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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 2/19/16 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 2/19/16
February 22
00:02 2016

Welcome to 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 Story:
Exclusive Interview with Alicia Munnell: Auto-Enrollment Without Auto-Escalation Reduces Deferral Rates,” (, February 17, 2016) Would a “Child IRA” be more successful with an associated government matching program?

Compliance – The Rhetoric Continues:
Is there a retirement problem or isn’t there? And, if there is, can it be fixed with common sense solutions or will we just settle for the same old mumbo jumbo we’ve been hearing all these years?
Why retirement is a myth,” (MarketWatch, February 9, 2016) Just another rehash of an oft repeated tale.
401k savings caps could affect millions of participants,” (BenefitsPro, February 12, 2016) Not to worry. This idea’s been DOA every year for the past several years it’s been proposed.
Closing the retirement coverage gap,” (TheHill, February 15, 2016) Here’s the view on things from a political trade journal. Compare this to an industry trade journal.
Is this the beginning of the end of Social Security?” (BenefitsPro, February 17, 2016) Here’s an interested twist on things. What if we think of auto-enrollment/escalation as the same thing as payroll taxes? Then what do we have?

Fiduciary – This Time They Mean It:
The regulators and the overseers are making their play. Will they follow through this time?
Scalia’s Death Could Change Fate Of Fiduciary Rule,” (Financial Advisor, February 16, 2016) An interesting connection between current events and the Fiduciary Rule.
Protecting 401k plan participants through strong fiduciary management,” (Employee Benefit News, February 16, 2016) A quick primer for those needing one.
Fiduciary Rule: No Time To Waste in Prepping for Changes,” (On Wall Street, February 18, 2016) Wow. Talk about hyperbole. Yet, there’s an element of common sense in parts of it.
Not just the DOL: Retirement plan advisers must prepare for increased SEC scrutiny,” (InvestmentNews, February 18, 2016) It’s all about the conflicts of interest.
FINRA to Examine BDs for Conflicts of Interest,” (ThinkAdvisor, February 18, 2016) Not FINRA, too!
White vows to forge ahead on fiduciary duty, third-party exams despite diminished SEC,” (InvestmentNews, February 19, 2016) She said yet again.

Fees – It’s All Relative:
A week after astronomers discover further evidence that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was correct, we see another example of “it’s a relative” common sense.
Evaluating service provider fees in market context,” (Employee Benefit News, February 17, 2016) A reasoned article on fees.

Investments – There’s Nothing Like a Falling Market…:
…to bring out the worst of thinking.
Retirement funds sinking along with stocks,” (New York Post, February 12, 2016) This is a good thing because it means long-term assets are invested in long-term investments.
3 Things to Know About Immediate Annuities,” (US News, February 17, 2016) Once again we revisit the world of annuities, and the landscape remains treacherous.
Testing Risk Tolerance,” (Wealth Management, February 18, 2016) Risk tolerance has been misinterpreted for some time now. Interested in learning more? Read “Should 401k Plan Sponsors Ban Risk Tolerance Questionnaires?, August 13, 2013).

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.
Beyond the gold watch: Retirement has transformed,” (CNBC, February 9, 2016)
What Will The Retirement Age be in 2050?” (Fortune, February 11, 2016)
More Evidence That, Yes, the Retirement Crisis Is Real,” (Money, February 11, 2016)
Steps Small Business Owners Can Take For Retirement,” (Fox Business, February 11, 2016)
3 retirement plan sponsor issues to work on in 2016,” (BenefitsPro, February 12, 2016)
High profit-sharing payouts boost airline retirement benefits,” (BenefitsPro, February 12, 2016)
Companies miss the mark on retirement communications,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, February 16, 2016)
Few workers aware of retirement savings contributions credit,” (Employee Benefit News, February 16, 2106)
Helping defined benefit plan sponsors be more successful,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, February 17, 2016)
America Saves Week is education opportunity for employers,” (Employee Benefit News, February 17, 2016)
Retirement crisis? What retirement crisis?” (BenefitsPro, February 17, 2016)
Helping employees understand the retirement savings contributions credit,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, February 17, 2016)
5 ways pension professionals are responding to market forces,” (BenefitsPro, February 18, 2016)

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.
Is The Self-Driving Car In Your 401k Setting Your Portfolio Up For A Crash?” (Forbes, February 10, 2016)
7 Financial Goals Every GenXer Should Have,” (Forbes, February 11, 2016)
A soon-to-be retiree’s guide to a crazy market,” (CNN, February 11, 2016)
Retirement living: Renters are outpacing homeowners,” (CNBC, February 14, 2016)
Planning to Retire in 2016? Here’s What to Do Now,” (Fox Business, February 15, 2016)
Is There a Guaranteed Retirement Account in Your Future?” (TheStreet, February 16, 2016)
5 things you should never do with a 401k,” (CBS News, February 16, 2016)
Is time running out for the backdoor Roth?” (MarketWatch, February 16, 2016)
How Did Reverse Mortgages Get Such a Bad Reputation?” (Forbes, February 16, 2016)
Five questions to ask before retiring to a 55+ community,” (MarketWatch, February 17, 2016)
How Boomers Became The Disillusioned Generation,” (Forbes, February 17, 2016)
Saving up a decade of advice for retirement,” (Chicago Tribune, February 17, 2016)
Helping a Dentist Transition Into Retirement,” (Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2016)
IRA Owners Prove to Be Diligent Retirement Savings Stewards,” (Plan Advisor, February 18, 2016)
Well-Kept Secret For U.S. Taxpayers,” (Financial Advisor, February 19, 2016)
How to manage tax-efficient drawdowns in retirement,” (InvestmentNews, February 19, 2016)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
The Chicago Financial Planner: Reverse Churning Are You a Victim? |
Behavior Gap: The Risk of Not Knowing |
Squared Away Blog: Can You Pass this Retirement Quiz? |
The Retirement Plan Blog: It’s a 401k fee state of mind for plan fiduciaries |
Scholarly Financial Planner: I Take Issue With the Entire Concept of Using “Risk Tolerance” To Determine Asset Allocation |
Pension Risk Matters: Interview With Susan Mangiero, PhD About Fraud Prevention |
RetirementRevised: Does risk tolerance testing work for retirement investors? |
Data “Points”: 15 (More) Retirement Plan Points to Ponder |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Why Doesn’t Every Plan Have Automatic Enrollment? |
NAPA Net: Iowa Joins State-Run Retirement Program ‘Club’ |
NAPA Net: Next 401k Litigation Target: Stable Value Fees |
The Motley Fool: What Is the Difference Between the Conversion and Recharacterization of an IRA? |
NAPA Net: Most Don’t Find Robo-Advisors Trustworthy |
NAPA Net: Has ERISA Litigation Gone off the Rails? |
NAPA Net: Could Nonfinancial Factors Put Retirements at Risk? |
NAPA Net: Attorney Gets $567,000 in ‘Long and Sordid’ ERISA Case |
NAPA Net: Report: DOL Launching Focus on Benefit Payment Practices |
NAPA Net: Health Savings Accounts Surged in 2015 |
NAPA Net: The Time to Act on MMF Reform is Now |
NAPA Net: Do DC Plans Need To Be Redesigned? |
NAPA Net: Arizona Pension Reform Signed |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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