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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 2/5/16 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 2/5/16
February 08
00:03 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:
White House Retirement Plan Budget Proposal Buzz Fizzles Flat with Experienced Pros,” (, February 2, 2016) Solving a political meme does not solve the problem..

Compliance – Here are Some Real Solutions:
Sometimes it seems like our government would work better if we just listen to the people who work on the front lines day in and day out.
Munnell calls for mandated auto-enrollment in 401k plans, IRAs,” (BenefitsPro, Janaury 29, 2016) Note she doesn’t say “mandatory savings,” she only says if you offer a 401k plan, there should be mandatory auto-enrollment at 6%. It’s not clear if the opt-out provision is retained, but if it is, the idea may have some merit.
The time is nigh for the 401k MEP,” (BenefitsPro, February 3, 2016) Before we end up with the Obamacare version of a nationalized retirement plan, in comes the ascendant 401k MEP to the rescue.

Fiduciary – User’s Manual Needed:
Don’t work, by the end of the year you’ll have your answer.
How to Explain Fiduciary Duty to Clients,” (OnWallStreet, January 29, 2016) A first hand account.
How Annuities Will Be Transformed by DOL Fiduciary Rule,” (ThinkAdvisor, February 1, 2016) Does she (fiduciary) or doesn’t she (fiduciary)? Only her ERISA attorney (and hairdresser) know for sure.
What to Expect Next on Fiduciary Rule,” (Financial Planning, February 2, 2016) And the final round of speculation begins.
A Fiduciary Primer: What’s a Rep’s Responsibility to Clients?” (ThinkAdvisor, February 2, 2016) We should probably expect to see a number of articles in this vein during the coming months.
Advisers need to bone up on DOL fiduciary,” (InvestmentNews, February 4, 2016) And on the heels of the above we have this.

Fees – All’s Quiet on the Festering Front:
If no one talks about it, will it go away?

Investments – Sage Advice Trumps Popular Fads:
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Ironically, just as those sages warn against being too conservative, the purveyors of fad complain their popular investment option is too volatile.
Extreme Asset Allocation Can Hurt Your Retirement At 25 Or At 60,” (Forbes, January 29, 2016) Actually, in general, the extreme at the 25 year-old end is more distressing than the one at the 60 year-old end.
It’s OK to underperform when you’re retired,” (MarketWatch, February 2, 2016) Hey, nobody said equities produced straight-line results.
Passive target-date funds no guarantee for fiduciaries,” (BenefitsPro, February 3, 2016) Are folks finally starting to catch on to this? It turns our low “fees” (actually “expense ratios”), do not mean the investment is in the best interests of the beneficiary. A fiduciary still needs to determine if it’s an appropriate investment.
Target-date funds miss the mark,” (CNBC, February 3, 2016) It’s not clear if people don’t understand market volatility or if there’s really a systematic problem with target date funds.
Is It Time For Clients To Take Their 401k Plans Off Auto-Pilot?” (Financial Advisor, February 4, 2016) The headline is a little misleading because the article is more about avoiding the temptation to do something as well as being too conservative at too young an age.
401k Investors Should Stick with Equities During Market Volatility,” (Plan Advisor, February 4, 2016) More sound advice.

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.
Save Your Client’s Retirement,” (Financial Advisor, January 28, 2016)
Obstacles to flexible retirement lie with employers,” (BenefitsPro, January 29, 2016)
HSAs Offer Tax Benefits Beyond 401k Plans,” (Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2016)
How to address longevity risk in retirement planning,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, February 1, 2016)
‘Time’ For Financial Planning,” (Financial Advisor, February 1, 2016)
IRA Giving Goes Permanent,” (Financial Planning, February 1, 2016)
How to address longevity risk in retirement planning,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, February 1, 2016)
Retirement income hit with highest effective tax rates,” (InvestmentNews, February 1, 2016)
Q&A: EBRI’s new CEO Harry Conaway outlines the retirement industry’s key issues,” (Employee Benefit News, February 1, 2016)
5 reasons to reconsider your 401k plan provider,” (Employee Benefit News, February 2, 2016)
Retirement readiness is focus of latest tech upgrade,” (BenefitsPro, February 2, 2016)
Why rolling a 401k into an IRA is a bad idea,” (Employee Benefit News, February 2, 2016)
Retirement plan leakage: Boomers feel regret, millennials not so much,” (BenefitsPro, February 3, 2016)
The Roth conversion calculus for retirees,” (BenefitsPro, February 3, 2016)
Americans Value Design, Utility of 401k Plans,” (PLANSPONSOR, February 4, 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.
Retirement: More Flexible Jobs Are On The Way,” (Time, January 28, 2016)
3 Retirement Lifestyle Mistakes to Avoid,” (US News, January 28, 2016)
One Simple Financial Move You Can Make In A Month,” (Forbes, January 28, 2016)
Planning your retirement as if you’ll live longer than Abe Vigoda,” (MarketWatch, January 29, 2016)
A Strategy to Maximize Social Security Benefits,” (Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2016)
Steps to successfully apply for Social Security disability,” (CNBC, February 1, 2016)
5 Factors for Retirees to Consider for Their Investments,” (US News, February 1, 2016)
The One 401k Move That Makes Huge Sense Now,” (Forbes, February 1, 2016)
What happens to my 401k if I move to the U.K.?” (MarketWatch, February 1, 2016)
10 Ways to Increase Your 401k,” (GOBankingRates, February 2, 2016)
Why the Conventional Wisdom About Retirement Spending Is Wrong,” (Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2016)
Here’s the toll that student debt can take on retirement,” (Employee Benefit News, February 2, 2016)
Don’t Let Social Security Touch Your Application,” (Forbes, February 3, 2016)
Why Your Withdrawal Rate Matters More Than Your Asset Allocation In Retirement,” (Money, February 3, 2016)
Here’s the Toll That Student Debt Can Take on Retirement,” (Bloomberg Business, February 3, 2016)
Can wife claim late husband’s Social Security?” (Yahoo Finance, February 3, 2016)
Gender Pay Gap Can Haunt Women Even In Retirement,” (Financial Advisor, February 4, 2016)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Behavior Gap: When to Say Yes |
Proskauer’s ERISA Practice Center Blog: IRS Significantly Liberalizes Permitted Mid-Year Changes to Safe Harbor Plans |
The Trust Advisor: Common Sense Money Management Tips For Your Clients |
Squared Away Blog: No-Free-Lunch Seminars for Seniors |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Supreme Court Holds That Participants’ Complaint Against Plan Fiduciaries, For Continuing To Allow Investment In Employer Stock When The Value Has Dropped, Does Not State A Claim Under ERISA |
fi360: Are Consumers Blind to your Digital Banner? |
Behavior Gap: Spend More Now, Less Financial Pain Later |
The Chicago Financial Planner: 6 Investment Expenses You Need to Understand |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Fourth Circuit Rules That Plaintiffs’ Suit Under ERISA Is Time Barred, Since The Plaintiffs Knew Of The ERISA Issue More Than Three Years Before They Filed Suit |
RetirementRevised: How gender pay gap haunts women even in retirement |
Proskauer’s ERISA Practice Center Blog: Retiree Health Benefits Case Remanded to District Court for Additional Fact Finding |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Morningstar: Don’t Be Dogmatic About Retirement Portfolio Withdrawals |
NASDAQ: Financial Fitness: Saving in the Age of Instagram |
NAPA Net: Contributions Blunt January Market Slide in 401k plans |
NAPA Net: Where the Presidential Candidates Stand on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: Do HR People Really Care About Their Company’s Retirement Plan? |
The Motley Fool: 3 Smart Ways Retirees Can Take Advantage of Rising Interest Rates |
Morningstar: Pros and Cons of Income-Generating Strategies in Retirement |
NAPA Net: Senate Finance Takes on Retirement Concerns |
NAPA Net: 4 Things That Make Me Go ‘Huh?’ |
NAPA Net: Advisor Benchmarking vs. RFP |
NAPA Net: 5 Retirement Myths About Millennials |
NAPA Net: Congress Once Again Takes up Legislative Challenge to Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: Will DOL Rule Fuel BD Mergers? |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Time-sensitive Changes to Social Security Filing Strategies for Couples |
NAPA Net: IRS Issues Guidance on Mid-Year Changes to Safe Harbor Plans and Safe Harbor Notices |
Morningstar: Why 70 Is the Pivotal Age for Retirement Planning |
NAPA Net: Congress Makes Another Move Against Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: Are the Panthers a Portfolio Pick? |
NAPA Net: Retirement Worry Gap Wide Between Gen X and Millennials |
NAPA Net: Does Plan Leakage Have a Generation Gap? |
NAPA Net: What Happens When Retirement Becomes a Workforce Crisis? |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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