SAN FRANCISCO — Ann L. Combs, assistant secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor, will be the keynote luncheon speaker at the Pensions & Investments/IBF 7th annual Defined Contribution/401(k) West Coast Conference on Oct. 26.
Ms. Combs is leading the DOL investigation of fees, fee disclosure and compensation arrangements among service providers to 401(k) plans.
The conference, which runs Oct. 24 to Oct. 26 in San Francisco, will present an array of leading-edge strategies to participants. Topics will include what's hot and what's not in Washington, how to make defined contribution plans work for participants, creating and managing the ideal investment menu, what has been learned one year after the mutual fund trading scandal, and the evolution of investment advice.
One session will feature case studies on communications strategies and education programs, showing what works and what doesn't, by a panel of recent P&I Eddy Award winners sharing what went into developing their educational programs.
The session on how to make defined contribution plans work for participants will look at what roles plan design, government incentives and employer involvement — including education and contributions — play in stimulating employees to make effective use of their plans. Topics include how to get employees to think about retirement; how to get employees to use the DC plan to save for retirement; and how to get employees to invest effectively. Jeff Maggioncalda, president and chief executive officer of Financial Engines, Palo Alto, Calif., will moderate the session.
A panel on creating and managing the ideal investment menu will focus on investment vehicles/options that can be made available to participants to ensure proper diversification and help provide consistent, optimal returns. The presentation will also address the distinction between asset allocation and diversification. David Goerz, senior vice president and chief investment officer of equity management at HighMark Capital Management Inc., San Francisco, will moderate the session.
A panel will discuss what has been learned from the scandal that turned the mutual fund industry upside down one year ago; how plan sponsors have responded and what they are doing differently to curb frequent trading by participants; what the mutual fund providers have learned; and what role the Securities and Exchange Commission has played in correcting the problems. Jon C. Chambers, a principal in Schultz Collins Lawson Chambers Inc., San Francisco, will moderate the discussion.
A session on the evolution of investment advice and how plan sponsors can meet the needs of participants will discuss available options such as lifestyle funds, investment advice and managed accounts and whether or not they are being appropriately used by participants to provide retirement security. The panel will also discuss what the obligations of the plan sponsor are in this area. Stephen L. Deschenes, executive vice president, Fidelity Institutional Retirement Services Co., Boston, will moderate the panel.