Friday, May 05, 2006

Where is the "Substantially Equivalent in the Aggregate"?

Hi Doug,

Please post anonymously...I need to work for these yahoos for a short
while yet.

LANS recently posted their 401k investment portfolio lineup. Check
The LANS investment options are absolutely pathetic compared to the
FITSCO Fidelity Funds offered by UCRS. The LANS funds are all mediocre or
less except for the 5-star bloated Fidelity Contrafund that I understood to
be closed to further public input as well the Fidelity Diversified
International Fund. I cannot find a single acceptable fund offered by LANS
compared to the open market or at least to the closed market of Fidelity
Funds offered by UCRS. They're all dogs! The Fidelity Freedom 20XX Funds
are not at all immune to market fluctuations as evidenced by the large
losses in 2002-2003. There is no access to top-flight mutual funds in the
LANS listing.
OK, DOE/NNSA. Where is the "Substantially Equivalent in the Aggregate"
in all this?

Doug, Thanks for your continued efforts in keeping the last days of the blog.
It appeared that the proverbial fat lady was going to sing, but it appears
instead that she just threw-up.

Anonymously yours,

I agree. The selection is
pathetic both relative to
what is available now and
on an absolute scale.

All of the stock mutual
funds on the list are bloated.
Many have been closed to
most investors for that very
By the way, if anyone at LANS is reading this, for proper
diversification they should
also include index funds
in the various asset classes
that are used by pension funds.

For example:

Spartan Total Market (FSTMX)
Vanguard Real Estate Index (VGSNX)
Vanguard Small Cap Index (VSCIX)
Spartan International Index (FSIIX)
An emerging market index fund.

I don't know how LANS got their list. Seems like employees should have some say in the options available.
...get used to eating leftovers, wearing hand-me-downs and buying used.

Indeed the fat lady has thrown up.
Left-overs seems like a good description.
Does anyone know why they don't let us have
all the Fidelity funds like before? How are
these things negotiated?

I like being able to invest in energy and gold, and
health care sure makes sense if we don't have
great retiree health coverage.

Were they trying to avoid risk of sector funds, or
just not wanting them to get bloated?
A few years ago, the Fidelity Rep to LLNL told me UC was Fidelity largest 403b customer... LANSLLC is obvious now one of their smaller customers... When you're a big fish you get a lot of perks and special attention to keep you happy and not going to another Mutual Fund firm... and when you're a small fish, well you get what you get.
Actually, I think its
because the people in charge
of selecting the retirement
options don't have a clue.

I know of people who work
for smaller organizations that
have better options than
what LANS is offering.

For instance, I know of
small companies that have
Fidelity 401K's that have
much wider options.

I think that LANS should
take another look at this.
Other than Contrafund, this is truly a pathetic list. It looks like this list offers yet another reason *NOT* to go with TCP2. I'll bet most of those who turned in their paperwork for TCP2 had no idea they would be forced to throw their hard-earned savings in with this group of "dog" funds. Good luck in earning a decent return, because you'll certainly going to need it. LANS should have giving out this list of allowable funds to LANL staff months ago. What a bunch of losers!
Yes, this selection of funds does stink.

Internationional options are absent, investment that involves currency fluctuation is not available, food, agriculture, health care and banking (areas that will be hot as the economy slows) are also not available - nor alternate fuels.

LANS needs to rethink this, earn their fee, negotiate some acceptable retirement investment options for us.

Or, as another poster suggest, those that already submitted their paperwork thinking we would have better than third world investment options - ought lump sum out so we can assure our future.

I may yank my paperwork over this

we are circling the drain if this is the best we can expect from our "leaders".....
I would recommend that
whoever is deciding the options
to read the book
written by the former
manager of Yale Univ.
He has had an enviable
record and recommends
primarily a diversified
portfolio of index funds
with low expense ratios.

Unconventional Success : A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment
by David F. Swensen

A good book, which
has stood the test of time is

Random Walk Down Wall Street
by Malkiel

He recommends cheap index
funds also.
Only FDIVX has an earnings rate, 16.5% YTD, and a 5* Morningstar rating worth considering.

FCNTX, Fidelity Contrafund is closed to new investors, even those already in Fidelity Funds plans of any sort.

All the other LANS offerings within their 401k plan perform below normal and are unattractively rated.

The LANS 401k plan appears to be a cross-section of someone's ill-planned portfolio…wonder who that could be…Marquez?

The plan is very amateurish on the part of LANS management who should be embarrassed at their demonstrated lack of business investment acumen.

LANS needs to go back to the drawing board and come back again with a real 401k-investment portfolio.

The “World’s Best and Brightest”…Pbbbbt!
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
The "Ma and Pa Kettle" funds being offered for our 401K's may be
just one of many signs that LANS is not up to the task of running

I turned in my benefits and job offer paperwork a couple of weeks
ago and was assured that I would be receiving an Email confirmation
within 24 hours. It never came. Furthermore, LANS has now set up
a web site into which you can type your LANL Z# to see if your
paperwork is on file. Several people in my office who turned in
paperwork have tried this new web site and none of them got an
affirmative answer.

If LANS can't perform a simple job like confirming receipt of benefits
paperwork, how the hell are we suppose to have any confidence that
they can run this place? A time-stamp plus signature on a copy of my
submitted paperwork would have offered a sufficient and secure means
of confirmation, but LANS seems too clueless to even figure out a
simple solution like that.

I wonder if they realize that their poor handling of our benefits
paperwork is now causing a significant portion of the staff to form
a bad initial impression of LANS. But, then, again, perhaps they
don't really care.
Is there any reason why one should not be allowed to roll-over his balance from LANS' 401k plan on a periodic (monthly) basis to another more favorable 401k plan?

Thoughts appreciated.
Well, 401K plans are issued by companies. If you worked for
another company that also had a 401K, then you might be able
to roll over funds from LANS 401K to another company's 401K.

I'm not sure if you can roll the LANS 401K funds into an IRA, but
I'm thinking you might not want to do that, as some of the
tax and IRS implications may not be to your benefit if you go
that route.

You pose an interesting question. Any financial gurus out
there who see a solution for getting out from underneath
LANS dismal mutual fund picks?
I disagree with some of the previous posters.
I'm not saying that these are the mutual funds I would have chosen, but ...
1. " smaller organizations that have better options than what LANS is offering". yes this maybe true, but the companies I've worked for 7000+ people and 150000+ people had a smaller selection of funds.

2. Swenson and Makiel both say that actively managed funds are a bad idea. In fact in Swenson's book he says that most mutual fund companies stink (with the exception of non-profits like tiaa and vanguard) and are just asset accumulating whores. Secondly, he's critical of the morningstar mutual fund rating system. Frankly, Fidelity is the biggest whore on the block, and most (i spy 77%) of their domestic stock funds underperform their respective averages.

3. More choices do not equal better choices. Just because you have 100+ mutual funds at Fidelity doesn't mean that you're going to get to retire any faster. Read -- "Paradox of Choice" by Barry Schwartz

4. "this is a truly pathetic list ... " and "selection of funds do stink". Stinks by what measure. Quantify.
The alpha, beta what.. exactly. Without a metric these statements are just rants, and not very constructive.
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