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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 6/23/17 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 6/23/17
June 26
00:36 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:
Exclusive Interview with Charles Field: Less Restrictive Open 401k MEPs Relieve Some Burdens for Smaller Employers,” (, June 13, 2017) “We have reached a watershed moment for retirement planning and saving.”

Compliance – New Paradigm:
401k Rollovers to IRAs,” (PLANADVISER, May/June 2017) How the new DOL Rule impacts a commonly used strategy.
OregonSaves Program Moves Forward Without ERISA Exemption,” (PLANADVISER, June 19, 2017) Give them credit for believing in themselves, but pity the taxpayers once the trial lawyers find something to pounce on.
A new conflict-of-interest rule for retirement savers is causing a lot of confusion,” (The Washington Post, June 19, 2017) Or is it? Certainly the main stream press seems to be confused. This article implies people think the Rule outlaws brokerage services by framing the discussion as a choice between fee models instead of a choice between service models.
Plan sponsors beware – ‘ERISA does not permit complacency’: Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, June 21, 2017) Stay informed. Stay very informed.

Fiduciary – New Standards:
CFP Seeks to Limit Ambiguity with New Standards,” (Wealth Management, June 20, 2017) The industry begins baking “Fiduciary” into the cake.

Fees – New Twist on an Old Story:
The Single-Best Retirement Fund Booster,” (Forbes, June 19, 2017) When all mutual funds invest in the same stocks, the ones with the lowest expense ratios will produce the highest returns. Of course, all mutual funds don’t invest in the same stocks, so sometimes higher expense ratios produce higher returns.

Investments – New Pitches on Old Memes:
ESG Used To Motivate Greater Savings and Mitigate Risk,” (PLANADVISER, June 16, 2017) Yeah. Sure. Whatever you need to say to sell the product. Seriously, do retirement savers understand the Prudent Man Rule limits these types of investments to anywhere from 2% to 5% of the total portfolio? Oops! Guess the marketing brochure forgot to put that little piece of guidance in there.
Smart Beta Could be the Next Step in TDF Innovation,” (PLANADVISER, June 19, 2017) They are trying to resolve the issue of “one size fits all” because, well, it turns out one size doesn’t fit all.

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.
Power Stance,” (PLANADVISER, May/June 2017)
An Incredibly Simple Step to Higher 401k Enrollment,” (The 401(k) Specialist, June 18, 2017)
5 Burning HSA Questions for Employers to Consider,” (The 401(k) Specialist, June 19, 2017)
Merrill Lynch Reaches Tentative Settlement in ERISA Suit,” (PLANADVISER, June 20, 2017)
Get Participants on the Right Track With an Investment Re-enrollment,” (The 401(k) Specialist, June 20, 2017)
Lawsuit Filed Against Washington University 403(b) Plan,” (PLANADVISER, June 20, 2017)
6 Trends Seen in America’s Retirement Plans,” (The 401(k) Specialist, June 20, 2017)
Putnam Wins Suit Over Proprietary Funds in 401k,” (PLANADVISER, June 21, 2017)
EBSA Secures Judgement Following Criminal Prosecution,” (PLANADVISER, June 21, 2017)
How Do 401k Plan Sponsors Feel About Tax Reform?” (The 401(k) Specialist, June 22, 2017)
Voya Wins Dismissal of Suit Over Advice Service Agreement,” (PLANADVISER, June 22, 2017)
Do Participants Trust 401k Performance Data?” (The 401(k) Specialist, June 22, 2017)
ERISA Suit Challenging Fidelity Stable Value Decisions Dismissed,” (PLANADVISER, June 22, 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.
What Americans Put Before Financial Security is Just Depressing,” (The 401(k) Specialist, June 15, 2017)
The retirement question you need to answer,” (CBS News, June 16, 2017)
How to switch careers and still reach your retirement goals,” (CNBC, June 17, 2017)
The Single-Best Retirement Fund Booster,” (Forbes, June 19, 2017)
What if retirement comes too soon?” (CBS News, June 19, 2017)
Study shows ‘retirement literacy’ is shockingly low,” (Chicago Tribune, June 20, 2017)
Most Millennials Are Saving For Retirement, But Not Enough,” (Wealth Management, June 20, 2017)
Do you need to pay off your mortgage before you retire?” (MarketWatch, June 21, 2017)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Nerd’s Eye View: The Passive Mirage and the Disintermediate of Active Mutual Fund Managers |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #52 |
Business of Benefits: DOL Advisory Opinion Demonstrates Structure for Bundling Plans |
The Retirement Plan Blog: Pension Plan Procrastination Perils Proper Personal Planning |
Squared Away Blog: Boomer Men’s Lifetime Earnings Lower |
RetirementRevised: Big Social Security COLA will be offset by Medicare premium rollercoaster |
Ary Rosenbaum: Pitfalls a 401k Sponsor Can Avoid With Plan Providers |
Behavior Gap: A Magic Certainty Button Doesn’t Exist |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: California Secure Choice, Modified, Heads for Governor’s Signature |
NAPA Net: Are 401k Fees Falling? |
NAPA Net: Steady Growth in Roth Adoption Rates Anticipated |
NAPA Net: Competing Financial Priorities Diverting from Retirement Savings Goals |
Kiplinger: Your RMD Can Fuel a Tax-Free Legacy for Your Heirs |
NAPA Net: Who Are the Top NAPA DC Advisor Firms? |
NAPA Net: All Else Being Equal… |
NAPA Net: Silver State Advisors, BDs Facing New Fiduciary Standard |
NAPA Net: Market Gains Drove Highest Quarterly Return for DC Plans Since 2013 |
The Motley Fool: How to Lower Your Taxes in Retirement |
Kiplinger: How Early Retirees Can Get Cheap Health Insurance |
NAPA Net: NAPA Task Force Develops Small Plan RFP Template |
NAPA Net: Putnam Prevails in Proprietary Fund Suit |
NAPA Net: Will the Fiduciary Rule’s Transition Be Extended? |
NAPA Net: Survey Suggests ESG Investing Can Boost Plan Participation |
Kiplinger: Impact on RMDs When Reversing a Roth IRA Conversion |
The Motley Fool: The 1 Retirement Expense That Might Catch You Off Guard |
NAPA Net: Voya Victorious in Excessive Fee Suit |
NAPA Net: Dual Eligibility in Safe Harbor Plans and Top-Heavy Requirements |
NAPA Net: Retirement Legislation Redux |
NAPA Net: ARA Comments on IRS’ 2017-2018 Priority Guidance Plan |
NAPA Net: ARA Seeks DOL Guidance on ‘New’ Fiduciary Disclosure |
NAPA Net: Employers Say Roth Mandate Would Hurt, But Most Would Keep Plans |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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