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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 12/28/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 12/28/18
December 31
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:
401k Plan Sponsor and Fiduciary Top 5 All-Time Most Popular “Must-Read” Articles,” (, December 26, 2018) Distilling a million separate page-views down to a handful of articles is a very difficult process. We trust you’ve found the worth of these articles and, over the years past and the years to come, that you have taken and will continue to take from them something of value from

Compliance – “I Love It When a Plan Works”:
These immortal words of the A-Team’s Hannibal Smith capture the success of retirement plans over the last two generations. Too bad some are watching a different movie.
DOL Asked for Guidance on Retirement Plan Cybersecurity,” (PLANSPONSOR, December 21, 2018) Just like anything else, exposure to hacking is a real risk.
Private Market’s ‘Dramatic Failure’ Reason for State Retirement Plans?” (401K Specialist, December 22, 2018) This interview with the California State Treasurer exposes how his state is attempting to justify using public resources to compete in private markets.
401k’s are failing; here’s what we need instead, professor says,” (BenefitsPRO, December 26, 2018) What’s that they say about a lie being repeated often enough?
Retirement Assets Hit $29.2T: ICI Report,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 28, 2018) Looks like we need more failing.
Oregon calling on other states to roll out retirement plans,” (Employee Benefit News, December 28, 2018) The best way to protect your behind when you’re sticking your nose out is to convince everybody else to stick their noses out with you.

Fiduciary – “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here”:
We’re not saying Dante Alighieri is a fiduciary, but you’ve ever read his Divine Comedy that includes this classic warning its first part (Inferno), you’ll swear he was.
How investors lose money with a broker instead of a fiduciary fee-only advisor,” (Financial Planning, December 28, 2018) Playful snark from fan favorite Bob Veres. Reader discretion advised.

Fees – “Say It Ain’t So, Joe…”:
You probably think a little kid said this to Shoeless Joe Jackson, but it was really a headline in the Chicago Daily News. No word if the 1919 Chicago White Sox were paid with 12b-1 fees.
SEC 12b-1 Fee Crackdown Ensnares American Portfolios Advisors, PPS Advisors,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 27, 2018) If you didn’t see this coming, you haven’t been paying attention… for the past 20 years.

Investments – “He’s Dead, Jim.”:
But you already knew that from the moment he walked in wearing a red shirt.
Professor has some questions about your index funds,” (On Wall Street, December 26, 2018) Used to be index funds were simple proxies for the market. Now they’re slicing and dicing them in ways that may nullify their “index” status. Spoiler alert: this is not new.
Five smart investment moves to make as a bear market looms,” (CNBC, December 26, 2018) The thing is, once you start seeing headlines like this, it’s usually too late to make the move.
Stock market’s wild swings can teach you valuable money lessons,” (MarketWatch, December 27, 2018) Here’s a long list of articles that contain these lessons.
4 critical questions to ask during a market downturn — and how financial advisers answer them,” (MarketWatch, December 28, 2018) Once again, if you have to ask the question, by the time you get the answer the opportunity will have passed.

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.
Student Loan Matching Provision Added to 401ks,” (401K Specialist, December 20, 2018)
401k Participants Do Rollovers Right,” (401K Specialist, December 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.
You could be up against a deadline that will trigger a big tax penalty, (CNBC, December 20, 2018)
Financial advisors can generate new business and fees by focusing on IRA trusts,” (Financial Planning, December 20, 2018)
These Social Security claiming strategies can grow retirement checks,” (CNBC, December 21, 2018)
How Trust in Financial Institutions Affects Retirement Plan Participation,” (401K Specialist, December 21, 2018)
IRA trusts need an advisor checkup,” (Financial Planning, December 24, 2018)
How Second Marriages Can Wreck Retirement And Estate Plans,” (Financial Advisor, December 26, 2018)
Why employees should never cash out their employer-sponsored defined contribution plan,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, December 27, 2018)
Unanticipated Responsibility: How Will Caring For Others Impact Your Retirement?” (Forbes, December 27, 2018)
Why The Real Face Of Retirement Is Often Sad,” (Financial Advisor, December 28, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: How you treat employees can say a lot about you |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Picking a TPA just on price is one of the biggest mistakes you can make |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: What all good 401k plans have |
Data “Points”: Are Your Retirement Savings Naughty? Or Nice? |
Business of Benefits: The TAG Comment to the DOL MEP proposal: The DOL’s Own Reasoning Supports MEPs Being “Open” |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Second Circuit Holds That Plaintiff’s Complaint Makes Out A Case Of Breach Of The Duty Of Prudence |
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Blog: Second Circuit Revives Dismissed ERISA Stock-Drop Suit |
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Blog: ERISA Implications for Firing A Whistleblower |
Ary Rosenbaum: New Year’s Resolutions For 401k Plan Sponsors |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Kiplinger: Leaving a Job? How to Decide on a 401k Rollover |
NAPA Net: Chevron Excessive Fee Suit Makes En Banc Bid |
NAPA Net: Digital Assets, Cybersecurity, Fees, Conflicts Top List of SEC Exam Priorities |
NAPA Net: E-Delivery Bill’s Introduction in the Senate Sets the Stage for 2019 Action |
NAPA Net: Court Seeks Clarifications on Proposed Excessive Fee Settlement |
NAPA Net: 9th Circuit Sets New ‘Actual Knowledge’ Standard in 401k Suit |
NAPA Net: Report Finds Interest in ESG Growing, But Investment Lagging |
NAPA Net: Stock Drop Stokes ERISA Breach Investigation |
NAPA Net: Survey Finds Advisors Good for Retirement Readiness, Confidence, Planning |
Kiplinger: How to Save $1 Million with a Roth |
Morningstar: Top Picks for Simplifying Your Portfolio in 2019 |
NAPA Net: SEC Charges Advisors with 12b-1 Violations |
NAPA Net: Massachusetts, MetLife Strike Deal on ‘Missing’ Pensions |
NAPA Net: What Does ‘Best Interest’ Mean? |
The Motley Fool: Are There Benefits to Signing Up for Social Security and Medicare at the Same Time? |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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