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Fiduciary News Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 7/08/11

July 11
00:07 2011

1020805_25983300_Trending_Topics_2011.07.08_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300Welcome to Fiduciary News Trending Topics. Each Monday, we’ll give you a quick synopsis of the major news events and trends impacting ERISA plan sponsors, 401k fiduciaries and those in the business of supporting these fine folks. If you smile when you read these entertaining snippets, well, that’s the idea. If you think we’re missing something important, then please let us know.

Fiduciary News Lead Story:
Momentum Builds to Place IRAs Under Fiduciary Umbrella,” (Fiduciary News, July 5, 2011). Having no idea what the fiduciary means, and worse, not caring, most IRA R/O investors are sheep heading for their (financial) slaughter. Not anymore, if the DOL’s Phyllis Borzi has her way.

Compliance – Ol’ Man River Keeps on Movin’:
An interesting overview and an interesting take.
DOL regs impact retirement plans,” (BenefitsPro, July 6, 2011) A good review of all the major changes emanating from the DOL that will impact ERISA plans.
A Tale of Two Regulators,” (BenefitsPro, July 7, 2011) Is Phyllis Borzi a lot tougher than Mary Shapiro – or is she just smarter?

Fiduciary – The Times They are a-Changin’:
“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” appears to be the strategy of the day.
Admit it, you’re a fiduciary,” (BenefitsPro, July 7, 2011) Many advisers are trying to beat the DOL to the punch by agreeing to serve as fiduciaries. Between this and the ultimate DOL decision, do we even need an SEC decision? Oh, right, this applies only to retirement plans, not retail accounts. We knew the SEC was around for something.

Investments – The only thing we learn from history…:
Seriously, you’ve got to read these and try to convince yourself we’re not all doomed.
Target date funds may be right choice for many workers,” (St. Louis Today, July 3, 2011) If you like target date funds, you’ll like this article. If not, you’ll poke holes in it.
GAO Retirement Advice: Delay Social Security, Buy Annuities,” (Advisor One, July 5, 2011) While the article claims this de facto government blessing of annuities might be a boon for the annuity industry, if history is any guide, such government blessing usually signals the peak in the effectiveness of the investment product. Anybody remember the hoopla surrounding the DOL’s blessing of Target Date Funds and what happened to them in the ensuing years? Investors sure didn’t make money on them. Wait, but they sure did invest a lot in them (and continue to do so). Well, it turned out it was a boon for the industry after all, just not the investor.

Major Plan Sponsor Moves and News:
What are other plan sponsors and fiduciaries doing with their plans? And how are participants responding? The latest in legal proceedings involving plan sponsors and fiduciaries.
Retirement savings nears all-time high,” (CNNMoney, July 1, 2011)
401k Law Undercuts Savings for Retirement,” (Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2011)
The 10 Top-Rated 401k Plans,” (, July 7, 2011)
Too many choices impair 401k decisions,” (Employee Benefit News, July 5, 2011)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
fi360 Blog: Fiduciary Links: Florida becomes the 48th state to pass UPMIFA
fi360 Blog: Fiduciary Debate Evades, and is Finally Caught, in Partisan Crossfire

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Must have been a slow week!

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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