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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/6/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/6/18
April 09
00:03 2018

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:
How Financial Pros Teach Their Own Kids About Money,” (, April 3, 2018) Think about it. Newborn babies keep their parents up all night. Knowing your adult child has a sizeable nest egg means being able to sleep soundly. And chances are you’ll spend your waking hours with less stress, too. Teaching your children to save early for retirement can achieve this healthy (and wealthy) goal. There’s no reason why financial professionals should be the only parents who know this little secret.

Compliance – A Regulatory Mine Field:
You play with fire, there’s a chance you get burned.
Self-reporting DOL program could expose employers on violations,” (BenefitsPRO, April 2, 2018) Be careful. Be very careful.
Guidance Issued Designed to Keep Members in Multiemployer Plans Longer,” (PLANADVISER, April 3, 2018) When it comes to keeping this antiquated retirement relic alive, it’s “never give up, never surrender!”
Council Recommends Simplifying Mandated Retirement Plan Disclosures,” (PLANADVISER, April 4, 2018) Simplifying is better.

Fiduciary – When the West was Wild:
We’re beginning to see what the new world will look like. Expect a lot of reframing, revisionism, and rewriting what fiduciary is all about.
Financial Advisor IQ – These BDs Will Work to a Fiduciary Standard, DOL Rule or Not,” (Financial Advisor, April 5, 2018) Is this the “fiduciary” standard or the fiduciary “standard.”
Scottrade Files to Send Galvin’s Fiduciary Charges to Federal Court,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 6, 2018) If a law isn’t a law, can it still be prosecuted? And if a tree falls in the forest…

Fees – Life’s Hardest Lesson:
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Some people still don’t believe that. They’ll no doubt get what they’re paying for.
Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Edward Jones Self-Dealing Suit,” (PLANADVISER, March 30, 2018) If it didn’t work the first time, what made them think it would work a second time?
Awaiting fate of fiduciary rule, plan sponsors focus on fee reasonableness,” (Employee Benefit News, April 2, 2018) Sure. Why not? What’s measurable is relevant, even if it doesn’t matter.
Edwards Jones Sued By Clients Who Were Switched To Fee-Based Accounts,” (Financial Advisor, April 5, 2018) This is a pickle of a situation. If you want to trade stocks yourself based on your own or third-party research, you need to pay a broker a commission to do it. If you want advice, you can’t pay a commission. If commissions are less expensive than asset-based fees, the client needs to decide whether they want advice or just brokerage services. The key here is the client must decide. The broker can’t decide for the client.

Investments – Jittering Jitters:
Good old-fashioned market volatility means chances are good solid companies might be had for a decent price. The last thing you want to do is turn a blind’s eye to these deals with significant long-term potential when they appear. The second last thing you want to do is fall victim to a good story and ignore a good price.
Americans Unsure How Long Recovery From Stock Market Volatility Would Take,” (PLANADVISER, March 29, 2018) Well, this only matters if you’re trying to time the market. And we all know what happens to people who try to time the market, right?
How Would 401k Savers React to Another Market Drop?” (The 401(k) Specialist, March 29, 2018) Maybe we’ll find out soon.
Paper Argues Green Bonds Can Help Investors Mitigate Risk Factors,” (PLANADVISER, March 30, 2018) When will people finally learn that politics and long-term investing never mix.

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.
Court Orders Plan Fiduciary to Pay Restitution to 401k Plan,” (PLANADVISER, March 30, 2018)
Top 10 Industries with the Best 401k Plans,” (The 401(k) Specialist, April 1, 2018)
Analysis Offers Perspective for Long-Term 401k Investing,” (PLANADVISER, April 2, 2018)
The five bad investment habits that retirement plan sponsors should consider,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 2, 2018)
NYU Moves to Limit Evidence Used in Trial Over 403(b) Plans,” (PLANADVISER, April 2, 2018)
Retirement Plan Participants Excel at Growing Wealth: EBRI,” (The 401(k) Specialist, April 2, 2018)
Small Retirement Plan Sponsors Starved For Expert Advice,” (Financial Advisor, April 3, 2018)
Most Motions to Dismiss Denied in Yale 403(b) Plan Suit,” (PLANADVISER, April 3, 2018)
Add value by teaching parents to teach their children – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, April 4, 2018)
TIAA Wins Dismissal of Most Claims About Its Loan Processes,” (PLANADVISER, April 4, 2018)
Just How Low is 401k Financial Literacy?” (The 401(k) Specialist, April 4, 2018)
Why are 401k participation rates so much lower at smaller employers?” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 5, 2018)
Virginia Colleges and Universities Moving to Different 403(b) Plan Model,” (PLANADVISER, April, 5, 2018)
Stock plans do not substitute for an ERISA plan,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 5, 2018)
Employee retirement confidence on the decline,” (Employee Benefit News, April 5, 2018)

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.
This Flight Attendant Shares Her Early Retirement Strategy,” (Money, March 30, 2018)
Are You Taking Too Much Risk With Your Retirement Money?” (Forbes, March 31, 2018)
Individual Account Retirement Plans the Dominant Source of Retirement Income,” (PLANADVISER, April 2, 2018)
4 Things to Consider if You Retire Ahead of Your Spouse,” (Fox Business, April 2, 2018)
Retirees will face tough decisions with reverse mortgages,” (MarketWatch, April 2, 2018)
How a Millennial Couple Is Saving to Retire By 2029,” (Money, April 3, 2018)
Add value by teaching parents to teach their children – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, April 4, 2018)
Advisors Say Clients Unrealistic About Quitting Jobs And Retiring,” (Financial Advisor, April 4, 2018)
Most Americans Lack the Knowledge to Make Financial Decisions,” (PLANADVISER, April 4, 2018)
Can I Retire Yet? Here’s How to Find Out,” (ETF Trends, April 4, 2018)
8 tough questions to ask your 401k investment adviser,” (Employee Benefit News, April 4, 2018)
Census Bureau Survey Underestimates Retirement Plan Participation,” (PLANADVISER, April 5, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Data “Points”: Parental Guidance |
Data “Points”: ‘End’ Adequate? Are We Getting an Accurate Read on Retirement Readiness? |
Ary Rosenbaum: The Road and Roadblock To Dynamic Plan Provider Marketing |
Ary Rosenbaum: Retirement Plan Advisors Advantage |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Clients who don’t pay aren’t clients |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The issue with 403(b) plans |
Squared Away Blog: Dependence on Social Security is Striking |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #85 |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: First Circuit Dismisses Complaint Of Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Based On Mismanagement Of A Stable Value Fund |
Business of Benefits: Tax Act’s Participant Loan Changes Compels Fresh Review of “Uncomfortable” Loan Fiduciary Obligations |
Squared Away Blog: An Ever-Expanding Sandwich Generation |
fi360: Meeting a Global Standard of Fiduciary Excellence |
Proskauer’s: First Round of Robo-Advisor Fee Litigation Goes to Record-Keepers |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Morningstar: 10 Myths About IRA Contributions |
The Motley Fool: 4 Things Keeping You From Retirement Savings (and How to Fix Them) |
NAPA Net: Edward Jones Excessive Fee Dismissal Motion Mostly Dismissed (Again) |
NAPA Net: Reader Poll: Would Digital Disclosures Be Better? |
NAPA Net: March Markets Take Wind Out of Sails for 401k Balances |
NAPA Net: New Code of Ethics and Conduct Standards Approved by CFP Board |
Kiplinger: 5 Last-Minute Tips for Tax Procrastinators |
The Motley Fool: Could This Simple Social Security Strategy Solve the Retirement Crisis? |
NAPA Net: Yale Wins Some, But Most Claims Proceed  |
NAPA Net: College ‘Intuition’ |
NAPA Net: New York State Enters Private Retirement Savings Push |
Kiplinger: New Pass-Through Tax Break for Retirement Income |
Morningstar: 5 Ways Retirees Can Take the Edge Off in Volatile Markets
NAPA Net: TIAA Wins Most – But Not All – Claims on 403(b) Loan Process |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Complete Discontinuance of Plan Contributions |
NAPA Net: OregonSaves Second Wave Nears |
Kiplinger: The Best Financial-Planning Options for Near-Retirees |
The Motley Fool: 6 Great 401k Features Everyone Should Know About |
NAPA Net: TDFs: What To Do About Low Adoption Rates |
NAPA Net: ARA Recommends Expansion of Self Correction Program |
NAPA Net: Individual Account Ownership Key Differentiator in Net Worth | 3 Facts About Social Security Every Retiree Should Know |
NAPA Net: Is Retirement Plan Participation Underreported? |
NAPA Net: Reader Poll: Time for a Digital Disclosure Default? |
NAPA Net: IRS Asks for Input on Expansion of Determination Letter Program | Impact of Plan Size on Workers’ Retirement Income Adequacy |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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