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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/6/17 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/6/17
January 09
00:03 2017

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 #1 Retirement Saving Goal for Teens and Children and the Most Useful Strategy to Get There,” (, January 4, 2017) “Nothing is more in the best interest of the child. The judicious carrot of spending, when managed properly, actually instills a strong sense of and desire to save and, ironically, not spend.”

Compliance – Never Give Up, Never Surrender:
It’s amazing how, once a mind is made up, cognitive bias takes over and all data is then seen only through the lens of predetermined conclusions. It’s therefore quite refreshing to see an objective mind then proceed to call out the logical fallacies often promulgated by the biased mind.
SEC Offers Guidance on DOL Fiduciary Rule Compliance,” (PLANADVISER, December 30, 2016) This is all about mutual funds with different share classes.
The Wall Street Journal is Flat-Out Wrong on 401k,” (The 401(k) Specialist, January 4, 2017) Article does a good job explaining the downside of Ponzi Schemes – er – pension plans.

Fiduciary – Life Lessons:
Have you ever wondered how so many important lessons emerge from the everyday activities you normally take for granted. It’s the same way with fiduciary lessons. They’re all around you. All you have to do is look.
The joys of the $1 savings account,” (BenefitsPRO, January 4, 2017) Here’s a simple fiduciary lesson we bet you never thought of… but it happens all the time.
2 Critical Lessons Learned from Latest 401k Fiduciary Fail,” (The 401(k) Specialist, January 7, 2017) On the problems of placing company stock in corporate retirement plans courtesy of the SNAFU at J.C. Penny’s.

Fees – Spreading the Fee Woes:
Like a virus spreading across an unsuspecting population, it appears the class action attorneys are slowly tracking through the list of retirement plan service providers. Who will be next?
Leverage is the Loser in Latest Excessive Fee Suit,” (The 401(k) Specialist, January 3, 2017) This is about recordkeeper fees. Very interesting.

Investments – Going Fixed Might Need a Fix:
Just when it looks like the fixed income product salesmen have finally broken through to the buying public, rising interest rates threaten to place such assets at undue risk.
Will Low Returns Destroy Retirement?” (Financial Advisor, December 28, 2016) This is about the sequence of returns risk we’ve seen before. It’s not about a secular trend towards lower returns, it’s about starting your retirement at the low end of the normal cycle of returns.
Target Date Funds Are Now QDIAs, But There’s a Catch,” (The 401(k) Specialist, December 30, 2016) Things are not always as they seem, and that’s the problem. At least according to this DOL warning.
5 Considerations for Evaluating Target Date Funds for Better Participant Outcomes,” (The 401(k) Specialist, January 4, 2017) Good advice for plan sponsors.

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.
What to expect in the retirement industry in 2017,” (BenefitsPRO, December 27, 2016)
DC Plans Should Target Replacing 60% Of Pay, Plan Consultants Say,” (Financial Advisor, December 28, 2016)
A Checklist for DC Plan Sponsors in 2017: Mercer,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 30, 2016)
Fee Litigation Targets Multiple Retirement Plans at Health System,” (PLANADVISER, January 3, 2017)
DOL Targets ESOP Over Sizable Financial Losses,” (PLANADVISER, January 3, 2017)
Are non-profits the next target for retirement plan lawsuits?” (Employee Benefit Adviser, January 3, 2017)
Top 7 401k questions employees may have,” (BenefitsPRO, January 3, 2017)
Americans Are Putting Billions More Than Usual In Their 401k Plans,” (Financial Advisor, January 4, 2017)
Employer Stock Drop Suit Victory Upheld by D.C. Circuit,” (PLANADVISER, January 4, 2017)
Prudential, Captrust win 401k fiduciary breach lawsuit,” (InvestmentNews, January 4, 2017)
The big problem with 401k plans we refuse to solve: Megan McArdle,” (BenefitsPRO, January 4, 2017)
How auto-portability can improve retirement readiness for a mobile workforce,” (Employee Benefit News, January 5, 2017)
Americans steadily boosting 401k deferral rates,” (InvestmentNews, January 5, 2017)

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.
All Worry About Retirement,” (PLANADVISER, November/December 2016)
Financial Shocks in Retirement,” (PLANADVISER, November /December 2016)
Four Ways To Avoid 401k Withdrawal Penalties,” (Forbes, December 27, 2016)
How Much Cash Would It Take to Get You to Delay Retirement?” (ThinkAdvisor, December 30, 2016)
Fantastic 401k Advice from Jim Cramer …Wait! What?” (The 401(k) Specialist, January 2, 2017)
Tax-smart strategies for retirement savings,” (USA Today, January 2, 2017)
Retirement planning, estate planning and investing: all struggles,” (MarketWatch, January 3, 2017)
The problem with this boomer ‘retirement plan,’” (CBS News, January 3, 2017)
The big lesson from 2016 for retirement planning,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, January 3, 2017)
Do I have enough savings for a secure retirement?” (CNN, January 4, 2017)
This Is What Happens To 401k Assets When Americans Retire,” (Forbes, January 5, 2017)
Older Americans Are Retiring In Droves,” (Financial Advisor, January 6, 2017)
Fabulous News For Retirement Savers,” (Financial Advisor, January 6, 2017)
A little optimism on the future of retirement,” (Employee Benefit News, January 6, 2017)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Boston ERISA Law Blog: The Year in Review: Looking Back at ERISA Litigation In 2016 |
Behavior Gap: Give Yourself Room to Think |
Nerd’s Eye View: 3 Types Of Retirement And Their Differing Savings Strategies |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C.: Blog: Let it go |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C.: Survey proves one thing: Participants need education |
Behavior Gap: You Are Not Alone |
Squared Away Blog: Millennial Couple Squares Away Finances |
Retirement Income Journal: Economies of scale allow Vanguard to further reduce fund fees |
Scholarship Financial Planner: 2017 Firm Visits, Presentations, Consulting |
Ary Rosenbaum: How An RIA Can Profit Off Of The New Fiduciary Rule |
Scholarship Financial Planner: @realDonaldTrump: Support Corporations, U.S. Economic Growth & Jobs – The Fiduciary Rule |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Kiplinger: Funding 40 Years of Retirement |
NAPA Net: Recordkeeping Fees Trigger Latest Excessive Fee Suit |
NAPA Net: Lamenters of the 401k Revolution |
NAPA Net: Could Financial Resolutions Actually Pay Off? |
NAPA Net: Will Participants Be Confused by the Fiduciary Rule? |
NASDAQ: 6 Money Resolutions You Can Actually Keep |
NAPA Net: Court Rejects ‘Risky’ Argument in Company Stock Appeal |
NAPA Net: What Happened to the Average 401k Balance in 2016? |
NAPA Net: What’s the Most Common Match? |
NAPA Net: How Liquid Must a QDIA Be? |
NAPA Net: Bob Doll Says 2017 Will Be a Year of Transition |
NAPA Net: Pru Prevails in Pay-to-Play Suit |
NAPA Net: ‘Reckless Rulemaking’ Called Out by House Committee Members |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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