IRI: US needs to ease annuity use in employer-sponsored plans | Much about the fate of Labor's fiduciary rule remains uncertain | Index: Investors most optimistic since 2000
March 24, 2017
IRI Retirement Income SmartBrief
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IRI: US needs to ease annuity use in employer-sponsored plans
The Insured Retirement Institute's 2017 Retirement Security Blueprint makes a priority of removing barriers to offering annuities and other lifetime income options in employer-sponsored retirement plans. "Congress or the Department of Labor should clarify employer fiduciary responsibility in the annuity selection regulations to allow employers to select lifetime income products provided by insurers that meet certain existing regulatory requirements," IRI says. (3/23) 
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Retirement Income Roundup
Much about the fate of Labor's fiduciary rule remains uncertain
Uncertainty exists regarding when the Labor Department's new fiduciary rule will take effect, or whether it will ever go into effect, lawyers say.
Forbes (3/23) 
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Index: Investors most optimistic since 2000
US investor optimism is at the highest level since November 2000, at the end of the tech boom, according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index. The benchmark is at 126 for the first quarter, a 30-point increase from Q4's reading.
ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (3/23),  CNBC (3/23),  Barron's (free content) (3/23) 
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Near-retirees weigh health care policy changes
The prospect of higher out-of-pocket costs for older Americans buying health insurance under the American Health Care Act has some rethinking plans to retire. The legislation allows higher premiums for older consumers and changes the structure of tax credits, but a revision may permit the Senate to boost tax credits for baby boomers.
WREX-TV (Rockford, Ill.)/The Associated Press (3/22) 
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Net $800M leaves global bond ETFs
Global bond exchange-traded funds have experienced their first outflow of 2017 as a net $800 million left in the week that ended March 8. The last time the asset class saw outflow was right after the election of President Donald Trump.
Bloomberg Professional (3/20) 
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Washington Update
SEC nominee has no "specific plans" to tackle Dodd-Frank Act
Jay Clayton, President Donald Trump's nominee to be chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the Dodd-Frank Act should be looked at to see if its objectives are being achieved, but he doesn't have "specific plans for attack" against the law. The SEC should continue its work on rules mandated by Dodd-Frank that haven't yet been completed, he said.
Bloomberg (3/23),  ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (3/23),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (3/23),  Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (3/23) 
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Senate bill would aid small-business retirement plans
A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate to simplify small businesses' offering of employee retirement plans. The bill would ease administration, cut costs and avoid duplication of effort by letting businesses file a single Form 5500 with the Labor and Treasury departments.
InvestmentNews (tiered subscription model) (3/22) 
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Paper: Simplify Dodd-Frank, but don't kill it
The US would make a big mistake by taking the Dodd-Frank Act completely off the books, but that doesn't mean the law couldn't be improved, according to a paper by Tobias Adrian and Maurice Obstfeld, chief economist for the International Monetary Fund. "There is certainly room for simplification," they wrote.
Market News International (3/23) 
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Your Practice
Fintech app claims to boost advisor income by up to 20%
Developers of a new fintech app called Truelytics claim it could help advisors increase earnings by as much as 20%, by examining efficiency and setting benchmarks. Once the advisor has entered the required data, the app rates the stability of their business, clients and market, and compares their numbers with industry standards, which sets clear indications on where profitable improvements can be made. (3/22) 
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IRI Updates
IRI Insight explores the future of advice and the arrival of holistic retirement planning
The Labor Department's fiduciary rule, consumers' evolving needs and the digital revolution are important dynamics that will bring massive changes to the way advisors serve their clients. This period of change is already underway. In the winter issue of the IRI Insight, industry executives discussed this change and the future of advice. The prevailing consensus is that retirement planning conversations need to become broader, deeper and more holistic than ever before. Also in this issue of the IRI Insight: the elements of a holistic retirement plan, Labor Department fiduciary rule compliance deadline approaching, helping clients get organized in 2017, longevity planning and more.
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IRI issues State of the Insured Retirement Industry report
IRI recently released a new report forecasting that more advisors in the years ahead will embrace a holistic retirement planning approach -- one focused on developing retirement income for clients. In its annual State of the Insured Retirement Industry report, IRI finds strong demand for lifetime income based on demographics, increasing longevity and the demise of traditional pensions. The IRI report concludes that holistic retirement planning with a focus on income-generating strategies will help advisors address this demand while adding value to the client-advisor relationship. The report also explores public policy developments affecting the industry, product innovation trends across the market and macroeconomic factors affecting lifetime income providers.
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