What do you think of our site upgrade?
Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 8/17/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 8/17/18
August 20
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:
As a Professional Fiduciary, You Must Never Do Any of These 7 Things,” (, August 14, 2018) We want to focus on the type of “nevers” that, in the heat of the moment or humdrum routine of everyday life, fiduciaries can find themselves slowly sliding down that slippery slope towards. In fact, if, as you read these, you catch yourself muttering something about “there’s always an exception,” then you’ve just discovered where that slippery slope lies.

Compliance – Ruh-Roh:
Every so often, the rose-colored spectacles come off and we’re forced to deal with reality.
Social Security Will Go Broke Faster Than You Think, Wharton School Says,” (Financial Advisor, August 13, 2018) And this surprises who?

Fiduciary – Fiduciary Ping Pong:
We’ll probably continue to see “fiduciary” bantered back and forth by opposing sides for a while yet.
SEC Reg BI Must Include Rollovers: Morningstar,” (ThinkAdvisor, August 14, 2018) Not for nothing, but doesn’t the SEC cover all accounts, unlike the DOL that covers just retirement plans?
The ‘Fiduciary Rule’ versus the ‘Rule of Fiduciary’ – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, August 15, 2018) Some practical guidance to distract you from the regulatory distractions.
Judge Remands Scottrade Fiduciary Case Back to State Agency,” (ThinkAdvisor, August 16, 2018) So it’s not a Federal case. That may help the Massachusetts AG, but it may also limit the relevance of the outcome of the case.

Fees – Will This Dilemma Ever Be Solved:
It’s beginning to look like the fee debate will continue as long as any other “low price” versus “high value” product debate.
‘Father of 401k plan’ Says Plan Advisors Are Overpaid,” (ThinkAdvisor, August 13, 2018) Ted Benna offers a lot of “money” (as in, “on the”) quotes.
Different Flavors of Fee Levelization,” (PLANADVISER, August 15, 2018) Interesting article, especially the part about “pro-rata” vs. “per capita.” This is bund to be controversial.

Investments – Sometimes Good News is Smack Dab In Front of Your Face:
You only need to accept it.
GAO Says Changes in DOL Guidance on ESG Prevent Retirement Plans from Embracing It,” (PLANADVISER, August 10, 2018) This is actually a good thing. It helps protect fiduciaries from certainly liabilities associated with investing for political reasons as opposed to the beneficiaries’ best interests.
July a Slow Trading Month for 401k Investors,” (PLANADVISER, August 14, 2018) Here’s the thing: Long-term investing like retirement savings assets should have very little “trading” to begin with.

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.
CFOs Say More Increases in 401k Matches Are Coming,” (ThinkAdvisor, August 9, 2018)
Participants in Abandoned Plan Get Help From DOL,” (PLANADVISER, August 13, 2018)
Retirement Plan Sponsors Refocusing 401k Efforts, Fidelity Says,” (Financial Advisor, August 13, 2018)
With fiduciary rule’s demise, plan sponsors shift focus,” (BenefitsPRO, August 13, 2018)
Non-ERISA 403(b) Plan Sponsor Cited for Late Deposit of Deferrals,” (PLANADVISER, August 13, 2018)
Top Plan Sponsor Concern Shifts from Reducing Costs to …,” (The 401(k) Specialist, August 13, 2018)
Plan Sponsors Missing Opportunities to Improve Employee Retirement Outcomes,” (PLANADVISER, August 14, 2018)
How to best educate baby boomer workers on retirement,” (Employee Benefit News, August 14, 2018)
Bill to Help Companies Establish ESOPs Signed by President,” (PLANADVISER, August 15, 2018)
After using their 401k plans as a piggy bank, workers fret for the future,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, August 16, 2018)
The next big advancement for the 401k,” (Employee Benefit News, August 17, 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.
Want To Cut The Taxes In Your Retirement Money?” (Forbes, August 10, 2018)
Women and Divorce: How to Protect Your Retirement Security,” (Money, August 10, 2018)
Inheritance Is Not a Sound Retirement Strategy,” (PLANADVISER, August 13, 2018)
How to maximize retirement savings: ‘Financial comedian’ Jeff Kreisler,” (BenefitsPRO, August 13, 2018)
Young Americans expect to retire by 60 even as debt levels pile up,” (Fox Business, August 13, 2018)
Part-time work in retirement can affect Social Security and Medicare,” (CNBC, August 13, 2018)
What Experts Say You Need To Do To Retire In 2018,” (Forbes, August 14, 2018)
Sam Dogen: Fear of running out of money in retirement is overblown,” (CNBC, August 14, 2018)
Doing this one thing could make you a better investor — and it’s free,” (MarketWatch, August 15, 2018)
Number of 401k millionaires hit record high,” (USA Today, August 16, 2018)
What to do with your 401k plan? Consider moving it to an IRA,” (USA Today, August 16, 2018)
Student loans after 40: Is your retirement doomed?” (MarketWatch, August 17, 2018)
The best way to save for retirement may be to not think about it,” (MarketWatch, August 17, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Fi360: RFP Best Practices |
Ary Rosenbaum: What Makes A 401k Plan Sponsor A “Mark” For Litigation |
The Chicago Financial Planner: 7 Things to Know About the New Tax Law |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The problem with consolidation in the TPA business |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: What’s In It For Them? |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Anyone can be a TPA and that’s a problem |
Squared Away Blog: Americans With Small 401k Plans Worry |
Fred Reish: Moving from Angles to Bests |
Business of Benefits: The DOL’s “Plan Investment Conflicts Project” Is Showing Up In Its Plan Audits: Who Should Be Responsible For Watching the “Black Box”? |
RetirementRevised: Rosy assumptions on retirement timing invite rude financial surprise |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Eighth Circuit Upholds District Court’s Dismissal Of The Plaintiff’s Complaint For Failure To State A Case Under ERISA |
RetirementRevised: Retirement success: focus on the paycheck, not a savings number |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Most Participants Would Rather Leave Retirement Investing to Professionals |
NAPA Net: Fewer Plan Sponsors Looking to Change Advisors, But… |
NAPA Net: Happen ‘Stance’ |
NAPA Net: 17 State AGs Ding SEC Proposal |
Kiplinger: Are You Ready for Longevity? 4 Steps to Take Now |
NAPA Net: ESG Sees Upswing Among Institutional Investors, But Not DC Plans |
NAPA Net: 401k Trades Took Some Time Off in July |
NAPA Net: RIAs and Rollover Recommendations |
NAPA Net: Overcoming Risk Reluctance: Most Retail Investors Prefer Protection |
NAPA Net: CalSavers Set to Hire Administrator, Investment Manager |
NAPA Net: Retirement Planning Tools, Financial Wellness Top Participants’ Wish List |
Kiplinger: Why Live Alone in Retirement? Form a Pod Instead |
NAPA Net: Illinois Secure Choice ‘May’ Offer More Choice |
NAPA Net: Most See Bias in Retirement Coverage |
NAPA Net: Terms Announced in Proprietary Fund Settlement |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

Related Articles

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

1 Comment

Only registered users can comment. Login is sponsored by…

Order Your From Cradle to Retirement book today!

Vote in our Poll


The materials at this web site are maintained for the sole purpose of providing general information about fiduciary law, tax accounting and investments and do not under any circumstances constitute legal, accounting or investment advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of an appropriate professional. Please carefully read the terms and conditions for using this site. This website contains links to third-party websites. We are not responsible for, and make no representations or endorsements with respect to, third-party websites, or with respect to any information, products or services that may be provided by or through such websites.