I want to thank everyone who attended the Annual conference in Milwaukee. I heard many positive comments about the conference and I want to thank the AMR staff, the Annual Conference Committee, the moderators and speakers, and the support of the Board for their great teamwork to make the conference a success and a value to our members.
We are in an era of rapid change. Our keynote speaker, Professor Madrian, spoke of the need to improve participant outcomes using proven behavioral economic strategies to simplify participant choices, and our closing speaker Dr. Lowell Catlett spoke very positively and humorously about past changes and where the future might take us.
I am truly honored to serve as president for the coming year and I am excited to serve with an outstanding Board. Speaking of change, I want to take a moment to recognize some changes for NAGDCA and its members.
First, I want to acknowledge and thank Susan White for her many years of excellent service to NAGDCA and her contributions to our legislative efforts which have resulted in many positive changes for our plans and participants. Susan is retiring in December after more than two decades of service to NAGDCA and Paul Beddoe will lead those efforts beginning in January 2018.
I also want to recognize the service of Past President Polly Scott and Industry Observer Jim Link for their service on the Board. We welcome Joshua Luskin, Member-at-Large and Ben Taylor, Industry President, as new Board members. You can find their bios on the NAGDCA Website.
Attendees at the conference were also introduced to Matt Petersen. Matt is the new Executive Advisor to the Board and will provide additional resources to the Board as we continue to look for ways to expand our membership and expand the services to members.
The Board also approved the charter for a new Benchmarking Committee to support the Perspective in Practice benchmarking initiative. We plan to appoint committee members and convene the committee this fall in preparation for next year’s survey.
These are some of the key changes to NAGDCA as an organization. However, I would be remiss if I did not mention potential changes that could impact all our plans and our participants as Congress is considering the Federal budget and tax reform. Susan White, Paul Beddoe, the Board, and the Legislative Committee are closely monitoring these issues and making contacts with in Washington to address NAGDCA’s priorities and concerns. Please consider contacting your legislators to make them aware of our concerns about “Rothification” and other issues under consideration that could impact retirement savings as part of the discussion regarding tax reform.
We have a busy year ahead of us and I look forward to serving all our members. I encourage all of you to provide input to the Board and/or volunteer your services to help NAGDCA as it supports plans sponsors and service providers in their efforts to improve the retirement outcomes for our participants.
Keith Overly, Executive Director
Ohio Deferred Compensation
A message from NAGDCA's new Executive Advisor, Matt Petersen
This past year the NAGDCA Executive Board identified the need to add a full time contracted staff position to help guide the organization to a prosperous future. I was absolutely thrilled to be chosen to serve in this new role, and have enjoyed my time here tremendously.
I have reached out to several of you, many before you knew who I was or why I was calling, to ask you for advice and insights about how NAGDCA works, and what it could do better. Each time I have been met with courtesy, professionalism, and an intense desire to see this organization thrive. It has been helpful to me in my new position, but it has also been a real pleasure to get to know you personally. What a group!
I also want to thank all of you who made the trip to Milwaukee. As Steven mentioned at the conference, Milwaukee is the city my family and I call home. It was great to see so many people come here with energy and fresh ideas. I hope you all enjoyed your stay.
Lastly, I want to encourage each of you to feel free to contact me any time. Whether you want to talk about ways to improve NAGDCA, what the organization is up to, or how much we both hate the Cubs, I would love to hear from you.
NAGDCA Advisor to the Executive Board
The 2017 Perspectives in Practice – A Benchmarking Initiative for Public Sector Defined Contribution Plans report has been released. The report presents a detailed analysis of key operating data from the government defined contribution industry, based on confidential surveys submitted by plans representing $120.3 billion in total plan assets. Click here to access the 2017 report.
Plans that participated in the survey have been granted access to the online, aggregate report free of charge. This portal has been designed to be an easy-to-use tool for accessing and analyzing the survey results. The online portal is also available for purchase for those that did not respond to the survey. Click here for purchasing information.
To access the online portal, click here. To login, enter your unique username and password you created when you submitted your survey responses.
NAGDCA held its 38th Annual Conference on September 24-27 in Milwaukee, WI. There were close to 900 attendees comprised of government and industry members, students, professors, and media. Attendees shared best practices and gained insight from experts on topics including behavioral economics, participant communications, investment menus, and more.
The 2017 Retirement Knowledge Quiz Bowl took place during the annual conference, and NAGDCA would like to congratulate the participating teams on a great competition.
2017 Quiz Bowl Teams:
Utah Valley University - First place winner
Texas Tech University - Second place winner
Cal State University Northridge
Texas A&M University
University of Akron
University of Georgia
Western Kentucky University
Mark your calendars for the 2018 Annual Conference, September 23-26, 2018 in Philadelphia, PA!
Click here to view 2017 Annual Conference photos.
Click here to view 2017 Annual Conference videos.
National Retirement Security Week
We are currently in the middle of the 2017 National Retirement Security Week (NRSW), October 15-20. Plans across the country are utilizing the NRSW campaign, Your Whole Story, to promote the week to their plan participants. Click here to access the NRSW campaign materials.
The National Retirement Security Week resolution, Senate Resolution 274, passed on September 28th, 2017.
NAGDCA would like to thank the following members of Congress for their generous support:
Senators Enzi, Chairman, Senate Committee on the Budget
Senator Cardin, Member, Senate Committee on Finance
Senator Susan Collins, Member, Senate Committee on Finance
Senator Lamar Alexander, Chair, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Senator Ron Wyden, Member, Senate Committee on Finance
Polly Scott, Wyoming Retirement System, thanks Senator Enzi for his support of the National Retirement Security Week resolution.
Research Brief: Emerging Markets and the Active Multi-Management Approach
Emerging-markets (EM) funds are a major part of the global economy, and are the largest contributors to global gross domestic product increases. However, EM funds remain underrepresented in most retirement plan portfolios.
This is one of the key takeaways identified in ICMA-RC’s latest research brief, Emerging Markets: Benefits of an Active Multi-Managed Approach.
The research’s authors expect the emerging markets to grow both economically and as an investing asset class. In addition, they note that actively-managed EM funds have a demonstrable track record of delivering outperformance versus the MSCI EM Index, the most widely followed EM benchmark.
Additional key takeaways from the research include:
Favorable demographics, increased education, improved technology, and a rising middle class are expected to boost productivity and equity prices in EM countries.
While typically more expensive than domestic funds due to higher information-acquisition costs and market inefficiencies like trading costs, EM equities have higher expected returns and opportunities for active fund managers to generate excess returns to the EM index (also known as alpha).
Fund selection and monitoring should aid in long-term performance.
Although there are added risks with EM investing — including political, currency, liquidity volatility, and regulatory — there are ways for prudent asset managers to navigate these concerns and deliver outperformance. In particular, utilizing a small-cap bias and cost-efficient, smart-beta strategies offers compelling risk versus return characteristics.
Additionally, the authors note their belief that within the EM asset class, following a disciplined multi-manager strategy is the best way to serve participants’ retirement needs and is a recommended best practice. The benefits of a multi-manager approach include a reduction of single-manager risk, greater flexibility to add complementary strategies, and increased asset-manager oversight.
Visit www.icmarc.org/insights for additional research and investment markets information.
This article is intended for educational purposes only and is not to be construed or relied upon as investment advice. ICMA-RC does not offer specific tax or legal advice and shall not have any liability for any consequences that arise from reliance on this material. It is recommended that you consult with your personal financial adviser prior to implementing any new tax or retirement strategy. AC: 34589-0917-0000
New Communication with Public Sector Workers: Challenges and Rewards
For administrators of public sector retirement plans, there is an increaing need to develop better ways of reaching and teaching public employees. The payoff, however, comes in greater worker satisfaction and retention. Click here to access the full article.
This article was written by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Prudential.
by Susan J. White & Jonah Mainzer, Susan J. White & Associates, Inc.
When Congress returned from their annual August recess, the Senate continued its work on health reform, in the form of the Graham (R-SC) Cassidy (R-LA) legislation, pushing action on tax reform further back on the Congressional agenda. Due to special budgetary rules in the Senate, known as budget reconciliation, the proposal needed to pass by September 30 if it were to pass with a simple majority or it would require 60 votes to pass. Since Democrats were united against the proposal, and Republicans only control 52 seats in the Senate, that created an effective deadline of September 30 to pass the legislation. A number of Republican Senators voiced their concerns with the Graham-Cassidy proposal and as a result Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) chose not to bring the proposal to the Senate floor. It appears that the Senate has chosen to move on from health reform, but as with the Graham-Cassidy proposal, it could arise again.
The current fiscal year began on October 1, and Congress, at the end of September, passed a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government at current levels until December 8. Prior to that date, Congress will have to decide whether to pass another CR or regular appropriations bills to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.
The House Committee on the Budget passed its budget blueprint on October 5 by a vote of 219-206 with all Democrats and 18 Republicans voting against the budget, and the Senate Committee on the Budget is currently still working on its blueprint for the fiscal year 2018 budget. Current budget proposals from Congress and the Administration contain cuts for many agencies other than the Department of Defense.
The Senate is expected to pass a budget resolution with budget reconciliation instructions allowing passage of tax reform legislation with 51 votes in the Senate. Additionally, the President recently released his tax reform blueprint. This blueprint did not contain a lot of detail and did not discuss pensions or retirement. The result of this is that much of tax reform proposal will be written by the committees of jurisdiction in Congress; the House Committee on Ways & Means and the Senate Committee on Finance. Constitutionally, the House of Representatives must act first on tax legislation so it is expected that legislation will come from the House first. Both parties are interested in tax reform, but it is unknown how much bipartisan work will be done in tax reform. The tax reform proposals are currently estimated to raise the national debt by $1.5 trillion and that could cause deficit hawks to oppose it.
Although the President’s proposal does not discuss pensions, there are a number of other proposals affecting individuals. These include doubling the standard deduction, eliminating personal and dependent deductions, removing most itemized deductions (including the state and local tax deduction), and changing personal income tax brackets. The new tax brackets would be 12.5%, 25% and 35%.
Tax reform issues important to NAGDCA include consolidation and Rothification.
Consolidation is a proposal to eliminate the various defined contribution plans and create one new uniform plan for all employees. For many DC plan sponsors, including state and local government plans, it would actually make plans more difficult to manage. Rothification would limit the level of contributions into DC plans that could be taken as an offset to current taxable income replacing the current deduction with an exemption from taxation at the time of withdrawal.
NAGDCA has expressed opposition to Rothification since it would take away choice from plan participants. Proponents of Rothification see it as a way to raise significant federal revenue and it could be used to pay for part of a tax reform package.
National Retirement Security Week
NAGDCA is pleased to announce that S. Res. 274 cosponsored by Senators Enzi (R-WY) and Cardin (D-MD), calling for a National Retirement Security Week during the week of October 15 was passed in the Senate by unanimous consent on September 28.
There were three additional cosponsors to the resolution this year, Senator Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Collins (R-ME), Chair, Senate Special Committee on Aging, and Senator Alexander (R-TN) Chair, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.