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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 12/23/16 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 12/23/16
December 27
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:
10 Most Read 2016 Articles for the 401k Plan Sponsor and Fiduciary,” (, December 20, 2016) Researchers have conducted many studies which show the “crowd” is often a better at predicting events than the usual experts we rely on

Compliance – You Asked Why Not…:
It’s all in the last article. Open a can of worms, and expect to get stung by the hive. Or something like that.
Obama wants millions of Americans in his retirement plan. So far he’s got 20,000,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, December 19, 2016) So now we know 20K people don’t know what’s good for them.
DOL issues final rule on city retirement programs,” (InvestmentNews, December 19, 2016) Yet another reason to avoid state-sponsored retirement plans. The DOL has removed the ERISA protection for anyone using these plans.
6 things to know about state auto-IRA programs,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, December 21, 2016) This article seems to think the Trump administration will continue to allow states to operate outside ERISA protections. State-run plans, however, represent the same inconsistencies that Trump has pointed out regarding Obamacare.
NY state pension fund manager, brokers charged in federal court,” (BenefitsPRO, December 21, 2016) You think this isn’t a harbinger of things to come once state start offering retirement plans for private employees. It’s the culture. There’s no escaping it.

Fiduciary – In Case You Were Wondering…:
Why bother thinking when you can have the crowd think for you.
What interested the fiduciary reader most in 2016?” (BenefitsPRO, December 21, 2016) How to use a form of crowd sourcing to spot trends for the coming year.

Fees – Retro Rewind…:
It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Appeals court sends 401k fee case Tibble vs. Edison back to District Court to be reheard,” (InvestmentNews, December 19, 2016) Your favorite fees case is coming back!
Litigants still slog it out in landmark Tibble v. Edison case,” (BenefitsPRO, December 20, 2016) After a decade it appears the end is near, and life for plan sponsors will have changed forever.
Hotel chain targeted in 401k fee lawsuit alleging $29 million in damages,” (InvestmentNews, December 21, 2016) This involves both investment management and recordkeeping fees. The significance is the inclusion of these service providers.

Investments – OK, Really, We’ve Had Enough:
Seriously. We’re not making this stuff up.
Beware The UBTI Rule When Investing In Real Estate With Retirement Funds,” (Forbes, December 16, 2016) Just another reason to think twice before using your IRA to buy real estate.
How the Fed Rate Hike Will Affect Your Retirement Income,” (MONEY, December 16, 2016) These are the times that try men’s bonds.
Don’t bequeath trouble to your descendants,” (Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2016) Believe it or not, this is an article about increasing your equity exposure post retirement.

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.
401k Eligibility Nearly Universal,” (PLANSPONSOR, December 19, 2016)
The Second Take – How to help a plan sponsor do an effective re-enrollment,” (PLANADVISER, December 19, 2016)
Automatic enrollment gaining ground in the smallest 401k plans,” (InvestmentNews, December 19, 2016)
Suggested Areas for Review With DC Plan Clients,” (PLANADVISER, December 19, 2016)
Plan Designs Change, But DC Commitment Remains Strong,” (PLANSPONSOR, December 20, 2016)
DC Industry Changes Will Remain Even if DOL Rule Reversed,” (PLANADVISER, December 20, 2016)
What’s Happening With 401k Participant Eligibility?” (The 401(k) Specialist, December 20, 2016)
ERISA Lawsuit Filed Against Starwood Hotels,” (PLANADVISER, December 21, 2016)
DC plan advisers reducing the number of provider recommendations,” (Employee Benefit News, December 21, 2016)
Benefits of HSAs Key to Holistic Retirement Planning,” (PLANADVISER, December 21, 2016)
How millennials are redefining retirement,” (Employee Benefit News, December 22, 2016)
Plan Advisers Should Focus on Different Demographic Groups,” (PLANADVISER, December 22, 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.
Boomerang Boom: More Firms Tapping the Skills of the Recently Retired,” (The New York Times, December 16, 2016)
The Root Cause Of Retirement Failures,” (Financial Advisor, December 19, 2016)
What to do with your IRA before 2016 ends,” (MarketWatch, December 19, 2016)
9 ways to save on taxes in retirement,” (BenefitsPRO, December 19, 2016)
Why Roth IRAs Can Be Ideal For Millennials,” (The Huffington Post, December 20, 2016)
1 Simple New Year’s Resolution For Stronger Retirement Savings,” (Forbes, December 20, 2016)
Don’t roll the dice when it comes to 401k rollovers,” (CNBC, December 21, 2016)
Why Millennials Need to Save Twice as Much as Boomers Did,” (MONEY, December 21, 2016)
9 retirement decisions that can change your future,” (MarketWatch, December 21, 2016)
Ask Larry: ​​​​​Should I File At 62?” (Forbes, December 21, 2016)
5 biggest retirement savings mistakes to avoid,” (USA Today, December 21, 2016)
Why Millennials Are More Interested in Saving for Retirement,” (Credit Union Times, December 21, 2016)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Proof Again That Small Plans and Their Fiduciaries Can Get Sued |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Future DOL Secretary has a Lousy 401(k) Plan: So What? |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: ERISA 404(c) lineup are a much bigger headache |
fi360: The AIF, is it a marketing tool? |
Proskauer: D.C. Court of Appeals Denies Emergency Request to Halt Conflict of Interest Rule and Related Exemptions |
Squared Away Blog: Financial Misinformation Shared Online |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #31 |
Nerd’s Eye View: How Cognitive Biases May Lead To Sustainable Alpha |
RetirementRevised: Heading off a housing crisis for an aging America |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Employee Benefits-IRS Revises EPCRS, Inviting Plan Sponsors To Correct Errors Pertaining To Their Qualified Retirement Plans |
Scholarly Financial Planner: My Financial Services Regulation Wish List for the Trump Administration |
Boston ERISA Law Blog: I Predict the Future in Planadvisor |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: 9th Circuit Resuscitates Excessive Fee Case |
NAPA Net: Where Does ‘Fiduciary’ Go From Here? |
NAPA Net: Tax Reform Could Widen Retirement ‘Divide’ |
NAPA Net: DOL Amends State-Run Retirement Plan Regulation for Cities, Political Subdivisions |
NAPA Net: A Retirement Savings Santa Claus? |
NAPA Net: Will Stressed Out Savers Turn to Advisors? |
NAPA Net: Level Fee Fiduciary – Past and Future | Retirement: This Holiday Season, Consider a Roth IRA |
The Motley Fool: The Perfect Retirement Strategy for 50-Somethings |
Kiplinger: Why You Should Make a Charity the Heir to Your IRA |
NAPA Net: Excessive Fee Suit Filed Against Hotel Chain |
NAPA Net: Robo Record Keepers: Friend, Foe or Myth? |
NAPA Net: PSCA Survey Says Auto Enrollment Escalates |
NAPA Net: Delta Hits More Excessive Fee Turbulence |
NAPA Net: Could Fiduciary Standards Be Lowered to Encourage ESG? |
NAPA Net: SEC Charges NYC Pension Official, Brokers in Pay-to-Play Scheme |
NAPA Net: (Plan) Size Matters in TDF Practices |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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