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FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/4/13

January 07
00:03 2013

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:
2012’s Top 5 Stories,” (, January 2, 2013). Read them to remember last year. Read them to predict the coming year.

Compliance – Bailing out of the 401k:
OK, OK, so we dodged a bullet. But Washington still expects its pound flesh, only they tend to extract it by encouraging folks to convert their 401k funds into ROTH funds. Hmmm, penny wise, pound foolish.
DCs help bail out D.C. as budget agreement struck,” (InvestmentNews, December 31, 2012) Boo! Scared ya! In the end, they didn’t kill the golden goose. Instead, they made it easier to roll 401k assets into ROTH 401k plans.
Roth 401k Conversions For All Thanks To Fiscal Cliff Deal,” (Forbes, January 2, 2013) Though not as sweet as those conversions coming from traditional IRA plans, this new element might have employees knocking on plan sponsors’ doors seeking to have this benefit included in their plans.
Budget Deal Lets More Savers Convert to Roth 401k plans,” (Financial Advisor, January 3, 2013) Note to media: When you take time off, you get scooped by your rivals.
Cities Chart Course Through Pension Morass,” (ABC News, January 3, 2013) The fiscal cliff scare ain’t got nothin’ on this quagmire. Unless they figure a way out, someone of your favorite municipalities are in for one big heap of trouble.
Atlanta to San Diego: 7 Cities’ Pension Problems,” (ABC News, January 3, 2013) And here’s the list.
Illinois Dragging Feet on Huge Pension Problem,” (AdvisorOne, January 2, 2013) In the meantime, back in Smallville, the situation continues to worsen…“Fiscal cliff fix brings an upside to IRAs,” (BenefitsPro, January 3, 2013) Here’s a happy story to end the week (although you can’t tell from the publication date).

Fiduciary – So, how was the party?:
It looks like the topic of fiduciary took the week off. Perhaps a little too much bubbly to bring in the new year.

Fees – Makin’ a list, checkin’ it twice…:
Oh, wait. That was last week. But it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot of lists.
401k Fee Transparency: Best & Worst Providers,” (AdvisorOne, December 20, 2012) We knew this was coming. Now, thanks to Dalbar and Research we have a ranking system.

Investments – Never Mind:
Looks like this topic went to the same party with fiduciary.

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.
What you missed in 2012,” (BenefitsPro, January 2, 2013)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
fi360 Blog: Fiduciary Links: A new year, the Fiscal Cliff averted, and the “temporary” principal trading lives on |
The Chicago Financial Planner: Investing in 2013 – Is it Different This Time? |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Gallup: U.S. Investors Want Government to Enhance 401k Accounts |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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