Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker?
What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/3/19 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/3/19
May 06
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:
Exclusive Interview: Blaine Aikin says DOL Fiduciary Rule’s ‘Lasting Impact Lives On’,” (, April 30, 2019) Here’s an inside look at what’s been making all those headlines the last few years, and maybe what might be making headlines in the next few years.

Other Top Stories:
Does removing inappropriate investment options lead to… adding inappropriate investment options? – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, May 1, 2019)
5 Ways A Roth IRA Can Ruin Your Retirement,” (Forbes, May 2, 2019)

Compliance – IRS Letter:
Other than that, nothing much.
IRS Expands Determination Letter Program,” (PLANADVISER, May 2, 2019) More on this for those interested.

Fiduciary – States Say “Back Off!”:
Looks like we’ve go an old fashioned show down!
N.J. Fiduciary Rule Could Make Life Easier For Brokers, Says Former Regulator,” (Financial Advisor, April 30, 2019) This appears to be at odds with other headlines. Then we noticed a regulator said it. Then we read the article and found this was just an opinion without any supporting facts presented. We get it now.
Unlike SEC’s Approach, New Jersey Fiduciary Regs Have Teeth,” (PLANADVISER, May 1, 2019) Again, the article might have been more believable if the quotes weren’t coming from an insider.
States Tell SEC To Stay Out Of Their Fiduciary Rulemaking,” (Financial Advisor, May 1, 2019) Bring back John Calhoun and nullification because apparently states can choose which federal laws they can follow.
DOL to Issue New Rules on Fiduciary Duties: Acosta,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 1, 2019) Winter’s coming… but not before the SEC arrives.
Rep. Fudge Grills DOL Secretary on Fiduciary Rule Foot-Dragging,” (PLANADVISER, May 2, 2019) Will they ever learn the costs of turning this into a partisan thing?

Fees – The Neverending Quest for A Free Lunch:
Free comes at a cost. Sometimes you don’t find out until much later, though.
Going, going, almost gone: Fund fees drop to record low,” (Cleveland Daily Banner, April 29, 2019) People are increasingly making investment decisions based on fees. The article warns this may not be in their own best interests.
CFA Meets With SEC’s Clayton To Make Case For ‘Clean Shares’,” (Financial Advisor, April 30, 2019) This is just the beginning.
Investors Are Paying Less for Fund Fees,” (PLANADVISER, May 1, 2019) In a rising market they should if they’re using a tiered-fee approach.

Investments – Bad Bonds:
Yours is not your father’s retirement. And that spells bad news for bond salesmen.
Forget Bond Ladders for Now; CD Ladders Pay Higher Rates,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 29, 2019) This article is placed here not as a guidance but as a warning. A year ago, the yield curve favored CDs on the short-term. Six months ago, it favored bonds. The yield curve is very fickle. Any advice like this represents only a snapshot in time and often finds ink after the window of opportunity has closed. Moral of the story: Always do your own research.
Why Change is a Must in 401k Investment Menus,” (401K Specialist, April 29, 2019) On the face of it, it appears plan sponsors do believe past performance can predict future performance.
The Best Case for ESG Under ERISA Is Long-Term,” (PLANADVISER, April 30, 2019) Because it is predicate on the belief that government regulations will increase and everyone will have to do it anyway.
Nick Murray: Growth Vs. Income Delusions And Retirement Inequality In Era Of 3-D Hearts,” (Financial Advisor, May 3, 2019) In the era of longer life expectancies, it’s bad to move to bonds when you retire.

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.
Maximizing Growth Potential,” (PLANADVISER, March/April, 2019)
FINRA Voya Censure Highlights Share Class Pitfalls,” (PLANADVISER, April 26, 2019)
Court Rejects City National’s Argument About Damages for Self-Dealing,” (PLANADVISER, April 26, 2019)
Settlement Agreement Reached in Dignity Health Church Plan Suit,” (PLANADVISER, April 26, 2019)
Majority of Americans Foresee a Retirement Savings Shortfall,” (PLANADVISER, April 26, 2019)
Two Provisions to Protect Against ‘Significant’ 401k Litigation,” (401K Specialist, April 27, 2019)
Vanderbilt Settlement Agreement Prohibits Data-Based Cross Selling,” (PLANADVISER, April 29, 2019)
What AI reveals about 401k participants’ knowledge gaps,” (BenefitsPRO, April 29, 2019)
Advisory Firm Wins Partial Summary Judgement in Mixed ERISA Ruling,” (PLANADVISER, April 29, 2019)
Vanderbilt 403(b) settlement raises new red flag for sponsors, recordkeepers,” (BenefitsPRO, April 30, 2019)
The Benefits of Simplifying DC Plan Investment Menus,” (PLANADVISER, April 30, 2019)
We Can Do More for Near Retirees,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 30, 2019)
Upcoming Impactful Regulations in the Retirement Industry,” (PLANADVISER, May 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.
If I Had a Million Dollars,” (PLANADVISER, March/April 2019)
Do People Save More in Their 401k Plans After They Marry?” (ThinkAdvisor, April 23, 2019)
What Gives—Are Americans Confident in Retirement Security or Not?” (401K Specialist, April 27, 2019)
11 Key Social Security Facts You Need to Know,” (ThinkAdvisor, April 28, 2019)
Can you withdraw from retirement accounts for education, disabilities, health care?” (Financial Planning, April 29, 2019)
Baby Boomers’ Retirement Crisis Will Be Worse Than the ‘08 Subprime Crisis,” (Money & Markets, April 29, 2019)
Stop sacrificing your retirement to coddle your adult children,” (The Washington Post, April 30, 2019)
Ask Larry: Should My Wife File For Social Security Retirement Benefits Now Or Delay Till 70?” (Forbes, April, 29, 2019)
Taxes: 5 ways to lower next year’s tax bill now,” (USA Today, April 30, 2019)
HSA Ownership Boosts Confidence About Retirement Expenses,” (PLANADVISER, April 30, 2019)
Which Retirement Account Comes First, the 401k or the IRA?” (ThinkAdvisor, May 1, 2019)
Wells Fargo Suggests Generational Approaches to Retirement Saving,” (PLANADVISER, May 1, 2019)
Savers in 401k plans aren’t up to the task: study,” (BenefitsPRO, May 1, 2019)
Majority of Americans Unsure of Their Retirement Future,” (PLANADVISER, May 1, 2019)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: IRS changes EPCRS program, expands self-correction program |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: TD Ameritrade to sell retirement plan assets to Broadridge |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: No big shock: happy clients don’t leave |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Focus that a 401k is a benefit |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The Bonus Headache |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Vanderbilt forks over $14 million in 403(b) settlement |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Less than a year to mandatory 403(b) Restatement |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: New Jersey creates Required State Run Auto-IRA Plan |
Squared Away Blog: Retiring Can Strain Food Budgets |
Data “Points”: That Sinking Feeling? |
Data “Points”: 5 Things Your Plan Committee Members Need to Know |
Data “Points”: Education Precedents |
Proskauer: IRS Announces Limited Expansion of its Determination Letter Program for Individually Designed Retirement Plans – But Questions Remain |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
National Association of Plan Advisors: Advisor Dodges Class Action Claim in Fiduciary Breach Suit |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Might MEPs Move the Needle? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: DOL Plans Appeal of AHP Ruling |
National Association of Plan Advisors: 18% of Americans Have a Comprehensive Written Plan for Retirement |
National Association of Plan Advisors: House Set to Vote on Bipartisan SECURE Act |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Business As Unusual: Fiduciary Do’s and Don’ts |
National Association of Plan Advisors: How Investment Committees Can Avoid Groupthink |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Consistency, Protection Trump Outperforming the Market |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Is Cybersecurity an ERISA Fiduciary Responsibility? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Case of the Week: Life Insurance in a Qualified Plan |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Investor Preferences, Risk Tolerance Keys to Retirement Income Strategy |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Don’t Forget About Investors’ Interest in Social and Governance Issues |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Mutual Fund Fees Drop Again as ‘Fee War’ Continues |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Acosta Indicates That DOL Will Issue New Fiduciary Rule |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Report Sees Subscription Models Reshaping Financial Services Industry |
National Association of Plan Advisors: IRS Expands Determination Letter Program |
National Association of Plan Advisors: PSCA Panel Provides Update on Federal, State Activity |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Plaintiffs Get Reprieve in Excessive Fee Case |
National Association of Plan Advisors: READER POLL: Could MEPs Close the Coverage Gap? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Mixed Results Seen in Annual 401k Participant Benchmarking Report |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

1 Comment

Only registered users can comment. Login is sponsored by…

Order Your From Cradle to Retirement book today!

Vote in our Poll


The materials at this web site are maintained for the sole purpose of providing general information about fiduciary law, tax accounting and investments and do not under any circumstances constitute legal, accounting or investment advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of an appropriate professional. Please carefully read the terms and conditions for using this site. This website contains links to third-party websites. We are not responsible for, and make no representations or endorsements with respect to, third-party websites, or with respect to any information, products or services that may be provided by or through such websites.