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FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 11/27/15

FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 11/27/15
November 30
00:02 2015

Welcome 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. “When everybody’s a fiduciary…  no one is.”

FiduciaryNews Lead:
Is myRA myRedundant?” (, November 24, 2015) What is motivating the government to offer a product when there are already better free market alternatives available?

Compliance – “Hey, Jude, Take a Bad Plan”:
And make it worse? Plato said a Republic should be ruled by philosopher kings. Plato was a philosopher. Connect the dots. And, besides, philosophers tended to treat math as a lower priority than rhetoric.
DOL Fiduciary Rule Could Complicate Rollovers for RIAs,” (ThinkAdvisor, November 20, 2015) Not sure if this is significant to only RIAs selling products or to all RIA (i.e., even portfolio managers).
Fixing a broken retirement system,” (USA Today, November 21, 2015) Apparently if you repeat a lie long enough, people will think it’s the truth. Here we have, yet again, another rehash of the “points” made in the controversial “Retirement Gamble” episode of Front Line that PBS aired several years ago.
SEC’s fiduciary standard expected in October 2016,” (InvestmentNews, November 23, 2015) Hmm, right smack dap in the middle of the final leg of the presidential race. Take a guess what’s going to happen.
Please don’t kill off pension plans,” (BenefitsPro, November 23, 2015) About 30-40 years too late for this request.
The US needs a better, simple retirement savings solution,” (CNBC, November 23, 2015) This was already proposed here: “401k 2.0 – A Proposal,” (, December 7, 2010).

Fiduciary – Who Regulates the Regulators:
This is a corollary to the above. Once the government takes over an industry, it automatically creates a conflict-of-interest. It no longer is a disinterested party. Ergo, can it still be allowed to regulate its competitors.
Employers in state-run MEPs would have some fiduciary duties,” (BenefitsPro, November 23, 2015) Is this the same with business associations who run MEPs?
Does myRA breach fiduciary duty?” (BenefitsPro, November 25, 2015) It all goes back to that age old question: Who regulates the regulators?

Fees – On Vacation:
Apparently this topic was too busy preparing the Thanksgiving meal.

Investments – Wow!:
When will they ever learn? It’s not about mutual fund expense ratios, it’s about conflict-of-interest fees.
The Single-Best 401k Upgrade,” (Forbes, November 23, 2015) This is an embarrassingly naïve, some might say “inaccurate,” piece promoting index funds over actively managed funds. What makes it especially ironic is that we are currently in a period where index fund returns are trailing actively managed fund returns. As usual, the argument is based solely on expense ratios, awkwardly citing (and this might be the inaccurate part) the White House data in support of the DOL’s new Fiduciary Rule as evidence. Perhaps Forbes has been drinking from the same Kool-Aid pitcher as The New York Times.

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.
5 Groups Who Can Still Use Valuable Social Security Strategies,” (Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2015)
Mathematical illiteracy and its effect on retirement planning,” (BeAdvised, November 23, 2015)
5 questions retirement plan sponsors must ask,” (BenefitsPro, November 23, 2015)
How 6 Percent Withdrawals Are Sustainable For Retirees,” (Financial Advisor, November 23, 2015)
5 Steps to Retirement Planning for Entrepreneurs,” (US News, November 23, 2015)
Older Workers Seeking Options for Reducing Hours on the Job,” (The New York Times, November 23, 2015)
Plan sponsors, employees more aware of 401k fees,” (Employee Benefit News, November 24, 2015)

Trends and Truths 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.
How to make the most of your required minimum distribution,” (CNBC, November 19, 2015)
7 Retirement Money Wasters to Avoid,” (US News, November 19, 2015)
Millennials More Likely To Grab A Good Meal Than Save For Retirement, New Study Says,” (Forbes, November 19, 2015)
Should I Choose a Partial Lump Sum or Higher Monthly Pension Payments?” (Money, November 19, 2015)
The Biggest Risk Investors Face in Retirement, and How to Address It,” (ThinkAdvisor, November 23, 2015)
Beware the Retirement Splurge,” (Money, November 23, 2015)
10 Money Steps to Take Before Your 70th Birthday,” (DailyFinance, November 23, 2015)
Student loan debt hindering retirement savings,” (Employee Benefit News, November 24, 2015)
The benefits of retiring abroad,” (BenefitsPro, November 25, 2015)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
fi360: Is it really not necessary, potentially embarrassing, or too hard? |
Behavior Gap: You Need a Test Pilot – Even If You Don’t Own a Plane |
RetirementRevised: PBGC premium hike puts another nail in pensions’ coffin |
Scholarly Financial Planner: I Believe In A Bona Fide Fiduciary Standard |
Squared Away Blog: Social Security Delay: the Value to You |
Boston ERISA Law Blog: On the Human Element in Plan Governance, Officiating and other Human Endeavors |
Data “Points”: A Retirement Industry Thanksgiving List |
Nerd’s Eye View: PEP And Pease Limitation As 1% Income Surtaxes |
Data “Points”: 5 Reasons Why More Plans Don’t Offer Retirement Income Options |
Data “Points”: 7 Things You May Not Know About the Saver’s Credit (and 4 You Should) |
Data “Points”: 6 Things Boomers Need to Know About Saving for Retirement |
Behavior Gap: Don’t Let the Status Quo Stop You |
fi360: The Biggest “Price Tag” |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Honesty is Best Advisor Policy |
NAPA Net: Post Retirement Spending Pace Varies |
The Motley Fool: Forget Fixed Income: Here’s How Retirees Can Get Yearly Raises |
NAPA Net: SEC Sets a Date for Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: A Retirement Industry Thanksgiving List |
NAPA Net: Are Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials Different When it Comes to Saving? |
NAPA Net: Wellness Programs Not Catching on with Workers |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Plan Sponsors and Capital Preservation Investment Options |
NAPA Net: Who Benefits from the U.S. Retirement System? |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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