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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 6/10/16 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 6/10/16
June 13
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 9 Most Common Mistakes People make within 5 years of Retirement,” (, June 8, 2016) One of the greatest challenges for plan sponsors and all fiduciaries is to help retirement savers avoid these nine mistakes.

Compliance – Failing to Learn from History:
Insanity is defined as trying the exact same thing and expecting different results. With the possible sole exception  of quantum physics, this just doesn’t work. Saving for retirement isn’t quantum physics. There are easier ways to get the job done than relying on the same old government sanctioned Ponzi Schemes.
Obama’s call for expanding Social Security could be a game-changer,” (Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2016) Isn’t it odd that after all the Madoffs, municipal pension failures, and the tidal rush away from pensions in general, there remain people who at least claim to believe FDR’s concept of “Social Security” isn’t anything but a Ponzi Scheme. What’s even more amazing is the citizens of this country keep electing these mathematically challenged individuals to offices of import.
How to Comply With DOL’s Best Interest Standard of Care,” (ThinkAdvisor, June 10, 2016) Words of advice from Fred Reish.

Fiduciary – Already the Short Cuts are Being Invented:
The minute any new regulation comes freshly minted off the government presses, enterprising legal eagles begin scouring the still drying ink for loopholes. Sometimes those loopholes turn out to be universally beneficial (it can be argued the entire concept of the 401k started off as a loophole). Sometimes loopholes are plainly evil (like the kind criminals use to escape prosecution).
Do new T shares skirt fiduciary rules?” (Financial Planning, June 8, 2016) Here’s something for plan sponsors to chew on.

Fees – The Sounds of Silence:
There must have been someone more interesting to write about this week.

Investments – Back to Basics:
It’s all up to you (and you’re not allowed to blame someone else for your own failures), keep your eye on the ball (and be mindful there’s an entire industry out there that specializes in throwing change-ups), and the best way to solve a problem is with a universal system, not with an ad hoc solution.
Investing During Retirement: How To Overcome The 3 Biggest Challenges,” (Forbes, June 5, 2016) It’s not really an article about investing as much as it is a position paper that advocates doing it yourself rather than engaging a professional to oversee your investments. The non-advocacy points are valid (and universal), but are irrelevant to his advocacy position.
Is post-retirement asset allocation really this simple?” (BenefitsPro, June 8, 2016) Have you ever heard of “Organic” Asset Allocation? It might just change the way we look at building customized portfolios.
Getting Formal With an Investment Policy Statement,” (Wealth Management, June 8, 2016) Good, comprehension, and perhaps a little over the top.

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.
Fidelity Sued (Again) Over Alleged 401k Fiduciary Breach,” (The 401k Specialist, June 1, 2016)
Competition in smaller retirement plan market heats up,” (BenefitsPro, June 3, 2016)
When Your 401k Is Better for Your Employer ,” (The New York Times, June 3, 2016)
Plan design considerations daunting for many plan sponsors,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, June 6, 2016)
Workers worldwide open to much higher deferral rates,” (Employee Benefit News, June 6, 2016)
Employers advised to re-evaluate retirement readiness gaps,” (Employee Benefit News, June 6, 2016)
Mastering IRA rollover decisions,” (Financial Planning, June 6, 2016)
Labor Department wins another settlement on ESOP valuations,” (BenefitsPro, June 6, 2016)
Employers should welcome fiduciary rules,” (Employee Benefit News, June 7, 2016)
401k Auto Enroll Could Hold Down Contribution Rate, Study Says,” (Financial Advisor, June 7, 2016)
No retirement income plan satisfies all retirees’ goals, paper says,” (BenefitsPro, June 7, 2015)
Why HSA contributions are becoming as important as a 401k match,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, June 8, 2016)
Not all 401k plan withdrawals are the same,” (Employee Benefit News, June 9, 2016)
5 Best Practices to Raise 401k Plan Participation,” (InvestmentNews, June 10, 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.
Red flags rise in 2016 for the recently retired,” (MarketWatch, May 23, 2016)
Many millennials expect to work until they die,” (CNBC, May 31, 2016)
Grads: How to save pennies now and retire rich,” (MarketWatch, June 3, 2016)
10 Things Veterans Should Know About Retirement Benefits,” (ThinkAdvisor, June 3, 2016)
Don’t make this gigantic Social Security mistake,” (CNBC, June 3, 2016)
Eight Ways Women Can Fix Their Retirement,” (Financial Advisor, June 3, 2016)
10 Ways to Get Ready for Retirement After Age 50,” (Yahoo Finance, June 6, 2016)
Retirement: 4 Steps for Building a Winning Plan,” (Time, June 6, 2016)
Sustainable Retirement Spending And Market Returns,” (Forbes, June 6, 2016)
IRS Issues Harsh Ruling Against Surviving Spouse Seeking to Roll Over Part of Son’s Inherited IRA,” (Wealth Management, June 6, 2016)
Here’s how to get more people to delay claiming Social Security,” (MarketWatch, June 7, 2016)
Retiring by age 70 is possible but tricky,” (CNBC, June 7, 2016)
5 Health Reasons Millennials Should Start Thinking About Retirement Early,” (Huffington Post, June 7, 2016)
A Simple Recipe for the 50-Year Investor,” (Bloomberg, June 7, 2016)
The Average 401k Account Holds $96,000. How Does Yours Stack Up?” (MONEY, June 7, 2016)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Pension Risk Matters: Public-Private Retirement Plans and Possible Fiduciary Gaps |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Ninth Circuit Rules That A Stock Rights Plan Is Not Subject To ERISA |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #8 |
Nerd’s Eye View: The Four Phases Of Saving For Retirement |
Behavior Gap: Take a Guess |
Pension Risk Matters: State Retirement Arrangements for Small Business Employees |
RetirementRevised: Push to expand Social Security gains momentum |
Pension Risk Matters: More About the Fiduciary Gap |
The Trust Advisor: Labor Department Faces Five Lawsuits Over Fiduciary Rule |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Retirement Expectations Gap Widens |
NAPA Net: And Connecticut Makes Four… |
NAPA Net: Average 401k Balances Blossomed in May |
The Motley Fool: Is Social Security Disability Taxable? |
Kiplinger: 4 Reasons for Retirees to Maintain Strong Credit |
NAPA Net: Bay State Looks to Run Off ‘Rogue’ Advisors |
NAPA Net: A Fiduciary ‘Idiot Light’ |
NAPA Net: Is There a Down-Market Opportunity for Elite Advisors? |
NAPA Net: SSgA Chief Calls for Retirement Savings Mandate |
The Motley Fool: 5 Facts About Social Security Benefits Baby Boomers Should Know |
NAPA Net: What Will – and Won’t – Change for Plan Sponsors with the Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Guidance on Allocating Expenses Among Participants |
NAPA Net: Appellate Court Considers B/D’s Liability for Advisor Fraud |
NAPA Net: The Duty to Look at Models |
NAPA Net: ACLI, NAIFA File Suit Against Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: A Decision by Labor Day? |
NAPA Net: Millennials May Be Hard for Advisors to Reach |
NAPA Net: Obama Disapproves, Vetoes Congress’ Disapproval of Fiduciary Regulation |
NAPA Net: Sens. Warren, Lee Team Up on Retirement Legislation |
NAPA Net: Two More Suits Challenge Fiduciary Regulation |
NAPA Net: Reader Poll: Liking the Litigation, But… |
NAPA Net: Smart Beta on the Rise |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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