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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 7/20/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 7/20/18
July 23
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:
Ongoing Debate: When (If Ever) Can a Fiduciary Legally Engage in Self-Dealing?” (, July 10, 2018) On the face of it, there appears to be little room for debate. Upon closer examination, however, the specifics of particular circumstances can muddle things up. Would you like to see what we mean by this? Here’s what you get when you ask the experts whether or not a fiduciary can ever legally engage in self-dealing.

Compliance – ‘tis the Season of Tea Leaves:
It’s that time of year again when all good little retirement industry fans try to make heads or tails out of what may (or may not) be coming out of Washington. Here’s a hint: Never count your chickens until the ink is dry.
Legislation Would Boost Retirement Plans for Small Businesses,” (PLANADVISOR, July 13, 2016) This really only applies to SIMPLE plans.
Peering Through the Regulatory Kaleidoscope,” (PLANADVISER, July 16, 2018) Nice “inside baseball” piece on regulatory uncertainty.
In Focus at DOL: Missing and Terminated Participants,” (PLANADVISER, July 16, 2018) Yes, this isn’t just a good thing or a housekeeping thing, this is a compliance thing.
It’s On! Republicans Push for 401k Retirement Revamp,” (The 401(k) Specialist, July 17, 2018) It must be that time of year again. Reading ta leaves is such a relaxing summertime activity.
Turning the 401k on Its Head,” (Retirement Income Journal, July 19, 2018) More on what might be.
As states roll out retirement plans, legal challenges loom,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, July 20, 2018) The headline promises more than the article delivers.

Fiduciary – To the Winner Go the Spoils:
Just how do we define who an outlaw is? It’s usually the person on the losing side of a war, a court case, or an election. Unless you’re in America. Then if you win an election you’re an outlaw. Go figure.
Judge Sets Hearing Date in Scottrade Fiduciary Case,” (ThinkAdvisor, July 16, 2018) Taking some poetic license from the actual script: Josey Wales: “You know, this isn’t necessary. You can just ride on.” Bounty Hunter: “A man’s got to do something for a living these days.” Josey Wales: “Dying ain’t much of a living, boy.”
No One Even Knows What ‘Best Interest’ Means, Industry Groups Say,” (ThinkAdvisor, July 16, 2018) Maybe it’s like Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography: “I know it when I see it.”

Fees – The Cost of Low Fees:
They say “you get what you pay for,” and that’s not something that’s necessarily in the best interest of the client. And that would be an important consideration for someone acting in a fiduciary capacity.
Fee compression: Bad for retirement savers? – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, July 13, 2018) The DOL is on the record saying it’s not the lowest fee that matters, but the greatest value. There’s a reason for that.

Investments – There is No “Safe” Decision:
People want their decision-making process to be straight forward and easy. When it comes to investing one’s retirement savings, that bill is just to
One of the biggest retirement mistakes investors are making today,” (CNBC, July 16, 2018) People come in all shapes and sizes. Could it be that a “one-size-fits-all” retirement savings approach is precisely the wrong approach. This article explores the dangers of Target Date Funds.
How to Choose the Right Target-Date Retirement Fund,” (Consumer Reports, July 17, 2018) And right on cue… But is Consumer Reports an appropriate source for investment advice?
Fixed Income Favored in 401k Trades During June,” (PLANADVISER, July 17, 2018) Of course, the devil is always in the details, but, as a general matter, this is not a very healthy sign for long-term savers.
Millennials making key investment, retirement mistakes,” (Fox Business, July 19, 2018) Same problem as usual. Being “safe” isn’t really being safe at all.

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.
The Status of Company Matches,” (PLANADVISER, May/June 2018)
District Court Sides with Checksmart and Cetera in ERISA Fee Litigation,” (PLANADVISER, July 16, 2018)
Brown University Wins Dismissal of Many Claims in 403(b) Plans Challenge,” (PLANADVISER, July 17, 2018)
Rainbow ESOP Challenge Easily Beats Motions to Dismiss,” (PLANADVISER, July 17, 2018)
Employers Report an Increased Demand for Financial Education Among Employees,” (PLANADVISER, July 18, 2018)
8 tough questions to ask your 401k investment adviser,” (Employee Benefit News, July 19, 2018)
District Court Denies Independent Contractors’ Eligibility Arguments, ERISA Suit,” (PLANADVISER, July 19, 2018)
Danger Zone: Strategies for employees approaching retirement,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, July 19, 2018)
AT&T Defeats Excessive Fee Lawsuit Over Its $34.8 Billion 401k,” (Bloomberg Law, July 19, 2018)
Millennials Reluctant to Invest in the Market,” (PLANADVISER, July 20, 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.
Optimizing Your Use Of Time For A Happier Retirement,” (Forbes, July 13, 2018)
How to Prevent Debt From Destroying Your Retirement,” (TheStreet, July 15, 2018)
6 Social Security myths that could make or break your retirement planning,” (CNBC, July 15, 2018)
I Am My Parents’ Retirement — How This Affects My Savings Strategy,” (Yahoo, July 16, 2018)
Why Women, Generation X Are So Far Behind The Retirement Eight-Ball,” (Financial Advisor, July 17, 2018)
Potential for Outliving Retirement Savings Is High: State Street,” (ThinkAdvisor, July 17, 2018)
Social Security: What to know, what to expect, how to make it better,” (MarketWatch, July 17, 2018)
When delaying retirement can pay off,” (CBS News, July 17, 2018)
Key retirement changes to watch for,” (Fox Business, July 17, 2018)
Retirement: What’s the ideal age to stop working?” (USA Today, July 18, 2018)
When you have much less time to plan your finances than you thought,” (CNBC, July 18, 2018)
10 Hidden Fees to Be Aware of in Retirement,” (US News, July 18, 2018)
Type of retirement spending determines life satisfaction,” (BenefitsPRO, July 19, 2018)
HSA members do not see them as tax savings, retirement tools,” (Employee Benefit News, July 19, 2018)
Millennials taking risk when tapping 401k to fund a home purchase,” (USA Today, July 20, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #98 |
Squared Away Blog: 401k Savers Make Little Progress |
Nerd’s Eye View: Delaying 401k RMDs With The Still-Working Exception |
Squared Away Blog: Work v. Save Options Quantified |
Fi360: How to Get the Most Out of Model Portfolios |
Ary Rosenbaum: The Mission Impossible Of Being A 401k Plan Sponsor |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Choice in 401k Plans isn’t exactly a great thing |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Don’t let your best employees leave over money |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Legislation Boosting SIMPLE Plans for Small Businesses Introduced |
NAPA Net: Are HSAs Part of Your Practice? |
NAPA Net: Small Business 401k Plans on the Up and Up |
NAPA Net: Untimely Small Plan Excessive Fee Suit Dismissed |
The Motley Fool: 6 Financial Milestones to Hit in Your 60s |
NAPA Net: 7 Reasons Retirement Income Solutions Stall |
NAPA Net: How Different Standards of Care Impact Investors |
Kiplinger: Bull or Bear Market – Who Cares? It Shouldn’t Matter |
Morningstar: 6 Portfolio To-Do’s for Retirees at Midyear |
NAPA Net: Bipartisan Senate Bills Seek to Boost Retirement Savings |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Distributions from NQDC Plans |
NAPA Net: Save More or Work Longer? |
NAPA Net: Investors Look to Financial Advisors for Help in Navigating Risks |
NAPA Net: Transfers Slow, But Volume Steady in Q2 |
Kiplinger: Saving for Retirement When You Have a Side Hustle |
The Motley Fool: Americans’ Ideal Retirement Age – and Why It’s Not Realistic |
NAPA Net: Bill Would Eviscerate ERISA Protections for Small Plan Participants |
NAPA Net: READER POLL: HSA Interest Strong, Involvement Not So Much |
NAPA Net: Brown University Beats Back Some Claims in Excessive Fee Suit |

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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