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Smaller DC plans place greater focus on improving financial wellness efforts

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Improving financial wellness programs is the top priority among smaller defined contribution plans this year, according to a survey of DC consultants and advisers published April 19 by Pacific Investment Management Co. LLC.

When asked what are their clients’ top five priorities this year, 73% of the respondents cited improving financial wellness, 55% identified navigating new regulations and 45% cited evaluating investment fees as the top answers among 16 choices.

These results were part of the 15th annual PIMCO survey, which was conducted in January and February.

The survey contains responses from 11 consulting and advisory firms with DC assets under advisement of $10 billion or more for a total of $1.2 trillion.

PIMCO calls these firms aggregators, defining them as independent DC-focused advisory firms with shared resources. The survey notes that 90% of the aggregators estimated that their clients had median DC assets of $100 million or less.

(By comparison, a concurrent PIMCO survey of larger plan consultants contains responses from 29 firms with DC assets under management of $10 billion or more for a total of $5.5 trillion in AUM. Seventy-three percent of these consultants estimated that clients had median DC assets of more than $100 million.)

Not surprisingly, smaller plans can have different needs and interests vs. larger plans.

For example, the top client priorities for larger DC plans were reviewing target-date funds, evaluating investment fees, evaluating administrative fees and evaluating retirement income. Improving financial wellness programs ranked 10th.

The larger-plan market “has greater ability to influence fees, and has more robust benefits,” said Joseph Healy, senior vice president, account manager and specialist in the defined contribution practice in PIMCO’s New York office, commenting on the institutional consultants comments.

For smaller plans, “there has not necessarily been as robust benefits, more diversity in the choice of a default and less ability to exert pricing power,” he added.

The dichotomy between large and smaller plans extended to PIMCO asking consultants and advisers to identify the single top priority among “leading edge” clients — those most likely to be first adopters of new products or services.

For the smaller plans, 27% of the aggregators cited considering or reviewing health savings accounts, followed by a tie between minimizing fiduciary liability and evaluating retirement income, both at 18%.

By contrast, among large-plan leading edge clients, 41% of consultants cited evaluating retirement income and 19% mentioned setting up a retirement tier — a combination of tools, products and services to help participants nearing, at or in retirement.

All other priorities were less than double digits, and HSAs received no votes.

The PIMCO survey also remarked about the “clear divergence” between clients of aggregators and institutional consultants regarding their recommendations for retirement income solutions.

When asked what retirement income strategy they would most likely recommend, 60% of aggregators cited in-plan annuities, 50% recommended managed accounts, 40% selected stable value and 40% endorsed target-date funds with embedded income guarantees. The firms were allowed to pick as many as three strategies out of 11 choices.

“Aggregators tend to have more of a comfort level with annuities and guarantees as many have wealth management practices which include IRA rollovers from DC plans,” Mr. Healy said.

Institutional consultants’ top choices were a target-date fund followed by a three-way tie among target-date funds with embedded guarantees, income-focused fixed income investments and target-date funds with a predetermined payout for a specific period of time.

“The largest plans advised by institutional consultants almost exclusively rely on target-date funds,” said Mr. Healy, adding that the large-plan consultants’ response to the survey “is a natural outcome” of their experience.

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Wellness

Williamsburg wellness center owner indicted in $2 million health care fraud case

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A federal grand jury in Norfolk returned an indictment on Thursday charging a Williamsburg wellness center owner with defrauding Virginia Medicaid and other health care programs out of more than $2 million.

According to the indictment, 45-year-old Williamsburg resident Maria Kokolis was the owner of Pamisage Inc., a center for integrative behavioral health and medicine, with a focus on weight management issues.

Beginning in or about 2018, and continuing through February 2020, court documents say Kokolis executed a scheme to defraud and overbill various health care benefit programs and the Virginia Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid).

Paperwork says she was charging 45 minutes to an hour of face-to-face psychotherapy services for non-comparable services like sending messages through the company’s smartphone app or monitoring a client’s data.

Prosecutors say Kokolis billed these psychotherapy services for times when she was out of the country on vacation and when the clients were out of state or sick in the hospital.

According to the indictment, Kokolis used the names, Medicaid ID numbers, and other identifying information of her clients in submitting these false claims to the health care benefit programs. Kokolis received a total of at least $2,189,342 in fraudulent health care benefit program reimbursements, a portion of which came from the U.S. government, documents show.

Kokolis is charged with health care fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Stay with WAVY.com for more local news updates.

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Living Local Carolina: Taylor Wellness Med Spa Offers Aesthetic Treatments By Professional Providers To Help You Look And Feel Your Best! – WBTW

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Atomic City CBD Wellness Opens For Business Saturday

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Atomic City CBD Wellness owner Linda Casias in her new store opening for business at noon Saturday on the upper level at 1247 Central Ave., Suite F. Photo by Bonnie J.Gordon/ladailypost.com

By BONNIE GODON
Los Alamos Daily Post
bjgordon@ladailypost.com

Linda Casias is bringing CBD products back to Los Alamos, starting noon May 8 when her new business Atomic City CBD Wellness opens its doors for the first time.

“Many people have come over from my former business, Float Los Alamos, where we sold CBD products,” Casias said. “These products were very popular. Customers are very happy to have a natural remedy for anxiety, stress and pain relief. CBD also helps with sleep problems.”

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in the hemp plant. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is a web of receptors in the nervous system, Casias explained adding that CBD is non-intoxicating and sometimes CBD is mixed up with THC—which will get you high—but they’re completely different compounds.

The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp (defined as having less than 0.3 percent THC) legal in the United States. CBD made from hemp is legally permitted in all states except Iowa, Idaho and South Dakota.

Casias offers a myriad of CBD products including:

  • Tinctures;
  • Gummies;
  • Honey;
  • Coffee and tea;
  • Creams; and
  • Capsules.

It’s not just about CBD. Casias also is featuring non-CBD candy and chocolate, bath bombs, greeting cards, stickers and fidget toys.

“I’m also displaying and selling my unique dots artwork,” Casias said. “My 10-year-old daughter is selling her own brand of slime called Izzy Slime. It’s not as sticky as commercial brands. I’m planning to add Los Alamos souvenirs and more gifts. Stop back, because I’m adding more items all the time.”

Atomic CBD Wellness is upstairs at 1247 Central Ave. Suite F, Room 219, directly above the Los Alamos Daily Post. Hours are noon to-6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Call the store at 505.709.7328, for more information.

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