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FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 12/25/15

FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 12/25/15
December 28
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:
5 ‘Must Read’ 2015 Articles for the 401k Plan Sponsor and Fiduciary – Honorable Mention,” (FiduciaryNews.com, December 22, 2015) These articles either ask or answer critical questions every 401k plan sponsor and fiduciary must address.

Compliance – Regulator Showdown?:
Who’s the real sheriff in this town? The SEC or the DOL. We may find the answer in 2016.
DOL Fiduciary Rule Won’t Slow IRA Rollovers: Cerulli,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 21, 2015) No one really thought it would.
SEC exam questions dive deeply into retirement-account advice,” (InvestmentNews, December 22, 2015) Ooo, turf battle. Apparently, in response to the DOL nudging into the IRA arena via the Fiduciary Rule, the SEC is nudging into the retirement arena via its own fiduciary jurisdiction. Who will win the regulator stand-off? Who knows, but we know how will end up losing – initially the service providers and ultimately the retail investors.
Illinois Idea to Tax Retirement Income Gets Pushback,” (PLANSPONSOR, February 22, 2015) More proof pensions aren’t the free lunches you were looking for.

Fiduciary – No Sooner Said…:
…then done. No sooner did we warn about the fact old-fashioned fiduciary liability still existed out there, then Jerry Schlichter comes along and proves us right. Honest, we didn’t know about his plans.
The Good News for Fiduciary Advice in 2015,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 22, 2015) A good summary the state of the fiduciary from Knut Rostad.
Attorney Jerry Schlichter brings another class-action 401k suit,” (InvestmentNews, December 23, 2015) Follows the typical excessive fee template, only this one involves – wait for it – collective trust funds. Maybe they’re not as “pure” as some would have us believe.

Fees – More Proof About Those that Fail to Learn From History:
They haven’t got it and they still don’t get it.
Low-Cost Options Drive Down 401k Expenses,” (Financial Advisor, December 23, 2015) Or maybe not. It appears this data includes the mutual fund expense ratio as a “plan expense” instead of a mutual fund operating cost (which is what the SEC calls it, the regulator lists expenses as a different category).

Investments – Strangely Quiet In Advance of Year-End:
Usually the sea is awash with year-end advice. This year, nothing.

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.
Holiday consumption, spending trump retirement plan communications,” (Employee Benefit News, December 21, 2015)
Look to Large Retirement Plans as Models,” (PLANSPONSOR, December 22, 2015)
DB plans advised to be proactive in 2016,” (Employee Benefit News, December 22, 2015)
5 ways to a better ERISA administrative process,” (Employee Benefit News, December 23, 2015)
Who Wants to Retire at 72?” (ThinkAdvisor, December 23, 2015)
Top 10 401k plan trends for 2016,” (Employee Benefit News, December 24, 2105)
Retirement Plans Still Being Scrutinized by Plaintiffs’ Attorneys,” (PLANSPONSOR, December 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.
10 tips for those who want to consult after they retire,” (MarketWatch, December 17, 2015)
7 Reasons You Should Consider Renting in Retirement,” (Yahoo Finance, December 17, 2015)
A warning for retired baby boomers looking for work,” (CBS News, December 17, 2015)
Four Things People Hide In Retirement,” (Forbes, December 17, 2015)
When a Reverse Mortgage Is a Good Idea for Retirement Income,” (Money, December 17, 2015)
Best places to retire are all over the map,” (CNBC, December 18, 2015)
How to plan your retirement income to avoid taxes,” (MarketWatch, December 19, 2015)
Time to consider a Roth IRA conversion?” (USA Today, December 19, 2015)
Social Security Q&A: How Do the New Rules Affect File and Suspend?” (Forbes, December 20, 2015)
Your retirement prospects are bleaker than ever,” (Los Angeles Times, December 21, 2015)
How to Handle Changes to Social Security Claiming Rules,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 21, 2015)
Think you’ll work in retirement? Better plan now,” (CBS News, December 22, 2015)
Snowbirds need to keep track of their paperwork,” (MarketWatch, December 22, 2015)
An Aging Society Changes the Story on Poverty for Retirees,” (The New York Times, December 22, 2015)
The Importance of Planning for Long-Term Care,” (Forbes, December 22, 2015)
5 Ways to Prepare Your Finances for Retirement,” (US News, December 22, 2015)
Lasagna as a retirement plan? Mamma mia!” (CNBC, December 22, 2015)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Pension Risk Matters: Espresso Math and Retirement Plan Fees |
fi360: Conflicts of Interest: Walk away? |
Behavior Gap: The Secret Superpower of Questions |
RetirementRevised: Why backdoor Roths look more attractive this year |
Squared Away Blog: Readers’ Picks in 2015 |
Nerd’s Eye View: Portfolio Rebalancing Usually Reduces Returns, But Also Risk |
fi360: Year End Giving |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: IRS Issues Frequently Asked Questions Regarding The IRS Compliance Questions On The 2015 Form 5500-Series Returns |
Data “Points”: Naughty or Nice?
Retirement Income Journal: Schlichter law firm sues Insperity over high plan fees |
Scholarly Financial Planner: Dear Politicians … I Forgive You |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Bill Bans Fiduciary Rule Without Congressional Approval |
NAPA Net: Three Trends Plan Advisors Should Leverage in 2016 |
NAPA Net: Retirement Income Obstacles and Opportunities |
NAPA Net: Public Pension Changes in Debt Crisis Bill |
The Motley Fool: Turning 55 in 2016? Here’s What You Need to Know |
NAPA Net: Naughty or Nice? |
NAPA Net: Lawyers Get More Than Plaintiffs in Excessive Fee Case |
NASDAQ: Retirement Tips for Singles |
Kiplinger: Smart Retirement Strategies for Women |
NAPA Net: Cerulli: Fiduciary Rule Won’t Slow Rollovers |
NAPA Net: The Evolution from Broker to Plan Advisor to Business Person |
NAPA Net: Holidays Stressing Out Savings, But Wait Till Next Year! |
Kiplinger: The Value of Having a Trusted Financial Adviser When a Spouse Is on Death’s Door |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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