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jphillips

Why Won't Joel Say Who He Is?

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And it is interesting to note that in all the states where the AFT/NEA prevail they have used their undue influence NOT to offer a no-load platform. So all of you posters out there that feel you are getting value with these 2 percent plans are, in my view, being disingenuous when you refuse to go on record and tell your statewide union that it should not be endorsing just 2 percent programs because there are many union members who would like to go the no-load route with or without retaining a personal investment advisor on a fee only basis.

 

Can anyone out there tell us of one statewide labor organization that has used its clout to ALSO offer its endorsement of a no-load product provider that would compete with let's say ING? THERE ISN'T ONE! BECAUSE A NO-LOAD PROVIDER ENDORSED BY A LABOR ORGANIZATION WOULD MAKE ITS ENDORSEMENT OF ING NULL AND VOID. ING IS ONLY WILLING TO MAKE THE FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENT WITH THE NYSUT BECAUSE IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE NYSUT WILL ENDORSE ONLY PRODUCTS UNDERWRITTEN BY ING---IN OTHER WORDS AN EXCLUSIVE ENDORSEMENT.

 

NON COMPETE CLAUSES ARE FUNDAMENTALLY UNFAIR AND THUS ILLEGAL. THE FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENT SIGNED BY ING AND NYSUT IS EXTREMELY CLOSE TO BEING SUCH AN ARRANGEMENT.

 

You see the unions cannot offer both types of plans because if they did one endorsement would simply cancel out the other. So the unions have taken the moral and ethical LOW ground and endorsed the high cost product because the high cost provider is willing to give a financial incentive to the union in return for its "endorsement". The financial arrangement entered into by NYSUT and ING is in reality an indirect dues increase on those members that use Opportunity Plus or Opportunity Independence. The unions are not focussed on costs to the member. Their sole concern is to use their clout to raise union revenue. THEY HAVE USED SECTION 403(b) TO THEIR OWN SELFISH ADVANTAGE.

 

Question: Why wasn't the issue given to the members to decide by referendum. Ex: DO YOU WANT A NO-LOAD MENU WITH THE FOLLOWING SERVICES OR DO YOU WANT A LOAD-MENU WITH THE FOLLOWING SERVICES? OR WOULD WOULD LIKE BOTH CHOICES? It's safe to say that "BOTH CHOICES" WOULD WIN BY A LANDSLIDE.

 

But offering both choices to the members cancels out the ability of the union to USE SECTION 403(b) as a revenue enhancement for the union treasury.

 

Peace and Hope,

Joel L. Frank

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NON COMPETE CLAUSES ARE FUNDAMENTALLY UNFAIR AND THUS ILLEGAL.

Once again you are speaking out of both sides of your mouth. If non compete clauses are fundamentally unfair then why is it ok for TIAA to only implement 457 plans where they are the sole providers? Why do you suggest that districts should only make TIAA available as the 403b provider?

 

Oh yeah, before I forget. Why won't you disclose your background? You are obviously knowlegable. Why won't you fill us in?

 

Jim

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And it is interesting to note that in all the states where the AFT/NEA prevail they have used their undue influence NOT to offer a no-load platform...You see the unions cannot offer both types of plans because if they did one endorsement would simply cancel out the other.

 

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This post is predicated on a simple falsehood: that unions mandate the use of ING, and don't offer any alternatives. In our district, and in those of my colleagues, this is just wrong. You state several times in this post that other low-cost or no-cost alternatives aren't "offered." Of course they are! They aren't ENDORSED, which is a separate matter, but they are certainly offered.

 

Anyone who is well-educated enough to know how to responsibly allocate their assets in a 403(b) account, and how to effectively monitor the status of their account, is certainly well-educated enough to educate themselves as to the number of different 403(b) carriers offered by their districts, and which one is right for them.

 

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The financial arrangement entered into by NYSUT and ING is in reality an indirect dues increase on those members that use Opportunity Plus or Opportunity Independence. The unions are not focussed on costs to the member. Their sole concern is to use their clout to raise union revenue. THEY HAVE USED SECTION 403(b) TO THEIR OWN SELFISH ADVANTAGE.

 

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Are you just making this up, or do you have proof of NYSUT's bad intentions here? I've already detailed the numerous advantages that NYSUT has negotiated into the ING 403(b) on behalf of their members; I'd be interested in hearing what proof you have of any of these very serious allegations. Failing that, you should retract.

 

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Question: Why wasn't the issue given to the members to decide by referendum. Ex: DO YOU WANT A NO-LOAD MENU WITH THE FOLLOWING SERVICES OR DO YOU WANT A LOAD-MENU WITH THE FOLLOWING SERVICES? OR WOULD WOULD LIKE BOTH CHOICES? It's safe to say that "BOTH CHOICES" WOULD WIN BY A LANDSLIDE.

 

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Yes, it would. Which is why BOTH CHOICES *ARE* OFFERED. This isn't a single-provider, 401(k) we're talking about. It's a 403(b), and each district may impose certain limitations on how many providers they offer, but none that I'm aware of have a single offering.

 

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But offering both choices to the members cancels out the ability of the union to USE SECTION 403(b) as a revenue enhancement for the union treasury.

 

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See the above...both choices ARE in fact offered to members. I'm not sure why you see the union as such a boogeyman, but it's not based on anything that is actually happening.

 

 

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The last thing I did yesterday before I left school was help a teacher who had brought all her account information from three jobs, four different 403b's and at least 20 funds. The grand total of ALL of the investments over the years was less than $20,000!

 

 

You are leaving some things out of the equation. How much has she been contributing and for how many years? If she has been putting in $600 per year for the last 10 years then she's done pretty well. If she's been putting in $6000 per year for the last 10 years then obviously something is wrong.

 

What was her account value before the bear market? Isn't having $20,000 in an account better than having done nothing? Has she been working with the same broker or just switching accounts everytime some new guy came through the door? If she has been working with the same broker and he has been selling her new accounts all the time can't she file a complaint against him? What kind of help did you provide her?

 

Jim

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You are begging the question. The NYSUT has not endorsed a no-load 403(b) program for teachers k-12. Why? Because an endorsement of a no-load outfit makes their financial arrangement with ING null and void. Do you now understand my point?

 

Following is the financial agreement entered into by NYSUT and ING. Prior to reading my article you, as a participant, apparently didn't even know that your NYSUT financially benefits from you paying 200 basis points to ING. I trust I have enlightened you.

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From NYSUT Agreement With ING

NYSUT Benefit Trust is a non-profit trust organized and existing under the laws of the State of New York. This Trust operates for the benefit of its members and agency fee payers of the New York State United Teachers.

 

The Company (our,we) and NYSUT Benefit Trust agree to the following:

 

Sponsorship of the Opportunity Plus program by the NYSUT Benefit Trust;

 

Our provision, to all members and agency fee payers of educational programs focused on financial planning for retirement; and

 

Our employment of trained personnel to conduct these programs exclusively for members.

 

Additionally:

 

We reimburse NYSUT Benefit Trust for direct out of pocket expenses up to a maximum of $40,000 per year incurred in the promotion of the Opportunity Plus program.

 

We will pay NYSUT Benefit Trust $338,000 per quarter during 2002. This payment will increase in subsequent years, and may include in the future, an asset based component. NYSUT utilizes these amounts to enhance benefits to the participants in programs it sponsors.

 

We contribute to the cost incurred by NYSUT Benefit Trust for retaining up to six employees who assist in management of the Opportunity Plus program.

 

We compensate United University Professions $6,000 per month for the use of on-site campus facilities and the sponsorship of the Opportunity Plus program."

 

 

 

 

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Following is the financial agreement entered into by NYSUT and ING. Prior to reading my article you, as a participant, apparently didn't even know that your NYSUT financially benefits from you paying 200 basis points to ING. I trust I have enlightened you.

 

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Let me enlighten YOU...you're wrong. Again. NYSUT does NOT benefit financially from my paying anything to ING. See that first sentence that you cite? "NYSUT Benefit Trust is a non-profit trust organized and existing under the laws of the State of New York." Since the Benefit Trust is a not-profit, it wouldn't matter if ING paid them $10 million a year...every penny of that money has to go back into the Trust for the benefit of NYSUT members. There goes your theory about NYSUT (the union) raiding the treasury of its members! Don't let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory, though.

 

Oh, and again, my point? The one that you keep ignoring, since it doesn't suit your purposes to deal with it? If I had something against paying the 200 basis points (or whatever the real number is), I would switch carriers. I would deal with one of these low-cost companies you love so much. THE OPTIONS EXIST FOR ALL MEMBERS. You continually sidestep that, and treat the NYSUT endorsement as though it's binding on all its members. If anyone wants a low-cost program to deal with, they have it accessible to them.

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French Teacher: The reason the Benefits Trust was establish was to assure that any programs/benefits you receive are not underwritten directly through "union dues" but by you, the dues paying member paying for it if and when you purchase union endorse products. So these union endorsed products and services is simply an indirect way of raising dues.

 

"We will pay NYSUT Benefit Trust $338,000 per quarter during 2002. This payment will increase in subsequent years, and may include in the future, an asset based component. NYSUT utilizes these amounts to enhance benefits to the participants in programs it sponsors." French Teacher, part of your 200 basis points is thus being use to provide benefits to NYSUT members through NYSUT programs that may be of no interest to you. All this was done behind close doors without being ratified by the membership.

 

Question: How does the proportionate share of the 200 bp that the French Teacher paid to ING filter back to the French Teacher's Opportunity Plus account in the event the French Teacher elects not to "utilize these amounts to enhance benefits to the programs NYSUT sponsors"?

 

 

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French Teacher: The reason the Benefits Trust was establish was to assure that any programs/benefits you receive are not underwritten directly through "union dues" but by you, the dues paying member paying for it if and when you purchase union endorse products. So these union endorsed products and services is simply an indirect way of raising dues.

 

"We will pay NYSUT Benefit Trust $338,000 per quarter during 2002. This payment will increase in subsequent years, and may include in the future, an asset based component. NYSUT utilizes these amounts to enhance benefits to the participants in programs it sponsors." French Teacher, part of your 200 basis points is thus being use to provide benefits to NYSUT members through NYSUT programs that may be of no interest to you. All this was done behind close doors without being ratified by the membership.

 

*****************************************************

 

I love the quaint notion that as a dues-paying member of a union, I should have the right to direct every single dollar of my dues, according to my own personal preferences. Have you ever belonged to a union, Joel? It's why we elect leaders. They make decisions on our behalf, every day. Some of those decisions are financial...many others are not. We don't get to ratify them all. But if our leaders make bad decisions on our behalf, they don't remain our leaders for long.

 

Here's another question you can completely ignore in favor of continuing your anti-NYSUT diatribe: if these outrageous acts are being committed (i.e., bad endorsements made solely to line the union's pockets), where's the outrage? Do you honestly believe NYSUT members are that stupid or ill-informed? The fact is, enough people are already aware of your grassy-knoll theories as published here, and elsewhere. But you're so far-fetched, and so flat-out WRONG, that there IS no outrage, no sense of indignation.

 

But hey, if you'd rather believe that it's unfortunate that we're all too dumb to realize how badly we've been taken, then hey, that's why they fought the Revolution. You can believe whatever you choose to believe.

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French Teacher: You asserted that a no-load choice for 403(b) is available to all NYSUT members. Please furnish us with the name of the school district that offers no-load funds.

 

Currently three entities FEED from your 200 bp. The first is ING, the second is the ING salesrep and the third is the NYSUT/Benefit Trust. Now, what if your school district says: "Just one minute, we want a piece of the French Teacher's 200 basis points also. We can't raise the school tax because the taxpayers would revolt so we feel some of the 200 bp that you, French Teacher, pays to ING should be shared with us, your employer, especially in light of THE FACT that you are willing to share it with your union". What would be your response to such a demand ?

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From "Redwoods":

 

French Teacher: You asserted that a no-load choice for 403(b) is available to all NYSUT members. Please furnish us with the name of the school district that offers no-load funds.

 

Currently three entities FEED from your 200 bp. The first is ING, the second is the ING salesrep and the third is the NYSUT/Benefit Trust. Now, what if your school district says: "Just one minute, we want a piece of the French Teacher's 200 basis points also. We can't raise the school tax because the taxpayers would revolt so we feel some of the 200 bp that you, French Teacher, pays to ING should be shared with us, your employer, especially in light of THE FACT that you are willing to share it with your union". What would be your response to such a demand?

 

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Joel, with every post, you take another small step away from reality. But this one is really a winner.

 

I pay a commission to ING in return for services rendered. I pay it willingly, in appreciation for the financial planning and advice that they give me. I am not obligated to pay it; I do so willingly, fully aware that I have lower-cost alternatives. You may question the quality of the services rendered to me; I don't.

 

Following the scenario you propose, which is so far removed from reality that it barely warrants a response, if the school district were to approach me with such a completely far-fetched and wacky proposal that I simply give money away to them for no reason, I would politely refuse. They would have no legal recourse with which to pursue this money to which they are completely not entitled. I trust that would end this rather Kafkaesque matter.

 

In terms of furnishing you with the name of my district, I trust this is the part of our exchange where we exchange personal information. Excellent. You go first. What are your background and qualifications to give out investment advice? Who do you work for? Are you a fee-only financial planner? Are you a certified financial planner? Are you licensed by any State or Federal regulatory agency?

 

 

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QUOTE (gadfly @ Mar 23 2004, 06:56 AM)

The last thing I did yesterday before I left school was help a teacher who had brought all her account information from three jobs, four different 403b's and at least 20 funds. The grand total of ALL of the investments over the years was less than $20,000!

 

 

 

You are leaving some things out of the equation. How much has she been contributing and for how many years? If she has been putting in $600 per year for the last 10 years then she's done pretty well. If she's been putting in $6000 per year for the last 10 years then obviously something is wrong.

 

What was her account value before the bear market? Isn't having $20,000 in an account better than having done nothing? Has she been working with the same broker or just switching accounts everytime some new guy came through the door? If she has been working with the same broker and he has been selling her new accounts all the time can't she file a complaint against him? What kind of help did you provide her?

 

 

But she has been kept in the dark about fees and none of the various salespeople even talked to her about redundant funds. You seem to be saying that just because she was ina 403b and had so much of it taken in fees, that she is better off than having not done it at all. That is the same argument I have heard from the various sales reps, that the they have been instrumental in getting people to save. I don't buy that argument. The reason I don't buy that argument is because they forget the other half at the info sessions. When was the last time you heard a rep say "I will help you save and for getting you started, I will take 45% of your final investment?"

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French Teacher:

 

You miss my entire point about your employer sharing in the "financial arrangement" between NYSUT/ING. You are simply pre disposed to support your union, right or wrong---and this is why you are not focussing on the issue.

 

In my view it is the employer that should make the endorsement of a 403(b) product provider, not the union. You are working for a school district not the NYSUT so why should the union be so intricately involved in your 403(b)? (we all know the reason).

 

What would be your position if the NYSUT was eliminated from the "financial agreement" and replaced with the NY State School Boards Association. The various school boards would also like to raise revenue for their educational programs without having to resort to tax increases. You would still be fully serviced by ING.

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Joel's Quote: "French Teacher: You asserted that a no-load choice for 403(b) is available to all NYSUT members. Please furnish us with the name of the school district that offers no-load funds"

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French Teacher, as you can see from the above quote I have never asked you to divulge any personal information. Again, when you are against the ropes you simply change the subject.

 

I will repeat my request: You asserted that a no-load choice for 403(b) is available to all NYSUT members. Please furnish us with the name of the school district that offers no-load funds. Just one little old school district---that's all I ask.

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You miss my entire point about your employer sharing in the "financial arrangement" between NYSUT/ING. You are simply pre disposed to support your union, right or wrong---and this is why you are not focussing on the issue.

 

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I'm always entertained, Joel, when you presume to do my thinking for me. I've lost track of how many times you've been wrong, but you can add this one to the pile. I'm NOT predisposed to support my union, right or wrong, and I'm surrounded by people who find that thought amusing. I am an outspoken critic of my union and its leadership when I disagree with them. But they are NOT wrong here.

 

As far as focusing on the issue is concerned, you're the one painting yourself as a crusader for the downtrodden teachers of New York State, who are forced to deal with ING against their will. All I do is continually point out, again and again, that you are proceeding from a completely false assumption (or an outright misrepresentation). NO ONE is forced to deal with any company that they don't choose to deal with, and most districts that I'm aware of offer a range of full-service AND no-load providers. The only limitations that are placed on the providers in question are those that are imposed by the DISTRICT, not the UNION. You find yourself a local where the only choices are a small number of full-service, high-cost providers, and THERE, you've got your boogeyman! Except that even there, it's not NYSUT placing these limitations, it's the individual district in question. But I'm sure you'd rather go on with your anti-NYSUT crusade, again not letting facts get in the way of a perfectly good conspiracy theory.

 

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What would be your position if the NYSUT was eliminated from the "financial agreement" and replaced with the NY State School Boards Association. The various school boards would also like to raise revenue for their educational programs without having to resort to tax increases. You would still be fully serviced by ING.

 

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If NYSSBA had negotiated the deal for me whereby I had my annual account fee waived, and I never paid a penny in sales charges, then I'd be perfectly happy with that. Unless my expense ratio is going into Osama bin Laden's pocket, I frankly don't care WHERE it goes after I pay it! I care that I receive full consideration for whatever it is I choose to pay, and I'm confident that I do.

 

But of course, this ignores the point that you continually duck and dodge: it WASN'T the New York State School Boards Association that negotiated this deal on behalf of their teachers, but rather the NYSUT Benefit Trust who negotiated it on behalf of its membership. We have ING's 403(b) program available to us with no annual account fees and no sales charges whatsoever because of the work they've done on our behalf.

 

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Frenchman says: "NO ONE is forced to deal with any company that they don't choose to deal with, and most districts that I'm aware of offer a range of full-service AND no-load providers."

 

French Teacher: Why do you refuse to furnish the name of one district that offers no-load funds? WHY DON'T YOU PROVE YOUR ASSERTION THAT NYSUT MEMBERS HAVE NO-LOADS AVAILABLE FOR 403(b) INVESTING.

 

Do you know that you buy Class B shares which means you pay a sales charge if you change carriers within 5 years of investing with ING/Opportunity Plus? Do you know that you pay, just for Mortality and Expense risk 100 basis points or 1.00 percent. Did you know your brothers and sisters at the State and City Universities of NY (SUNY and CUNY) pay 0.03 percent and have been giving the carrier their 403(b) business for forty years? I give you one and only one chance to name the 403(b) carrier. That is correct!...TIAA-CREF!

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