Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker?
What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/13/16 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/13/16
May 16
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:
DOL Fiduciary Rule’s Conflict-of-Interest Split Personality,” (, May 10, 2016) The DOL’s new Rule both discourages and permits continued conflicts-of-interest.

Compliance – The Story Begins to Unravel:
Whether it’s the reality of the financial drain caused by public pensions or the logistical issues of state-run private retirement plans, it looks like the hurdle is getting higher for government controlled retirement plans.
Advisers beware: Another Roth IRA scam backfires,” (InvestmentNews, May 11, 2016) Here’s a good case study of what not to do.
Are counties major players in public pension plans?” (MarketWatch, May 11, 2016) Seems like local counties are placing on a hefty burden on municipal pension liabilities.
Colorado House Panel Tables State-Run Retirement Plan,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 12, 2016) Will California be the only state that actually carries this out?

Fiduciary – On Second Thought…:
The DOL decides it’s really more of a guideline, not so much a rule.
What’s the real impact of fiduciary rule?” (Employee Benefit News, May 8, 2016) In a word: “Confusion.” There’s no real way to assess the true impact until it is tested in court. In the meantime, expect to see a lot of tip toe walking and envelope pushing.
5 providers on the DOL fiduciary rule’s effects,” (BenefitsPro, May 9, 2016) This is the view from publicly traded brokers based on their earnings reports and calls.
DOL Will Focus On Fiduciary Rule Assistance Before Enforcement,” (Financial Advisor, May 10, 2016) Looks like the DOL, rather than giving out fines, will be giving out mulligans instead.
DOL Conflict-of-Interest Rule: Somebody’s having their cake and eating it, too. But who?” (BenefitsPro, May 12, 2016) You’d be surprised if you think about it.

Fees – Growing Concerns:
Sometimes it’s like there’s an editorial calendar that says it’s time to write an article on fees.
Employers advised to re-evaluate retirement plan costs,” (Employee Benefit News, May 11, 2016) This is a pretty good article that talks about the real fees, not mutual fund expense ratios.
Do Conflicts of Interest Affect the Value of Financial Advice?” (ThinkAdvisor, May 12, 2016) Most persuasive argument to date on why hourly rates are rife with conflicts-of-interest.
Millennials: There’s A $454,000 Leak In Your 401k,” (Forbes, May 12, 2016) Beware the fees! Beware the fees! This is all about the how some target date funds are charging higher fees than you might expect.

Investments – Honest Warnings:
Quite honestly, it’s surprising to see such blunt honesty when it comes to a variety of common investment products.
Dividends, Annuities and Hedge Funds,” (Bloomberg, May 4, 2016) For advanced readers only, despite the source.
How to decide how much of your 401k should be in stocks,” (MarketWatch, May 9, 2016) In the vein of “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it,” if you ask this question you’ve got bigger problems than you realize.
Advisors to 401k plans not recommending annuities,” (BenefitsPro, May 9, 2016) Surprise! An organization that advocates for annuities discovers fiduciaries are not recommending them and concludes that’s a bad thing.
Momentum Growing for Collective Investment Trusts in DC Plans,” (Wealth Management, May 11, 2016) A list of the advantages of using CITs in 401k plans. Perhaps a follow-up article will list the disadvantages?
Bring your common sense to the annuity game,” (MarketWatch, May 12, 2016) A mindful warning of those sales pitches we too often hear when it comes to annuities.

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.
Retirement overconfidence: The bad and the good,” (CBS News, May 4, 2016)
Why employers should integrate retirement, healthcare planning,” (Employee Benefit News, May 6, 2016)
Small employers struggle to boost employee savings,” (Employee Benefit News, May 9, 2016)
Here’s How to Get More People to Delay Claiming Social Security,” (Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2016)
Why employers should broaden their retirement plan focus,” (Employee Benefit News, May 10, 2016)
Does Your Retirement Plan Account For Your Own Cognitive Decline?” (Forbes, May 10, 2016)
401k plans: The Haves and the Have-Nots,” (BenefitsPro, May 11, 2016)
Roth 401k options more popular with plan sponsors,” (Employee Benefit News, May 12, 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.
Should I Take Monthly Pension Payments Or A Lump Sum For Retirement?” (CNN, May 4, 2016)
Student loans cannibalize retirement savings,” (BenefitsPro, May 6, 2016)
The Rich Have You Beat in Retirement, Too,” (Wealth Management, May 6, 2016)
10 common IRA distribution mistakes,” (On Wall Street, May 6, 2016)
Inflation could crack your nest egg,” (CNBC, May 7, 2016)
A retirement plan based on an inheritance a grave mistake,” (USA Today, May 8, 2016)
Prepare clients for unexpected tax hits during retirement,” (On Wall Street, May 9, 2016)
5 investment mistakes retirees should avoid,” (MarketWatch, May 9, 2016)
New Reason to Delay Retirement: You’ll Live Longer,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 9, 2016)
People are stressed about retirement. Is it because they aren’t saving?” (The Washington Post, May 9, 2016)
Why Baby Boomers Stay at Their Jobs and Millennials Don’t,” (Fortune, May 10, 2016)
These two things will eat up roughly 50% of your money in retirement,” (MarketWatch, May 10, 2016)
Aha! How ‘Catch Up’ Contributions Boost Retirement Savings,” (Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2016)
What Couples Need to Know About Social Security Benefits,” (MONEY, May 11, 2016)
Retirees Just Want to Have Fun,” (Wealth Management, May 12, 2016)
Your Retirement Savings Might Not Go as Far,” (Bloomberg, May 12, 2016)
The Huge Retirement Benefit You Probably Aren’t Expecting,” (MONEY, May 12, 2016)
‘I’ll never retire’: Americans break record for working past 65,” (Employee Benefit News, May 13, 2016)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Pension Risk Matters: Hard to Value Assets, Hedge Funds and Investment Fiduciaries |
Squared Away Blog: 5 Ways Millennials Mess Up With Money |
Behavior Gap: Talking About Risk: What We Really Mean |
fi360: Q&A on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule: BICE & PTEs |
Behavior Gap: Is It Worth It? Only You Know |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #4 |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: IRS Cautions Against Discriminatory Plan Designs Using Short Service |
The 401k Plan Blog: The Fiduciary Rule: Intentions vs. Results |
RetirementRevised: Threatened Teamster pensions safe for now – but what comes next? |
Behavior Gap: Try Not Using the Word Goal |
Nerd’s Eye View: How DoL Fiduciary Disrupts The Schwab Robo-Advisor |
Boston ERISA Law Blog: The Centre Barely Holds: ERISA Preemption After Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company |
fi360: Podcast: Talk 23 – An interview with Brian Edelman, CEO at Finanical Computer Inc |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Kiplinger: The Key Mistakes Investors Make in Retirement |
NAPA Net: Absent ‘Fixes,’ CT State-Run Program Could Face Governor’s Veto |
NAPA Net: Are We ‘Ready’ for Robo-Advisors? |
NAPA Net: Treasury Rejects Central States Multiemployer Pension Proposal |
NAPA Net: Rep. Crowley Calls for Executive Order Requiring Auto-Enrollment |
Morningstar: How to Bridge a Retirement Shortfall |
The Motley Fool: 3 Facts About Claiming Social Security At 62 |
NAPA Net: Morningstar: Fund Fees a Predictor of Future Success |
NAPA Net: 6 Things You Should Know About Those Millennial Participants |
NAPA Net: Colorado State-Run Retirement Plan Runs Out of Road |
NAPA Net: Retirement Readiness: Risks and Perceptions |
The Motley Fool: Don’t Fall for These 3 Retirement Myths |
NAPA Net: MD Adopts State-Run Savings Program |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Annual vs. Year-End Matching Contributions |
NAPA Net: Educating Our Way Out of America’s Undersaving Problem|
Morningstar: The Portfolio Strategy You Need Before and During Retirement |
NAPA Net: Morningstar Upgraded Ratings of 7 Funds, Downgraded 4 in April |
NAPA Net: What’s Top of Mind for Advisors? |
NAPA Net: Retirement (Still) Tops Americans’ Financial Concerns |
NAPA Net: Critical Factors in Life and Annuity Retirement Product Development |
Kiplinger: How to Save $1 Million in Your 401k |
NAPA Net: EBRI-ERF Forum Traces Retirement Challenges and Solutions |
NAPA Net: Robo-Advisors: Hype, Hope, or Something In-Between? |
NAPA Net: Half of All DC Participants Have Access to a Managed Account, But… |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Only registered users can comment. Login is sponsored by…

Vote in our Poll


The materials at this web site are maintained for the sole purpose of providing general information about fiduciary law, tax accounting and investments and do not under any circumstances constitute legal, accounting or investment advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of an appropriate professional. Please carefully read the terms and conditions for using this site. This website contains links to third-party websites. We are not responsible for, and make no representations or endorsements with respect to, third-party websites, or with respect to any information, products or services that may be provided by or through such websites.