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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/11/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/11/18
May 14
01:58 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:
It’s Not the Professional Title, But This Written Document That Creates a Fiduciary Relationship,” (, May 8, 2018) Are LPOAs enough to end the confusion? Maybe not. But they do provide the legal basis for which one can substantiate the reality of a fiduciary relationship.

Compliance – Do We Really Want to Go Down That Road:
It’s becoming increasing clear the incentives we offer politicians only serve their purpose. This impact all policy decisions, but it’s most apparent in retirement plan policy.
Blame our politicians for the retirement savings problem,” (TheHill, May 4, 2018) Interesting ideas here, especially the underreported potential problem with state-sponsored retirement plans for private workers. Turns out England did the same thing and ruined the lives of the poorest cohort of society. The article explains why.
Upcoming Mid-Term Elections Could Create Push to Move Forward Retirement Plan Agendas,” (PLANADVISER, May 7, 2018) Wait, maybe Godot really will show up this time.
Every Illinoisan Owes $11,000 for Pensions With No Fix in Sight,” (Financial Advisor, May 8, 2018) This is why states can’t have nice things.

Fiduciary – Just When You Thought Things Couldn’t Get More Confusing:
Forget about it. Just Forget about it.
DOL Announces Fiduciary Rule Enforcement Policy,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 7, 2018) In an attempt to make things clearer, it appears they’ve made things more confusing.
DOL Announces Enforcement Policy Changes After End of Fiduciary Rule,” (PLANADVISER, May 7, 2018) Same story, different take.
DOL Announces Fiduciary Policy After Bombshell Ruling,” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 7, 2018) And, again.
Labor, IRS extend enforcement policy on a fiduciary rule that no longer exists,” (BenefitsPRO, May 7, 2018) If a tree falls in the forest… oh, never mind.
With DOL Rule Defeated, States May Step In With Own Fiduciary Rules,” (Financial Advisor, May 7, 2018) News flash: The states already have their own rules. It’s called “Trust Law” and it can apply to anyone entering into a fiduciary relationship. It all depends on the type of contract that’s signed.
Fiduciary rule critic Piwowar to leave SEC,” (Financial Planning, May 7, 2018) The Republican member’s term is expiring. Probably won’t change what’s going on.
DOL Refuses to Drop Fiduciary Rule, But Won’t Pursue Violations,” (Financial Advisor IQ, May 8, 2018) Looks like an internal compromise.
SEC’s ‘best interest’ proposal falls short of its laudable goal,” (TheHill, May 8, 2018) More from a political point of view.
Fiduciary Advocates Slam SEC’s Investment Advice Reform,” (Financial Advisor IQ, May 8, 2018) More comments. And these comments are quite good.
Does Piwowar’s Departure Throw a Wrench Into SEC’s Broker Conduct Plan?” (ThinkAdvisor, May 8, 2018) Probably not.
There is no such thing as an accidental fiduciary – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, May 9, 2018) It’s all about the documents that two parties sign.
ERISA Attorneys Help Digest DOL’s ‘Confusing’ Fiduciary Rule FAB 2018-02,” (PLANADVISER, May 9, 2018) These attorneys seem to feel the DOL and IRS agreeing to not enforce a Rule that no longer exists will allow the states to enforce a Rule that no longer exists. You see why it’s so confusing?

Fees – Who Knew?:
Playing shell games with fees doesn’t just look like you’re promoting a scam, it can get you in the same sort of trouble.
How to find fees in annuities,” (Financial Planning, May 7, 2018) As the tag line to this article most appropriately says, “Good luck finding them.”
Fifth Third Sanctioned $6M Over Annuity Disclosure Failures,” (Financial Advisor IQ, May 9, 2018) And in a related story…
401k fees are falling, due to lawsuits over charges,” (CNBC, May 9, 2018) It’s amazing what will get some people to pay attention.

Investments – Here We Go With ‘Risk’ Again:
Your name doesn’t have to be Peter, Paul or Mary to ask, “When will they ever learn?”
ICI Data Shows Managers Have Substantially Cut TDF, Other Mutual Fund Expenses,” (PLANADVISER, May 7, 2018) Notice this is in the Investment category and not the Fee category.
Investors’ Fear of Risk Is Endangering Their Retirement: Survey,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 7, 2018) Wait until they see the meager amount of income their assets can guarantee. That might change their definition of what “risk” is.
Institutional Plan Returns See First Negative Quarter in Nearly Three Years,” (PLANADVISER, May 8, 2018) Let’s see if anyone notices.
Confused about these investing terms? You’re not alone,” (MarketWatch, May 10, 2018) Relax. No one else knows what they’re doing either.

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.
Gen Xers Are Really Worried About Retirement, and Advisors Can Help,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 3, 2018)
Aon Hewitt Investment Consultants, Lowe’s 401k Plan Latest Target of ERISA Lawsuit,” (PLANADVISER, May 4, 2018)
2 Things Advisors Might Not Know About Retirees,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 4, 2018)
Helping Plan Sponsors Establish Internal Controls,” (PLANADVISER, May 4, 2018)
Which 401k Plan Features Boost Retirement Readiness?” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 4, 2018)
Advisors Need To Focus On Client Quality Of Life,” (Financial Advisor, May 9, 2018)
Employers overlook Baby Boomers for retirement needs of millennials,” (Employee Benefit News, May 9, 2018)
ESOP Participants to Receive More Than $2 Million for Overpayment of Stock,” (PLANADVISER, May 9, 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.
Moms giving financial advice but lagging in retirement preparedness,” (BenefitsPRO, May 3, 2018)
Who’s better off – today’s retirees or yesteryear’s?” (CBS News, May 3, 2018)
Confidence in Retirement Planning Correlates With Higher Retirement Income,” (PLANADVISER, May 4, 2018)
Saddled with Debt, Millennials Postpone Major Milestones,” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 6, 2018)
What Americans Think About Retirement Income in 5 Charts,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 7, 2018)
Retirement Taxes Can Derail DC Plan Participants’ Progress,” (PLANADVISER, May 7, 2018)
4 Ways To Mitigate The Impact Of RMDs, Says Michael Kitces,” (Financial Advisor, May 8, 2018)
Trust in Social Security Falters in 2018 Planning & Progress Study,” (PLANADVISER, May 8, 2018)
Millennials Learned to Save, But Not How to Invest,” (PLANADVISER, May 9, 2018)
Most Workers Willing to Pay More for Better Retirement Benefits,” (PLANADVISER, May 9, 2018)
The huge financial burden many retirees now face,” (MarketWatch, May 12, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Ary Rosenbaum: Retirement Plan Advisors Advantage |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #89 |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: In Response To Fifth Circuit’s Vacating The New Fiduciary Rule And Related Exemptive Relief, DOL Announces Temporary Enforcement Policy On Prohibited Transactions Rules Applicable To Investment Advice Fiduciaries |
Squared Away Blog: Social Security Mistakes Can be Costly |
Proskauer: Budget Act Relaxes Hardship Withdrawal Rules, But Some Changes May Not Apply to 403(b) Plans |
Proskauer: New DOL FAB Further Delays Enforcement of Fiduciary Rule, But Does Not Undo The Rule In Its Entirety |
Data “Points”: Means ‘Tested’ |
Ary Rosenbaum: A Plan Sponsor Needs A Retirement Plan “Dentist” |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The DOL Rolls Over, Fiduciary Rule Effectively Dead |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Sometimes, change is anyone’s guess |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: With Fiduciary Rule ‘Dead,’ DOL, IRS Move to Fill BIC Void |
NAPA Net: What’s Your Draw-Down Direction(s)? |
NAPA Net: Matrix Refutes Functional Fiduciary Claim in Vantage Benefits Suit |
NAPA Net: Participant Communications: Targeting the Goal Line | The Silly Mistake 1 in 5 Retirees Needlessly Make |
NAPA Net: DOL Puts Fiduciary Rule Enforcement on Hold |
NAPA Net: Means ‘Tested’ |
NAPA Net: Piwowar to Leave SEC |
NAPA Net: Has HSA Enrollment Stalled? |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Forms of SEP Plan Documents and When to Use Them |
NAPA Net: Biggs: Is the Retirement Crisis ‘Real’? |
The Motley Fool: This Key Social Security Funding Source Will Disappear in 16 Years |
NAPA Net: Report: Fear of Litigation Potentially Stifling 401k Plan Innovation |
NAPA Net: Your Reputation Has Transcendent Value |
NAPA Net: What Do Retirement Savers Worry About the Most? |
The Motley Fool: More Than Half of Americans Surveyed Plan to Work Past 65. But What if You Can’t? |
NAPA Net: Workforce Changes Will Require New Retirement Policy Strategies |
NAPA Net: Financial Wellness: Prescription for the Bottom Line |

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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