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FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 11/2/12

November 05
00:03 2012

Welcome to 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. But, note this well, we avoid press releases masquerading as news stories (even though they might be reported by journalists) as well as mass media pabulum that merely mouths investment myths and mistakes.

FiduciaryNews Lead Story:
The Fiduciary Issue and the Election,” (, October 30, 2012). Will the Fiduciary Standard and the DOL’s new Fiduciary Rule become collateral damage in a Romney victory?

Compliance – Could This Work?:
As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Every generation needs a revolution.” Could this be it?
ASPPA grassroots campaign calls for participant voices,” (BenefitsPro, October 29, 2012) This was bound to happen, and it’s a good thing. With all the trash talk on 401k plans – despite the mounds of evidence that smart people have benefited from the fruits of this retirement savings vehicle – regular folks are starting to worry Washington will come in and “fix” the problem. Looks this is a job for… the Tea Party! At least that’s what ASPPA is hoping.

Fiduciary – Auditions, Please:
Things change, life goes on, new players enter the stage. Maybe that’s what we’re seeing now. We’ll know for sure in six months. Just remember this, not only is a kiss a kiss, but the more things changes, the more things stay the same.
SEC’s Gallagher: Fiduciary Rule Needs More Study; Failure to Supervise Should be Focus,” (AdvisorOne, October 30, 2012) Three things to note here. First, Gallagher is a Republican Commissioner of the SEC. Second, he goes out of his way to say that Dodd-Frank doesn’t “require” the SEC to adopt a universal fiduciary standard. Finally, by focusing on a specific detail – supervision – he allows for the concepts of a universal fiduciary standard.
A fiduciary advocate makes an ironic presidential endorsement,” (BenefitsPro, October 31, 2012) This is what being a fiduciary is all about – putting your client’s interests ahead of your own.
Fiduciary Standard: Moving the Ball Forward,” (Financial Planning, November 1, 2012) This article is in response to Ron Rhoades comments on the CFP Board’s approach to the Fiduciary Standard.

Investments – When Will They Ever Learn?:
With apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary (how many readers even know who they are and what the allusion refers to?), there is a change, even a revolution. It’s been quiet and it’s difficult to get many folks to acknowledge it, but’s it’s already happened. So why don’t folks admit it?
Is Asset Allocation Important to Retirement?” (Financial Planning, October 18, 2012) Here’s an update on an story first published by this past summer. The message is still the same: asset allocation is not as important to retirement as the mass media would have you believe.

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.
New research shows retirees are bailing on 401k plans earlier,” (InvestmentNews, October 28, 2012)
401k auto-enrollment on the rise,” (BenefitsPro, October 29, 2012)
Boomers expect to retire decade later than planned,” (Employee Benefit News, October 29, 2012)
Does the 4% Rule Still Hold? Shaping Healthier Retirement Income Planning,” (AdvisorOne, October 30, 2012)
401k Ownership Grows As IRA Ownership Falls, Says Study,” (Financial Advisor, October 26, 2012)
High Court Declines Review of Excessive Fee Case,” (, October 30, 2012)
Your Boss is Worried About Your Retirement,” (, October 30, 2012)
Former PSCA chief: Threat to DC plans is real,” (Employee Benefit News, October 31, 2012)
Retirement industry likely to go on defensive no matter who wins,” (Pensions & Investments, October 31, 2012)
Recession, slow recovery impacting boomers’ retirement, (BenefitsPro, November 1, 2012)
DOL Investigations of Service Providers,” (, November 2, 2012)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
fi360 Blog: Fiduciary Links: Stiffer enforcement options for the SEC a must for investor confidenceThe Chicago Financial Planner: Are My Investments Safe?Business of Benefits: Keeping 12b-1 Basics in View When Reviewing Plan Revenue Sharing

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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