In a recent article from The Wall Street Journal, head of government savings Kevin Cox answers questions related to 529 accounts, specifically about grandparent-owned 529s and their effect on financial aid. He also discusses important tax credit and withdrawal considerations. “Many grandparents use their funds in the later years of a beneficiary’s education to minimize the impact on need-based financial aid,” Cox says.
In a recent New York Times feature, Rob Percival, senior vice president of relationship management, shares background on how state ABLE programs have been designed to suit savers with various levels of investment experience and interest. Most programs offer account owners access to both mutual funds and traditional interest-bearing savings accounts and checking accounts with debit cards. “That gives people who are uncomfortable with putting their money at risk in the market a choice of more conservative options,” adds Rob.
In a recent article from The New York Times, Ascensus’ 529 Ugift donation program was featured. As 529 day is quickly approaching, the article seeks to answer savers’ basic questions, such as “Can I donate money to the 529 account of a relative or friend?” Ugift, which is offered in 20 states plus the District of Columbia, allows parents to share a unique code with friends and family that can be used for an electronic donation to a beneficiary’s 529 account.
In a recent BenefitsPRO article, David Musto explains that despite speculation from onlookers due to Ascensus’ recent acquisitiveness and solicitations by its owners, “there is absolutely no doubt Ascensus will be Ascensus in five years.” Ascensus’ ownership will not affect our noble purpose to help 8 million individuals save for what matters most in their lives. He also mentions that the SECURE Act’s Open MEP provisions will not disrupt Ascensus’ client base. “We feel that we are already able to deliver on the promises held out by Open MEPs. Many of the aspects that excite people—purchasing power on investments, administrative efficiency—already exist. We have the ability to deliver very cost-effective programs for small companies with high levels of client satisfaction, and high levels of efficiency for the sponsor.”
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.
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.
In a recent 401(k) Fridays podcast, Jerry Bramlett shares his perspective on the future of TPAs in the retirment industry. Bramlett covers the current challenges faced by TPAs and the effects of the consolidation wave on the business and service models of TPAs. He also answers listeners’ questions relating to the impact fee of compression on TPAs, the evolution of payroll integration and ERISA 3(16) fiduciary services, and the future of local TPAs.
In a recent Employee Benefits News article, Rick Irace discusses the motivation behind Ascensus’ newly implemented financial wellness program through Financial Finesse, as well as some initial results. “The research is showing us that Americans are anxious about their finances,” Irace says. “We also know people can outlive and are outliving their money. Nearly half of employees say they are stressed out by their financial situation… and over 77% say they spend three hours or more at work thinking about it or dealing with financial issues.”
In a recent PLANSPONSOR article, Joanne Swerdlin discusses ESOPs as a retirement savings vehicle. “A well-designed ESOP with a well-managed ‘repurchase obligation’ strategy is an effective ongoing transition tool that provides retirement benefits for many ‘owners’ over future years, not just the original founders… Not only does it sound like it’s ‘still a good retirement plan,’ but it also appears that ESOPs are now better than ever,” notes Swerdlin.
In a recent PLANSPONSOR article, Kasey Price discusses the importance of delegating tasks to a 3(16) administrator. “The 3(16) administrator is not wearing multiple hats and is a specialist,” states Price. “If you look at problems that arise from DOL and IRS investigations, most are operational failures—for example, not making timely deposits, or not using the correct definition of compensation for contribution calculations or nondiscrimination testing. The biggest value in hiring a 3(16) administrator is that it keeps plan transactions clean.”