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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/4/19 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 1/4/19
January 07
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:
A Fiduciary Focus: 5 Steps 401k Plan Sponsors Should Resolve to Take in 2019,” (, January 2, 2019) The need for 401k plan sponsors to increase their focus on their fiduciary duties and, specifically, execute strategies with can reduce their fiduciary liability, arises from this New Fiduciary Era in which we find ourselves. Fortunately, the path to implementing these strategies is well worn. It should be easy to accomplish.

Compliance – A Time to Review and Strategize:
There’s nothing like a new year the beckons us all to a new beginning. It starts with a review of the old, then moves to a plan for the bold. If it works we’ll soon find us all to be winning.
ERISA Section 409(b),” (PLANADVISER, November/December 2018) ERISA attorney phenom Marcia Wagner shares knowledge.
Expect Big Changes to Retirement, Fiduciary Rules in 2019,” (ThinkAdvisor, December 24, 2018) Is it us, or does this headline sound like the same headline we see at every year’s new beginning?
2018 Regulatory Highlights for Plan Advisers and Their Clients,” (PLANADVISER, December 28, 2019 Here’s a handy little cheat sheet.
Top 401k Regulation Story of 2018: Trump Takes Action,” (401K Specialist, December 29, 2018) Executive orders can be used for good.
DOL Urged to Expand Association Retirement Plan Proposal,” (PLANSPONSOR, December 31, 2018) Make 401k MEPs Great Again!
Industry Groups Urge DOL to Expand MEP Proposed Rule,” (PLANADVISER, December 31, 2018) Different take on the same story.
PBGC Updates Penalties for Failure to Provide Information,” (PLANADVISER, January 2, 2019) Just in case you’re keeping score.
Our retirement savings fuel a stronger nation,” (The Boston Globe, January 3, 2019) Something many already knew.

Fiduciary – The World Has Changed:
Don’t fight it. Become a part of it.
The new Fiduciary Imperative – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, January 2, 2019) Changes that culminated in 2018 have resulted in a new fiduciary paradigm. Get used to it.

Fees – Waning…:
Have you noticed articles on fees have become a rare commodity? Why is that so?

Investments – Out of Date:
That’s what nearly every article is that tries to write about the market. Yesterday’s news is stale by the next opening bell, if not in aftermarket.
U.S. retirees try to keep cool as stocks tumble,” (Reuters, December 28, 2018) And right on cue, the market soared by the time this article hit the presses.
401k Assets Make Big Jump (But Will It Hold?),” (401K Specialist, December 28, 2018) The lay of the land, from a big picture perspective.
Boomer Retirements Will Blunt The Next Recession,” (Financial Advisor, January 4, 2019) Just in case you were worried.

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.
Weathering Audits,” (PLANADVISER, November/December 2018)
Addressing Participant Concerns,” (PLANADVISER, November/December 2018)
Resolved: Promote Financial Ed,” (PLANADVISER, November/December 2018)
Most 403(b) Plan Sponsors Feel Responsible for Employees’ Financial Wellness,” (PLANADVISER, December 26, 2018)
Full 9th Circuit Panel Asked to Review Chevron ERISA Case,” (PLANADVISER, December 31, 2018)
Top 401k Fraud Story of 2018: Awful Ohio Embezzlement,” (401K Specialist, December 31, 2018)
Transamerica Faces Familiar Allegations in Self-Dealing ERISA Complaint,” (PLANADVISER, January 2, 2019)
Participants Averse to Annuities May Like Deferred Income Products,” (PLANADVISER, January 3, 2019)
Finance’s Reputation Problem Impacts Auto Retirement Plan Success,” (PLANADVISER, January 3, 2019)
The missing link in helping employees save for retirement,” (Employee Benefit News, January 4, 2019)
The value of disability insurance in a retirement plan,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, January 4, 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.
Ways to Talk to Participants About Equity Market Volatility,” (PLANADVISER, December 24, 2018)
Football Great Well-Prepared for 401k Retirement Red Zone,” (401K Specialist, December 28, 2018)
Getting close to retirement? Here are 6 key considerations,” (CNBC, December 29, 2018)
Baby Boomers Are Overwhelmingly at Risk of Falling Short in Retirement,” (Fox Business, December 30, 2018)
Retirement planning: Why you should look over your IRAs, 401k now,” (USA Today, December 30, 2018)
Toast 2019 with these 6 retirement New Year’s resolutions,” (CNBC, December 31, 2018)
Taking Early Retirement Seems Like A Great Idea, But It Can Have Its Difficulties,” (Forbes, January 1, 2019)
6 guidelines for a happy retirement,” (MarketWatch, January 2, 2019)
Retirement Is A Transition, Not A Destination,” (Forbes, January 2, 2019)
Longevity to Exacerbate the Challenges Retirees Face,” (PLANADVISER, January 2, 2019)
Retirement assets hit $29.2 trillion: ICI,” (BenefitsPRO, January 2, 2019)
How are today’s retirees doing? 10 insights on finances, quality of life,” (BenefitsPRO, January 2, 2019)
Is your retirement on hold because of the stock market? What to do now,” (MarketWatch, January 3, 2019)
Do This One Thing to Boost Your Retirement Savings,” (Money, January 3, 2019)
Majority of Americans Think They Are on Track for a Secure Retirement,” (PLANADVISER, January 3, 2019)
3 Growing Financial Risks Facing Retirees 75 and Older,” (ThinkAdvisor, January 3, 2019)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
RetirementRevised: A higher Social Security retirement age comes with risks for many workers |
The Chicago Financial Planner: My Top 10 Most Read Posts of 2018 |
Data “Points”: ‘Things’, Remembered – 2018 |
Nerd’s Eye View: How Scarcity Take a Psychological Toll and Impacts Decision-Making |
Scholarly Financial Planner: Part I: Will the S.E.C. Aid and Abet Fraud in 2019? |
Scholarly Financial Planner: Part II: Proposed Form CRS Obfuscates, Rather Than Informs |
Ary Rosenbaum: Challenges In 2019 For 401k Plan Providers |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: The Ninth Circuit Rules That The Employer Partially Withdrew From The Multiemployer Plan |
Squared Away Blog: Here’s What Our Readers Liked in 2018 |
Scholarly Financial Planner: Part III: The S.E.C. Protects Brokers, Not Investment Advisers, and Not Consumers |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
The Motley Fool: 4 Social Security Changes That Could Impact Your Take-Home Pay in 2019 |
NAPA Net: Galvin Fines BD Over Mishandling Personal Data of Clients |
NAPA Net: ‘Things,’ Remembered – 2018 |
NAPA Net: Doll Assesses his 2018 Predictions |
The Motley Fool: Why I Don’t Like Target-Date Mutual Funds |
Kiplinger: The Bucket Approach for Investing in Your 50s |
NAPA Net: What Did December Do to the Average 401k Balance? |
NAPA Net: Stock Drop Defendants Attempt En Banc ‘Shot’ |
NAPA Net: Retirees Wish They Had Prepared Better for Retirement |
The Motley Fool: Your Guide to Working While on Social Security |
Kiplinger: Restricted Application Social Security Strategy Is on Its Way Out |
NAPA Net: Doll Predicts ‘Choppy and Frustrating’ 2019 |
NAPA Net: Transamerica Served with 2nd Proprietary Fund Suit |
NAPA Net: The ‘Costs’ of Best Interest Standards |
NAPA Net: A Matter of Trust |
The Motley Fool: How Much Will Medicare Cost You in 2019? |
Kiplinger: Countdown to Retirement: 10 Years Away |
NAPA Net: How is the Government Shutdown Affecting Plan Advisors? |
NAPA Net: READER POLL: More Exercise, Less Stress Top 2019 Resolutions |
NAPA Net: Report Says Fees Down, Contributions Up in 403(b) Plans |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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