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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/12/19 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 4/12/19
April 14
00:01 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:
401k Plan Sponsors Are Asking For These Employee Educational Topics,” (, April 9, 2019) There’s no question 401k plan sponsors know they need to up their game when it comes to employee education programs. According to one study, 80% of education programs on 401k offerings for employees are ineffective. Plan sponsors today seek solutions to better engage employees.

Compliance – Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave:
Look, there’s no way to sugar coat it. It’s the wild west out there. You can’t rely on the kindness of strangers – be they regulators or otherwise. Those that come out ahead will do so only by their own wits and awareness.
‘Good, Bad and Ugly’ of Current Regulatory Regime: 2019 Fi360 Conference,” (401K Specialist, April 3, 2019) From the spaghetti code of current regulation we get the metaphor of the spaghetti western.
DOL’s Rutledge on Regulation, Fiduciary, MEPs and More,” (401K Specialist, April 7, 2019) Just a summary. No real meat here.
States leading the way on 401k retirement readiness,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 8, 2019) Until they do what any government usually does. Remember, caveat emptor.
EBSA continues focus on criminal investigations in employee benefits cases,” (BenefitsPRO, April 8, 2019) They’re coming to take you away! Ha, ha! Ho, ho! Hee, hee!

Fiduciary – A Broken Record:
Speaking of not relying on regulars…
SEC Chief: Economic Analysis of SEC’s Reg BI Will Be ‘Robust’,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 8, 2019) Isn’t that the same thing the DOL once said about the Fiduciary Rule?

Fees – What’s That You Say About Irrational Numbers?:
Math is a dangerous thing to play when it involves real money. Sooner or later, someone’s going to have to pay the piper. Just try to avoid being the last one in the room, because you’ll be turning off more than the lights.
A Price War Has Driven Fund Fees to Zero. They May Be Set to Drop Further,” (The New York Times, April 5, 2019) In the old days, giving away a toaster to land an investment client was considered a prohibited transaction conflict-of-interest. Apparently now it’s considered “good marketing”?

Investments – The Delusion of Illusion:
Isn’t that what the madness of markets – and crowds – is all about. They’re aren’t looking good when folks buy the sizzle and not the steak.
Workers want elusive socially responsible investments in 401k: Survey,” (CNBC, April 9, 2019) Right on schedule as Chuck Underwood’s analysis of millennials suggested. Sure they like the “feel good” of social investing now, but will they sing the same tune should they discover ignorant financial realities has hurt the growth of their nest egg. That being said, smart publicly traded companies are selling their social cred, whether it’s steak or sizzle is another thing altogether.
Managing potential sequence of return risk in retirement,” (Financial Planning, April 11, 2019) Not specifically on investments, but on the impact of investment volatility.

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.
Millennial Misconceptions: Younger Workers Prioritize Retirement,” (PLANADVISER, April 5, 2019)
Supreme Court Asked to Review Chevron Case for ERISA Pleading Standards,” (PLANADVISER, April 8, 2019)
Fidelity Defendants Face Another ‘Kickback’ Lawsuit,” (PLANADVISER, April 8, 2019)
Getting ahead of ERISA disbursement claims,” (BenefitsPRO, April 8, 2019)
Parties in Anthem Fee Suit Get Preliminary Approval of Settlement,” (PLANADVISER, April 9, 2019)
What are the ‘5 Ws’ of Retirement Planning? 2019 NAPA 401k Summit,” (401K Specialist, April 9, 2019)
Addressing Participant Longevity With Plan Design and Advice,” (PLANADVISER, April 10, 2019)
Boeing Faces ERISA Lawsuit Over 737 MAX Issues,” (PLANADVISER, April 10, 2019)
CIGNA Cash Balance Participants Say Company Is Not Following Court Orders,” (PLANADVISER, April 10, 2019)
Should 401k plan sponsors be on the hook for teaching financial literacy? – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, April 10, 2019)
Few Fully Bundled Mega Plans Remain,” (PLANADVISER, April 10, 2019)
Educate employees on HSA tax benefits,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 10, 2019)
Tools, Not Just Education, Improve Recordkeeper Financial Wellness Offerings,” (PLANADVISER, April 10, 2019)
Number of HSA expected to continue,” (Employee Benefit News, April 11, 2019)
Plan Sponsors Affected by Severe Storms Get ERISA Compliance Relief,” (PLANADVISER, April 11, 2019)
Are your employees overly optimistic about their retirement finances?” (BenefitsPRO, April 11, 2019)
HSAs can help millennials save for retirement,” (Employee Benefit News, April 12, 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.
These seniors can still get a tax break for charitable contributions even if they don’t itemize,” (The Washington Post, March 25, 2019)
Got an IRA? Forget taking this tax break on your 2018 return,” (CNBC, March 25, 2019)
When Retirees Should Take Required Minimum Distribution,” (Money, March 25, 2019)
Withdrawal Rates For Asset Preservationists,” (Financial Advisor, April 1, 2019)
Education Key to Helping Different Cultural Groups Manage Retirement Expectations,” (PLANADVISER, April 5, 2019)
The Serious Flaw With This Common ‘Retirement Plan’,” (Forbes, April 7, 2019)
Almost Half of Boomers Have No Retirement Savings,” (PLANADVISER, April 8, 2019)
What Is A ‘401k MEP’? (And Why You Can’t Join One),” (Forbes, April 8, 2019)
Bigger 401k Contributions Are Easier for Empty Nesters,” (Bloomberg, April 8, 2019)
Financial literacy, financial wellness linked,” (BenefitsPRO, April 8, 2019)
The new retirement mindset,” (Fox Business, April 8, 2019)
Low savings hurting boomer generation retirement readiness,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, April 9, 2019)
Baby boomers with financial advisors more likely to be confident in retirement plans,” (Financial Planning, April 9, 2019)
Parents and Kids Both Influence the Flow of ‘Modern Money’,” (PLANADVISER, April 10, 2019)
Clients postpone retirement to pay for kids’ weddings, first homes, college,” (On Wall Street, April 10, 2019)
A Surprising Number of Americans Want to Live to Be 100,” (Money, April 10, 2019)
Fake Social Security Calls Can Fool Your Aging Parents,” (Forbes, April 10, 2019)
Grandparents spend $179 billion a year on their grandkids,” (CNBC, April 10, 2019)
New Index Asks, Who Is Actually Very Confident About Retirement?” (PLANADVISER, April 10, 2019)
Advisors’ advice: 11 financial mistakes retirees make,” (BenefitsPRO, April 10, 2019)
‘Starving Children’ And ‘Bad Role Model’ Tactics Linger In Retirement Planning,” (Financial Advisor, April 11, 2019)
Why everyone should save like they’re going to retire early,” (MarketWatch, April 11, 2019)
Should I Contribute To A Roth IRA Or A 529 Plan?” (Forbes, April 11, 2019)
Investors Working with Advisers Want a Collaborative Relationship,” (PLANADVISER, April 11, 2019)
How Wishful Thinking Can Hurt Retirement,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 11, 2019)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Squared Away Blog: Retirement Saving – Latinos Get an App |
Nerd’s Eye View: The Risk Of Divvying Up Household Financial Responsibilities |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Just because it’s popular, doesn’t mean it’s good |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Some concerns that exist over 3(38) |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Don’t abuse it if it’s free |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Just realize it’s a relationship driven business |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The thing about 401k legislation |
four01k four01k: A Pint with the Prez |
Nerd’s Eye View: Do Clients Value Getting Help Managing Their Behavior Gap? |
Ary Rosenbaum: Proactive Steps Every 401k Plan Sponsor Should Take |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
National Association of Plan Advisors: Graff, Rutledge Outline Future Legislative, Regulatory Action |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Kreisler: Behavioral Economics Key to Better Understanding Your Clients |
Kiplinger: Beneficiary Designations: 5 Big Mistakes to Avoid |
National Association of Plan Advisors: ‘Choppy and Frustrating’ Economy, But No Recession, Doll Predicts |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Education Precedents |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Benartzi: Digital Design Drives Dollars |
The Motley Fool: This One Financial Move Can Supercharge Your Retirement Savings |
Morningstar: 3 Tax-Efficient Bucket Portfolios for Minimalist Retirees |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Parties Propose $23.65 Million Settlement in Anthem Suit |
National Association of Plan Advisors: ‘World’s Greatest Hacker’ Demonstrates IT Vulnerabilities |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Principal to Acquire Wells Fargo’s Retirement Businesses |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Weathering the Merger Storm |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Fidelity FundsNetwork Served With 3rd Fiduciary Suit |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Participants Increasingly Focused on Retirement Income Strategies |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Bay State Seeks Input on Investment Adviser Fee Disclosure Table |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Energy Infrastructure EO Raises ESG Eyebrows |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Coleman: Leverage the Changing FACE of Business |
National Association of Plan Advisors: 401k Summit Happens in Vegas, Doesn’t Stay in Vegas |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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