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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/22/16 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/22/16
April 25
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 Knut Rostad: DOL’s Fiduciary Rule Grandfather Clause Does Not Protect Investors,” (, April 19, 2016) He says it doesn’t pass the basic smell test, and that’s just warming up…

Compliance – Insanity Defined:
Trying the same thing and expecting different results. It’s bureaucracy writ large.
Number of critically funded multiemployer plans grows,” (BenefitsPro, April 20, 2016) While technically correct, the title might have been more clear if it said “critically underfunded pension plans.”
When Disclosure Leads to Dishonesty,” (OnWallStreet, April 20, 2016) You should have already guessed this.

Fiduciary – Now for the Real Questions:
When we read the writing we have more questions than when we started. Unfortunately, the only answers will be received from the courts.
DOL fiduciary rule: Great for lawyers, but what about advisors?” (BenefitsPro, April 17, 2016) Tell us something we don’t know.
The DOL fiduciary rule and casual IRA advice,” (BenefitsPro, April 18, 2016) Even “casual” advice is not “incidental,” and therein lies the problem.
Defining ‘best interest’: DOL fiduciary rule clarification?” (BenefitsPro, April 19, 2016) One group tries its best to.
Are all conflicts of interest the same?” (BenefitsPro, April 20, 2016) Ask yourself this simple question: Is there any type of relationship that is more ethical, is more positive, and has the greatest chance for sustainability than that which produces a win-win scenario?

Fees – Ignoring Numbers:
Funny, when it comes to the rubber meeting the road, this is vulcanized pavement. So, why does nobody really get to the bottom of this?

Investments – Back to basics:
There’s some comfort when the fads make way for the tried and true.
How Stock Dividends Could Rescue Your Retirement,” (Fortune, April 15, 2016) A simple lesson in the problem with bonds in the current interest rate environment.
Collective investment trusts gaining ground in 401k plans,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 19. 2016) This has been slowly gaining ground for decades. There’s some merit in using CITs due to their structural cost advantages. Of course, the trade-off is a lack of SEC oversight. However, that may be more of a problem for the SEC than the CIT.

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.
Four ways financial advisers should help retirement plan sponsor clients avoid a DOL audit,” (InvestmentNews, April 15, 2016)
Engaging retirement plan participants: 3 strategies,” (BenefitsPro, April 18, 2016)
Why plan sponsors should be upfront with workers about self-funding,” (Employee Benefit News, April 18, 2016)
Behavioral finance: Getting workers to do the right thing,” (BenefitsPro, April 18, 2016)
Advice vs. education: 4 things plan sponsors must monitor under the fiduciary rule,” (BenefitsPro, April 18, 2016)
IRAs are great tools, but they’re a little unloved,” (USA Today, April 18, 2016)
Millennials: How to appeal to the retirees of tomorrow,” (BenefitsPro, April 18, 2016)
Helping clients move beyond auto-enrollment,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 18, 2016)
How to influence employee behavior with the benefits you offer,” (BenefitsPro, April 19, 2016)
7 questions employers have about the new fiduciary regs,” (Employee Benefit News, April 19, 2016)
Small plans lead the way in 401k design and efficiency,” (BenefitsPro, April 19, 2016)
Why plan sponsors should boost 401k default deferral rates,” (Employee Benefit News, April 19, 2016)
3 simple things to know about plan sponsors,” (BenefitsPro, April 19, 2016)
Are Low 401k Participation Rates the Advisor’s Fault?” (WealthManagement, April 19, 2016)
What plan sponsors want from retirement plan advisers,” (InvestmentNews, April 19, 2016)
Plan sponsors tell all,” (BenefitsPro, April 20, 2016)
Valuable ways to have the fiduciary conversation with clients,” (InvestmentNews, April 20, 2016)
Financial knowledge doesn’t equate to retirement preparedness,” (BenefitsPro, April 20, 2016)
How advisers should respond to increased DOL audits,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 20, 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.
This is how much student debt will cost you in retirement,” (CNN, April 14, 2016)
How the Life-Expectancy Gap for Rich and Poor Skews Social Security,” (Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2016)
Don’t rely on the 4% rule for your retirement,” (MarketWatch, April 14, 2016)
Millennials, Don’t Despair About Retirement,” (Forbes, April 14, 2106)
Millennials Look At Retirement Goals Differently, Study Says,” (Financial Advisor, April 15, 2016)
Millennials Redefining How to Save for Retirement,” (Fox Business, April 15, 2016)
Helping clients move beyond auto-enrollment,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 18, 2016)
Should Millennials Delay Retirement Savings In Order To Travel The World?” (Forbes, April 18, 2016)
Plan sponsors advised to battle retirement inertia with consistent messaging, concrete examples,” (Employee Benefit News, April 18, 2016)
When to Retire? Millennials Look to Their Wallets, Not Their Calendars,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 18, 2016)
Traditional retirement: May it rest in peace,” (CNBC, April 18, 2016)
Traditional vs. Roth IRA, Pt. 3: The Conclusion,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 18, 2016)
Two Common Retirement Investing Mistakes,” (Forbes, April 18, 2016)
Why workers are optimistic about retirement savings, but still need help,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 18, 2016)
Don’t discount the impact of luck on your portfolio,” (MarketWatch, April 19, 2016)
Why Social Security Is A Women’s Issue,” (MONEY, April 19, 2016)
Student debt diverting from millennial retirement savings,” (BenefitsPro, April 20, 2016)
The 4% Rule And The Search For A Safe Withdrawal Rate,” (Forbes, April 19, 2016)
Early retirement might be in your future,” (CNBC, April 19, 2016)
How to Roll Over an Old 401k,” (Financial Planning, April 20, 2016)
Millennials might redefine retirement,” (BenefitsPro, April 20, 2016)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
A NEW WAY TO FOUR01K: The Shortest Fiduciary Rule Summary Ever |
Pension Risk Matters: National Institute of Pension Administrators Workshop About Fiduciary Issues |
Nerd’s Eye View: Financial Life Management Better Than Wealth Management? |
Fred Reish: Inside the Beltway Audiocast April 28, 2016 |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #1 |
Squared Away Blog: Seeking Roommate to Share Bills |
Nerd’s Eye View: Social Security File-And-Suspend By April 29 Deadline |
Behavior Gap: Honesty Should Top Your Advisor Checklist |
Squared Away Blog: Game of Loans: Refinancing Student Debt |
Behavior Gap: Below the Waterline – Taking a Cold Shower |
Nerd’s Eye View: How The DoL Fiduciary Rule Will Impact Annuities |
fi360: Podcast: Interview with Eugene Maloney |
fi360: Podcast: Interview with Fred Reish |
Data “Points”: Did We ‘Need’ a New Fiduciary Regulation? |
Data “Points”: 5 Reasons to Plan and Save for Retirement Now |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Kiplinger: Roth IRAs Are for Kids, Too |
NAPA Net: Graff: Meet the New Reality |
NAPA Net: Got Questions About the Fiduciary Regulation? |
NAPA Net: Campbell: 3 Ways Forward Under BIC Exemption |
NAPA Net: The ROI of Financial Wellness |
NAPA Net: Tips on Negotiating Fees |
Kiplinger: Retirees Moving to Be Near the Grandkids |
The Motley Fool: How to Plan for Retirement in Your 40s |
NAPA Net: Did We ‘Need’ a New Fiduciary Regulation? |
NAPA Net: Things Plan Sponsor Clients Won’t Tell You |
NAPA Net: Climbing Everest: A New Perspective on Helping Pre-Retirees |
The Motley Fool: What Should Parents Know About Social Security? |
NAPA Net: DOL Rule’s Impact: Industry Execs See Opportunity in Disruption |
NAPA Net: What Keeps HR Execs Up at Night? |
NAPA Net: Presidential Primary Campaigns: Both Parties Caught Flat-footed |
NAPA Net: House Republicans Again Move to Block Fiduciary Regulation |
NAPA Net: Senators Target ‘Retirement Advice Gag Rule’ |
NAPA Net: Is the Government Plan Market a Blue Ocean Opportunity? |
NAPA Net: Are Millennials Rejecting Age-Based Retirement? |
NAPA Net: Practical Application of Behavioral Finance |
NAPA Net: Are Annuities Paying a Death ‘Penalty’? |
NAPA Net: Most Say They Can Manage 401k on Their Own |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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