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FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 12/4/15

FiduciaryNews Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 12/4/15
December 07
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:
State-Sponsored Private Employee Retirement Plans First Step Towards Nationalized Retirement?” (, December 1, 2015) Will the intrusion of government-sponsored retirement products unify a House currently divided by the Fiduciary Standard?

Compliance – Justifying Changes:
Sometimes a change is for the better, and sometimes it’s just a change.
Labor Department has indexed annuities in its crosshairs,” (MarketWatch, November 24, 2015) Ouch! An industry insider opens the closet door and reveals the skeletons hiding within.
New Retirement Plans Offer Versatility, Says Treasury Official,” (Financial Advisor, December 2, 2015) defines “versatility” as “having or capable of many uses.” Really? With only one investment option and a cap and total savings?
Why Recent Social Security Changes Make Sense,” (Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2015) The pro side of the argument.
Why Recent Changes in Social Security Are Unfair,” (Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2015) The con side of the argument.

Fiduciary – I, Fiduciary:
No, this isn’t a reference to a once popular ABC Family TV kids sitcom. If you get the allusion, then consider yourself either: A) Educated; or, B) A Will Smith fan.
Can Robo-Advisors Really Be Fiduciaries?” (ThinkAdvisor, November 30, 2015) Assuming the bot possesses artificial intelligence capability and is programmed to follow Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, then, “Yes.” Otherwise, probably not, and definitely not if it’s programmed to do otherwise.
Consumer Federation: Industry Alternatives To DOL Fiduciary Rule Fail To Protect Retirees,” (Financial Advisor, December 2, 2015) Finally, someone is talking about restricting conflict-of-interest fees.
Fiduciary vs. Broker: It’s a Matter of Cost,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 2, 2015) It’s true, but it’s also tired.
Evensky Offers One-Page Solution To Advisor Fiduciary Debate,” (Financial Advisor, December 2, 2015) Very similar to Ron Rhoades solution – a fiduciary contract.

Fees – The Awful Truth:
Sometimes the truth is too difficult to handle. Sometimes the facts just plain get in the way of a good story. But we’ve known this for a number of years, and, still, consumer behavior remains the same. Why?
Advisor Comp Grids Encourage Conflicted Advice, Consumer Advocates Say,” (ThinkAdvisor, November 30, 2015) The article lays out how conflict-of-interest fees can skew investment “advice.” It gives examples.

Investments – Coming Home to Roost:
Like the never ending sun dials of time, the shadows of wisdom return to point towards the correct direction.
A different way to look at asset allocation,” (MarketWatch, November 27, 2015) A nice fluff piece, but if you want real meat on the subject, read the series on Asset Allocation beginning with this article: “7 Deadly Sins Every ERISA Fiduciary Must Avoid: The 5th Deadly Sin – Misapplied Asset Allocation,”, June 9, 2015)
How To Catch A Falling Knife For Retirement Income Without Killing Your Portfolio,” (Forbes, November 27, 2015) This is why people pay the pros big bucks – just so they won’t have to do what this author is suggesting they do.
Fixed-indexed annuities soar in popularity,” (InvestmentNews, November 29, 2015) Interesting. Could this be related to the story in the Compliance section above?

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.
Middle Class Faces ‘Wall Of Job And Retirement Insecurity’,” (Financial Advisor, November 25, 2015)
Best Ways to Help Different Generations,” (Financial Planning, November 29, 2015)
How Technology Will Transform Retirement,” (Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2015)
Intel lawsuit raises new concerns for plan sponsors,” (Employee Benefit News, November 30, 2015)
How 6 Percent Withdrawals Are Sustainable For Retirees,” (Financial Advisor, November 30, 2015)
5 retirement questions plan sponsors must answer,” (Benefit News, November 30, 2015)
More retirement plan recordkeepers offering mobile apps,” (BenefitsPro, December 1, 2015)
Make 401k plans a perfect gift for employees,” (Benefits Selling, December 1, 2015)
Change Of Plans,” (Financial Advisor, December 2, 2015)
EBSA Restored $700 Million to Retirement Plans, Participants During FY 2015,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 2, 2015)
Help small employers assess retirement plan auto-enrollment,” (BenefitsPro, December 2, 2015)
Most multiemployer pension plans in green zone,” (BenefitsPro, December 2, 2015)
How to help 401k plan participants manage risk,” (Employee Benefit News, December 3, 2015)
The unintended consequence of 401k auto-enrollment,” (Employee Benefit News, December 3, 2015)
3 ways to jumpstart retirement savings,” (Employee Benefit News, December 3, 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.
Turning a Saver into a Spender in Retirement,” (US News, November 24, 2015)
Live and Learn: Deep debt late in life,” (CNBC, November 24, 2015)
Tax Considerations When Delaying Social Security,” (Forbes, November 24, 2015)
What should widow’s next step be with Social Security?” (USA Today, November 27, 2015)
Five Things Retirees Can Do To Navigate The Current Environment,” (Forbes, November 27, 2015)
You may need less retirement income than you think,” (MarketWatch, November 28, 2015)
Our sons’ $189,000 student debt is delaying our retirement,” (CNN, November 30, 2015)
3 ways you’re sabotaging your retirement without realizing it,” (MarketWatch, November 30, 2015)
5 Steps to Plan Your Retirement,” (US News, November 30, 2015)
Don’t Make These Common IRA Distribution Mistakes,” (Financial Planning, December 1, 2015)
Arguments for Claiming Social Security Early,” (Forbes, December 1, 2015)
How Debt and Denial Are Reshaping Retirement,” (Money, December 1, 2015)
Why Retirees Are Happier Than You May Think,” (Wall Street Journal, December 1, 2015)
Don’t delay on file and suspend Social Security claims,” (InvestmentNews, December 2, 2015)
Social Security Q&A: Is Misinformation Costing Widow’s Thousands?” (Forbes, December 2, 2015)
These countries will have the best pensions for millennials,” (CNN, December 2, 2015)
The retirement generation gap,” (CNBC, December 2, 2015)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Behavior Gap: The Simplicity on the Other Side of Complexity |
Squared Away Blog: What Derails a Planned Retirement Date |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: IRS Reminds Us That Most Retirees Need to Take Required Retirement Plan Distributions by Dec. 31 |
The Chicago Financial Planner: 4 Benefits of Portfolio Rebalancing |
Scholarly Financial Planner: Whose Side Are You On? Wall Street or Retirement Savers? |
Nerd’s Eye View: Systematic Partial Roth Conversions And Recharacterization |
Behavior Gap: Learn How to Invest in Your Human Capital |
Scholarly Financial Planner: Congress Needs to Support Business Owners – Who Are Often At Risk in Excessive Fee Litigation |
fi360: “Pruning” |
Scholarly Financial Planner: Please Contact Congress Today Re: DOL Rulemaking |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Kiplinger: Great Places to Retire in Every State |
NAPA Net: Borzi Contemplates Regional Open MEPs |
NAPA Net: Who’s the Best ERISA Attorney? |
NAPA Net: Long-Term Focus Eludes Many — Especially Gen X |
NAPA Net: Capitol Hill Panel Keys on Millennial Savings Challenges |
Kiplinger: Which Retirement Savings Plans Are Best for Teachers? |
NAPA Net: Another Excessive Fee Suit Settled |
NAPA Net: The 5 W’s: A New Plan Fiduciary Perspective |
NAPA Net: The Importance of Having a Plan |
NAPA Net: Moody’s Moody About PBGC Sustainability |
The Motley Fool: 4 Reasons Why Millennials May Be Worse Off Than Baby Boomers Come Retirement |
NAPA Net: Americans’ Top Saving Goal? Retirement |
NAPA Net: Raymond James’ Bohannon on the Demise of the ‘Accidental’ Broker Dealer |
NAPA Net: Millennials Investing Earlier Than Other Generations |
NAPA Net: Little Change, But Positive Movement for 401k Balances |
NCPA: Texas’ Gold Is Coming Home | Retirement Reform Policy |
The Motley Fool: 6 Dividend Stocks Every Retiree Should Consider Owning |
NAPA Net: House Hearing Debates Fiduciary Proposal |
NAPA Net: A Generation Gap in Benefits Preferences |
NAPA Net: Physician, Heal Thyself? |
NAPA Net: An Education Strategy for Millennials |
NAPA Net: Are Investing Concerns Holding Back Saving? |
NAPA Net: The Best ERISA Attorney Is… |
NAPA Net: Elevating the Next Generation of Your Business |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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