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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 2/1/19 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 2/1/19
February 04
00:36 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:
4th Quarter Fallout: Mistakes 401k Participant Might Make After Reading Their Latest Statement,” (, January 29, 2019) Are you afraid you might freak out if you see the results of a bad quarter reflected in the statement you are about to open? Read this and learn how to train yourself to avoid making rash (and wrong) decisions).

Compliance – Risk Without Reward:
Plan sponsors take on risk. Sometimes that risk just isn’t worth it. What happens then?
Interest in Pension Risk Transfer Expected to Increase in 2019,” (PLANADVISER, January 25, 2019) Companies want out of their pension plans. Can you blame them?
Form 5500 Reviews Lead to DOL Letters About Timely Remitting Contributions,” (PLANADVISER, January 28, 2019) “The 15th business day is not a safe harbor.”
FINRA to Crack Down on 529 Plan Share Class Recommendations,” (ThinkAdvisor, January 28, 2019) It’s all about self-reporting.
Lockheed Martin Announces Pension Risk Transfer,” (PLANADVISER, January 29, 2019) Coming on the heels of the first article…

Fiduciary – Do You Believe in Precedents?:
This may seem like the wrong way to approach what is essentially a federally regulated interstate business, but creating laws on a state-by-state basis did successfully lead to a federal law that addressed another fiduciary concern two decades ago.
Plan Fiduciaries Pay $538,248 for Failure to Timely Remit Contributions,” (PLANADVISER, January 25, 2019) These “plan fiduciaries” were employees of the plan sponsor. The plan sponsor is a financial services company. Why is it that the only time financial services companies get in trouble like this is when it involves their own plan?
Now Covering Fiduciary Matters, PBGC Mediation Pilot Made Permanent,” (PLANADVISER, January 28, 2019) Bet you didn’t see that coming.
Why SEC’s Regulation BI, State Fiduciary Rules Could Spawn Plethora Of Headaches,” (Financial Advisor, January 29, 2019) Yes, it’s called the Law of Unintended Consequences. On the other hand, this is the path we took to get a Universal Prudent Investor Law. But everyone was on the same page on that one.

Fees – Yeah, High Fees are Bad:
You won’t believe what some people convince themselves to pay.
Dalio fund dumped by county pension system fed up with fees,” (BenefitsPRO, January 28, 2019) Talk about putting your mouth where your money is… This pension was paying 3.69% in annual fees.

Investments – What? Me Worry?:
January erased all the anxiety the fourth quarter wrought. How long will this relief last?

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.
More money leaving 401k plans than coming in,” (BenefitsPRO, January 25, 2019)
Late-year volatility erases earlier 2018 gains for corporate DB plans,” (BenefitsPRO, January 28, 2019)
MetLife To Pay $200 Million Penalty For Unpaid Pensions,” (Financial Advisor, January 29, 2019)
DC Plan Sponsors Seek to Keep Assets in Their Plans,” (PLANADVISER, January 29, 2019)
How the ‘Consumer Experience’ Fares in 401k Advice,” (401K Specialist, January 29, 2019)
Overall Financial Wellness is Sponsors’ Top Priority for 2019,” (PLANADVISER, January 29, 2019)
Plan Sponsors Have Questions About Dynamic Default Investments,” (PLANADVISER, January 30, 2019)
ERISA Lawsuit Filed Over Managed Account Arrangement,” (PLANADVISER, January 30, 2019)
Fidelity Sees Continued Progress in 401k Plans Despite Market Volatility,” (PLANADVISER, January 31, 2019)
Johnson and Johnson Faces Stock Drop ERISA Lawsuit,” (PLANADVISER, January 31, 2019)
Retirement planning from the employer’s perspective,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, February 1, 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.
Why denial might be a smart investment strategy,” (MarketWatch, January 24, 2019)
Here’s how to invest that windfall if you’re 40-something or older,” (CNBC, January 24, 2019)
Warning: Many Face Nearly Impossible Financing 30 Years Of Retirement With 40 Years Of Work,” (Forbes, January 24, 2019)
For Millennials, Market Volatility Can Bring Opportunity,” (PLANADVISER, January 28, 2019)
How to Stay Tax Compliant as an American Retiree Overseas,” (US News, January 28, 2019)
Older Americans lack ‘social capital’ necessary for retirement,” (BenefitsPRO, January 29, 2019)
When taking Social Security at 62 could be wise,” (Fox Business, January 29, 2018)
Time for retirement savers to ‘go ostrich’? – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, January 30, 2019)
Are you ready for early retirement or just kidding yourself?” (MarketWatch, January 30, 2019)
Ask Larry: How Much Will My Social Security Retirement Benefit Increase Each Month?” (Forbes, January 30, 2019)
Minorities — particularly Hispanics — are increasingly unprepared for retirement,” (MarketWatch, January 30, 2019)
Do This to Boost Your Retirement by as Much as $80,000,” (Money, January 30, 2019)
The big thing everyone should think about before retiring — but almost no one does,” (MarketWatch, January 30, 2019)
These non-essential costs are probably hampering your financial goals,” (CNBC, January 30, 2019)
Side Effects Of Retirement,” (Financial Advisor, January 31, 2019)
Hey Gen Z—It’s Time to Think About Retirement (Saving),” (401K Specialist, January 31, 2019)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
RetirementRevised: Is it time to raise Social Security’s retirement age? |
The Retirement Plan Blog: “Compensation” for Sole Proprietors, Partners, and LLC Members…It’s complicated. |
Data “Points”: 7 Signs of the Times |
Data “Points”: A New ‘Presumption’ of Prudence |
Data “Points”: 4 All Year Long ‘Resolutions’ for Plan Fiduciaries |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Second Circuit Rules That District Court Fashioned An Adequate Equitable Remedy For The Calculation Of Benefits From Xerox Corporation’s Pension Plan |
The Chicago Financial Planner: Will my Social Security be Taxed? |
Fred Reish: Open Questions on Open MEPs |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The lesson of Sam Adams |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Stick to your price |
Ary Rosenbaum: As A Plan Provider, How You Can Deal With Clients |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Are Managed 401k Accounts Worth the Cost? |
NAPA Net: University 403(b) Excessive Fee Suit Dropped |
NAPA Net: Litigation Concerns Continue to Hamper 401k Plan Innovation |
Morningstar: How Did the Bucket Strategy Work in 2018? |
NAPA Net: SEC Returns to Work, But Delays Likely |
NAPA Net: What’s up with MEPs, E-delivery, and the Fiduciary Rule? |
Kiplinger: 5 Often Overlooked Tax Strategies for Retirement |
Morningstar: 3 Approaches to Setting a Withdrawal Rate |
NAPA Net: Stadion, United of Omaha Slapped with Excessive Fee Suit |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: When SIMPLE IRA Plans Are Not So Simple (Part 2) |
NAPA Net: Fee Allocation: Some Things to Consider |
Kiplinger: Variable Annuities for Retirement Savers Go Back to Basics |
Morningstar: Fees Increasingly Important to Target-Date Fund Performance |
NAPA Net: Benartzi: Do You Consider Yourself a ‘Digital Fiduciary’? |
NAPA Net: HRAs and HSAs: Where Do You Fit In? |
NAPA Net: Graff: Industry Must Prepare for Changing Political Climate |
NAPA Net: Ways & Means Sets Sights on Retirement Security Reform |
NAPA Net: Stock Surge Stokes Strong Start for Average 401k Balance |
NAPA Net: Judge Wants More Information on Duke Settlement |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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