Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker?
What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 8/11/17 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 8/11/17
August 14
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:
401k Rollovers: To Roth or Not to Roth – 7 Fiduciary Questions,” (, August 8, 2017) According to the Investment Company Institute, only 1.9% of all Roth IRAs are rollovers. Why aren’t more opting to rollover into Roths?

Compliance – 401k Rising, Pensions Falling:
This isn’t too surprising given all we’ve seen.
Public pension returns barely broke even in fiscal 2016,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, August 2, 2017) Pensions managed to eke out a gain measured in basis points, not full percentage points. That’s bad for pensions as they’re relying on investment growth to help make up for their growing shortfall.
Rebuttal: 6 Reasons the 401k is NOT a ‘Scam’,” (The 401(k) Specialist, August 7, 2017) The authors takes on a prominent “never-401ker’ and skewers her arguments with the precision of a skilled surgeon.
Retirees’ nightmare: Slashed pensions,” (BenefitsPRO, August 8, 2017) Speaking of “scams,” Remember when every said how great it was when defined benefit plans were our only source of retirement income? Yeah, like that ever happened. This article suggested why those looking fondly on the sanctity of pension plans might want to first remove those rose-colored spectacles.
Retirement Plans Need to Consider the Sanctions Bill,” (PLANADVISER, August 9, 2017) Apparently pension plans may be unknowingly supporting terrorists and rogue states.

Fiduciary – Pushing the Goal Posts Back:
We don’t want to say we told you so, but…
Fiduciary Rule RFI Comments Suggest Split in Industry Outlook,” (PLANADVISER, August 7, 2017) Most hate the new Rule, but some like it, or at least don’t care one way or another.
DOL Seeks 18-Month Delay for Fiduciary Compliance,” (ThinkAdvisor, August 9, 2017) If you didn’t see this coming, you haven’t been reading
Delay of fiduciary rule not a done deal,” (BenefitsPRO, August 9, 2017) On second thought…

Fees – Fees? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Fees!:
Apparently, stories about fees have run their course and don’t get the eyeballs they once got. Maybe because there are bigger fish to fry?

Investments – The Lorelei Signal:
Anyone who gets his allusion prove it by emailing us. We’ll give you a hint: Look beyond your surroundings. The broader reference is to a false signal that lures you into trouble.
401k accounts are booming. What should investors do?” (USA Today, August 6, 2017) Here’s “one of those articles” again. Best read it so you’ll know how to explain it away.
False Sense of Security Surrounds Active Fixed-Income Allocations,” (PLANADVISER, August 9, 2017) This has been said time and time again: Bond funds are not bonds, they are equities with a direct (inverse) relationship to interest rate movements.

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.
Avoidance Strategies,” (PLANADVISER, May/June 2017)
Why helping clients have fewer regrets leads to a better retirement,” (Financial Planning, August 2, 2017)
Plan Design Can Help Participants Get the Full Company Match,” (PLANADVISER, August 4, 2017)
Plaintiffs in Target Stock Drop Suit Failed to Meet Pleading Standards,” (PLANADVISER, August 7, 2017)
Are Younger 401k Participants Finally ‘Growing Up?’,” (The 401(k) Specialist, August 7, 2017)
Something rarely considered – retirement account tax diversification: Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, August 9, 2017)
District Court Denies Prudential Stable Value Class Action Motion,” (PLANADVISER, August 9, 2017)
Do Americans Participate Enough In Retirement Plans?” (Forbes, August 9, 2017)
Lightening the regulatory burden of retirement plan sponsors,” (Employee Benefit News, August 10, 2017)
Taxpayers Prefer Roth Retirement Plans: Study,” (ThinkAdvisor, August 10, 2017)
Excessive-Fees Lawsuit Against First Eagle Dropped,” (Wealth Management, August 10, 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.
How to gauge your chances of a phased retirement,” (CNBC, August 4, 2017)
My 401k is making only 2-3%, so why not borrow from it and pay it back at 5%?” (Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2017)
Financial ‘Satisfaction’ Hits New High,” (The 401(k) Specialist, August 4, 2017)
401k accounts are booming. What should investors do?” (USA Today, August 6, 2017)
Money Milestones: How to save for retirement while you’re building a business,” (MarketWatch, August 7, 2017)
Middle-Income Boomers Face ‘New Retirement’,” (ThinkAdvisor, August 7, 2017)
You Should Max Out Your 401k, Right? Not So Fast,” (NerdWallet, August 7, 2017)
The Thing You Love The Most Can Kill Your Retirement,” (Forbes, August 8, 2017)
Definitive guide to retirement savings accounts,” (CNBC, August 9, 2017)
DC Participants Mostly Stay Put in Investments in July,” (PLANADVISER, August 10, 2017)
This retirement cost is inevitable — and can be insanely expensive,” (MarketWatch, August 10, 2017)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The real reason why bad funds are in 401k plans |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Connecticut gets it right for Non-ERISA 403(b) plans |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Consider how an advisor uses other plan providers |
The Retirement Plan Blog: Seven ways a fiduciary can follow “Procedural Prudence” |
Squared Away Blog: 401k Saving Harder at Lower Incomes |
Nerd’s Eye View: The Trusteed IRA Vs Using A Trust As IRA Beneficiary Instead |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: ERISA-Second Circuit Affirms District Court’s Grant Of Plan Reformation As Equitable Relief | Financial Wellness: Industry Buzzword or 401k Value Add? |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: They can’t see it, since they caused it |
Ary Rosenbaum: Mistakes An Employer Should Avoid Starting A 401k Plan |
Data “Points”: Pay Me Now, or Pay Me Later |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: 5th Circuit Panel Presses DOL on Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: Survey Says Large Plans Nervous About Roth Mandate |
NAPA Net: Plan Sponsors Increasingly Choosing Non-Proprietary TDFs |
Kiplinger: Rebalance Even as Bull Keeps Running |
NAPA Net: Study Compares 401k Asset Allocations Across Two Generations |
NAPA Net: Pay Me Now, or Pay Me Later |
NAPA Net: Is Recommending Higher Contributions a Fiduciary Act? |
Kiplinger: How Do You Know When You’re Ready to Retire? |
NAPA Net: Judge Rejects Class Action in Stable Value Suit |
NAPA Net: NASA Doesn’t Need a Social Media Policy, and Neither Do You |
NAPA Net: 10 Ways to Help Participants Transition to Retirement |
NAPA Net: What Hitchcock v. Cumberland Means for Plan Fiduciaries |
NAPA Net: DOL Signals Move to Extend Fiduciary Transition Period, Full BIC Applicability Date |
The Motley Fool: How Does Social Security Fit Into My Retirement Plan? |
Kiplinger: ‘Senior Inflation’: Not-So-Silent Retirement Killer |
NAPA Net: DOL Signals Move to Extend Fiduciary Transition Period, Full BIC Applicability Date |
NAPA Net: Let the Jockeying Begin on Tax Reform |
NAPA Net: Non-U.S. Equities Help Drive 2nd Quarter TDF Performance |
NAPA Net: What the DOL FAQs Did Not Do |
NAPA Net: Proprietary Fund Suit Class Might Not Be Eligible |
NAPA Net: Various Factors Spur Investment Menu Shifts – But One Still Stands Out |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Only registered users can comment. Login is sponsored by…

Order Your From Cradle to Retirement book today!

Vote in our Poll


The materials at this web site are maintained for the sole purpose of providing general information about fiduciary law, tax accounting and investments and do not under any circumstances constitute legal, accounting or investment advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of an appropriate professional. Please carefully read the terms and conditions for using this site. This website contains links to third-party websites. We are not responsible for, and make no representations or endorsements with respect to, third-party websites, or with respect to any information, products or services that may be provided by or through such websites.