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Everything posted by Barney

  1. Roger, If I were you, I would definitely continue to investigate the 457/OGSP option. It looks like it may be a good alternative to your 403b and the fees appear reasonable. The state will have its own TPA so the impact on your district is likely minor - just sending payroll and participant data each pay period. Carruth is a rather expensive TPA from what I remember but they do work with almost any vendor. After seeing their prices, I was astonished to see how large their Oregon client list is. -Barney
  2. That's fantastic! Can you provide some more detail? How did you get CPI and Vanguard to come together? Did they use CPI's agreement? It appears to be a CPI form that Vanguard finally agreed to sign. (the file says CPI CRS Form 13-111, Revised 05/22/09) If you PM me, I could think I can send you the file as an email attachment. Let's see if it will work this way! CPI Vanguard Agreement Just tried a pm but apparently the site is waiting for a software update (at least according to the message I received when trying). Unfortunately, the link the message didn't work so I'll just sit tight and wait for the pm function to be available again ;) Thanks.
  3. That's fantastic! Can you provide some more detail? How did you get CPI and Vanguard to come together? Did they use CPI's agreement?
  4. There is no reason that asking for a copy of the plan document should cause issues unless there is incompetence or something to hide on the part of the district. Your financial officer should also be easily able to explain why they require 10 employees AND a letter from a vendor rep. The more information you have, the better you can formulate and target your approach. Not to sound too negative but don't get your hopes up with the union. Keep your expectations low so you are not completely stunned by the ignorance you may encounter. Most people are just not financially literate and don't really care to know more - teachers are no exception. Like tony suggests, look for a state 457 plan. That could be a good alternative for you (it is for me).
  5. TPA's usually only work with vendors willing to sign their agreements. Ask your CFO for a copy of the planwithease vendor list or to request a copy from planwithease. Your options will be limited to to the vendors on the list. Last I saw, the planwithease vendor list did not include Vanguard, Fidelity, or TRP but they did have TIAA-CREF. I would also ask the CFO what "employee-driven process" really means. It might be as simple as requesting a new vendor be added (one that's already on the TPA's list that is).
  6. Barney

    American Funds

    I'll second that statement. Why not first put your money in a place of your choosing without employer/plan complications? That's the way I look at it.
  7. Does that mean he can't participate in the conversation? For better or worse, companies like this are a part of the 403b market. If they make stupid comments, pick them apart. But maybe they should be given the opportunity to make the stupid comments before running them off. Just my thoughts - maybe I've misunderstood what you meant.
  8. Excerpt from their FAQ below. I couldn't find anything on costs outside of Michigan. -- 5.Question: How much does it cost to use the MCA Investment Options? Answer: It will cost you very little. All participants pay a small amount that is based on the total amount of assets in the accounts of all participants who select one of the MCA Investment Options. The rate per dollar invested goes down as the balances in the accounts go up. This means that the more dollars that are invested by all 403(b) participants, the lower the costs will be for everyone. If you are an employee of a Michigan public education employer that has joined the Michigan Retirement Investment Consortium, the maximum amount you will pay on an annual basis is 0.38% and this drops to 0.18% as assets increase. Fee Schedule. -- When I tried to open the Fee Schedule link, it returned a page not found error. Barney
  9. Definitely worse as far as I'm concerned. We've lost access to Vanguard and Fidelity and have no options other than insurance companies now. And the extra level of involvement of the school administration and tpa is showing signs of leading to problems in timeliness of deferrals and getting approvals/signatures when needed. I've decided to no longer participate in our 403b plan. We have access to the state 457 and that's the route I've gone - much, much better (but not better than what I previously had with Vanguard). Overall, I think the new regs are frustrating for those of us who were happy with a self-directed system. Barney
  10. My initial reaction is the same as sschullo. Can you tell us more about what you mean by evolving?
  11. You can do it but you'll pay a 10% penalty on earnings and owe income taxes. How long would it take for you to receive the money from WEA Trust? I have my emergency fund parked in a money market at a credit union because I want liquidity and convenience in the event of an emergency - I don't want to have to fill out paperwork and wait for it to be processed/approved. Perhaps WEA Trust can take care of such a request in a hurry without hassle but I don't know that I would count on it. Something else to consider is the size of your emergency fund. If it is larger than you think you might need, then definitely think about investing the excess amount.
  12. Any ideas on how to go about collecting basic product and fee information from/for 403b vendors? I realize this is a rather vague question but I would appreciate any thoughts that come to mind. I'm thinking about creating a one page info sheet for each vendor in our plan but I'm having trouble deciding what information to provide to our participants. I don't really want to build a list of annuities, funds, expense ratios, charges, share classes, etc., and then try to keep it updated. However, I do want provide our participants with some basic, neutral, information about their investment options and costs - something they can use to help guide their questions when talking with a vendor/sales person. Is this a lost cause?
  13. If you have to raise costs, exclude your existing customer base. Now that's an approach you don't often hear about. Good for you.
  14. Thank you for the information. Could you go one more step and explain your fees? If I had no other holdings with you and started with $10,000 in the Fidelity Freedom 2030 Fund I would be charged an annual $40 account fee/yr plus .15%/yr from 403bASP, plus the .76%/yr expense from Fidelity, plus what kind of fee from Skloff Financial Group? Thank you! That explains a lot.
  15. Maybe you could give a few examples of the total cost to the participants in your plan. Say I wanted to defer to Putnam's RetirementReady 2030 Fund (PRRQX) or Fidelity's Freedom 2030 Fund (FFFEX), what would be the fees and expenses involved by going through you?
  16. I'm having a difficult time accepting that these companies are willing to give up the revenue from sales charges. The skeptic in me says they must be making it up somewhere else - revenue sharing agreements? What kind of fees are charged by the RIA?
  17. How is the load being waived? Are you saying that companies traditionally charging loads, Putnam for example, are just forgoing the sales charge?
  18. This is just my opinion but I'd prefer to see you not include different share classes of the same fund in your overall count of "over 20,000". Especially considering your example contains classes not available in a 403(b) plan. They're really all the same fund, are they not? Or am I just naive in the accepted way of counting mutual funds?
  19. Definitely open a Roth IRA - Vanguard would be a great place to do so. This will give you the most freedom of investment choices. If you have money left after that, consider the WA State Deferred Compensation Program (http://www.drs.wa.gov/drs) instead of the lousy options in your district's 403(b) plan. DCP is a 457 plan (very similar to a 403(b)) and it has some decent investment options. It also includes some target date fund options which make the selections pretty easy - just be sure to pay attention to the stock/bond allocations rather than the retirement year. Your HR dept. should have booklets from DCP. If not, the website has everything you need. Barney
  20. Barney

    Help Needed

    You will need to select another provider from your school district's current provider list and tell the district to send the money they've been holding there (after you've opened the account). If you are unsure of which providers are good options, post the list here and I'm sure someone will give you some ideas. I would be very unhappy in your situation but I don't know that you have any legal recourse unless the district refuses to deposit the money with a new provider.
  21. I think it's open to interpretation. Is the IRS going to stick by a public statement or fall back to the vague regulations if pressed (or convenient for them)? One way to interpret what Architect has said is that the IRS considers 15 days after the month the deferral was taken out of a paycheck to be the standard for considering what is "administratively feasible". Of course, if you are paid on the 15th of the month, that could mean 30 days. Another interpretation is that the 15 days is just something Architect pulled out of his hat and administratively feasible remains undefined and completely open to case by case scrutiny since the 15 days text doesn't show up in the new 403(b) regs anywhere I can find it. With Architect being the defacto spokesperson for the IRS on 403(b) matters and the fact that the quote is posted on irs.gov, I would hope he wasn't quoted without good reason. But it sure doesn't set anything in stone does it?
  22. From the Bob Architect Q&A at irs.gov http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,i...2433,00.html#t1 -- V. Timing of Depositing Elective Deferrals 1. Do the regulations address the time frame in which a participant’s elective deferral must be sent to the vendor? Well, this is a very good point, and thank goodness they do, because we had a very strange rule in the past. What happens is that an employee had their salary reduced in January, February and March. The employer doesn’t forward these monies to the vendor, the organization that offers the annuity or custodial account, until, let’s say, the end of that year, sometime in December. That was a bit of a problem, and that was old Revenue Ruling 67-69, which basically said, that in order to have a good 403(b), you only have to pass these amounts on to the vendor, but once a year. We came up with a rule and an example that amounts have to be passed on to the vendor in an administratively feasible period, which we consider, for example, within 15 business days following the month in which these amounts would have been paid to the participant. However, if you are subject to ERISA, you must abide by the tighter ERISA time frame of forwarding amounts on to the vendor. If you’re not, you will come under this new rule. --
  23. It seems unlikely that your employer would have multiple 403(b) plans so both AG and VG should be included in a single plan. That means the new plan document would be required for all providers and it shouldn't matter that you would be the only active VG participant. My point is that the AG participants need the plan document too so, at a minimum, you shouldn't have to bear the entire cost of setting up the plan documents.
  24. If your employer has previously offered a 403(b) plan, they will probably need to have a plan regardless of new enrollments to cover the existing participants. And if they are so intent on the participants paying the cost of establishing the plan document, why are they not going after existing participants as well? Have they provided any rationale? Legal? I don't know but it sure isn't very nice.
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