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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 3/18/16 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 3/18/16
March 21
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:
Exclusive Interview with Joseph Coughlin: Why the Retirement Fiduciary Cannot Ignore Age Longevity,” (, March 15, 2016) “Living longer is only part of the new old age – the desire and the market opportunity is how to enable living longer better.”

Compliance – The Rise of the 401k-Hater:
Despite common sense solutions, there’s a certain breed of policy wonk that insists the glass is half-empty and is more than willing to harm those who have led a good life for the sake of those they believe haven’t.
Why we desperately need Multiple Employer Plans for small business employees,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, March 11, 2016) A good quick read with all the salient points.
America’s looming retirement savings crisis—commentary,” (CNBC, March 15, 2016) Perhaps the authors of this piece need to read the article that leads this category.
4 changes that will ensure Social Security survives,” (MarketWatch, March 15, 2016) Ever see the movie Money Pit? If so, then you’ll understand why the premise of this title is presumptuous.
Is a Mandatory U.S. Retirement Saving Plan in Your Future?” (WealthManagement, March 17, 2016) More reports on the doings of the 401k-Haters.

Fiduciary – The Devil in the Details:
We’ll know soon enough, but suspicions remain.
Fiduciary Rule: Why RIAs Should Be Wary,” (Financial Planning, March 14, 2016) Here’s a great punch list every adviser should go through in preparation for the DOL’s new Rule.
Post Fiduciary, SEC May Have to Weigh In,” (OnWallStreet, March 14, 2016) Having failed at their attempt bully the DOL into submission, SIFMA now appears to be targeting the SEC to lead an end-around to thwart the DOL’s efforts.
Exclusive: FINRA CEO Says Fiduciary Standard Makes Sense,” (OnWallStreet, March 16, 2016) Before fiduciary advocates jump for joy, consider this: He may be aware of the new language in the DOL’s Final Rule.

Fees – Silence:

Investments – Bad Idea! Bad! Bad!:
We probably should delve deeper into the motivations of those who offer investment ideas contrary to established reality. (N.B (1): We don’t say “common sense” here because good investment sense is rarely common.) (N.B. (2): We don’t say “generally accept principles” because, well, see N.B. (1).)
Cash Is Riskiest Investment for Retirees: Legg Mason,” (ThinkAdvisor, March 14, 2016) This might be excellent advice for long-term investors, but for retirees, the cash position is very situation specific. Maybe somebody should tell Legg Mason cookie cutter solutions will get you in more trouble than holding too much cash.
Should your 401k plan offer ESG investment options?” (Employee Benefit News, March 15, 2016) There’s two things you’re never supposed to talk about in polite company: politics and religion. In the grand view, it’s safer to treat 401k plans as “polite company.” Plan sponsors are best advised to keep the politics associated with ESGs out of their company’s retirement plan. If people want to make a political statement, they should do it on their own time. After all, you wouldn’t expect your employees to use the company Xerox machine to print pamphlets espousing their personal political feelings, right? Then why would you allow them to use the corporate retirement plan to make similar statements?

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.
Deutsche Bank May Lose Key Power to Run Pension Assets,” (Barron’s, March 5, 2016)
Why small balance cash-outs aren’t a good choice for employees,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, March 11, 2016)
How Retirees Decide Whether to Roll Over Their 401k plans,” (ThinkAdvisor, March 14, 2016)
One Bullet-Proof Way to Boost Retirement Savings,” (Forbes, March 14, 2016)
1 in 3 Americans Has Saved $0 for Retirement,” (Money, March 14, 2016)
Can Roth Conversions Protect Clients from Higher Tax Rates?” (OnWallStreet, March 15, 2016)
Flexible retirement? Maybe for the rest of the world, but not U.S.,” (BenefitsPro, March 16, 2016)
‘Cajoling participants’ not enough to boost retirement savings rates,” (Employee Benefit News, March 16, 2016)
Majority of retirees roll funds out of 401k plans,” (InvestmentNews, March 16, 2016)
Putting the Roth 401k piece into your client’s retirement puzzle,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, March 16, 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.
Saving and Investing for Early Retirement: 3 Basic Strategies,” (DailyFinance, March 1, 2016)
7 reasons women face greater retirement challenges than men,” (BenefitsPro, March 10, 2016)
Does taking your pension in a lump sum make sense?” (MarketWatch, March 10, 2016)
What You Need to Know About Repaying a Reverse Mortgage,” (Forbes, March 10, 2016)
Thanks, Starbucks: How Daily Spending Hurts Retirement Savings,” (ThinkAdvisor, March 11, 2016)
Will my 401k keep me from contributing to a Roth IRA?” (MarketWatch, March 11, 2016)
Single People Worry: Who’ll Be There For Us?” (Forbes, March 11, 2016)
How One Young Couple Is Already Winning at Retirement,” (Money, March 14, 2016)
Why the Social Security file-and-suspend strategy isn’t for everyone,” (InvestmentNews, March 14, 2016)
5 Essential Tax Questions About IRAs, Rollovers and Retirement Plans,” (ThinkAdvisor, March 14, 2016)
4 reasons U.S. government debt has no impact on your retirement,” (MarketWatch, March 14, 2016)
5 New Realities of Retirement,” (Yahoo Finance, March 14, 2016)
Zero retirement savings haunt a third of Americans,” (BenefitsPro, March 15, 2016)
Majority of retirees roll funds out of 401k plans,” (InvestmentNews, March 15, 2016)
7 Ways To Have The Most Successful Retirement,” (Forbes, March 15, 2016)
3 Totally Realistic Strategies for Revving Up Your Retirement Savings,” (Money, March 15, 2016)
Save for Retirement or College?” (WealthManagement, March 16, 2016)
Age longevity changes everything about retirement planning,” (BenefitsPro, March 16, 2016)
Finke: For Retirees, Spending Too Little May Tarnish Golden Years,” (ThinkAdvisor, March 17, 2016)
6 decades to prepare: A checklist for women’s retirement,” (BenefitsPro, March 17, 2017)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Nerd’s Eye View: Replacing Data Gathering With A “Get Organized” Experience |
The Retirement Plan Blog: Retirement Planning for Business Owners: Expectations and Misconceptions |
Boston ERISA Law Blog: Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company: The Interesting Things Are in the Concurrences and the Dissent |
Behavior Gap: Take a Cold Shower: How It will Help You Do Hard Things |
Pension Risk Matters: Retirement Planning and Risk Management |
Squared Away Blog: How Federal Taxation Drops for Retirees |
Behavior Gap: The Calendar & The Checkbook: Two Things That Don’t Lie |
The Trust Advisor: Clients Want To Retire Early? Have Them Follow These Strategies |
The 401k Plan Blog: Fear is a Lousy Investment Strategy |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Kiplinger: Plan to Pay Taxes on Social Security |
NAPA Net: Problematic Connecticut Coverage Proposal Withdrawn |
NAPA Net: Is There a Method to Your March Madness? |
NAPA Net: 8 Factors Behind the Investment in Education Innovation |
The Motley Fool: Over 40? Understand Your Retirement Savings Options |
NAPA Net: Cetera Rolls Out Retirement Solutions Platform |
NAPA Net: The ‘Plot’ Thickens |
NAPA Net: Advisory Fees Within Custom Funds |
NAPA Net: Morningstar Upgraded Rating of 1 Fund, Downgraded 11 in February |
The Motley Fool: Think You’ll Spend Less in Retirement? Here’s Why You Might Be Wrong |
NAPA Net: Help Stop a Small Plan Killing Regulation! |
NAPA Net: Financial Institution Advisor Count Higher, Productivity Lower |
NAPA Net: TDFs Trim 2015 Trading, Transfers |
Morningstar: The Morningstar Guide to IRA Investing |
NAPA Net: The Latest Excessive Fee Suit… Excessive Participant Mailings |
NAPA Net: Maryland State-Run Retirement Proposal Moves Forward |
NAPA Net: Why the Retirement Fiduciary Cannot Ignore Age Longevity |
NCPA: In Some Ways, We Should Be More Like Europe |
NAPA Net: 4 Keys to Implementing a Financial Wellness Strategy That Works |
NAPA Net: Survey: Advisors Concerned About Business Impact of Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: Level Comp Would Complicate IRA Rollovers by Plan Advisors |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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