Recap: 2016 IFEBP Annual Conference

By Larry Beebe

Last week I attended the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) annual conference in Orlando. Each year the IFEBP annual conference provides education to trustees, administrators, and plan professionals who work closely with employee benefit plans.

The conference consists of fourteen 75 minute educational segments spread over a two and one half day period. At each time slot participants have a choice of approximately 20 different sessions they can attend.

These interesting sessions I attended were:

Cybersecurity | Understand, manage, and reduce risks. It is critical for plan trustees, administrators and service providers to have a strategy to manage data and assets to minimize exposure to cyber threats now and in the future. Armand Antonian and Ken Palla of MUFG Union Bank and Jeffrey Stein of the 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds gave an excellent presentation on how to respond and recover should a breach occur.

ACA Compliance | After the presidential election, participants were eager to hear what this new administration might do concerning The Affordable Care Act. Kathryn Bakich of Segal Consulting and David Blumenstein of the Segal Group discussed the changes that the administration may make to the U.S. Health Care Plans.

The Pros and Cons of Hedge Funds | I went into this presentation with a superficial knowledge of how hedge funds can be effectively used in an investment portfolio. Michael Joyce of The Marco Consulting Group and Edward Patchett of GCM Grosvenor made a convincing case of using hedge funds in a portfolio to mitigate downside risk. Sharon Goodman of Slevin & Hart was on the panel to discuss ways to protect your plan when hedge funds are used.

When trustees and plan administrators ask me for educational resources, IFEBP’s Annual Conference is always one of my first suggestions. You cannot get a better education on employee benefit plans elsewhere and it is essential to keep up with ever-changing industry developments.

Next year’s conference will take place October 22-25 in Las Vegas, Nevada. More information is available on the IFEBP’s website. Hope to see you there!

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