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10 Most Read 2016 FiduciaryNews.com Articles for the 401k Plan Sponsor and Fiduciary

10 Most Read 2016 FiduciaryNews.com Articles for the 401k Plan Sponsor and Fiduciary
December 20
00:03 2016

Researchers have conducted many studies which show the “crowd” is often a better at predicting events than the usual experts we rely on (perhaps a bit too much). In that vein, here is what the crowd “said” were the most important articles FiduciaryNews.com published in 2016. How many have you read? More important, how many do you remember? Most critically, which of these hidden gems have you put to use?  

#10:Fact or Fiction: Are Small to Mid-Sized Businesses Reluctant to Start 401k Plans?” – There’s been much talk recently concerning the lack of 401k accessibility. If one looks at the data, though, we see two important facts. First, despite the growing use of auto-enrollment, a surprisingly large number of eligible employees are not taking advantage of making tax deductible contributions to their 401k plan. Second, for all their value in attracting quality employees, an equally surprising large number of companies fail to sponsor 401k plans. Curiously, the same source may be responsible for both of these facts…

#9:The Three Best Most Obvious Tips Retirement Savers Too Often Ignore” – The world of retirement saving is filled with advice. Some of it is so-so. Some of it is self-serving. Some of it is the best and most obvious advice anyone could use. Yet, this is precisely the advice many retirement savers ignore. You’ll read these and you’ll think, “That’s so obvious it’s crazy to even point out.” Yet, if you venture into the great ocean of everyday people who save for retirement, you’ll be amazed to discover how many of them ignore these recognizable rules of thumb. Why do retirement savers snub these common sense guidelines? Perhaps it’s because they’ve fallen victim to some of the more insidious forms of behavioral blunders…

#8:The 9 Most Common Mistakes People make within 5 years of Retirement” – Nothing focuses the mind like a deadline. Unfortunately, there is no greater cause of rash, misguided, decisions than a deadline. Perhaps the greatest deadline we all face is our own retirement. Sooner or later, Father Time tells us it’s time to hang up the cleats and join the ranks of the leisurely – or so we hope. One of the greatest challenges for plan sponsors and all fiduciaries is to help retirement savers avoid these nine mistakes. We’ll leave the “how to do this” for another day. Right now, let’s focus on identifying these nine most common mistakes people make within five years of retirement….

#7:Exclusive Interview with Terrance Power: 401k MEPs Reduce Downside Risk for Company Execs” – For some time now, readers have seen Terry Power quoted frequently in many a FiduciaryNews.com article. Ever since we first met him at the 2012 fi360 Annual Conference, we’ve considered Terry one of our pre-eminent “go-to” guys when it comes to all things MEP. He is the Founder and President of The Platinum 401k, Inc., the independent marketing organization of American Pension Services, LLC located in Clearwater, Florida. Terry has been in the retirement plan industry since 1981 serving as an adviser, a retirement plan wholesaler, and a fee-for-service third party administrator. He is a frequent speaker at industry functions and has provided testimony before the United States Department of Labor ERISA Advisory Council on the subject of Outsourcing Employee Benefit Plan Services. Here are some critical developments he’d like to share…

#6:Retirement Plan Options for Small Business Owners” – Small business owners are often too busy making sales, servicing clients, or otherwise running their operation on a day-to-day basis to spend a lot of time thinking about the future. But the smart ones will plan for their future retirement. Owners can both address future concerns and help themselves immediately since retirement savings offer tax reduction advantages. There are a broad away of retirement plan options. Which is best for what types of businesses?…

#5:New Fiduciary Rule: What the DOL Got Right, Came Close on, and Missed Entirely” – With the dust beginning to settle, ERISA attorneys and customer advocacy groups are beginning to come to some conclusions on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the DOL’s new “Conflict-of-Interest” (a.k.a. “Fiduciary”) Rule. While there’s some disagreement among those interviewed, it’s clear it will take a lot more time for the true impact of the thousand page plus Rule to be felt. On the face of it, it seems the DOL got some things right, came close on others, and, in the spirit of the new baseball season, completely whiffed on some points…

#4:Will Increased 401k Fee Scrutiny Trump DOL’s New Fiduciary Rule?” – With the advent of new fee disclosure rules and the fallout from class action lawsuits, 401k plan sponsors appear to have become more serious about the potential liability of breaching their fiduciary duty. Was there a “straw that broke the camel’s back” that caused plan sponsors to take their fiduciary duty more seriously? Could increase in attention reduce the impact of the DOL’s new Fiduciary Rule?…

#3:QDIA Fiduciary Red Flags 401k Plan Sponsors Must Look Out For” – One of the objectives of the Pension Protection Act (PPA) of 2006 was to increase retirement savings among workers with defined contribution plans through the use of automatic enrollment. This feature had always been available to plan sponsors, but the fiduciary risks of utilizing that feature often proved too problematic. The PPA reduces fiduciary liability for plan sponsors whose plans adopt automatic enrollment in cases where the plan sponsors place those assets in specifically defined Qualified Default Investment Alternatives (QDIAs). More and more 401k participants are choosing to use QDIAs. For employees, this is an easy decision (because, in fact, for many it requires no decision). For plan sponsors, selecting QDIAs at first appeared an easy decision, but events have proven it has placed them in a fiduciary mine field…

#2:3 Rules for Retirement Savers During Falling Markets” – With the markets in free fall, this is a perfect time for retirement savers to panic. That’s probably not a good thing. Well known financial blogger Roger Wohlner, in his particularly witty style, suggests investors take four steps to cope with the rather unsettling markets (see “4 Things To Do When The Stock Market Drops,” The Chicago Financial Planner, January 7, 2016). In short, Wohlner suggests investors breathe, reflect, review, and go shopping. In many ways, this is the kind of sound advice we would expect to hear from an experienced veteran…

#1:401k Fiduciary Alert: Regulators Targeting 12b-1 Fees, Is Revenue Sharing Far Behind?” – You may not remember this, but several months ago the SEC penalized three AIG affiliates $7.5 million for charging $2 million in extra 12b-1 fees as a result of directing clients into these higher fee share classes when less expensive share classes were available (“SEC fines AIG advisors $9.5M,” CNBC, March 15, 2016). If you don’t remember, the SEC is about to remind you, and not necessarily in a very pleasant manner (“SEC Launches Exam Sweep of Advisors’ Share Class Picks,” ThinkAdvisor, July 13, 2016)…

If you think the matters discussed in these articles are important, just wait until next week when we present the top ten All-Time FiduciaryNews.com articles!

Christopher Carosa is a keynote speaker, journalist, and the author of  401(k) Fiduciary SolutionsHey! What’s My Number? How to Improve the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort and several other books on innovative retirement solutions, practical business tips, and the history of the wonderful Western New York region. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Mr. Carosa is available for keynote speaking engagements, especially in venues located in the Northeast, MidAtantic and Midwestern regions of the United States and in the Toronto region of Canada.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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