Posts Tagged ‘Private Client Group’

DOL looking to redefine term “fiduciary” – what that means for employer responsibilities

Vicarious-Liability-employment-contract-426x272Am I a fiduciary? I never like to answer a question with a question but do you make decisions for the 401(k) plan on behalf of the company? If you answered yes then you are in fact a plan fiduciary. There is no hotter topic in the 401(k) industry than the Department of Labor’s effort to redefine the term “fiduciary.” Yet with all the buzz surrounding the DOL’s proposal, many employers who offer a retirement plan are not aware of their fiduciary responsibilities and the liability that comes along with making 401(k) plan level decisions.

What is a fiduciary and who established the rules? Fiduciary responsibilities were instituted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and are monitored by DOL. To ensure that fiduciaries are doing what is best for their employees and satisfying the DOL requirements ERISA has implemented standards of conduct, including:

Personal Security: Making your life and your family more secure

August 5, 2014 Leave a comment

home-securityDespite taking obvious pre-cautions to avoid crimes like break-ins or theft, many people fail to recognize the level of exposure they face when it comes to these risks. The issue is especially concerning for high net-worth individuals and families of extreme wealth, who often have more accounts, larger credit lines and several people handling their personal information and assets.

Still, it’s easy for someone living an affluent lifestyle to feel overly confident about their safety and forget that they may be a prime target. Therefore, the best means of defense requires reducing those opportunities and lessening your attractiveness as a target.

Below is a list of relatively simple steps to take to improve your overall safety in two areas that are often overlooked: home security and cyber security: Read more…

Long Term Care: Planning ahead and securing your future

What do you think of when you hear the words “Long Term Care?”  If you’re like most people, you might think of an insurance policy, or maybe a nursing home. Surprisingly though, Long Term Care involves much more than those things. Sure, a person can purchase a Long Term Care insurance policy, or go into a nursing home for an extended period of time, but it’s important not to forget about the emotional, physical and financial effects that also come into play for individuals dealing with Long Term Care. Whether it’s arthritis in our joints or amnesia in our minds, getting older and slowing down is inevitable for all of us, and while it may seem far off in the future, effective planning for how to handle these life changes as we age is critical.

Long Term Care planning becomes especially important for partners and spouses whose children are likely to become the primary caretakers once their parents can no longer manage living alone. More often than not, these are the individuals who take on the responsibility of assisting with their parents’ daily Read more…

Green upgrades from homeowner carriers

September 12, 2013 Leave a comment

greenhouseThe green movement continues across the nation – from recycling to solar panels, Americans are doing more and more to help protect the environment. For many homeowners, that includes plans to make their home more green with renovations.

Building materials that go into a green home are different from traditional building materials in that they are often recyclable and free of certain toxins that traditional building materials may contain. A standard homeowner’s policy would not necessarily offer coverage to replace or repair a home built with these sustainable materials with the same type of material, it would only pay to make repairs or to replace with traditional building materials. Read more…

What you should know about appealing an auto surcharge in Massachusetts

minor-accident-1Fewer Bay State drivers are appealing auto insurance surcharges for accidents or traffic violations than they have in the past, even though the odds of winning an appeal are favorable, according to a study by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.

Data provided by the state Insurance Board of Appeals, which rules on traffic accident cases alone, shows that the number of drivers appealing those accidents – and the insurance surcharges that come with them – has declined by 36 percent since 2006, even though just over half of those drivers were winning their appeals. Only about 30% of motorists who appealed their cases were found to be more than 50 percent at fault and subject to a surcharge. Read more…

El Nino and La Nina – are you prepared for hurricane season?

elninoOver the past decade there’s been a lot of debate over the topic of global warming and how much of an impact it may have on weather patterns, and how it may impact weather phenomena. Recently, Hurricane Sandy has been correlated to a hurricane on steroids by some, while other scientists and meteorological professionals have a slightly different view. Gerald North, climate professor at Texas A&M University states, “mostly it’s natural, I’d say it’s 80, 90 percent natural. These things do happen, like the drought, it’s a natural thing.” A lot of debate and a lot of questions remain when it comes to global warming. Over the years, as scientists are able to gather more data, hopefully more questions will be answered.

One thing scientists do have more certainty about is two atmospheric and oceanic phenomena called El Nino and La Nina. The former of the two is primarily associated to the warming of the water in the Read more…

Chilly weather warning: watch out for ice dams

ice_damWinter 2013 has officially arrived with this latest cold snap, and when the temperature drops, weather-related problems can be on the rise. This is especially true for homeowners, who may experience electrical and insulation problems as a result of heavy snow and ice. Among the greatest risks to homeowners during winter is ice dams. These thick ridges of solid ice build up along the eaves of roofs and tear off gutters and shingles, trapping water that can cause serious damage for homeowners. The dams cause water to back up and pour into the house, frequently causing ceilings to collapse, paint to peel and flooding. This often leads lead to mold and mildew.

Ice dams first form when heat from the attic warms the roof’s surface, except at the eaves. Snow then begins to melt along the warmer areas of the roof before freezing again on the cold eaves. Read more…