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Everything posted by detailgal

  1. Hello Forum Folks, Just received a "summary plan description" and was asked to give feedback (I was one of 2 employees who was on 4-person committee and who helped get rid of ING annuity plan). I have a number of questions and complaints about this "summary," (like the one short paragraph on expenses where no actual numbers are mentioned, as they were in the sales materials), but for now, I'm just wondering about the annuity status. This plan was advertised by the broker as "straight mutual funds," not an annuity, with the option to annuitize at retirement. However, the following statements have me concerned: "If you are married on the date your benefits are to begin, you will automatically receive a joint and 50% survivor annuity, unless you otherwise elect an alternative form of payment." "...must first waive the annuity form of payment." "...alternative form of payment. ....the following methods: - a single lump-sum payment in cash - installments over a period of not more than your assumed life expectancy (or your beneficiary's life expectancy) - the purchase of a different form of annuity." (Our plan is also called "The such and such Group Annuity") ****Am I mistaken to assume that a 403 (b) with "straight mutual funds" that "is not an annuity" (broker) should include additional payout or rollover options? (IRA?)**** This new company IS better than ING re: the fees (.25 on top of fund fees) and the funds are American without the load, so all of that is an improvement. I'm just wondering if this is an annuity. It has all the language of the prospectus of my individual annuity (don't ask). Looking forward to your feedback. Always helpful. DetailGal
  2. Thanks Steve. And, at the risk of further despair...I don't work for a school; I'm at a small non-profit agency. In our meeting today when I questioned why the same American fund outside the retirement plan cost .25 less than inside, one of the things our cfo said was that I should realize how unusual it was for an employee to have a say (not exactly her words), citing examples from much bigger agencies. In response, I noted that the very size of our agency helped to make it possible for an employee to question and ultimately make a difference. Even then, it took 3 years! (The broker did say he would research the answer to my question. And no, no front loads, so the higher fees don't feel like I'm being eviscerated (sp?) as it did with ING.) Thanks also for the link info. And, keep plugging! Best, DG
  3. TR1982: I get the non-pay Morninstar info, am assuming that you are, as I didn't find this info. Or maybe you could point me in the specific direction? Thanks, DG
  4. Thanks TR1982. What are you suggesting would be a good number of Am funds or total funds in the plan? Also, the broker says he'll be serving as an investment advisor as well as the manager of the managed funds. I feel "ok" about this because his cut is the same regardless, though I probably won't use him for my specific picks. But, what do you all think? thanks again, DG
  5. Hi All, Latest, and nearly final installment in long-term (posted here) story of getting out of ING annuity and into something else. The cfo found a broker. We, (she, exec dir. myself and fellow employee/interested investor and broker) met about 6 weeks ago. He offered to put together a small plan (we are a very small agency, 400k in plan assets) with 60% American Funds and about 10-12 funds. I pushed for an average fund fee of .90. (I know this is higher than Vanguard, but Vanguard will never be an option and it's a whole lot less than the 2.10 average with ING.) He's meeting with us again today to finalize things. However, he's saying that he can't offer the kind of diversification that co-worker and I asked for in the form of more funds per asset class AND lower fees. I don't have the actual numbers yet. He says he looks at what the best performers are in an asset class, offers those and tracks them. We had 85 funds with ING. Too much. But to go to 10 with 60% of them American Funds??? Please give me some input on the argument. The cfo just wants to be done with this and the exec dir has no clue about investments. I we should get the 29 American funds and then the 7 other funds, at the very least. Details: The broker's take is a fixed .25 regardless of fund. If you would, please just address my concern here. I know there are lower options out there, but that is not going to happen. The meeting today is. THanks very much. DG
  6. Hello All, Well, after a couple of years of plugging away, it looks like my non-profit agency is going to get a new "open architechture" plan. It isn't the Vanguard deal I wanted, but I can swallow it much better than the ING Erisa Annuity with the 1.25% wrap, 10 year surrender charge period and should-be-illegal level of lousy customer service. But I digress. Here's the situation and questions: The ING plan will either be frozen or terminated depending upon a few factors (outstanding employee loans, if the agency can afford to pay off the surrender fees etc.) The ING rep says that if we leave ING, the employees can transfer all their money, from both the employee and employer accounts to the new plan. Now, this totally contradicts what I've been told in the past by ING and here. So I'm wondering: Is he out and out wrong? Would that be true if it were NOT an Erisa plan and he has overlooked this? Is there a different rule if the plan is terminated vs. frozen? Based upon "valuable," but painful experience, I do not trust ING to know what they're doing or give the right answer the first 10 times I ask. So, I'm here. Thanks for your help on this. detailgal
  7. Hello All, Is anyone out there in a Mutual of America plan? Forgive my asking this once more, but it's looking like our cfo (see my other posts if you want the fascinating details), is leaning heavily in the direction of freezing the ING Erisa plan and opening a plan with M of A. Vanguard et. al. make her too uncomfortable in the education and meeting-the-needs-of-guaranteed-return-fund-investors department. She initially renounced annuities and bought the double-speak from M of A that they were not offering an annuity. (They speak more plainly now.) At this point, M of A is a simple answer in that it makes her comfortable about her responsiblity and the average total expenses are 1.35 (my calculations) vs. ING's 2.10. And, she's part-time, doesn't get paid to spend a lot of time on this. She did bring in a 403b broker who claimed that he could get us a plan with American Funds with a total exp. of less than .90 (my challenge). Haven't heard if he's still in the picture. I'd like to hear from anyone in a Mutual of America plan. Your experience? Or if you know of anyone who's invested through them. thanks a mil' detailgal
  8. All, Thanks for your input. Interesting and helpful, both from an idea/info standpoint and in helping me gain perspective. Part of my frustration stems from the fact that I am one of two people who max out the allowable contribution each year. I see my investment, on many levels, as more than that of most others here. But, then, it is relative to what one can do/afford. SIERRA: While I'd hate to give up the 3% match, the non-qualified idea could be attractive/offset the add'l expenses from the TPA and the time it would take for payroll deductions of a 2nd plan. (There is in fact, an old, 2nd, non-Erisa plan with ING, no ongoing deductions to it and, other than the exec dir., its held by former employees. The cfo wants to consolidate it with the current ING plan.) FT: Thanks re: "fiduciary responsibility" info TR1982: I really can't argue against the reality that some, if not, many people are intimidated by the prospect of learning about their investments. And there are many here (and former employees who never rolled over) invest in stability of principle accounts. (As of 4/05 48% was in those account, though one-third of the money was mine.) I want diversification options for us all. And I think diversification, for the level of investing interest of most, could come through a Target or Lifestyle-type fund. QUESTION: Is a rep allowed to recommend specific funds? Our ING rep does, though she has denied it, and I see that out of 80+ funds, the majority of employees invest in 4 funds. I have been advised and have heard the rep advise others to invest in the FIXED and other accounts. I have a call into my accountant to find out just how much more I'd pay in taxes if I only contributed to the 3% match. I may bail, and put the rest in my Roth and other after tax funds. I only consider this because my retirement tax rate will very likely be higher than it is now. THANKS VERY MUCH! (yes, I'm shouting!) DG
  9. Danc, You are right. When I asked why ING was chosen, the answer was that the last human resources guy chose it. Other than that, there's been no mention of comparison of plans or justification as to why this was a good one. The only fiduciary responsibility that is currently being cited to me is that the plan be easily understood by all participants. I am trying to tell them that the low-cost companies that I have suggested (I also researched Mutual of America and TIAA-CREF), provide easily understandable info and access to people via phone. TR1982, While I definately have a vested interest in adding a low-cost plan, it was the cfo who, this past winter, first looked at our current plan and said that she didn't like it, that it shouldn't be an annuity and that she wanted my assistance in researching other plans. I have clearly stated my reasons for why I think this is a better deal for all employees (except for the fact that a low-cost plan doesn't offer a loan option or a fixed return fund) due to facts and figures of what a 2% difference can do to one's returns over time. I argue against the loan and fixed, prioritizing the plan as a retirement vehicle, not a savings account or loan office. I do not think that I or any other employee should have to pay high fees to foot others' loan options and 4% return. Please, with your experience, tell me the more compelling arguments. THanks again, DG
  10. FT et al.: 1) Does fiduciary responsibility include offering a low-cost plan? 2) Is it considered irresponsible to offer a high-cost plan to employees making modest incomes? 3) What are the other fiduciary responsibilities to which you, FT, refer? 4) Can you tell me of an online resource that defines "fiduciary responsiblities?" Thank you, DG
  11. Herb, As I recall, the TPA didn't think it was a big deal to have a second plan, in terms of reporting. Since my first post, I've found someone at Vanguard Small Business who will speak to our cfo, someone who clearly explained the benefits and, to my question, the education and availabililty of Vanguard staff. WHat I/we need to know from the cfo is how much more she will charge to "monitor" a 2nd plan. Thanks again for your input. DG
  12. Herb, Our current, 403B ING plan, is ERISA with a plan document. I've read the regs re: ERISA with regard to transfers etc. and, due to a separate issue, surrender fees, transferring is not feasible. I know that if we had a second plan and an employee wanted to transfer their subaccount (not employer subaccount) monies, or some portion, (in addition to ongoing/future payroll deductions), that that second plan would have to have equally stringent rules re: withdrawls. I am also aware of the reporting responsibilities (5500). As Ira says, is it not a fiduciary responsibility to offer a plan that is low-cost, especially when the average employee income is $35K? RE: Vanguard. I want them or T. Rowe Price as a second plan. My question is: Does online, phone and/or written education meet the requirements of fiduciary responsibility to which our cfo is referring (and she is talking about education, not reporting etc.)? THanks DG
  13. All, Okay, I've been here before, so many have been so helpful in my efforts to persuade my employer (small non-profit) to switch or add a 2nd, low-cost plan. So, I met with boss, cfo and ING rep a few months back. I made my case, pointing to their fees (yes it's an annuity). The boss and cfo agreed that we should look around. I gave them my research and crossed my fingers. Now, the cfo is finding what I predicted, that no company is going to pay off our surrender fees to ING just to have our money, because there's less than $500K of it. The cfo's response re: Vanguard is that they don't offer the service that ING does, the education, and therefore would put the agency at risk for not fulfilling its fiduciary responsibility to its employees. She points to my advanced understanding of investments (I read the Dummies book, have other investments etc, nothing major) and basically says that Vanguard would not meet the needs of the other, 14, less financially-sophisticated employees. She agrees that our current rep has to go, and wants someone who will come out once a month. I tell her that the service that we would get from ING is no different than Vanguard, except that the live body is in the same room. I have asked her to call and speak to a rep at Vanguard's Small Business center. She said she will, though she asks if I have a contact there. ...... I suggested that we have a 2nd plan at Vanguard so that those employees who wanted to could use it. She comes back to the "fiduciary responsiblity" and "education" point. I've also asked that she find out the cost, from our TPA, of administering 2 plans. I'm really frustrated and don't want my frustration to interfere with my discussion with her on this. I did say that I'd like an answer on a 2nd plan by the end of the month (I've let my money sit in the mmkt for a couple of years, not due to any "advanced" abilities, and I want to get on with it). Please, if you have suggestions, offer them up. I know the decision is in the cfo's and boss' hands, but I want to know that I've been well informed in my arguments. As ever, Thanks! DetailGal
  14. Mark and Michael, Thank you. Very helpful. Our contract does state that 90-24 transfers are allowed if the exec dir/fiduciary agrees to sign off on them. Then again, "all" will be revealed tomorrow in the mtg, hopefully no big surprises. Thanks again to all for your interest and assistance. DG
  15. Thanks All, The decision about terminating has not yet been made. It will depend, for one, on what the plan and ING rep have to say at this Friday's mtg. Fee negotiation will be on the table (according to our cfo). I have provided them with info on low-cost plans and lower-cost annuity plans to compare with ING's average fund fees (including 1.25% m&e) of 2.10%, surrender fees etc. I have also told them that my priority is building wealth for retirement rather than paying high fees for others' emergency cash needs (I suggested a savings account rather than the "loan option"). I have also told them that we are paying high fees for an annuitization option that is also available later through transfer to an immediate annuity (low-cost in my case). We only have 16 participants, so the idea of adding a plan is not attractive to the cfo and exec dir. The final decision will be up to them. RE: 90-42 transfer: I thought that the vendor had to allow for it if the employer agreed to sign off on it. Can you cite the reference for your statement (not meant as a challenge, I just want to be well-equipped in response to whatever the rep/ING have to say). Thanks again. DetailGal
  16. Hello Helpful People! Simple quesiton: After our upcoming mtg with our 403(b) annuity-based plan rep and a rep from ING (our, being the cfo, exec dir and myself, employee who's learned from you all), the agency may want to terminate the ING plan and open a different plan. Aside from surrender fees they will have to pay and possibly some kind of additional penalty written into the contract, is there any legal barrier to this? Thanks, DetailGal
  17. Thanks! I'm not up on the abbreviations...What is "sub TA?" And could you say more about "record keeping fee sharing?" Thanks again. DetailGal
  18. Mark, Absolutely re: what I would call "fully informed consent." I now know, or think I know, what the various fees and costs are. I don't know exactly how the rep is paid, but I do know that when I asked for the info that I now have, she consistently sounded annoyed, like I was being awfully pesky. What is "DOL?" Thanks, DG
  19. All, Interesting posts. There were 0 responses when I left for vacation 2 wks ago, so surprised to come back to what's here. Re: Pathfinder's "understanding" of my post and intentions. Uh, wrong. I am one of 2 in my 28 employee agency who has read the prospectus. I am the only employee who has, over the past few years, tried to clearly understand, not only the plan, including costs, but my options for using and/or transferring from the plan. Because of my efforts, ING halved everyone's annual fees, back to the fees written into the original contract. (Took a "mere" six months for them to do it.) I am quite willing to work with admin in their communication with ING, but no, I do not take responsibility for admin's interest or decisions. My voiced concerns and questions did pique admin's interest, but their concerns and related pursuit of this is their own which, in many ways, parallel mine. "Finishing" what I started, does not mean speaking on behalf of admin or without a clear measure of their support. It does not mean doing the cfo's job. It can, and hopefully will, mean working in tandem with them, presenting information that will be useful both in their decision-making and in representing my concerns/interests and potentially those of the other 27 employee investors. RE: prospectus language and education. Yes, employees should be responsible about their money. And, it is well known, to "advisors" and others, that most people glaze over when reading the prospectus, let alone hearing about investment options. "Advisors" can sell anything knowing that. Our ING rep did not once tell anyone about the m&e fee or her compensation. These are fees that affect returns, but they were omitted from the "education." I suggested a simple graph from ING to show all of the fees and costs. That was met with a loud silence (also known as a big cup of "shut up"). The doctor and pharmacist tell us the side-effects and what will lower the effectiveness of a . Why not the "advisor." Oh, I know, we might not buy what they are selling. Thanks to Joe and others here for your continued assistance. Detailgal
  20. Hello! 1) Does anyone on here use 401keasy? Sounds interesting to me. 2) Our ING rep is coming to meet with the cfo, the exec dir and me in April. In response to my interest and complaints (cited on posts here), the cfo thought we should look for a new plan and told the ING rep. CFO says that our contract was drawn up poorly, with a 15k penalty should we leave the plan in under 10 years. (My thought is to freeze it, avoid the 15k and allow 90-24 transfers only to the new plan and no other.) THe rep wants to hear our concerns...and the cfo wants her to come up with something more to our liking. Here's where I need your help. I'm nervous because the exec dir and cfo are treating me like I'm the expert and want me to articulate to the rep what it is we don't like about the annuity-wrapped ING plan. Now, I can speak to my principles with regard to my investments and what spurred my interest in leaving the plan (or transferring), but, as I told the cfo, I don't want to be the main representative for the agency. I will reiterate this to them and what I would hope they would consider in this conversation. I'm concerned because I can't point to specific returns that are horrible from ING vs the market or Vanguard. (The cfo asked me to come up with a chart showing those types of comparisons.) I can mostly state my interest in having a plan whose costs will have the least chance of lowering my returns. Is this enough? I'm glad that the admin has chosen to listen to my concerns. I just don't want to be hanging my ___ out; I want them to know what they're talking about and not expect me to be the "voice" of the agency's concerns. Would love feedback. DG p.s. the current plan has 1.25% fee added to every fund fee. Lowest fund fees are around 60%
  21. How to get them through a low-cost plan that doesn't include Am. Funds usual front-load? When I spoke with an Am Funds rep the plan would have included the load. Our current ING offers some of their funds, but we want to freeze that plan. Ideas? DG
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