Our take on the investing, financial, & economic themes of the day

Technology Can’t Solve the Mystery of 401(k) Fees

14 July, 2015 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
A recent article in Bloomberg by Ben Silverman asks whether opaque and excessive fees in 401(k) plans can be solved by technology.  The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding no.  The article profiles an Israeli startup called FeeX which purports to analyze your 401(k) and give you ... read more...

Brokers and the 401(k) Fiduciary Problem

27 January, 2015 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Since I knocked Bloomberg’s reporting in my previous post about Tesla, let me reference an important article that the news service ran recently, “Billions in Lost 401(k) Savings, Abusive Brokers Under White House Scrutiny.”  Right now the Department of Labor is deliberating ... read more...

Your 401(k) Plan: Maybe the Most Tedious & Consequential Problem You’re Not Dealing With

18 November, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Below is a round-up of current 401(k) plan news.  First, however, I must acknowledge that the subject of 401(k) plans is intrinsically tedious and boring.  Think of how many more pressing problems or interesting issues there are that merit our attention.  The list is nearly endless.  For me, ... read more...

Yet Another 401(k) Fee/Fiduciary Lawsuit Moves Forward

14 October, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Writing in Pensions & Investments, Robert Steyer reports that New York Federal District Court Judge Sidney Stein has ruled against Citigroup and allowed plaintiffs to proceed with a lawsuit against Citi for alleged “self-dealing” in packing its own 401(k) plan with overpriced ... read more...

You Wouldn’t Represent Yourself in Court, So Why Are You Trying to Invest Your Own 401(k)?

13 October, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
The root cause of all the problems with defined contribution retirement plans is the absence of any fiduciary duty on the part of most plan providers.  In the recent deluge of TV documentaries, news articles, think tank papers, and government reports about excessive 401(k) fees, this point gets ... read more...