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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/8/16 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/8/16
April 11
00:05 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:
A Brave New World for 401k Plans Sponsors without Conflict-of-Interest Fees,” (, April 5, 2016) Without conflict-of-interest fees like 12b-1 fees and revenue sharing, the world becomes a lot simpler for 401k plan sponsors and a lot safer for plan participants.

Compliance – Anyone Surprised at This?:
When the truth comes out and confirms suspicious, should we feel vindicated for always knowing so or foolish for never doing anything about it?
Economist says public pensions low-balling contributions,” (BenefitsPro, April 5, 2016) Does this surprise anyone?

Fiduciary – What’s Behind the Curtain?:
In a spirit of showmanship only Monty Hall could appreciate, the DOL mocks the seriousness of its charge by hosting a political grandstanding event instead of a sincere press conference.
What’s a fiduciary? Americans clueless,” (BenefitsPro, April 1, 2016) A recent survey says only 18% claim to understand “fiduciary,” but do they really? And will the DOL’s new rule do anything to change this?
Under DOL rule, fee-only RIA plan advisors in driver’s seat,” (BenefitsPro, April 4, 2016) Done properly, this is what you’d expect.
4 guiding principles for fiduciaries,” (BenefitsPro, April 4, 2016) These are four practical suggestions.
If commissions are out, will savers win?” (Bankrate, April 5, 2016) Will your retirement savings be “Obamacare-ized”?
5 Things to Watch on the Retirement-Advice Rule,” (Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2016) Interesting to read this now that the actual rule has come out.
A Broker Turned Advisor’s Perspective On The Fiduciary Standard,” (Financial Advisor, April 4, 2016) Interest thing, this legislating morality thing. That’s why you don’t rely on words when you make rules, you rely on numbers.
Three ways to take advantage of shortcomings in the DOL fiduciary rule,” (InvestmentNews, April 5, 2016) Don’t know about the third one. Seems to be different than what the academic research says.
Perez: Final DOL Fiduciary Rule Includes Big Changes to Deadlines, BICE,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 6, 2016) The deadline is the key thing.
DOL fiduciary rule released,” (BenefitsPro, April 6, 2016) Here it is.
The fiduciary rule is limited to retirement accounts only,” (Business Insider, April 6, 2016) An attempt to educate the masses. Good if you don’t yet understand what the baseline is.
Critics say DOL fiduciary rule makes too many industry concessions,” (InvestmentNews, April 6, 2016) Some like it, some don’t. We’ll be hearing more for sure.
In Final Rule, DOL Leaves the Door Open for Rollovers,” (Financial Advisor, April 6, 2016) It’s beginning to look a lot like these articles represent a form of confirmation bias.
General retirement education won’t trigger fiduciary standard,” (Employee Benefit News, April 7, 2016) That’s good. Now, how many employees want to know specifically what they should do? That’s bad.
Did the DOL Gut the Fiduciary Rule, or Save It?” (WealthManagement, April 7, 2016) The article appears to favor the “gut” interpretation.
Wirehouses seen winning in DOL’s final fiduciary rule,” (InvestmentNews, April 7, 2016) Don’t believe this? Then check out how their stock prices reacted the day the rule was announced.
Consumers ‘Crave Trust,’ Concerned DOL Fiduciary Rule Won’t Provide It,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 7, 2016) Well, the DOL didn’t do itself any favors by putting on a political circus when it made its announcement.

Fees – It’s All About the Fees (Hidden) Fees (Hidden) Fees…:
How many times does this need to be repeated before those in power show they care?
A fiduciary rule that’s better than ‘Best Interests’,” (BenefitsPro, April 6, 2016) It’s all about the fees.

Investments – The Bleeding Begins:
The DOL’s new Rule is intended to produce the right kind of casualties. Will that work or will loopholes abound?
How many funds do you need for a diversified portfolio?” (CNN, March 30, 2016) It’s like traveling back in time to the land of the dinosaurs. Read this article for a taste of old school thinking. We’re not saying to do what the article says, but it’s always important to understand why people used to do things so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
Why Retirees Are Facing Bad News About Long-Term Interest Rates,” (Fortune, April 6, 2016) Waiting for interest rates to return to their historical norms? The wait may be longer than expected.
Variable and fixed-indexed annuities feel sting of DOL fiduciary rule,” (InvestmentNews, April 6, 2016) It’s bad news for all index products, as the DOL explicitly says it’s not about low fees, it’s about conflict of interest fees.
REITs Relieved Over Fiduciary Rule Changes,” (Financial Advisor, April 7, 2016) The more things change, the more they remain the same.

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.
Bad times for stocks are good times for Roth IRA conversions,” (USA Today, March 31, 2016)
Everything you need to know about your IRA,” (MarketWatch, March 31, 2016)
4 Trends That Will Shake Up Workplace Retirement Plans,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 1, 2016)
The road to retirement just got rockier,” (InvestmentNews, April 3, 2016)
Longevity Lens: Predicting Client Life Expectancy,” (Financial Planning, April 4, 2016)
10 mistakes that could trigger a 401k plan audit,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 4, 2016)
Account consolidation time-consuming, expensive for employees,” (Employee Benefit News, April 4, 2016)
Advanced Retirement Planning: Avoiding the Post 70 ½ RMDs,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 5, 2016)
What today’s fiduciary announcement means for employers, advisers,” (Employee Benefit News, April 6, 2016)
10 tasks for plan sponsors to do annually,” (BenefitsPro, April 6, 2016)
Why the new fiduciary rule favors employers,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 6, 2016)
What to expect if your retirement plan adviser is not a fiduciary,” (Employee Benefit News, April 7, 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.
Why Most ‘4% Rule’ Research Is Almost Irrelevant,” (Financial Advisor, March 29, 2016)
The Most Detrimental Retirement Mistakes Millennials Still Make,” (Forbes, March 31, 2016)
Forget these retirement essentials at your peril,” (MarketWatch, March 31, 2016)
What You Need to Know About Social Security if You’re Divorced,” (Money, April 1, 2016)
What to do if you inherit an IRA,” (MarketWatch, April 1, 2016)
ERISA attorney cautions employers against settling cases,” (Employee Benefit News, April 3, 2016)
More workers using retirement accounts for non-emergency purposes,” (Employee Benefit News, April 3, 2016)
Americans Worry About Going Broke In Retirement, Survey Says,” (Financial Advisor, April 4, 2016)
How to Contribute to a Roth IRA if You’re Retired,” (Money, April 4, 2016)
Avoid Being Pushed Into Higher Tax Brackets In Retirement,” (Forbes, April 4, 2016)
Do You Have What It Takes To Retire Early?” (Forbes, April 5, 2016)
How I Lowered the Taxes on My Retirement Income,” (Money, April 5, 2016)
Will change come to the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision?” (MarketWatch, April 5, 2016)
9 Social Security myths to bust,” (BenefitsPro, April 6, 2016)
These 2 Behavioral Biases Could Mean Up to 70% Less in Retirement,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 7, 2016)
Boomers still only engaged with 401k, IRA plans,” (Employee Benefit News, April 8, 2016)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Pension Risk Matters: Court Says Private Equity Funds Are Liable For Pension Liabilities of Portfolio Company |
A NEW WAY TO FOUR01K: 6 Ways 2 Be a Stronger Plan Advisor |
Nerd’s Eye View: Adoption Trends In Financial Planning Retainer Vs AUM Fees |
Fred Reish: Investment Advice to Plans Under the DOL’s Fiduciary Rules |
Behavior Gap: Look At the Root of Your Money Problems |
Behavior Gap: Truth: A Rare Thing in Personal Finance |
Boston ERISA Law Blog: A Brief but Reasonably Thorough Intro to the New Fiduciary Standard Being Issued Today |
Proskauer’s ERISA Practice Center Blog: Sun Capital Court Finds Co-Investing Funds Part of Controlled Group and Liable for Portfolio Company’s Pension Liabilities |
Proskauer’s ERISA Practice Center Blog: U.S. DOL To Issue Final Rule and Exemptions on Fiduciary Standards |
RetirementRevised: The best-interest rule is a game-changer for IRA rollovers |
Squared Away Blog: Our Blind Spots Cut Retirement Savings |
DWC ERISA Blog: Treasury Department Proposal Would Restrict Small Business Retirement Plans |
The 401k Plan Blog: The DOL Conflict of Interest Rule is finally here! Some implications…. |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Kiplinger: The Perks of Getting Older |
NAPA Net: Fitch Finds Another Fiduciary Rule Casualty |
NAPA Net: Are You Consolidating? |
NAPA Net: Newport, Verisight and Daily Access Rebrand |
NAPA Net: Financial Stress Takes a Toll at Work |
NAPA Net: Fiduciary Regulation Clears OMB |
NAPA Net: The Choices of a Lifetime |
NAPA Net: Litigator Goes Fishing Based on CIT Investments |
NAPA Net: All’s Well With Wellness Programs |
Kiplinger: How to Undo Your Social Security Claiming Decision |
The Motley Fool: 4 Jaw-Dropping Stats About Retirement |
NAPA Net: Level Best: Fiduciary Regulation Incorporates NAPA’s Level-to-Level Comp Recommendation |
NAPA Net: It’s Official: DOL Unveils Final Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: Best Interest Contract Exemption Gets ‘Better’ |
The Motley Fool: Social Security: 3 Smart Ways to Get More Benefits |
NAPA Net: Final Fiduciary Reg Relents on Key Education Provision |
NAPA Net: Schlichter Discloses Biggest Mistakes Advisors Make |
NAPA Net: Rumors About Illinois Coverage Mandate Unfounded |
NAPA Net: Are Advisors Consolidating Their RK Relationships? |
NAPA Net: Study: Eliminating Behavioral Biases Could Boost Retirement Savings |
NAPA Net: Do Millennials Care About Retirement Benefits? |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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