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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/17/19 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/17/19
May 20
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:
The Meat and Potatoes Topics of 401k Plan Sponsor Training: Fiduciary Education Curriculum (Part II),” (, May 14, 2019) If we liken the “5 Critical Topics” to the skeleton and sinew of a plan sponsor’s fiduciary obligation, the “meat and potatoes” topics can be described as its soft underbelly. It is within the routines of these topics that plan sponsors live most dangerously. What are these next two topics and why is it important plan sponsors to dig deep into them rather than simply “read the headlines”?

Other Top Stories:
The One Word Whispered To Every College Grad Who Seeks To Make A Fortune,” (Forbes, May 14, 2019)
Low fees bring these fiduciary risks – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, May 15, 2019)
Oregon’s Tobias Read May Have Just Suggested The Solution To The Nation’s Retirement Savings Dilemma,” (Forbes, May 16, 2019)

Compliance – Lotsa Talk This Week:
Because this is what politicians do. Then they pass something that doesn’t address the issue. This is key. If they solve their pet problem, what would they run on for their reelection campaign.
PBGC Submits Updated Proposal for Determining Whether Plans Covered by ERISA,” (PLANADVISER, May 10, 2019) You need to know this if you need to know this.
Even with Open MEPs, state-IRAs, millions would still be without access to a workplace retirement plan,” (BenefitsPRO, May 13, 2019) There is no one-size-fits-all solution. There’s also no solution for some and no need for a “solution” for others. It’s just the way the world spins. Get used to it because the Law of Gravity prohibits any escape (unless, of course, you manage to find your velocity at 7 miles a second).
DB Plan Sponsors Must Include More Information in Reportable Events Filings,” (PLANADVISER, May 13, 2019) More work for those who need to do more work.
Oregon to Congress: Let Minors Save for Retirement,” (Wealth Management, May 14, 2019) It’s about time someone started taking the Child IRA seriously.
The Trouble With the Social Security COLA,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 14, 2019) It’s been since the 1970s since we’ve heard this complaint. What does that tell you?
RESA, RSSA, SECURE Act and More Pile Up in Congress,” (PLANADVISER, May 15, 2019) We don’t usually report on pending legislation, preferring to wait until the dust settles. This is why.
Open MEPs put retirement industry roles on the brink of change,” (BenefitsPRO, May 15, 2019) And we repeat: Less talk, more action.
Congress Called (Again) to Get Serious About Union Pension Crisis,” (PLANADVISER, May 15, 2019) Tell us (again) about “the good old days with everyone had a pension.”
First Negative-Fee ETF Approved by SEC,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 16, 2019) So it appears the rules have changed and you can now bribe prospects to hire you by paying them.
IRS Indicates 403(b) Initiatives Coming This Summer,” (PLANADVISER, May 16, 2019) Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the beach!

Fiduciary – Waning:
We’re seeing fewer and fewer articles. What does that tell you?
Is ESG in 401ks Really a ‘Fiduciary Nightmare?’,” (401K Specialist, May 14, 2019) No, because one study said so.
Should the New Jersey fiduciary rule speed up or slow down?” (Financial Planning, May 17, 2019) Guess which industry is suggesting they’re moving too fast?

Fees – Are Minds Broadening?:
There’s no question “fees” have become the hot topic. The problem’s always been that “fees” was too broadly defined. With greater understanding – i.e., broader minds – comes greater realization that not all costs are fees and that not all fees are bad.
No Surprise—Price Dominates 401k Target-Date Fund Market,” (401K Specialist, May 9, 2019) Sometimes you get what you pay for. The articles states these “low” cost funds haven’t matched the performance of the “high” priced funds.
Fee Considerations Drive Mutual Fund Purchases,” (PLANADVISER, May 15, 2019) But they do look at performance, too.
(Hallelujah!) Investors ‘Carefully Consider’ Fees, Expenses in Mutual Fund Selection,” (401K Specialist, May 15, 2019) The best part about this: “fees” and “expenses” are correctly listed as separate things.

Investments – Market Top?:
When people start talking odd about investments (and by “odd” we refer to anything that doesn’t have to do with financial fundamentals), then that’s not a good time for the short-term.
Lack of ESG Investing Definition Eludes, Frustrates Industry,” (401K Specialist, May 9, 2019) Because when you’re buying the sizzle, it gets kind of hard to see the steak.
How to respond to stock market volatility? Depends on your age,” (CNBC, May 10, 2019) Does it really depend on your age? Probably more of a combination of your assets and your age.
Investors Continue Moving from Equities into Fixed Income,” (PLANADVISER, May 13, 2019) This makes 15 months in a row. Not a good look for those in need of long-term returns.
What, Me Worry? 401k Participants Flee to Safety,” (401K Specialist, May 13, 2019) Yeah, “safety”…
As Bull Market Ages, Coaching Investors on Volatility Remains a Must,” (PLANADVISER, May 16, 2019) Actually, this is a good idea all the time. What’s that motto we once heard? “Be Prepared?”

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.
Have We Reached Peak HSA?” (Wealth Management, May 6, 2019)
Fidelity: 401k Account Balances Hit Record in Q1,” (401K Specialist, May 9, 2019)
On the hunt: How 401k plan sponsors can revamp the advisor selection process,” (BenefitsPRO, May 10, 2019)
How to Build Better Retirement Plans,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 10, 2019)
Neuberger Berman ERISA Complainants Get Another Chance,” (PLANADVISER, May 10, 2019)
Younger equity compensation participants worried about retirement,” (BenefitsPRO, May 13, 2019)
Litigation Financing Could Drive 10b-5 Lawsuits,” (PLANADVISER, May 14, 2019)
Employees With Student Loan Debt Would Qualify For Retirement Matches In New Plan,” (Financial Advisor, May 14, 2019)
High-Tech Lowlife: Colorado CEO Convicted of 401k Fraud,” (401K Specialist, May 16, 2019)
Excessive Fee Suit Filed Against Greystar Management,” (PLANADVISER, May 16, 2019)
Self-Directed 401k Investors Fare Better With Advice: Schwab,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 16, 2019)
Top Benefits Wanted by Younger Workers,” (401K Specialist, May 16, 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.
Five Tips for Proactively Helping Aging Parents,” (Wealth Management, May 7, 2019)
How To Divide Retirement Plan Assets In A Divorce,” (Forbes, May 8, 2019)
The Softer Side Of Retirement Planning,” (Financial Advisor, May 10, 2019)
Support Grows for Keeping Assets in 401k Plans After Retirement,” (401K Specialist, May 10, 2019)
GAO study on early retirement withdrawals looks at causes, solutions,” (BenefitsPRO, May 10, 2019)
Americans are saving more for retirement, but it may not be enough,” (MarketWatch, May 11, 2019)
The Huge Tax Break Retirees Might Not Know About,” (Barron’s, May 12, 2019)
If There Is A Retirement Crisis In The U.S., There Isn’t A Sure-Fire Solution,” (Financial Advisor, May 13, 2019)
Liz Weston: What Working a Little Longer Can Do for Your Retirement Plan,” (Money and Markets, May 13, 2019)
Retirees Regret Claiming Social Security Benefits Early,” (Financial Advisor, May 14, 2019)
Many Retirees Wish They Had Delayed Taking Social Security Benefits,” (PLANADVISER, May 14, 2019)
Smaller businesses may want to consider employee retirement plans,” (USA Today, May 14, 2019)
How financial advisors can avoid IRA trust pitfalls,” (Financial Planning, May 14, 2019)
21st Century Beating Up on Social Security Buying Power,” (401K Specialist, May 15, 2019)
Many Parents Draining Savings to Help Children,” (PLANADVISER, May 16, 2019)
How Much Do You Need for Retirement? About 16.4 Times Your Salary,” (Money and Markets, May 17, 2019)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Don’t shake it up so quickly |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The things about awards |
Squared Away Blog: 20,000 Savers So Far in New Oregon IRA |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: BB&T settles 401k lawsuit |
Squared Away Blog: Social, Economic Inequities Grow with Age |
Ary Rosenbaum: Dear 401k Sponsors, It’s About A Process And Not A Result |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Great service doesn’t justify over inflated fees |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: What you can learn from the AAF |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Don’t ask for trouble with plan provisions |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Kiplinger: What to Do If You Have to Retire Early |
National Association of Plan Advisors: MFS Settles Excessive Fee Suit by Former Participant |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Are Your Plan Sponsor Clients Self-Correcting? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Intensifying Demand Seen for Low-Fee TDF Options |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Future Retirees Seriously Overestimating Social Security Benefits, Need Help |
National Association of Plan Advisors: A Good Example |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Legislation Paves Way for Retirement Match on Student Loan Repayments |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Participant Transfers Flock to Fixed |
The Motley Fool: This Is the No. 1 Barrier to Early Retirement |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Portman-Cardin Retirement Reform Bill Resurfaces in Senate |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Case of the Week: 403(b) Universal Availability Rule |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Senators Aim to Complete RESA, Move on to Broader Reforms |
National Association of Plan Advisors: SEI Settles Excessive Fee Suit |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Senators Call for Creation of Federal Retirement Commission |
National Association of Plan Advisors: How FOMO Can Negatively Impact Long-term Financial Stability |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Last Minute Changes Could Shake SECURE Act Support |
National Association of Plan Advisors: READER POLL: Corrections Still Needed for Self-Correction Programs |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Supovitz Named to ERISA Advisory Council |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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