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FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/2/15

January 05
00:03 2015

1020805_25983300_Trending_Topics_2015.01.05_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
5 ‘Must Read’ Articles for the 401k Plan Sponsor and Fiduciary,” (, December 30, 2014). You must read these because everyone else is. And if everyone else is and you’re not, they’ll know more than you. Is that what you want?

Compliance – So, Now What?:
Don’t know what to do? Don’t worry, there are plenty of folks with ideas on how to help.
8 things to do now in light of pension reforms,” (BenefitsPro, December 29, 2014) If you’ve got a multiple employer pension plan, you probably want to read this article.
SAVE Act aimed at small biz retirement plans,” (BenefitsPro, December 29, 2014) Only a veto will stop this law, which enjoys the kind of bipartisan support we haven’t seen in years.

Fiduciary – Wait? Is this Legal?:
This one is, unlike the story we featured last week.
Save for retirement, win a prize!” (MarketWatch, December 27, 2014) Yet another article about incentives for buying investment products. Not so sure this will pass muster once regulators look at it – unless it has nothing to do with buying products form the firm offering the prize (remember the “no purchase necessary” disclaimers). What’s different about this story is that the plan sponsor is offering the prizes. That’s a good thing.

Fees – Yes, but is this Correct?:
Many expect 2015 to be the year of fees. And we’re not arguing with that.
A New Year’s resolution for fiduciaries,” (BenefitsPro, December 31, 2014) Three quick ways to make sure your 401k fees are reasonable.

Investments – Everybody has an Opinion:
Just remember, an opinion is neither right nor wrong, it is merely entertainment.
‘Longevity’ in annuities could be the big 2015 focus,” (InvestmentNews, December 29, 2014) After years of intense lobbying, 2014 saw a big win by the insurance industry to finally get government approval to place their highest margin products into regulated retirement plans. The big question now is, “Can they convince the market to buy these products?” With high fees, no immediate gratification, and loss of control, these controversial products have more to dislike than to like. This is both from the point of view of the retirement plan fiduciary – who may be taking on more liability than originally expected – and the retirement saver – who can easily find reasonable alternative choices without the negatives associated with annuities.
Case for active management gets stronger every day as stocks power ahead,” (InvestmentNews, December 30, 2014) One of the few articles (even in the trade press) to get this right. In surging bull markets, passive investing tends to out-perform active investing. In flat to down markets, active investing tends to out-perform passive investing. Surging bull markets can’t last forever, so…
How annuity guarantees can improve your love life,” (MarketWatch, December 30, 2014) If you think the title makes you cringe, just wait until you read the article, which appears better suited for Valentine’s Day rather than New Years.
3 Key Lessons Investors Can Take From 2014,” (Money, December 31, 2014) Just the usual stuff.
3 things retirement investors can stop worrying about,” (MarketWatch, December 31, 2014) Keep calm and pass on the over zealous scrutiny.

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.
Demographic shifts change how employers approach retirement,” (Employee Benefit News, December 30, 2014)
A few reader favorites,” (BenefitsPro, December 31, 2014)

Trends and News for Retirement Savers:
If you’re a retirement plan fiduciary – whether a plan sponsor or a financial professional, don’t you think it’s a good idea to keep up on the topics retirement savers are most interested in? That’s what the media tries to do. Here’s what they think is on the mind of the people saving for retirement.
Cramer clarifies the 401k, IRA, Roth mystery,” (CNBC, December 26, 2014)
Umbrella insurance: Protection for that nest egg,” (USA Today, December 27, 2014)
Planning to Retire in 2015? Read This,” (Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2014)
Here’s a Good Reason Not to Fund Your 401k,” (Money, December 29, 2014)
Retirement: How women can generate income for life,” (USA Today, December 30, 2014)
Retire to One of These 5 Great Small Cities,” (Money, December 30, 2014)
Retirement: Is the 4% rule still relevant?” (USA Today, December 31, 2014)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Proskauer’s ERISA Practice Center Blog: Second Circuit: Class-Wide Reformation Is Appropriate Equitable Relief |
The Trust Advisor: How Financial Advisors Are Courting Millennials |
The Frugal Fiduciary: New Year’s Resolution #1 for Fiduciaries – “I WILL Evaluate My 401k Plan Fees” |
The Trust Advisor: Umbrella Insurance: Protection For That Nest Egg |
The Trust Advisor: New Year’s Resolutions That Actually Keep The IRS Away |
The Chicago Financial Planner: What I’m Reading NFL Wildcard Edition |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: GAO Calls for Change in Forced Distribution Rules |
Motley Fool: The Best Stocks for Retirees  |
NAPA Net: Did YOUR 401k Increase by $50,000 This Year? |
NAPA Net: Pick a Prediction: Industry Sages Weigh In |
NAPA Net: MyRA Takes Shape, Raises New Questions |
Motley Fool: 4 Critical Things to Know About Your 2015 IRA Contribution Limits |
NAPA Net: Targeting Target-Date Take-Up Rates |
NAPA Net: New Year’s Resolutions for Plan Sponsors |
NAPA Net: Retirement Plan Disbursement Rules Kicking in Jan. 1 |
DailyFinance: The Biggest Risk You’re Taking With Your Retirement Nest Egg |
NAPA Net: IRS Says it Might Be Time for a Retirement Plan Checkup |
NAPA Net: AARP Poll: Virginians Support State-Run Retirement Plan |
Motley Fool: 3 of the Worst Stocks to Own in Retirement |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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