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FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 10/25/13

October 28
01:25 2013

1020805_25983300_Trending_Topics_2013.10.28_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300Welcome 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:
Exclusive Interview with Roger Wohlner: On Annuities, Target Date Funds and the Fiduciary Standard,” (, October 22, 2013). “Studies have shown that the largest factor in determining the success level of retirement savers is their level of savings.”

Compliance – Here comes da judge:
All’s quiet on the Washington front. Is this the result of folks trying to catch up from the partial “shutdown”? In the meantime, there’s a rumbling on the horizon. Perhaps this bodes well for news junkies. At least.
Regulatory changes driving up demand for retirement plan advisers,” (InvestmentNews, October 23, 2013) Well doesn’t this make sense. Plan sponsors should know this. And rest easy.
PBGC Cannot Force Termination of Pension Plan,” (PLANSPONSOR, October 25, 2013) Nope. It’ll need a court order. Is this a good idea? Only our hairdresser knows for sure. She’s a judge.

Fiduciary – “Uncle”:
Nah. We don’t believe it. Do you?
Finra urges brokers to adopt a ‘best interests’ standard,” (InvestmentNews, October 20, 2013) Is the brokerage industry throwing in the towel? This could be big news.

Fees – More Crickets:
We’ve been here before.

Investments – Toro! Toro! Toro!:
First, it’s not a misspelling. Second, any attempt to spell the name of that city in Spain would definitely lead to a misspelling. Finally, how could you not think Bugs Bunny?
IRA investors hold fewer equities post-recession,” (BenefitsPro, October 18, 2013) Is this a bullish sign? Normally, we would say “yes,” but there are other realities that can’t be ignored.

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.
Most IRA, 401k Balances Reached Precrisis Levels in 2011,” (ThinkAdvisor, October 18, 2013)
Is Financial Education All It’s Cracked Up to Be?” (ThinkAdvisor, October 18, 2013)
Average 401k balance has nearly doubled since 2008,” (MarketWatch, October 18, 2013)
65? 70? 80? What’s the Real Retirement Age These Days?” (ThinkAdvisor, October 21, 2013)
Why an IPS Is So Important for Advisors Right Now,” (ThinkAdvisor, October 21, 2013)
It’s Save for Retirement Week – but it could be so much more,” (Reuters, October 22, 2013)
How to Handle a 401k Fund Change,” (, October 22, 2013)
Social Security’s real retirement age is 70,” (MarketWatch, October 23, 2013)
Many Americans accumulating debt faster than they’re saving for retirement,” (The Washington Post, October 23, 2013)
Will crowdsourcing lead to better 401ks?” (BenefitsPro, October 24, 2013)
‘After’ images,” (BenefitsPro, October 24, 2013)
Youth beats middle age in retirement planning,” (MarketWatch, October 24, 2013)
A new look at the 401k match,” (BenefitsPro, October 24, 2013)
Companies’ 401k Match Gets a Critical Change,” (ThinkAdvisor, October 25, 2013)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
fi360: Fiduciary Links:Utopian and dystopian outlooks for the future of financial services |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Fifth Circuit Rules That Use Of Fluctuating Workweek Method Of Calculating Overtime Is Improper |
The Chicago Financial Planner: Open Enrollment 2014 – Don’t Just Check the Boxes |
The Trust Advisor: Trust Tech Providers Hunt Differentiating “Killer App” |
Business of Benefits: A Regulatory and Fiduciary Framework for Providing Lifetime Income from Defined Contribution Plans |
Retirement Plan Blog: Roth 401k In-Plan Conversions: Where Are We Now? |
Frugal Fiduciary: Uncooked Pizza and the Low Cost 401k Plan, Part 2 of 2 |
fi360: Practice 1.1: Know and follow the rules |
Pension Risk Matters: Fiduciary Management For Pension Plans |
Proskauer’s ERISA Practice Center: SunTrust Plan Participants’ Stock-Drop Claims Tossed A Second Time |
Squared Away Blog: Oldest Americans Are Lucky Generation | “Staying” Power |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: ICI: IRAs Weather Economic Storm |
NAPA Net: Pension Buyouts Expected to Boom Once Interest Rates Rise |
NAPA Net: ICI: DC Plans Taking on Greater Importance in Retirement |
NAPA Net: Sooner or Later |
NAPA Net: Studies Show Financial Education has Little Impact on Behavior |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Fiduciary Responsibility and Share Classes |
NAPA Net: 80: the new 60 |
NAPA Net: A World Without Commissions |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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