In the News

Ascensus Wins Retirement Leader of the Year

Ascensus was awarded Retirement Leader of the Year at the Fund Intelligence Mutual Fund Industry Awards. The Annual Mutual Fund Industry Awards recognize the funds, fund leaders, providers, marketers, trustees, and independent counsel who stood out for their successes, achievements, and contributions in 2019. The Retirement Leader of the Year award recognized a firm that has made a key impact on growing retirement assets with unique retirement solutions, marketing campaigns and significant contributions to the retirement industry at large.​


Rick Irace Discusses Advisor Opportunity with Small- and Mid-Sized Retirement Plans

In a recent Employee Benefit Adviser article, reporter Lee Conrad provides a summary of the NAPA 401(k) Summit panel session that Rick Irace co-presented with Richard Schwamb, a financial advisor from Morgan Stanley. Rick commented on small businesses’ challenge to offer quality retirement plans to their employees and the business opportunity this presents to advisors. Stressing the importance of features like auto-enrollment, Irace explained that helping these employees obtain financial wellness is gratifying work. “If you really want to help people, this is a place you can do it,” Irace says.​


Dan Kravitz Discusses the Benefits of Cash Balance Plans

​​In a recent ​​MD Magazine article​, ​Dan Kravitz, national practice leader for cash balance plans, comments on the ​benefits of cash balance plans, especially for those wh​o aren’t on track with their retirement savings. ​​“Many physician groups who have reached out to us for help have the same common concerns about partners being unprepared for retirement,” said Kravitz. “Many doctors enter their 50s or 60s and are a dec​ade or more behind in their savings. A Cash Balance plan can help them squeeze 20 years of retirement savings in to 10.”


David Musto Discusses Benefits of HSAs

In a recent USA Today article, president David Musto explains how the triple tax breaks offered by HSAs help fast track retirement savings.”Longer-term advantages, after the age of 65, may include the payment of Medicare premiums and other long-term care expenses. The HSA becomes an important aspect of both solving near-term medical expenses, but also for larger expenses well into retirement with those accumulated​ earnings,” notes Musto.


Rick Irace Discusses Emerging Trends from 2018

In a recent Wealth Management article, Chief Operating Officer Rick Irace discusses retirement industry trends that emerged in 2018. He mentions advisors’ transition from commission-based models to fee-based, increased utilization of auto-enrollment, the emergence of financial wellness programs, and the increased availability of Roth options in smaller plans. He also ​notes that business owners are looking for additional administrative services. “Business owners face many challenges just running their day-to-day businesses. At the same time, they want to help their employees prepare for their financial futures. Many are looking to their providers and TPAs for additional administrative services, perhaps even to take on 3(16) fiduciary responsibility,” he adds.


Rick Irace Discusses the “Quality Deficit” Among Small Retirement Plans

In a recent article published by Wealth Management, Rick Irace, chief operating officer of Ascensus retirement,  cites several points as evidence of a “quality deficit” for small  retirement plans versus their large market counterparts. As for closing this gap, Irace suggests that small business owners consider consulting with a third-party administrator (TPA). “I do think that for the sponsor that’s really concerned about administrative burdens and other things, the TPA can…step in and consult on specialized plan design. They can talk about technical details in a way that’s much easier understood for the sponsor and their employees,” adds Irace.


Rick Irace Comments on the Retirement Industry Outlook for 2019

In a recent Wealth Management article,  Chief Operating Officer Rick Irace comments on the key developments that retirement plan consultants should monitor in 2019. Irace focuses mainly on recent proposals related to multiemployer plans (MEPs) and the convergence of health savings and retirement savings efforts.

“Most recently, the concept of the ‘open MEP,’ in which employers would not be required to have common ownership or business purpose, has gained some serious traction,” notes Irace. “The most recent DOL regulations stop short of permitting ‘open MEPs,’ but they do broaden the definition of an employer. This could be a step in the right direction…,” concludes Irace.


Michele Haley of Ascensus Wins 2019 Service Star Award

PLANSPONSOR recently announced that Michele Haley, client relationship manager at Ascensus, is a 2019 Service Star​​ award winner. The PLANSPONSOR Service Star awards program recognizes the retirement plan account representatives and relationship managers who, in the words of their plan sponsor clients, have demonstrated exemplary service. A full profile of Michele and her exceptional service will be featured in the April/May print edition of PLANSPONSOR.


Steve Christenson Discusses Why it’s Prime Time for IRAs

In a recent CUInsight article, Executive Vice President Steve Christenson discusses why it is prime time for IRA deposits, and how the generations are seeking them. Each generation has unique savings characteristics that credit unions must keep in mind. “Finding the right way to reach all of these groups effectively is a key challenge. Making sure you have the expertise available is equally critical” notes Christenson. “Each generation is seeking a trusted source for financial information… As deposit products become more competitive for every age group, credit unions have the opportunity to provide a valuable service and gain long-term members and deposits.”​


Kevin Cox Discusses Early Progress of State-Facilitated Retirement Programs

In a recent Wall Street Journal feature​​ by Anne Tergesen, Kevin Cox, head of government savings, discusses the long-term potential of state-facilitated retirement programs administered by Ascensus in the states of Oregon, Illinois, and California. He shares his perspective that this new market could grow in the same way the 529 plan market has since its introduction in the late 90s. Cox also shares that the program in Oregon is “on schedule” and that the 67% participation rate and 5.17% average savings rate for employees are close to initial expectations.