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Episode Info

Episode Info:

Unfortunately, mistakes are made when running workplace retirement plans.  My guest, Marcia Wagner, the founder of The Wagner Law Group brings her over thirty years of experience working on ERISA matters to the podcast today and shares her list of the top 10 mistakes she sees retirement plan sponsors make.  For a little background, Marcia is perennially listed as one of the most influential people in the retirement industry, is frequently quoted in the Wall Street Journal and other publications and regular guest on FOX, CNN, Bloomberg, NBC and other news shows.  You can find out more about Marcia and this episode at   Back to our conversation today, not surprising, her top ten list is spot on and she does an excellent job explaining the issues, how they happen and probably most importantly how to avoid and thoughts on how fix them if needed.  Along the way, we also have a little fun and share some laughs.  As far as top ten lists go this one makes my personal list top ten list! 

Guest Bio

MARCIA S. WAGNER has been practicing in the employee benefits field for over 30 years, founded The Wagner Law Group over 20 years ago and is the Firm’s Managing Partner.  Ms. Wagner is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Cornell University  and a graduate of Harvard Law School.  Ms. Wagner is highly regarded for her broad and deep knowledge of the law, flexibility, creativity and sound judgment.  She has been at the very forefront of legal and best practices developments in the benefits arena virtually her entire career.


Ms. Wagner’s experience in employee benefits is wide-ranging and she is recognized as an expert in a variety of employee benefits matters, including qualified and non-qualified plans, fiduciary issues, deferred compensation, and welfare benefit arrangements.  Her experience in employee benefits includes plan design, drafting and preparation, compliance, tax planning and consultation on all manner and aspect of ERISA issues.  Because of her experience and reputation, she has been retained as a legal consultant to other law firms, consulting firms, employee benefits organizations, large corporate and public plan sponsors and as an expert witness in prominent ERISA litigation matters.


As counsel to all types of plan sponsors, she has worked closely on qualified plans, 403(b) and 457 plans, IRAs, employee stock ownership plans, executive compensation arrangements and retiree medical benefits (including 401(h) accounts) regarding plan operation and maintenance, plan terminations, mergers and acquisitions, tax treatment of plan participants, use of life insurance and annuities, and derisking pension liabilities.  Ms. Wagner has also advised on the design and redesign of retirement, executive, and health and welfare plans and engages in ongoing, day-to-day counseling of plan sponsors and compliance audits.


Ms. Wagner also specializes in Title I of ERISA, and she has obtained advisory opinions, information letters and prohibited transaction exemptions.  Her broad and in-depth range of experience includes handling fiduciary matters impacting plan sponsors, investment and other fiduciary committees, investment managers and advisors, recordkeepers, broker-dealers, banks, and other financial services firms.  She advises on the avoidance and rectification of prohibited transaction issues, development of compliance programs and investment policies, and day-to-day compliance issues arising under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.


Ms. Wagner has worked on numerous Department of Labor, IRS and PBGC audits of plans and financial institutions that service plans, and negotiated favorable closing agreements with all agencies.


Ms. Wagner was appointed to the IRS Tax Exempt & Government Entities Advisory Committee and ended her three-year term as the Chair of its Employee Plans subcommittee, and received the IRS’ Commissioner’s Award (that agency’s highest honor).  Ms. Wagner has also been inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, has an “AV” peer review rating by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell indicating very high to preeminent legal ability and integrity and has received over 50 professional commendations and honors.  For eight years, 401k Wire listed Ms. Wagner as one of its 100 Most Influential Persons in the 401(k) industry, and she has received the Top Women of Law Award in Massachusetts and is listed among the Top 25 Attorneys in New England.  Ms. Wagner has written hundreds of articles and 15 books.  Ms. Wagner is a frequent and highly sought after lecturer, is widely quoted in business publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Pension & Investments, is a prolific writer and contributor to the most prestigious journals and periodicals in the benefits area, and has been a guest on FOX, CNN, Bloomberg, NBC and other televised media outlets. 

401(k) Fridays Podcast Overview

Struggling with a fiduciary issue, looking for strategies to improve employee retirement outcomes or curious about the impact of current events on your retirement plan? We've had conversations with retirement industry leaders to address these and other relevant topics! You can easily explore over one hundred prior on-demand audio interviews here. Don't forget to subscribe as we release a new episode each Friday!


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