a)(5) participant level fee disclosure will impact retirement plan professionals.
April 12, 2012 — Since the Department of Labor issued the final fee disclosure regulation in February, many questions have been raised on the exact impact of the new rule. In particular, the meaning of the term “designated investment alternative” and whether asset allocation strategies should be classified as such. Michael Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of EBSA at the Department of Labor, indicated at the ASPPA 401(k) SUMMIT held in March of 2012 that sub-regulatory guidance—in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs)—should be available on the DOL website “within weeks” Although not yet released, it is expected shortly.
February 29, 2012 — After a much anticipated wait, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the final 408(b)(2) fee disclosure regulation that dictates what covered service providers must disclose to plan fiduciaries in conjunction with providing services to a covered plan . But what does the late release of the regulation mean for retirement professionals? ASPPA’s General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs, Craig Hoffman, discusses the new extended effective date and how it impacts transitional relief for participant disclosures under Regulation §2550.404a-5.
February 1, 2012 — New regulations governing participant fee disclosure go into effect this spring for 401(k) plan participants but those regulations don’t apply to public school 403(b) plans. An 403(b) industry led taskforce set out to provide public school employees with key information and today released new disclosure standards that help public school employees make apples to apples comparisons of their 403(b) retirement savings options. ASPPA CEO Brian Graff explains how improved disclosure on fees and services leads to better informed participants.
December 21, 2011 — ASPPA’s Executive Director Brian Graff offers a preview to key retirement issues on the legislative and regulatory agenda and how they will impact retirement plan professionals.
November 30, 2011— ASPPA’s General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs, Craig Hoffman, explains why the signature requirement for IRS Form 5558 to extend the due date for filing Form 8955-SSA should be eliminated. ASPPA requested, via a comment letter, that the exception to the signature requirement granted under Treasury Regulation §1.6081-11 for Form 5500 series returns be applied or expanded to include Form 8955-SSA.
September 23, 2011— What does new participant fee disclosure guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor mean for retirement professionals? ASPPA’s General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs, Craig Hoffman explains DOL’s EBSA Technical Release 2011-03 and the methods allowed for electronic disclosure for the employer-based sponsored retirement system under the new guidance.
ASPPA Testifies Before Senate Finance Committee
September 15, 2011— ASPPA Director of Retirement Policy Judy Miller testifies about the benefits of the employer sponsored retirement system and myths and facts of 401(k) plans before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.
September 6, 2011— Congress returns from August recess with a new Supercommittee charged with cutting $1.5 trillion dollars from deficit by December. ASPPA CEO Brian Graff explains the make-up and mandates of the newly minted Supercommittee and how their recommendations could impact the future of 75 million Americans’ 401(k) retirement plans.
August 25, 2011— Regulations governing the disclosure of 401(k) fees are moving closer to implementation according to Craig Hoffman, ASPPA’s General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs. Hoffman outlines the timeline and impact plan fiduciaries and plan participants can expect pending the U.S. Department of Labor’s release of the final 408(b)(2) and 404(a) regulations.
July 25, 2011—The buzz in Washington this week is whether Congress will raise the debt limit before defaulting but ASPPA CEO Brian Graff explains how the decision could also impact retirement policy if Congress pushes for tax reform as part of the solution to the crisis.
July 15, 2011—The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently requested information about how retirement plan participants receive plan notices. Currently under regulations to the 35 year-old Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), employers and plan service providers face barriers to communicating electronically with participants. Complicating the issue is the fact that the IRS has a separate set of rules on disclosure that conflict with the DOL. ASPPA’s General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs, Craig Hoffman explains why it’s crucial to harmonize the rules between the IRS and DOL for efficiency and to make electronic disclosure the default an option for participants.
June 15, 2011—Retirement plan fee disclosure is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Labor but delays in the final regulations could put employers in a time crunch to communicate these updates to their plan participants. ASPPA’s General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs, Craig Hoffman explains what ASPPA is doing to raise the issue with the DOL.
May 19, 2011—Disclosing the amount and type of fees charged for 401(k) retirement plans is a top issue for retirement professionals and the investors they serve. The U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance but the deadline to implement both regulations is unclear. ASPPA General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs Craig Hoffman explains what participants and practitioners can expect in 2011.
April 28, 2011—As Congress returns from recess members face tough fiscal issues like raising the country’s debt limit, passing the FY 2012 budget, and differing tax reform proposals. Brian Graff previews the topics up for debate and how these issues could impact retirement plans across the nation.
March 18, 2011—In 2010, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued rules requiring all paid tax preparers to register and meet competency and education requirements as part of the new Preparer Tax Identification Program (PTIN). ASPPA’s General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs, Craig Hoffman explains how repeated petitions by ASPPA led the IRS to except preparers filing informational returns such as the 5500, 1099, 5300 (Notice 2011-6) from PTIN registration. More information on refunds for the PTIN program can be accessed at http://www.irs.gov/
February 28, 2011—What constitutes investment advice under ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act)? The U.S. Department of Labor is revisiting the 35 year old regulation that regulates how that advice is given—and what protections plan participants receive based on who is giving that advice. ASPPA’s Executive Director Brian Graff explains how these changes will dramatically impact retirement plans across the nation and why clarification on the issue is key for both plan sponsors and participants.
January 5, 2011—What does the arrival of the 112th Congress mean for retirement plan professionals? ASPPA’s Executive Director Brian Graff discusses how the deficit reduction debate could impact retirement savings incentives and why educating Congress on the value of the private retirement system is critical to avoid damaging policy decisions.
December 15, 2010—ASPPA’s Executive Director Brian Graff discusses how the bipartisan Deficit Reduction Commission (National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility & Reform–NCFRR) report and Obama’s tax cut package impacts retirement plan professionals in the days ahead.
October 15, 2010November 3, 2010—ASPPA CEO Brian Graff provides a glimpse of what’s to come for the retirement plan industry following the GOP’s takeover of the House—ASPPA will share the results of an in depth survey of 150 Third Party Administrator (TPA) owners conducted with Brightwork Partners, during the ASPPA annual conference October 17, 2010. Brian Graff explains how this research will provide a comprehensive profile of the industry and assist retirement plan professionals in learning about key industry trends, best practices and what issues and concerns are on the minds of third party administrators
October 15, 2010—ASPPA will share the results of an in depth survey of 150 Third Party Administrator (TPA) owners conducted with Brightwork Partners, during the ASPPA annual conference October 17, 2010. Brian Graff explains how this research will provide a comprehensive profile of the industry and assist retirement plan professionals in learning about key industry trends, best practices and what issues and concerns are on the minds of third party administrators
ASPPA to Testify at IRS Hearing on Registration for Paid Tax Preparers (PTIN)
October 4, 2010—The IRS has announced it will require registration of all paid tax preparers effective January 1, 2010. Brian Graff explains how this registration could extend to retirement plan professionals preparing a form 5500 and why ASPPA is working with the IRS to narrow the scope of the registration requirement. On October 8, ASPPA President-elect Robert Richter will testify before the IRS on behalf of ASPPA members.
ASPPA to Testify at DOL Hearing on Lifetime Income Distribution Options
September 13, 2010 – The wave of retiring baby boomers has sparked a policy discussion on how business and the government can work together to help retirees make their income last a lifetime. Graff explains the critical issue—how to harmonize regulation that allows flexibility for market innovation without introducing expensive mandates for plan sponsors. ASPPA President Sheldon Smith will testify on behalf of retirement professionals at DOL’s Hearing on Lifetime Income Distribution Options on September 15.
September 2, 2010 – Labor Day signals the end of summer and the return of Congress with its renewed focus on economic initiatives. The Small Business Bill (H.R. 5297) will be front and center - with a key provision that allows an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan to provide for Roth conversions within the plan. Graff discusses the outlook for passage of this provision in a politically charged election year.
July 29, 2010 – As Congress winds down in preparation for its August recess, ASPPA CEO Brian Graff offers a legislative wrap and regulatory update on the release of ERISA 408(b)(2) rules by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Graff gives an overview of the good and bad news on how these regulations will trigger a new era of fee disclosure that will impact both the marketplace and retirement plan professionals.
ASPPA Government Affairs Update with ASPPA CEO Brian Graff
June 30, 2010 – ASPPA CEO Brian Graff speaks on the issue of Roth Conversions inside a retirement plan, and the possibility that conversions may be included in the Small Business Tax Bill.
ASPPA Government Affairs Update with ASPPA CEO Brian Graff
June 30, 2010 – The soon-to-pass Financial Services Reform Bill has a provision that authorizes DOL and Treasury to grant authority to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate services offered to a retirement plan. ASPPA CEO Brian Graff explains the impact on ASPPA members.
June 7, 2010 – Get the latest on what’s happening in Congress including pension funding relief and why the topic of fee disclosure is heating up as competing legislative (Congress) and regulatory (DOL) measures are introduced and how this disclosure will impact retirement professionals throughout the industry.
Lifetime Income Summit
May 26, 2010 – AARP, ASPPA and WISER co-hosted a summit on May 20 to review public proposals and private products aimed at facilitating the management of income during retirement. Discussion centered on how to meet the challenges faced by both employees preparing for retirement and their employers assisting them, how insurance and financial markets might respond to these challenges, and the options that policymakers are considering to improve the security of retirement income. Read the summary, view recordings and materials at www.lifetimeincomesummit.org
ASPPA Urges House to Oppose the Doggett Proposal on Cross-Testing
May 12, 2010 – A proposal to regulate the retirement plans widely used by small businesses could lead to a mass termination of their company retirement plans—impacting the retirement security of both small business owners and their employees. ASPPA members are urged to contact their Member of Congress to oppose Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s proposal.
The Fight Over Financial Regulatory Reform
May 4, 2010 – Learn how the battle over regulatory reform on Wall Street is impacting retirement professionals and how ASPPA is working with Congress to find middle ground on the issue of oversight by the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).