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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 7/27/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 7/27/18
July 30
00:04 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:
The Three Most Important Practical Things You Must Know as a Professional Fiduciary,” (, July 24, 2018) Here’s the beginning of an operational definition of what it takes to be a good fiduciary (first of three installments).

Compliance – More on the Future:
It seems like there’s no end to people pontificating on what the future will look like. Idle speculation is the favorite hobby of the chattering class. Emphasis on the word “idle.”
Regulations for Definitions of QMAC and QNEC Finalized,” (PLANADVISER, July 20, 2018) For those who need to know.
This neglected population could get some relief if proposed 401k changes happen,” (MarketWatch, July 23, 2018) Could… or could not. It all depends if it passes.
Tax Reform 2.0 Features Tax Incentives for New Retirement Savings Vehicles,” (Financial Advisor, July 24, 2018) Not only does this not have the Child IRA provision, but it features an anti-Child IRA provision that allows parents to take money out of their IRA when a child is born. This is one big giant step backwards towards retirement readiness.
Dire Testimony from Stakeholders on State of Multiemployer Pensions,” (PLANADVISER, July 25, 2018) Reading this makes one wonder if pensions haven’t created a new slave class.

Fiduciary – “Fiduciary Is Dead! Long Live Fiduciary!”:
Long-time readers of won’t be surprised by a familiar pattern in this week’s slew of stories. It turns out the Fiduciary Rule did its job after all, without firing a single shot. If that’s not the hallmark of success, what is?
States Start Knitting a Patchwork of Best Interest Fiduciary Regulations, (PLANADVISER, July 24, 2018) Because state-regulated health insurance rules have worked so well in keeping costs low.
Do you have the ‘knows’ to be a fiduciary? – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, July 25, 2018) It turns out there may be times when the client isn’t always right. Those are the most dangerous times to be a fiduciary.
Is the Fiduciary Rule finally dead?” (Employee Benefit Adviser, July 26, 2018) It can never die if the marketplace insists on using only fiduciaries to advise them.
Fiduciary rule may be gone but many requirements still apply,” (Employee Benefit News, July 27, 2018) At least one attorney believes the Rule, despite its demise, has created a new and better de facto standard: If you provide advice, you’re a fiduciary, if you’re merely selling, you’re not a fiduciary. Furthermore, advice isn’t a temporary, one-time thing. It must be ongoing.
DOL Fiduciary Rule’s Death Doesn’t Mean Business as Usual: Ex-EBSA Head,” (ThinkAdvisor, July 27, 2018) Hmm, do we detect a trend here?

Fees – Crickets:
Apparently, banning plastic straws is more important.

Investments – The Bigger Picture:
Here’s an idea that leading financial planners have been advocating for some time.
Retirement asset allocations should include Social Security,” (Financial Planning, July 20, 2018) Because Social Security represents a fixed income asset.

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.
ESOPs appeal to retiring business owners,” (BenefitsPRO, July 19, 2018)
Addressing Plan Leakage with Sidecar Accounts,” (PLANADVISER, July 20, 2018)
AT&T Defeats ERISA Challenge, but Amended Complaint Is Likely,” (PLANADVISER, July 24, 2018)
General Cable Snaps Plaintiffs’ ERISA Stock Drop Claims,” (PLANADVISER, July 25, 2018)
Second Decision in Wells Fargo Stock Drop Case Parses ‘Loyalty’ and ‘Prudence’,” (PLANADVISER, July 26, 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.
Forget Retirement – Many Baby Boomers Are Starting Small Businesses Instead,” (Forbes, July 19, 2018)
Two strategies to simplify your taxes in retirement,” (CNBC, July 19, 2018)
3 ‘Small Steps’ To Take ‘Giant Leaps’ Towards Retirement Goals,” (Forbes, July 20, 2018)
Here’s Why People Aren’t Saving Enough for Retirement,” (ThinkAdvisor, July 20, 2018)
Should a soon-to-be retiree use savings to pay off the mortgage?” (Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2018)
How To Become A 401k Millionaire,” (Financial Advisor, July 23, 2018)
The 4% rule for retirement savings desperately needs to be modernized,” (MarketWatch, July 23, 2018)
Retirement Readiness Is Possible for Caregivers, But It’s Tough,” (PLANADVISER, July 23, 2018)
Retirement should be a transition to meaningful, exciting work,” (CNBC, July 23, 2018)
Can Your 401k Be Hacked?” (Forbes, July 23, 2018)
High-income savers use this tax-friendly strategy to save for retirement,” (CNBC, July 24, 2018)
Why Should Your Clients Retire When They Are Too Old To Enjoy It?” (Financial Advisor, July 25, 2018)
Retirement: Plan to work 2 years longer than you thought, survey suggests,” (USA Today, July 25, 2018)
Appeals Court Upholds Arbitration Ruling Against USC,” (PLANADVISER, July 25, 2018)
Answering The Most Important Retirement Planning Question,” (Forbes, July 25, 2018)
When is the best time to convert my traditional IRA to a Roth?” (MarketWatch, July 26, 2018)
Retire On $500,000 In New York City? This Advisor Says It’s Possible,” (Financial Advisor, July 26, 2018)
Gen X Retirement: Will It Be Amazing?” (Forbes, July 26, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Data “Points”: 7 Reasons Retirement Income Solutions Stall |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Less is almost always more |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: On The Form 5500, sometimes the answer lands you in trouble |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The problem of misplaced loyalty |
Ary Rosenbaum: Be Careful Who You Pick As Your 401k Plans TPA |
Fi360: What does Client Engagement Mean to Us? |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Senators: ‘Hey, FINRA – What Do You Think of the SEC’s Proposal?’ |
The Motley Fool: Too Many Retirees Are Making This Surprising Money Mistake |
NAPA Net: Wells Fargo Fends Off Second Shot at Stock Drop Suit |
NAPA Net: Comments on SEC’s Proposed ‘Best Interest’ Regulation Run the Gamut |
NAPA Net: Empire State Adopts ‘Best Interest’ Standard for Life Insurance and Annuities |
The Motley Fool: 11 Ways to Make Your Money Last Longer in Retirement |
NAPA Net: ‘Tax Reform 2.0’ to Include Universal Savings Accounts |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Do SEP and SIMPLE IRA Plans Require an ERISA Fidelity Bond? |
NAPA Net: Excessive Fee Suit Claims Dismissed – For Now |
The Motley Fool: Can I Open a SEP IRA if I Have a Side Hustle? |
NAPA Net: Cogent: Small, Mid-sized Plans Are the Sweet Spot in the 401k Market |
NAPA Net: House Passes Two HSA Bills |
The Motley Fool: 3 Things You Need to Know About 401k Distributions |
Kiplinger: With Taxes on Sale, Consider a Roth Conversion |
NAPA Net: SEC’s Peirce Takes on Critics of the Regulation Best Interest |
NAPA Net: Participants Get Errant Loan Text |
The Motley Fool: How to Build a Dividend Portfolio |

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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