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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/6/16 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/6/16
May 09
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:
The Five Killer Concepts that Most Confuse Retirement Savers,” (, May 3, 2016) Each of these is dripping with overtones from the lessons of behavioral finance.

Compliance – Discussion Now Turns to “How-To”:
You can tell things are changing when the industry stops complaining and chatter increases regarding the nuts and bolts of living in the new regulatory realm.
7 actions to demonstrate compliance following the DOL fiduciary rule,” (InvestmentNews, May 3, 2016) It’s significant that this article appears in the “Compliance” category rather than the “Fiduciary” category. This demonstrates how far we’ve come.
Clock Is Ticking on DOL Fiduciary Compliance, Particularly on IRAs and Rollovers,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 3, 2016) Fred Reish is saying there’s a 30-60 day window to get started.

Fiduciary – The More They Say the Confusinger It Gets:
Sure, “confusinger” is not a real word, but it really spells out what’s going on. For all the chatter, though, nothing will be resolved until: a) The Trump Administration cans the new Rule; or b) The Clinton Administration uses the new Rule to win the first court case.
RIA 401k specialists greatly advantaged by DOL rule,” (BenefitsPro, April 29, 2016) Maybe yes. Maybe no.
The Fiduciary Journey,” (InvestmentNews, May 1, 2016) A very comprehensive history of the last few years. Definitely worth reading.
Fiduciary: When will best interest contract exemption requirements apply?” (On Wall Street, May 2, 2016) And now the search for clarity begins…
Uncertainty about fiduciary rule common among plan service providers,” (BenefitsPro, May 2, 2016) Unfortunately, the only way we move toward certainty involves court cases, and there ain’t nobody volunteering for that.
What the DOL’s fiduciary rule doesn’t say,” (Employee Benefit News, May 2, 2016) The author seems to believe the DOL wants you to keep your retirement savings in a corporate plan rather than your own IRA.
Fiduciary: When will best interest contract exemption requirements apply?” (Financial Planning, May 2, 2016) Don’t get too excited too fast. Ultimately, as the article concludes, this will be decided by the courts.
Weissbluth: A Watered-Down Fiduciary,” (Wealth Management, May 3, 2016) Interesting analogy between the DOL’s redefinition of “fiduciary” and the USDA’s redefinition of the “organic” in the organic food industry.
All Conflicts of Interest Are Not Created Equal,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 4, 2016) Incredible feeling of déjà vu. Oh, yeah. Here it is: “Are all conflicts of interest the same?” (BenefitsPro, April 20, 2016)
Fiduciary rule compliance to require ‘all hands on deck’,” (Employee Benefit News, May 5, 2016) Although this article is directed towards plan service providers, plan sponsors best heed its warning, for they may be the ones on the hook for the failure of their service providers to comply.
Don’t Let BICE Hubbub Drown Out Burden of DOL Best Interest Standard,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 6, 2016) More great commentary from Fred Reish.

Fees – Do They Really Matter?:
Judging by the lack of articles, maybe less so than thought.

Investments – On Fads, Fears and Common Sense:
Yes, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. The most sensible path often is the most boring. Whether that’s good or bad depends on your point of view. Sometimes you need to focus on your point of view and determine if it’s really the right one for you.
Safe retirement investments that yield 7% a year?” (CNN, April 27, 2016) The sad but honest truth of a low interest rate environment.
How Retirement Investors Rode Out the Stock Market Drop,” (TIME, April 29, 2016) Another fabulous story about ignoring the investing environment and remained disciplined on saving.
Thoughts On Building A Retirement Portfolio,” (Financial Advisor, May 2, 2016) A practical manifesto, but not much info.

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.
When advising retirees, planners need to recognize the risks of low inflation,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, May 2, 2016)
There’s a chance your clients will outlive their plans,” (Financial Planning, May 2, 2016)
DOL Fiduciary Rule Highlights HSA Retirement Income Value,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 2, 2016)
Clients are living longer, putting pressure on retirement advice,” (Financial Planning, May 2, 2016)
4 scary retirement statistics and ways employers can help,” (Employee Benefit News, May 3, 2016)
3 general concerns that thwart retirement saving,” (BenefitsPro, May 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.
Entrepreneurial Risk: Financing A Franchise Using Your Retirement Account,” (Forbes, April 27, 2016)
Here’s How Much Later You’d Have to Retire if Market Returns Drop,” (Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2016)
How much do I really need in my emergency fund?” (MarketWatch, April 27, 2016)
The Baby Boomer Retirement Savings Crisis Shifts Gears,” (Wealth Management, April 27, 2016)
Are 401k Plans Created Equal? Mostly, Study Says,” (Financial Advisor, April 29, 2016)
The Centennial Millennial: Retirement Planning For A Long Life,” (Forbes, April 30, 2016)
It’s easy to get the odds your retirement will be ruined wrong,” (USA Today, April 30, 2016)
Reversal of fortune: Home equity makes a comeback for retirees,” (Financial Planning, May 1, 2016)
5 Ways to Work Your Way Into Retirement,” (Yahoo Finance, May 2, 2016)
Which IRA Is Right for You?” (Forbes, May 2, 2016)
How to Boost Your Savings If You’re Already Retired,” (MONEY, May 2, 2015)
Cash-flow planning before and during retirement,” (CNBC, May 3, 2016)
401k, Roth or SEP: Which Retirement Plan Is Best for You?” (Yahoo Finance, May 3, 2016)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
fi360: Podcast: Talk 19 – Executive Summary of the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule |
fi360: Podcast: Talk 20 – An interview with Dr. Rui Yao, Associate Professor at Department of Personal Fin |
fi360: Podcast: Talk21 – fi360 Executive Chair Blaine Aikin interviews OWLshares co-founder |
The 401k Plan Blog: Managed Accounts are More Effective |
Squared Away Blog: Housing, Health Are 1/2 of Elderly’s Costs |
Behavior Gap: Rich On Any Income |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #3 |
fi360: Q&A on the DOL Rule: Product Impact |
Nerd’s Eye View: Optimal Rebalancing – Time Horizons Vs Tolerance Bands |
Behavior Gap: Could Experience Trump Our Desire to Feel Secure? |
The Chicago Planner: 401k Fee Disclosure and the American Funds |
Squared Away Blog: To Escape Stress, Some Workers Retire |
RetirementRevised: Social Security after file-and-suspend: Brave new world began this week |
Behavior Gap: The Myth of Security |
Pension Risk Matters: Fiduciary Rule and Small Businesses |
fi360: Q&A on the DOL Rule: Compensation |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Connecticut State-Run Retirement Program Ekes Out Senate Victory |
NAPA Net: The Future of Employee Engagement – Part 2 |
NAPA Net: Will State Retirement Mandates Spur Adoption of Private-Sector Plans? |
NAPA Net: Contributions Carry Average 401k Higher in April |
The Motley Fool: How to Plan for Retirement in Your 70s and Beyond |
Morningstar: Retirement Planning for the ‘Gig’ Economy |
NAPA Net: Markets Dip, But Savings Rates Rise |
NAPA Net: The 7 Highly Effective Habits of Highly Effective 401k Plans |
NAPA Net: DOL Settles ERISA Claims with STIF CIT Fund Provider |
NAPA Net: 2017 Limits for HSA, High-Deductible Plans Unveiled |
The Motley Fool: The Best Retirement States |
NAPA Net: Which Participants Are More Likely to Hold TDFs? |
NAPA Net: DOL Rule an Acknowledgement of Plan Advisors’ Importance |
NAPA Net: Retiring More, and Liking it Less? |
NAPA Net: FINRA Levies $20 Million Fine Over Variable Annuities |
NAPA Net: Whither Robo-Advisors? |
NAPA Net: Does the DOL’s Fiduciary Regulation Impact Health Savings Accounts? |
NAPA Net: 401k Loan Activity Trends Lower |
NAPA Net: What is Retirement Like for Today’s Retirees? |
NAPA Net: 5 Keys to a Successful Web Platform |
NAPA Net: Will State-Run Retirement Options Be Good for Private Sector Plans? |
NAPA Net: Government and 403(b) Market Growth Expected to Spike |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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