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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 10/20/17 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 10/20/17
October 23
00:07 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: Barbara Roper Says Mere Disclosure Inadequate for Fiduciary Advice,” (, October 17, 2017) “For that to work, however, it’s not enough to change the titles brokers use – to make them call their sales representatives “salespeople” and call their services “sales recommendations” – you’d also have to completely change the way they market themselves so that their marketing messages are consistent with their regulatory status.”

Compliance – Hodge Podge:
Lots of stuff but no single theme this week.
Trump to Nominate New EBSA Head,” (PLANADVISER, October 13, 2017) We’ll see what this means. Anyone who thinks they know hasn’t been paying attention.
EBSA nominee’s deep industry knowledge likely to spur impactful retirement regulation,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, October 17, 2017) Still a lot of rows to hoe on this one.
IRS Raises Income And Contribution Limits For Retirement Savings,” (Financial Advisor, October 19, 2017) Further widening the gap between zero and anything.
The Sad Tale of the MyRA,” (The New York Times, October 19, 2017) As the author (significantly, a former aide to Bill Clinton) says, “myRA was a tiny tinker when large-scale change is demanded, a government-run program instead of a market-based response, and a dramatic waste of taxpayer dollars.”
GAO Issues Call to Examine American Retirement System,” (PLANADVISER, October 19, 2017) How about adding a little something called “The Child IRA”?

Fiduciary – Oh the Irony:
Everyone’s got a point of view. Everyone’s got an agenda. It’s when the two combine together that we’ve got to be careful.
PANC 2017: The New Conflict of Interest,” (PLANADVISER, October 13, 2017) Honestly, after reading the article twice there was still no clue what “new” conflict-of-interest it’s referring to.
‘Fee Only’ Compensation Can Have Conflicts, Says FPA,” (Financial Advisor, October 13, 2017) Seriously, then they say a client should start their adviser search by looking first at adviser’s “designation”? Setting aside the obviously conflict of interest that arises when an organization that makes it money selling designations to advisers says that’s more important than the adviser’s compensation structure, it’s unsettling when industry leaders can’t distinguish between prohibited transaction conflicts-of-interest and compensation schedules that avoid those conflicts-of-interest. And, before you get started, we’re only talking about adviser services, not brokerage services.
PANC 2017: Fiduciary Differentiation Is Difficult,” (PLANADVISER, October 17, 2017) You didn’t know this?
Do brokers matter anymore? – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, October 18, 2017) When it comes to the 401k industry, the brokerage model is no longer relevant, which makes the brokerage business unsustainable in the long-term.

Fees – Your winnings, sir.:
Tell us something we don’t know.
401k providers charging higher fees to small businesses owners,” (Fox Business, October 16, 2017) “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” Just in case you might have forgotten the universal truth of Casablanca.

Investments – Groundhog Day:
Incredible feeling of déjà vu.
PANC 2017: Measuring TDF Performance,” (PLANADVISER, October 16, 2017) They just keep growing and growing and growing.
CIT Assets Are Booming, Big Time,” (The 401(k) Specialist, October 16, 2017) How many times do we need to read this story? Makes you think someone’s pushing something.

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.
United Nations Gets In On ‘Responsible’ 401k Investing,” (The 401(k) Specialist, October 12, 2017)
PANC 2017: Maximizing the Workplace Savings System,” (PLANADVISER, October 13, 2017)
Employees Will Still Use 401k Plans With High Default Contributions – And They’ll Save More, Too,” (Financial Advisor, October 13, 2017)
The Single Biggest Impediment to 401k Financial Success?” (The 401(k) Specialist, October 13, 2017)
PANC 2017: Plan Sponsor Confidential,” (PLANADVISER, October 13, 2017)
Consolidation hitting third party administrators,” (Employee Benefit News, October 15, 2017)
The ERISA Industry Committee sues Oregon Retirement Savings Board,” (Employee Benefit News, October 15, 2017)
Here’s What Retirees Want 401k Participants to Know,” (The 401(k) Specialist, October 16, 2017)
3 ways participants are driving a new era of retirement plan design,” (Employee Benefit Adviser,” (October 16, 2017)
Kitces: The fallacy of 401k loans,” (Financial Planning, October 16, 2017)
PANC2017: Improving Plan Design for Retiring Participants,” (PLANADVISER, October 16, 2017)
Default retirement savings rates could go much higher,” (BenefitsPRO, October 16, 2017)
How plan sponsors can keep their record keeper on track,” (Employee Benefit News, October 16, 2017)
HSAs: Why One Size Doesn’t Fit All,” (The 401(k) Specialist, October 16, 2017)
Consolidation hitting third party administrators,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, October 16, 2017)
Health savings accounts: Good retirement medicine,” (CBS News, October 16, 2017)
PANC 2017: Behavioral Finance and the Future of Improving Retirement Outcomes in the Digital World,” (PLANADVISER, October 16, 2017)
Lawsuit alleging General Electric ripped off its workers shows the pitfalls of 401k plans,” (Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2017)
ERIC sues Oregon over state-mandated retirement plans,” (BenefitsPRO, October 17, 2017)
District Court Halts Some Portions of MIT ERISA Challenge,” (PLANADVISER, October 18, 2017)
When should plan sponsors bring in an independent TPA?” (Employee Benefit Adviser, October 18, 2017)
U.S. Bank Wins Appellate Confirmation of ERISA Litigation Dismissal,” (PLANADVISER, October 18, 2017)
Suit Disputes Inclusion of Former Parent Company Stock in DC Plan,” (PLANADVISER, October 18, 2017)
Half of Americans Consider Themselves Knowledgeable on HSAs,” (PLANADVISER, October 18, 2017)
Prison Breaks, Seat Belts And Retirement,” (Financial Advisor, October 19, 2017)
7 common ERISA compliance pitfalls to avoid,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, October 19, 2017)
Nobel Winner Richard Thaler Can Help ‘Nudge’ Your Client’s 401k Decisions,” (ThinkAdvisor, October 19, 2017)
PANC 2017: Lessons in Litigation,” (PLANADVISER, October 19, 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.
Tackling your employee benefits and perks,” (CNBC, October 12, 2017)
Smart retirement solutions for women,” (MarketWatch, October 12, 2017)
Buckle Up To A New Reality About Retirement,” (Forbes, October 12, 2017)
401k plans: Why a Millennial avoids them, keeps savings in trading accounts,” (USA Today, October 12, 2017)
Americans are slashing their taxes as expats overseas,” (CNBC, October 13, 2017)
Got $1 million to retire? Here’s how long it will last, by U.S. state,” (MarketWatch, October 16, 2017)
Individuals Need a Better Idea of Retirement Expenses,” (PLANADVISER, October 16, 2017)
Millennial parents beat GenX, boomers on retirement savings,” (BenefitsPRO, October 16, 2017)
Ask Larry: ​​​​​​Did Retiring At 63 Lower My Benefit?” (Forbes, October 16, 2017)
Wait, Where Did My 401k Account Go?” (NBC News, October 17, 2017)
PANC 2017: The Generational Divide,” (PLANADVISER, October 17, 2017)
Many Americans plan to stay in the same house when they retire: Survey,” (USA Today, October 17, 2017)
Over 50 and a woman? Better get saving for retirement,” (CNN, October 17, 2017)
What’s next after planning your retirement? Help your children and grandchildren plan for theirs,” (MarketWatch, October 17, 2017)
Should you shoot for higher returns by investing outside your 401k?” (CNN, October 18, 2017)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Data “Points”: Generations ‘Grasp’ |
Data “Points”: 6 Dangerous Fiduciary Assumptions |
Data “Points”: ‘Talking’ Points |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Plan Providers and Plan Sponsors Can Still Lose By Winning |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Avoid the headache: Stick to what you know |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Eighth Circuit Court Of Appeals Holds That Claims For Damages Under ERISA Should Be Dismissed When No Financial Loss Is Suffered |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #66 |
RetirementRevised: Age discrimination: You want to work longer, but will employers cooperate? |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Find those “missing” plan participants |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Advisors Need To Offer Education |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: There is a difference in the quality of service that TPAs offer |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: ERIC Files Lawsuit Over OregonSaves Reporting Requirement |
NAPA Net: DOL Again Presses for Stay in Thrivent BIC Litigation |
NAPA Net: Social Security Announces 2% Benefit Increase for 2018 |
NAPA Net: The Bigger the Plan Committee, the Bigger the Challenges |
NAPA Net: Behavioral Finance – the Next Frontier |
NAPA Net: Seattle Mayor Steps Up With Auto-IRA Plan for Private Sector Workers |
NAPA Net: ‘Changes in the Law’ Key to Retirement Readiness |
The Motley Fool: Should I Wait to Take Social Security? |
Kiplinger: Income, Not Age, Should Decide Your Retirement Date |
NAPA Net: Parties Settle on Plaintiff’s Attorney Tab in Excessive Fee Case |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: What Is a 408(g) Fiduciary Adviser? |
NAPA Net: Stock Drop Suit Presents Unique Issue |
NAPA Net: U.S. Receives Top Overall Grade in Global Finance Report |
Kiplinger: 4 Ways RMDs Are Different for 401k plans and for IRA plans |
NAPA Net: Plan Sponsor Satisfaction Does Not Ensure Advisor Loyalty, Study Shows |
NAPA Net: Small Changes for a BIG Impact |
NAPA Net: Unexpected Consequences of Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: Living Expenses Exceed Expectations of Many Retirees, Study Says |
The Motley Fool: Attention, High Earners: Your Social Security Taxes Are Going Up in 2018 |
Kiplinger: Extreme Loss Aversion is Not a Retirement Strategy |
NAPA Net: IRS Announces Contribution, Benefit Limits for 2018 |
NAPA Net: Reader Poll: Financial Literacy Focus Gaining Ground |
NAPA Net: Advisor Expectations Higher for Gen X and Millennial Millionaires  |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

#fiduciary #401k #IRA #retirement

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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