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Setting the Table

Investment Decisions for Sponsors of Employee-Directed Retirement Plans
  • Also available as: Perfect Bound Softcover
  • Published: July 2002
  • Format: Dust Jacket Hardcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 252
  • Size: 5.5x8.5
  • ISBN: 9781401056438
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The retirement dreams of Americans increasingly rest on defined contribution plans, including 401(k), 403(b), 457, and similar programs. They are incredibly popular with employers and employees. More employees are covered by these plans than traditional pensions, especially in the vast segment of smaller employers. Probably more than any other factor, the growth of employee-directed plans has converted millions of savers into investors.

All defined contribution plans pass investment risk on to the employees, and the vast majority allow employees to direct their own investment strategy. Investment decision-making is a shared responsibility between the plan sponsor and employees (participants). Being a plan sponsor is a tough job - you have to make decisions affecting other people´s retirement savings, comply with various laws and fiduciary duties, manage plan administration and investments simultaneously, and be prepared to be second-guessed by employees with incredibly sharp hindsight.

Who sets the table for employees? Who sifts through 10,000 mutual funds and picks a dozen or so products on which participants will bet their future? Most likely a small number of HR and finance professionals who have many other things to do with their time. Excellent plan sponsors get results from their plan without sinking large amounts of time into running the plan. They have the best of all worlds: they run cost-effective plans that require minimal attention from management and generate happy employees. In my experience, a solid governance process over investment matters does more than protect the sponsor from lawsuits - it saves time, saves money, and increases employee satisfaction. This book starts by walking the plan sponsor through a prudent and efficient governance process, designing an investment policy based on scientific and human principles to meet employee needs. We then go through the process of selecting investment products, monitoring performance, dealing with recordkeepers and "bundled" providers, and communicating effectively with participants. Throughout the book sponsors will pick up concise and practical advice on everyday management and special "hot" topics, including company stock, self-directed brokerage, investment advice, lifestyle funds, and much more.

If you´re already running a plan with a strong investment program, perhaps you´ll pick up a few tips from this book to make improvements on the edges, or save yourself some time. If you are running a plan with "less than adequate" investments, or with outright investment problems, you should find the answers you need here. Finally, if your job is to manage assets or provide service to a plan sponsor, I hope you´ll gain some insight into the issues they face - the unlikely, unsung heroes that set the table for us, and make possible our retirement dreams.

Click here to learn more at the Bellwether Consulting website.

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Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
Price: $21.99
Dust Jacket Hardcover(B/W)
Price: $31.99