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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/25/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/25/18
May 29
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 a Fiduciary Answers the Individual Stocks vs. Mutual Fund Question,” (, May 22, 2018) If you’re a fiduciary and you haven’t ask this question, you might want to read this before you make your next decision.

Compliance – A Cornucopia of Thoughts:
Retirement is an expansive universe. There are many ways to approach it, many policies to address it, and many paths to ruin it.
Industry Sources Urge Lawmakers to Move Forward on Retirement Plan Proposals,” (PLANADVISER, May 17, 2018) Here’s hoping.
PBGC Multiemployer Pension Guarantees Are Lousy: Hearing Revelation,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 18, 2018) Oops! Looks like, assuming you make too much money, you’ll lose almost 90% of your promised benefit.
‘Father of 401k’s’ Says Big Changes Are Needed,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 21, 2018) When Ted Benna talks, people listen.
Plans With Complete Discontinuance of Contributions Treated As Terminated for Vesting Purposes,” (PLANADVISER, May 22, 2018) Here’s something a lot of plan sponsors might not realize.
SEC Lays Out Valuable Features of HSAs,” (PLANADVISER, May 23, 2018) A must read for those with high deductible plans.
Derisking pension plans,” (Employee Benefit News, May 25, 2018) Get out. Get out while you can.

Fiduciary – We’ve Only Just Begun:
Or not. It seems some people have a hard time moving one. Strike that. It seems some people don’t have a very deep playbook. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Let’s talk about that.
Three States Continue the Fight to Save DOL’s Fiduciary Rule,” (Financial Advisor IQ, May 21, 2018) A valiant effort for The Lost Cause.
5th Circuit may be considering review of fiduciary rule decision, some speculate,” (BenefitsPRO, May 18, 2018) Perhaps The Cause may not be so Lost after all. Or maybe the para just got stuck in a long line behind the copy machine.
Divine Regulation: God Wants Fiduciary Rule, Pope Says,” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 19, 2018) This one’s leaving both Catholics and fiduciary advocates with an awkward cringe.
Why ‘Fiduciary’ Was Left Out of the SEC Proposal,” (Financial Planning, May 22, 2018) Because it was too confusing. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.
5th Circuit Again Denies States’ Intervention in DOL Fiduciary Ruling,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 22, 2018) Oops! They did it again.
SEC: Brokers Must Mitigate And Eliminate Conflicts, Not Just Disclose,” (Financial Advisor,May 23, 2018) Well this must just perk up the ears to fiduciary advocates.
Clayton: ‘No Daylight’ Between Advisor, BD Duties in SEC Rule Proposal,” (Wealth Management, May 23, 2018) More on the story.
5th Circuit rejects states’ bid to defend fiduciary rule, as Dems ask DOL to petition SCOTUS,” (BenefitsPRO, May 23, 2018) Same story with a different twist.
Brokers will always be fiduciaries,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, May 23, 2018) And always have been, according to this piece that takes a historical perspective.
Advisor Groups Critical, Want Delay Of SEC’s ‘Best Interest’ Standard For Brokers,” (Financial Advisor, May 25, 2018) What’s interesting is that both sides are joining together to request this.

Fees – We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Fees:

Investments – Teetering on the Edge:
When new ideas are hard to come by and things appear worn out, retread with old idea.
Opportunities Exist, But Future of CITs in 403(b) Plans Remains Murky,” (PLANADVISER, May 18, 2018) It’s not just he future, but CITs are a bit murky themselves. That’s one of the reasons their operating costs can be much lower than comparable mutual fund operating costs. They don’t have the same regulatory overhead.
Danger: Don’t Judge a Fund By its Active/Passive Label,” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 21, 2018) Just because it’s passive doesn’t mean it’s not a fiduciary breach. The article explains.
You call that 401k diversification? Take a closer look,” (Employee Benefit News, May 22, 2018) Feel free to disagree.
Retirees: Stop paying attention to the markets,” (MarketWatch, May 24, 2018) If a watched pot never boils, then a watched portfolio never grows.

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.
University of Rochester Called Out for Excessive Fees Paid to TIAA,” (PLANADVISER, May 18, 2018)
Rare Motion for Reconsideration Granted by District Court in ERISA Suit,” (PLANADVISER, May 18, 2018)
How Did 401k Participants Behave Last Year?” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 19, 2018)
Fidelity 401k millennials saving more than ever,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, May 21, 2018)
401k account consolidation: The key to reducing lost participants,” (Employee Benefit News, May 21, 2018)
Steering plan sponsors to the most appropriate TPAs,” (Employee Benefit News, May 21, 2018)
Plan Sponsors Must Be Given Deference in Lawsuits Challenging Ambiguous Plan Terms,” (PLANADVISER, May 21, 2018)
Employers can bar workers’ class-action lawsuits, Supreme Court rules,” (BenefitsPRO, May 21, 2018)
8 tough questions to ask your 401k investment adviser,” (Employee Benefit News, May 22, 2018)
Retirement plans being used for immediate needs not for savings,” (Fox Business, May 22, 2018)
Financially Stressed, Employees Look to 401ks to Cover Expenses,” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 22, 2018)
The future of 401k plans may look like this – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, May 23, 2018)
Understanding (and Solving) the Problem of Women’s 401k ‘Leakage’,” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 23, 2018)
Settlement Preliminarily Approved in University of Chicago Excessive Fee Suit,” (PLANADVISER, May 23, 2018)
A new solution to tackle the old problem of missing 401k plans,” (Employee Benefit News, May 25, 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.
Will ‘Gig Economy’ Threaten Workers’ Retirement Security?” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 18, 2018)
This Entrepreneurial Strategy Avoids Taxes, But It ROBS Retirements,” (Financial Advisor, May 18, 2018)
Fewer Parents Tap Retirement Funds to Pay for Kids’ College,” (The 401(k) Specialist, May 19, 2018)
Will Tax Reform Cause a Roth Conversion Bonanza?” (Wealth management, May 21, 2018)
Financial Independence: How a Couple Saved $1 Million,” (Money, May 21, 2018)
All the ways you can mess up your 401k – even if you max out your contributions,” (MarketWatch, May 22, 2018)
How Freelancers Can Save For Retirement—In 4 Easy Steps,” (Money, May 22, 2018)
Think saving for retirement is unrealistic? Try retiring with no savings,” (MarketWatch, May 22, 2018)
How to Use a Side Job to Save for Retirement,” (US News, May 23, 2018)
How student loans stop people from saving for retirement,” (CNBC, May 23, 2018)
Millennials Better Prepared for Retirement than Their Parents,” (PLANADVISER, May 24, 2018)
Things to give up to retire early,” (CNBC, May 24, 2018)
How Much Can You Spend in Retirement?” (US News, May 24, 2018)
Why Is Retirement So Stressful?” (Forbes, May 24, 2018)
Make Your Kid Rich with a Child IRA,” (98.9 The Buzz, May 25, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Ary Rosenbaum: Using A Payroll Provider As Your 401k TPA Is An Awful Idea |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: There is no such thing as an Assembly Line Retirement Plan |
Ary Rosenbaum: Plan Sponsors Need To Vet Any Potential TPA |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Advisors can’t care about fiduciary duty and recommend bad TPAs |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The Value and Peril of Flat Fee Billing |
Fi360: Conformity is Not the End |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #91 |
Squared Away Blog: Public Pension Cuts Hit Recruitment |
Ary Rosenbaum: Plan Sponsors Need To Vet Any TPA Referral |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Those University Lawsuits are like shooting fish in a barrel |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Pick a marketing/PR firm that understand what you do |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: LIMRA: Delaying Retirement Good for Employees and Employers |
NAPA Net: How Well Positioned Are Younger Workers to Save for Retirement? |
Kiplinger: You Are Worth More Than Your Stuff |
The Motley Fool: Is It Too Soon to Tap Your Retirement Funds? |
NAPA Net: Senate Dems Push for SCOTUS Scrutiny on Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: First-Hand Experience |
NAPA Net: Fidelity 401k and IRA Balances Dipped Slightly in First Quarter |
NAPA Net: Why Don’t More Americans Have a Financial Plan? |
Morningstar: What If This Turns Out to Be a Terrible Time to Retire? |
The Motley Fool: The Surprising Thing Seniors Miss the Most About Pre-Retirement Life |
NAPA Net: States Strike Out Again in 5th Circuit |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Maximum Deferral to a 457(b) Plan |
NAPA Net: Is Gig Work Becoming a Back-up Retirement Plan? |
NAPA Net: SEC Publishes Investor Bulletin on… HSAs |
The Motley Fool: 1 Smart Social Security Move for Americans of All Ages |
NAPA Net: University of Chicago Settles Excessive Fee Suit |
NAPA Net: Asian Americans Appear More Cautious with Retirement Risks, Study Finds |
NAPA Net: Are Investors Ready for a Return of Market Volatility? |
Kiplinger: Avoiding the 50% Penalty on Overlooked RMDs |
The Motley Fool: These 5 Moves Will Shrink Your Social Security Benefits |
NAPA Net: Women Face Cashout Challenge |
NAPA Net: Many Adults Feel Behind in Their Retirement Savings, Fed Survey Shows |
The Motley Fool: Self-Employed? Here Are 5 Retirement Savings Options for You |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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