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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/18/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/18/18
May 21
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:
Exclusive Interview: Phyllis Borzi says Original Fiduciary 5-Part Test Left Plan Sponsors ‘Holding the Bag’,” (, May 15, 2018) For 8 years as Assistant Secretary of EBSA, Phyllis Borzi fought vigorously to protect plan sponsors and retirement savers under the uniform fiduciary umbrella. Here, she answers questions about the past, present and future of the Fiduciary Rule.

Compliance – Yes to Retirement:
If Americans want it so bad, why do they keep electing people that just talk about it and not pass the one piece of legislation that will quickly add more people to the retirement savings rolls?
Americans Support Retirement Security Public Policy,” (PLANADVISER, May 16, 2018) Surprise. Americans are thinking about their future. So are the politicians, but that doesn’t mean their interests are aligned.
Lawmakers Give 401k MEPs a Close Look,” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 16, 2018) Wait, have the summer sequels started already?

Fiduciary – C’mon Man!:
Really. Are the fiduciary games going to be the next series we see on ESPN?
Galvin Fighting for Fiduciary Duty That ‘Only He Believes Exists’: Scottrade Attorneys,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 11, 2018) The Massachusetts Attorney General has an uphill battle as the law he based his original case on has turned to vaporware. It could be worse. He could have been caught “role playing.”
Battle lines drawn over SEC best interest proposal,” (Financial Planning, May 16, 2018) The usual suspects are there, one side complaining that the porridge is too hot while the other complains it is too cold.
Is the perfect fiduciary rule even possible? – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, May 16, 2018) Forget conflicts of interest within the industry, it’s the structural conflicts within the regulatory bodies that may be the bigger obstacle. And these aren’t purposely designed “checks and balances” conflicts. These conflicts arose from the unmanaged evolution of the regulators, one that failed to anticipate the overlapping nature of once separate industries.
States Ask 5th Circuit to Reconsider DOL Fiduciary Intervention,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 17, 2018) Oops, they did it again.

Fees – Who Knew? (Part Deux):
More evidence that disclosure just doesn’t work.
Smaller 401k Sponsors (Still!) Struggle to Understand Fees,” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 8, 2018) Only one in five are “very familiar” with their plan’s fees.
Knowledge of Retirement Plan Fees Lacking by Small Businesses,” (PLANADVISER, May 11, 2017) Same story, different take.

Investments – Back to the Game Again:
Remember when we used to talk about these things all the time?
What To Do When Couples Have Differing Risk Tolerances,” (Financial Advisor, May 2018) Well, the first thing to tell them is it doesn’t matter what kind of books they like to read when they’re reading a map to determine the fastest way to get where they want to go. Risk tolerance is not a priority. Understanding what you need is key.
Is Your 401k Plan Ready For Rising Interest Rates?” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 8, 2018) How many realize their bond funds will go down when rates rise?
401k Investors Moved From Equities into Fixed Income in April,” (PLANADVISER, May 15, 2018) Of course, you know what this means…
Should Young Retirement Investors Really Go All-In on Risk?” (ThinkAdvisor, May 15, 2018) Interesting story. The idea isn’t the best investment strategy, but the best behavioral strategy. Read to discover why.
Are Managed Accounts Better for Participants Than TDFs?” (PLANADVISER, May 15, 2018) It comes down to this: would you rather ride the bus or a chauffeured limousine.

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.
Employees willing to sacrifice pay for better retirement benefits — but not healthcare,” (Employee Benefit News, May 10, 2018)
Top 8 Most Trusted 401k Plan Providers,” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 10, 2018)
Wells Fargo Faced With Revenue Sharing Lawsuit,” (PLANADVISER, May 11, 2018)
DOL Wins Restitution of Misused 401k Assets,” (PLANADVISER, May 11, 2018)
401k Plan Excessive Fee Lawsuit Filed, Settlement Reached,” (PLANADVISER, May 14, 2018)
Court Orders Past Trustee to Reimburse Plan Beneficiaries,” (PLANADVISER, May 14, 2018)
Assets in IRAs Top DC Plan Assets by 41%: EBRI,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 15, 2018)
When a Downward Trend in the Average Deferral Rate Is a Good Thing,” (PLANADVISER, May 15, 2018)
Steering plan sponsors to the most appropriate TPAs,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, May 15, 2018)
An increasing number of savers are rejecting retirement accounts in favor of these investments,” (MarketWatch, May 15, 2018)
11 tips to reduce retirement plan litigation risk,” (BenefitsPRO, May 16, 2018)
Americans Remained Committed to Their 401k Plans in 2017,” (PLANADVISER, May 17, 2018)
Are your employees banking too much on unused sick days for retirement?” (Employee Benefit News, May 17, 2018)
Plan Sponsor Challenged in a Lawsuit for Using Untested Hewitt Funds,” (PLANADVISER, May 17, 2018)
Fidelity: 401k millennials saving more than ever,” (Employee Benefit News, May 18, 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.
Trimming Taxes With A ‘Dynamic’ Roth Conversion,” (Financial Advisor, May 2018)
Is There a Gender Gap in Saving for Retirement?” (Wealth Management, May 10, 2010)
How Long $1 Million in Retirement Funds Lasts In Each State,” (Money, May 12, 2018)
How to Help Do-It-Yourself Investors Address the Retirement Gap,” (Wealth Management, May 15, 2018)
5 Ways to Rebuild Retirement Savings Later in Life,” (NerdWallet, May 15, 2018)
Americans’ Greatest Financial Regret: Not Saving Earlier for Retirement,” (PLANADVISER, May 16, 2018)
Millennials Increasingly Embrace Roth and Traditional IRAs,” (PLANADVISER, May 17, 2018)
Your Guide to Retirement Planning,” (US News, May 16, 2018)
Millennials Increasingly Embrace Roth and Traditional IRAs,” (PLANADVISER, May 17, 2018)
How to save twice your salary (or more) by age 35,” (MarketWatch, May 17, 2018)
The number of 401k plan millionaires hits new high,” (CNBC, May 17, 2018)
Assets, Not Age, Will Determine Retirement Date for Many,” (PLANADVISER, May 17, 2018)
U.S. Workers Rank Retirement Security First: Prudential,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 17, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Proskauer: ERISA’s Duty To Inform – Distinguishing Between Existing and Possible Benefits |
Proskauer: No Ongoing Administration, No ERISA Plan |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #90 |
Squared Away Blog: Why Retirement Inequality is Rising |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: DOL Provides Guidance On The Exercise Of Shareholder Rights, Written Statements Of Investment Policy And Economically Targeted Investments |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: I avoid it when it doesn’t look right, you should too |
Squared Away Blog: Target Date Funds are on a Roll |
Data “Points”: Crisis ‘Management’ |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Stable Value Snub Draws Excessive Fee Suit |
The Motley Fool: One-Third of Americans Have This Little in Retirement Savings |
NAPA Net: Philips Strikes a $17 Million Settlement |
NAPA Net: Crisis ‘Management’ |
NAPA Net: IRS Announces 2019 HSA Limits |
NAPA Net: Trump to Nominate New PBGC Director |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Plan Documents for 403(b) Plans |
NAPA Net: TDFs Top Trillion Dollar Mark |
NAPA Net: Reish: Fiduciary Best Practices Key to Compliance |
NAPA Net: Bipartisan Bill Boosts ESOPs |
The Motley Fool: Why Do Annuities Have Such a Bad Reputation? |
NAPA Net: MEPs, E-Delivery Focus of Hill Hearing |
NAPA Net: Helping Plan Sponsors Deal with the Missing Participant Problem |
NAPA Net: Excessive Fee Suit Targets TIAA Arrangement |
NAPA Net: What Are the Top Concerns of Americans in Retirement? |
The Motley Fool: 3 Social Security Mistakes That Could Cost You a Fortune |
NAPA Net: States Ask 5th Circuit to Reconsider Fiduciary Ruling |
NAPA Net: READER POLL: Fund Fees, Style Drift, and TDFs |
NAPA Net: Participant Trading Ticked Up in April |
NAPA Net: Older Americans Risking Nest Eggs by Avoiding Conversations About Aging |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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