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Ray Harmon

By Ray Harmon3/19/2015 • 0 Comments

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White confirmed March 17 that the Commission will “implement a uniform fiduciary duty for broker-dealers and investment advisors where the standard is to act in the best interest of the investor.”

By Ray Harmon12/4/2014 • 0 Comments

With time running out on its deadline for providing recommendations, a task force examining alternatives for a possible state-run IRA program in the Old Line State continued to debate the issues.

By Ray Harmon11/21/2014 • 0 Comments

When President Obama named Loretta Lynch as his nominee to replace U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, speculation about Secretary of Labor Tom Perez being tapped for the role was put to rest, while speculation about the impact on the DOL’s agenda was reinvigorated.

By Ray Harmon11/21/2014 • 0 Comments

In the wake of the surprise election of Republican Larry Hogan to the Maryland governor’s mansion earlier this month, the task force established by outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to study retirement plan access and potentially recommend a state-run automatic enrollment IRA program had its first post-election meeting Nov. 19. 

By Ray Harmon11/7/2014 • 0 Comments

The ERISA Advisory Council has now made its final recommendations of 2014, and got an update on regulatory proposals in return.

By Ray Harmon11/6/2014 • 0 Comments

The ERISA Advisory Council has now made its final recommendations of 2014, and got an update on regulatory proposals in return.

By Ray Harmon10/16/2014 • 1 Comments

The President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans recently held its annual meeting — but retirement planning was barely mentioned.

By Ray Harmon9/11/2014 • 0 Comments

At a recent event commemorating ERISA’s 40th anniversary, Phyllis C. Borzi, Assistant Secretary of the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), did not directly address her agency’s forthcoming proposed change to the definition of a fiduciary. But then, she didn’t have to. 

By Ray Harmon8/25/2014 • 0 Comments

The DOL’s ERISA Advisory Council wrapped up a three-day series of public meetings Aug. 21 with a focus on lifetime plan participation. The Council’s final session honed in on whether and how communications and specific plan design features may be used to enhance participants’ decisionmaking. 

By Ray Harmon8/21/2014 • 0 Comments

This week the ERISA Advisory Council turned its attention to the issue of outsourcing employee benefit plan services, how that might impact and influence fiduciary responsibilities, and even touched on how an accreditation program could help fiduciaries make more informed outsourcing choices, something that NAPA has already begun developing.

By Ray Harmon7/31/2014 • 0 Comments

The U.S. Senate passed legislation July 29 to fund the nation’s Highway Trust Fund — legislation that does not include a pension smoothing provision. The vote tally on the $8.1 billion bill was 79-18. 

By Ray Harmon7/24/2014 • 0 Comments

In an opinion piece in July 22's edition of The New York Times, Gene B. Sperling, former Director of the Economic Council under the Office of White House Policy for President Obama, put on a white lab coat and diagnosed the tax incentive system for private retirement savings with a serious illness by cherry picking data points to paint his desired picture. 

By Ray Harmon2/25/2014 • 0 Comments

At long last, we have the final publication of Yale Law School professor Ian Ayres' research paper. Not surprisingly, it is still ill-informed — and uses now-five-year-old, incomplete plan data. And despite our attempts to edify him about his flawed methodology, the professor still comes to the same wrong conclusions about fees.

By Ray Harmon11/21/2013 • 0 Comments

A new study from the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) looks at the changing retirement strategies of same-gender couples in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision earlier this year. That decision led to the IRS and DOL adopting a uniform definition of “spouse” that includes legally married, same-gender couples, regardless of their current state of residence — effectively expanding pension rights for millions nationwide.

By Ray Harmon11/6/2013 • 0 Comments

A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends that the Labor and Treasury Departments collaborate on default electronic delivery rules for pension-related disclosures.

By Ray Harmon9/19/2013 • 0 Comments

The DOL announced Sept. 18 that it will be following the example of the recent IRS Revenue Ruling (Rev. Rul. 2013-17) adopting a “state of celebration” standard for defining “spouse” and “marriage” under ERISA.

By Ray Harmon9/12/2013 • 0 Comments

As Phyllis Borzi was informing the attendees of the Financial Services Institute’s annual conference this week that the Department of Labor’s forthcoming fiduciary standard proposal will be delayed, AARP released a study of the attitudes of 401(k) and 403(b) participants regarding fiduciary duties and investment advice.

By Ray Harmon8/30/2013 • 0 Comments

Qualified plans must treat a same-gender spouse as a spouse for purposes of federal tax laws if the marriage took place in one of the 13 states and the District of Columbia where same-gender marriage is currently legally recognized, under the terms of an IRS Revenue Ruling issued Aug. 29. A couple’s “state of celebration,” rather than the state of residence, will be the determining factor in the federal recognition of same-gender marriages.

By Ray Harmon7/29/2013 • 2 Comments

I was excited to hear that President Obama would be addressing the issue of retirement security in a series of speeches last week focusing on his policy agenda. That is, until I actually heard him do it. Speaking at Knox College in Galesburg, IL, on July 24, the president took the stage and made an irresponsibly misleading assertion about our so-called “upside down” retirement system.