Feature Articles:

Defined Contribution Plan Participants’ Activities, First Quarter 2020

By Patrick McTigue,CPFA, AIF®

May 19, 2020Institutional Investment ConsultingRetirement Plans

For more details and information about these, and more, 1st quarter 2020 Defined Contribution Plan findings, please click here to see the May 2020 Investment Company Institute Research Report prepared by Sarah Holden, ICI senior director of retirement and investor research, Daniel...

Read More...

Variable Annuities are Rarely Attractive

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

May 11, 2020Individual Investment Management

Variable Annuities are Rarely Attractive.  A product often sold but rarely sought!    Avoiding the annuity hustle. 

As markets correct and the world becomes more uncertain, there is one thing you CAN be sure of during times like these - aggressive annuity salespeople. Why you ask?  One of the most seductive...

Read More...

Cash Balance Pension Plan Investment Management

By Chad Rice, CFA®

April 22, 2020Institutional Investment ConsultingRetirement Plans
Cash Balance Pension Plan Investment Management Tailored Retirement Plan Management  

What is a Cash Balance Plan?

A Cash Balance plan is a unique tax-deferred (qualified) retirement plan that provides an alternative strategy to accelerate retirement savings with the added benefit of tax deductibility. Participant accounts exhibit the...

Read More...

Dealing with Today’s Volatility

By John Conway

April 21, 2020
...Read More...

Financial Institutions Insights “COVID Recession”

By Tony Albrecht, CFA®

April 17, 2020Institutional Investment Management

Recommendations

It seems a bit trivial to discuss economics and investment strategy in the middle of a pandemic.  What’s really important anyway?  Where interest rates are headed or how to remain healthy while this invisible killer terrorizes the globe?  One thing we can do is explain what we...

Read More...

First Quarter 2020 Municipal Insights

By Patrick Larson, CFA®

April 17, 2020Individual Investment Management

First Quarter 2020 - Well that was Fast

As we began 2020, there were signs that domestic economy was strong.  Unemployment was historically low, real wages were rising, some housing markets were strong and broad measures of consumer sentiment were promising.  The consumer was thought...

Read More...

Defined Benefit Pension Plan Obligations are Increasing!

By Chad Rice, CFA®

April 16, 2020Institutional Investment ConsultingRetirement Plans

With stocks falling and discount rates falling, pension funding rates are also falling.  In some cases, defined benefit plans are experiencing a 10-15% decline in their funding ratio year-over-year. Even though some reprieve with funding requirements is deferred for 2020, it is likely that most Plan Sponsors will face...

Read More...

ACG Recognition

By Dan Schroeder, QKA, QPFC

April 16, 2020Institutional Investment ConsultingRetirement PlansIndividual Investment Management

During an unprecedented and confusing time, we hope to provide solace in the form of reassurance. This is why we’d like to share with you our recent recognition as a way of letting you know that we are here to stay and committed to...

Read More...

Fiduciary Considerations & the Coronavirus Crisis

By Patrick McTigue,CPFA, AIF®

April 14, 2020
Fiduciary Considerations & the Coronavirus Crisis

Several days ago, Fred Reish from Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, raised several important questions in his recent article, “The Coronavirus Crisis: What Plan Sponsors Should Do” .

Mr. Reish writes, “While our health, and that of our families and friends, is...

Read More...

Credit Spreads Narrow but Remain Elevated

By Tony Albrecht, CFA®

April 09, 2020Institutional Investment Management

As we monitor economic activity and the impact on credit spreads, we have seen and will continue to see data that is much worse than any of us have seen before. Equity markets expect this which is why they are rallying today despite a jobless claims report that...

Read More...

Bear Market. Now What?

By Dan Schroeder, QKA, QPFC

April 09, 2020Institutional Investment ConsultingRetirement Plans

BEAR MARKETS AND PAST MARKET DECLINES

As of March 12, 2020, the S&P 500 Index entered into bear market territory, defined as a 20% decline from the index’s past high. The Dow Jones Industrial Index, another often quoted index, fell into bear market territory the day...

Read More...

The Top 5 Questions, so far

By Dan Schroeder, QKA, QPFC

April 07, 2020Institutional Investment ConsultingRetirement Plans

Slightly more than a week has passed since the passage of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. It was signed on Friday, March 27th. It feels like a month.

As a result of its passage, well-meaning providers, consultants, and advisors (ACG included)...

Read More...

Corporate Bond Market

By Tony Albrecht, CFA®

April 02, 2020Institutional Investment Management

I want to share something important that is happening in the investment grade corporate credit market. I track the option adjusted spread (OAS) which is essentially the additional yield the investor receives versus a risk-free Treasury security. Prior to the COVID outbreak, the OAS for the...

Read More...

The Coronavirus Crisis: What Plan Sponsors Should Do

April 02, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic is disrupting everyone’s personal and financial lives. While our health, and that of our families and friends, is paramount, we realize that the sudden and large investment losses in the 401(k) plans that you sponsor – and act as fiduciaries for –...

Read More...

401(k) Plan Insights 3-31-2020

By John Conway

March 31, 2020

Dollar-cost averaging is the strategy of spreading out your stock or fund purchases, buying at regular intervals and in roughly equal amounts. When done properly, it can have significant benefits for your portfolio.

Each market correction provides you with an opportunity to invest...

Read More...

Market Update 3-30-2020

By John Conway

March 30, 2020

During a bear market, the bears rule and the bulls don't stand a chance. There's an old saying that the best thing to do during a bear market is to play dead—it's the same protocol as if you met a real grizzly in the woods....

Read More...

Market Update 3-27-2020

By John Conway

March 27, 2020

...

Read More...

Market Update 3/26/2020

By John Conway

March 26, 2020

...

Read More...

Is Value Turning the Corner?

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

February 25, 2020Individual Investment Management

From 1959 to 1978, the S&P 500 index compounded at 4.3% annually.  Over the next 20 years, it compounded at 17.7% annually.  For bond investors over the same time frames, long-term government bonds compounded at 3.4% annually and 11.1% annually.  This has often led investors to...

Read More...

1st Quarter 2020 Strategy

By Tony Albrecht, CFA®

January 16, 2020Institutional Investment Management
Financial Institutions Insights 1st Quarter 2020 Strategy “A Short-Term Rebound Followed by Economic Softening”

 

Recommendations

Interest rates declined 90 basis points in 2019.  While current levels seem low (5-year Treasury note yield at 1.60%), remember in 2012 the same Treasury had a yield 0.50%.  Unless the duration of your bond portfolio is...

Read More...

Fourth Quarter 2019 Municipal Insight

By Patrick Larson, CFA®

January 15, 2020Individual Investment Management

The noisy themes for the 4th quarter were centered on concerns of a global economic slowdown, uncertainty related to trade negotiations, and manufacturing weakness in the US and abroad. These themes were countered by strong domestic employment numbers , real wage growth,...

Read More...

New Retirement Rules

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

January 09, 2020Individual Investment Management

New Retirement Rules How the IRS is Changing Retirement (Four key changes)

Change #1:  IRA RMDs If you are of age 70.5 or higher, it was required that you take a draw from your qualified plan or IRA.  This age has now been raised by the IRS to age...

Read More...

SECURE Act

By Dan Schroeder, QKA, QPFC

January 06, 2020Institutional Investment ConsultingRetirement Plans

In a major victory for the advocacy efforts of the American Retirement Association, the most comprehensive retirement savings policy bill since the Pension Protection Act of 2006 was signed by President Trump on December 20. Years in the making, the Setting Every...

Read More...

The More You Know: Automatic Enrollment Notices

By Dan Schroeder, QKA, QPFC

December 13, 2019Institutional Investment ConsultingRetirement Plans

Many retirement plans today provide automatic enrollment for employees, meaning the plan sponsor initiates enrollment into the retirement plan on behalf of the employee. One common question plan sponsors come across is whether their enrollment kit satisfies the annual automatic enrollment notice...

Read More...

The Benefits of Matching Retirement Contributions

By Dan Schroeder, QKA, QPFC

December 12, 2019Institutional Investment ConsultingRetirement Plans

As the unemployment rate has dropped, hiring has grown increasingly competitive - especially for businesses with highly specialized positions. It’s important to understand how retirement matches factor into the hiring process and how they can financially benefit your company. Here are a few...

Read More...

Year End Planning Ideas

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

December 03, 2019Individual Investment Management

End of Year Planning What to consider before 2020.

Idea #1:  Convert or Fund a Roth IRA: If you earn more than $137k as a single filer or $203k jointly you are not allowed to contribute to a Roth IRA for 2019.  There is however, no limit on...

Read More...

Crafting Client Care with DALBAR

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

November 21, 2019Individual Investment Management

DALBAR - Your Advocate as a Client! Certain industries carry with them elevated levels of scrutiny.  Similar to health care and banking, the world of investment advisory is heavily regulated and layered with multiple levels of checks and balances.  Not all practices are required however, and it pays to understand why a firm would use...

Read More...

A Strong 403(b) Fiduciary Foundation Reduces Plan Sponsor Anxiety

November 18, 2019Institutional Investment ConsultingRetirement Plans

Over the past few years and accelerating over the past few weeks, there has been a significant increase in 403(b) retirement plan litigation and enhanced government scrutiny over 403(b) plans in general.

Since 2016 over 25 private universities have faced lawsuits from groups...

Read More...

How to Choose the Right Custodian

By Cindi Bruns

October 29, 2019Individual Investment Management

A custodian is a financial institution that will hold or maintain your securities for safekeeping. In addition to holding securities for safekeeping, the custodian generally offers account administration, transaction settlements, collection of dividends and interest payments, and tax support.

Below are a few...

Read More...

Holding too Much Cash

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

October 29, 2019Individual Investment Management

The Cost of Missing Out. 2008 was a scarring experience for many.  Due to market losses during the great recession, many have avoided stocks altogether causing them to miss the great bull market that followed.  FOMO (or "Fear of Missing Out") is certainly something that may apply in...

Read More...

The Wealth Mindset

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

October 09, 2019Individual Investment Management

As someone who grew up solidly middle class, money was fascinating to me as a child.  How did people afford expensive things?  Is there a "secret" to becoming wealthy?  There are certain questions that only experience can answer.  After 20+ years in financial advisory, a graduate degree in...

Read More...

4th Quarter 2019 Strategy - “PMI Data Stokes Slowdown Concerns”

By Patrick Larson, CFA®

October 08, 2019Institutional Investment Management

Economic Overview

The U.S. economy chugs along at a 2.0% pace (GDP) with a quarterly range between 1% and 3%.  Recall GDP advanced 3.1% in the 1st quarter and the 2nd quarter was reported at 2.0%.  Expectations for the 3rd quarter are centered around...

Read More...

Why Do Plan Sponsors Hire A Retirement Plan Consultant/Advisor to help with their employer 401(k) plans?

By Stacy Allen, AIF®, PRP

October 08, 2019Institutional Investment ConsultingRetirement PlansParticipant Financial Wellness Services

After working over 25 years in the retirement plan industry, I still often get asked, “Why would I hire a Retirement Plan Consultant/Advisor to help with our 401(k) plan when that is what our recordkeeper is for or that is my job?”

The role of the...

Read More...

Mortgage Payoff Rules

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

September 27, 2019Individual Investment Management

One of the most common questions I get from prospective or current clients is whether to retire a mortgage early. Since it comes up often, it's worth writing this month's note on the subject. Here are a few "rules" when it comes to making this decision: Rule...

Read More...

4 Reasons to Hate Annuities

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

September 03, 2019Individual Investment Management

With over 20 years of experience in finance, I've seen (almost) every sales pitch under the sun. From timeshares and teaser rates to penny stocks and partnerships, there's a multitude of ways to "invest" your money - and a never-ending parade of "advisers" who will sell...

Read More...

Rates & Your Money

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

July 16, 2019Individual Investment Management

Recently I was visiting with a prospective client discussing her portfolio.  As we began to discuss the allocations, I spoke briefly about her large bond position relative to her goals and how moves in interest rates may affect her.  I was then presented with a...

Read More...

3rd Quarter 2019 Strategy - “Inflation is too Low”

By Patrick Larson, CFA®

July 15, 2019Institutional Investment Management

Economic Overview

The expectation of a rebound in Q2 GDP is not likely going to happen.  The 3.1% we experienced in Q1 looks like it will fall to the low 1% area for Q2.  The lag in GDP reporting explains why we discuss it here...

Read More...

Why DO Stock values Rise?

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

June 27, 2019Individual Investment Management

Why DO Stock Values Rise? The assertion that stocks are excellent long-term investments is not held by all investors (thank you, 2008!). There are, however, good reasons why values of companies generally rise over time.  

Read on...

Historical Returns: According to Credit Suisse (CS) long term track records of...

Read More...

Why Stay Invested?

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

June 17, 2019Individual Investment Management
Why Stay Invested?

How market timing can kill returns. The market's gyrations are often unnerving, but there are good reasons why you need to be a long-term minded investor.  Whether you're an aggressive growth investor or take a moderate stance, attempting to "time" the market's best days will...

Read More...

Market Volatility Returns

By Mathew Coyle, CFP®

October 08, 2018Individual Investment Management

With many portfolios flat or slightly down for the year, the 1st and 4th quarters have book-ended a volatile 2018 with 11% and 7% respective sell-offs in the broader market.  What's causing the volatility and is it normal historically? 

What's Causing It?...For most investors, 2018 has felt...

Read More...