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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/11/19 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/11/19
January 14
00:03 2019

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:
Will 401k Plan Sponsors Fall for These Over-Hyped Topics?” (, January 8, 2019) A good fiduciary needs to see through the hype and base decisions solely on matters of import. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. For one thing, hype, like humor, works because it’s based on truth. This mantle of credibility is just enough to lead the fiduciary astray.

Compliance – Potpourri:
Here’s a pleasant mix of topics you might find interesting.
The SEC on Rollovers,” (PLANADVISER, November/December 2018) ERISA attorneys opine on this.
‘Other Circumstances’” Added As Allowable Reason for Applying for Determination Letter,” (PLANADVISER, January 7, 2019) Does this mean they’ll accept “the dog ate it”?
Comments on MEP proposal reveal dissent between industry and AARP,” (BenefitsPRO, January 9, 2019) This shouldn’t surprise anyone.
NYC Mayor Pitches Retirement Fund for Private-Sector Workers,” (US News, January 10, 2019) It’s bad enough states are competing in private markets. Now cities appear to want in, too.

Fiduciary – This One’s Out of Left Field:
Surprise! Did you know a fiduciary can get in trouble by being duped? It happens all the time. (Remember all though lawsuits were the service providers got off scot-free and the plan sponsors were left holding the liability bag?)
A fiduciary must separate the wheat from the hype – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, January 9, 2019) Hype is dangerous because it contains just enough truth to lead you astray.

Fees – Can’t Sleep, Clown’ll Eat Me:
Fees are what happens when you’re busy doing other things.

Investments – Out of Date (Part Deux):
We’re still seeing a number of articles dealing with the subject of “the falling stock market.” That was so 2018.
How older workers and retirees can stop worrying about falling stocks,” (CBS News, January 4, 2019) “Build your retirement income portfolio,” says the article. How many times have you heard this? Do you realize a million-dollar nest that generates 3% in income only yields $30,000 a year? Income portfolios requirement lots of money to generate enough income to live on. This is not as universal an answer as some would hope.
How this early retiree is coping with the stock market’s losses in 2018,” (MarketWatch, January 10, 2019) Check out the part about keeping cash on the sidelines.

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.
Smart Design,” (PLANADVISER, November/December 2018)
This Plan Sponsor Is All-In on ESG TDFs,” (PLANADVISER, January 4, 2019)
Court Refuses to Dismiss Mutual of Omaha Self-Dealing Suit,” (PLANADVISER, January 4, 2019)
Why Current 401k MEP Mania Should Cool,” (401K Specialist, January 4, 2019)
Compensation Definition and Plan Docs at Heart of ConAgra ERISA Lawsuit,” (PLANADVISER, January 7, 2019)
4 Critical ERISA Cases to Watch in the Coming Year,” (401K Specialist, January 7, 2019)
Few Employers Effectively Timing Employees’ Retirement,” (PLANADVISER, January 7, 2019)
The ‘best-kept secret’ in benefits? There really is a definition of financial wellness,” (BenefitsPRO, January 7, 2019)
403(b) Plan Sponsors Continue to Improve Investment Oversight,” (PLANADVISER, January 8, 2019)
Employers don’t know when employees will retire,” (BenefitsPRO, January 8, 2019)
Georgetown University 403(b) Plan Defeats ERISA Challenge,” (PLANADVISER, January 9, 2019)
Hot topics in employee benefits: Multiple employer plans,” (BenefitsPRO, January 9, 2019)
Will 2019 Bring Solution to Small Business Coverage Gap?” (PLANADVISER, January 10, 2019)

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.
The Case for Roths,” (PLANADVISER, November/December 2018)
Retirement strategies for 2019: Buckle up for bumpy ride,” (Fox Business, January 4, 2019)
Job loss has more risks, repercussions and pain for older workers,” (CNBC, January 5, 2019)
I’m 35 and have nothing saved for retirement. Should I be worried?” (The Washington Post, January 7, 2019)
Roth IRA Conversions: How Much Is Too Much?” (ThinkAdvisor, January 8, 2019)
Why the retire early crowd shouldn’t panic after an ugly finish to 2018,” (MarketWatch, January 8, 2019)
Here are two strategies to turn your 2019 savings goals into reality,” (CNBC, January 8, 2019)
People who saved for retirement are being punished by Social Security taxes,” (MarketWatch, January 9, 2019)
The biggest mistake in equity compensation plans — and what employers should do about it,” (Employee Benefit News, January 9, 2019)
Boomers made up half of jobs gains in 2018 as older workers stayed on,” (USA Today, January 9, 2019)
Raising the Social Security retirement age: Urban Institute study reveals benefits, risks,” (BenefitsPRO, January 9, 2019)
1 in 5 millennials with debt expect to die without ever paying it off,” (CNBC, January 9, 2019)
Many Americans Think Proof Of Bigfoot Is More Likely Than A Comfortable Retirement,” (Financial Advisor, January 11, 2019)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Scholarly Financial Planner: Part IV: Meaningful Reforms to the Regulation of Investment Advice are Possible |
Rosenbaum: Retirement Plan Advisors Advantage |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Edward Jones Forks over $3 million in 401k lawsuit |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Industry Groups Urge DOL to Expand MEP Proposed Rule |
Scholarly Financial Planner: Part V. Disclosure Requirements the S.E.C. Could Adopt – That Make Sense |
Fi360: Organizing a Client Portfolio |
Scholarly Financial Planner: Part VI. A Wish List for an Accelerated Path toward a True Profession |
Nerd’s Eye View: Finding Your Tax Equilibrium Rate When Liquidating Retirement Accounts |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The road to more consolidation |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The problem with creating MEPs |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: New Year’s Resolution should be a plan review |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: ARA Announces New Government Affairs Leadership Team |
NAPA Net: What’s the (Big) Deal with ESG? |
NAPA Net: House Rule Changes Point to Gridlock During 116th Congress |
NAPA Net: En Banc Bid Rebuffed for Excessive Fee Suit |
Morningstar: 3 Ways to Cope During Tough Markets |
NAPA Net: Settlement Approved in Citigroup Excessive Fee Suit |
NAPA Net: 4 All Year Long ‘Resolutions’ for Plan Fiduciaries |
NAPA Net: How Well Are Your Clients Managing Today’s Wave of Retirees? |
NAPA Net: A Financial Education Checklist for ’19  |
The Motley Fool: Want to Max Out Your IRA in 2019? Here’s How Much to Save From Each Paycheck |
NAPA Net: Another University Wins 403(b) Suit |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Annuity Provider Selection Safe Harbor for DC Plans |
NAPA Net: Should a 401k Be Used to Buy a Deferred Income Annuity? |
NAPA Net: Debunking 7 Myths About Millennial Investing Habits |
Kiplinger: 5 Often-Overlooked Questions for Financial Advisers |
NAPA Net: Ripples in the Pond |
NAPA Net: Amid Market Volatility, RIAs Anticipate Continued Strong Growth in 2019 |
Morningstar: When Markets Are Tough, Don’t Look |
The Motley Fool: Social Security Is 66% of Retirees’ Primary Source of Income – and That’s a Problem |
NAPA Net: Market Volatility Creates Uptick in 401k Trading Activity |
NAPA Net: Is the (Advisor) Environment Not Quite Ready for ESG? |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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