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FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/18/14

April 21
00:03 2014

1020805_25983300_Trending_Topics_2014.04.21_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300Welcome to FiduciaryNews 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: ASPPA Head Brian Graff Blasts ‘Stupid’ Retirement Suggestions from Capitol Hill (and Others),” (FiduciaryNews.com, April 15, 2014). Some blunt talk from a tough fighter for retirement plans.

Compliance – A Cornucopia of Advice:
It’s not usual for there to be a week where compliance gets the most varied content generated, but this is one of those weeks. We have everything from the risk of relying on pension money to the risk of relying on Washington not to screw up the retirement plan system to the risk of relying on yourself or your company not to mess up any of the many compliance rules regarding your plan.
Losing your pension,” (BenefitsPro, April 16, 2014) Apparently, it’s a lot more common than it once was, giving further credence that employees need to own their retirement plan.
We won’t get sound retirement policy from Washington until this is done,” (BenefitsPro, April 17, 2014) A great metaphor on what’s wrong with our politics today.
Don’t Put Retirement Savers on the Hook for Bailouts,” (Roll Call Opinion, April 17, 2014) Just what you’d expect from the title, this article offers a comprehensive and thorough response to some of the threats lawmakers have made regarding those trying to save for retirement.
Preventing and Fixing Broken 401k Plans: 12 Common Compliance Errors,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 17, 2014) A quick overview than a concise list – perfect reading while munching on the morning donut.

Fiduciary – The Sun Also Rises:
At what point do this “ruling is near” theme just going to simply turn into a never-ending Pythonesque parody of itself?
Ruling Near on Fiduciary Duty for Brokers,” (Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2014) Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve heard this all before.

Fees – Complains from the usual – and not so usual – suspects:
Everyone’s complaining about the DOL’s new fee guides. Some would say that’s a good sign. Others would say there are merits to the complaints. Where do you fall?
Industry Criticizes DOLs Call for Fee Guides,” (PLANSPONSOR, April 15, 2014) What did you expect? Did you think the industry would just sit idly by and accept the new rules imposed by the DOL? Ironically, these are about the friendliest rules the DOL could have offered – short of no rules at all which is what the industry wants. Separate from this article, Fred Reish has an interesting take on these new rules, and the industry won’t like it.
DOL Fee Guide Proposal Misses the Point Some Say,” (PLANSPONSOR, April 18, 2014) This is a more interesting take on the issue. This article poses the question as to whether disclosing fees without disclosing value constitutes “full” disclosure. Not mentioned is just exactly how to disclose something as subjective as value, but it’s a good question either way.

Investments – This Bears Repeating:
You don’t have to “limit”  choice to limit choice.
When more choice is not better,” (Employee Benefit News, April 14, 2014) The article repeats something that bears repeating, for the reasons cited in the article. Those who want to know the full story may want to read 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions.

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.
School District Sued Over Early Retirement Incentive Plan,” (PLANSPONSOR, April 10, 2014)
Industry Group Defends Retirement Tax Incentives,” (PLANSPONSOR, April 14, 2014)
Lessons from Top Ranked Retirement Systems,” (PLANSPONSOR, April 14, 2014)
DeWaay settles with Labor Department over retirement plan recommendations,” (InvestmentNews, April 15, 2014)
Iowa Advisor Agrees To Half-Million Dollar Erisa Settlement,” (Financial Advisor, April 15, 2014)
5 most common 401k plan red flags,” (BenefitsPro, April 16, 2014)
Retirement Plan Participant Financial Literacy Low,” (PLANSPONSOR, April 16, 2014)
Women Advisors Forum: Focus on Retirement Plan,” (Financial Planning, April 17, 2014)
Fiduciaries to Restore Contributions to Maryland 401k Plan,” (PLANSPONSOR, April 17, 2014)
Helping Clients Choose Annuities Or Lump Sums,” (Financial Advisor, April 17, 2014)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
FRA PlanTools Blog: ING Settles ERISA Class Action Lawsuit Over Revenue Sharing Practices |
The Trusted Advisor: Ruling Near on Fiduciary Duty for Brokers |
Squared Away Blog: Marching to Retirement Without a Plan |
MainStreet: Retirement Outlook Hopeful – If You Have a Plan |
The Chicago Financial Planner: A Pre-Retirement Financial Checklist |
Squared Away Blog: Social Security 101 |
Pension Risk Matters: Bad Hair Day in Investment Fiduciary Land |
Fred Reish: 408(b)(2) Guide and More |
ebri.org: “Reference” Points |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: DOL Fiduciary Rule Could Result in Large Drop in Retirement Savings |
NAPA Net: Union Multiemployer Plans at Severe Risk of Failure |
NAPA Net: Excessive Fee Class Action Lawsuit Against ING Settled |
NAPA Net: Graff Reaffirms Support for Real Solutions to Retirement Issues |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Retroactive Social Security Payments After Delay |
NAPA Net: No Pension Cuts for Detroit’s Police and Firefighters? |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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