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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 8/2/19 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 8/2/19
August 05
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:
This is How 401k Plan Sponsors Get Education Answers to These Three F-Words,” (, July 30, 2019) 401k plan sponsors have a renewed focus on the three F-words of offering employee retirement benefits: Fiduciary, Fees, and Financial Wellness. Here’s how plan sponsors answer questions related to each of these three F-words.

Other Top Stories:
This Is Why Millennials Are Poised To Repeat Baby Boomer Retirement Mistakes,” (, July 28, 2019)
Fiduciary: It’s not dead yet – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, July 29, 2019)

Compliance – MEP Rising:
It started really slow, but then it began to grow. With the DOL’s latest Rule, we begin to see a flicker of life in MEPs. How much of it is real? How much of it is smoke and mirrors? Time will tell.
Why ‘Retirement Crisis’ Hysteria is All Hype,” (401K Specialist, July 26, 2019) This is a must read. It really throws cold water on a lot of the headlines you’ve been reading. And this is from an inside source.
Congress’s SECURE Act Could Ruin Your Client’s 401k,” (Financial Advisor, July 29, 2019) Read it and weep, boys, read it and weep.
Labor Department Issues Final Rule Expanding Open MEPs,” (Financial Advisor, July 29, 2019) And so it begins…
DOL Issues Final Association Retirement Plans Rule,” (PLANADVISER, July 29, 2019) Wait. It appears there’s still more work to be done.
DOL Issues Final Rule on Association Retirement Plans,” (ThinkAdvisor, July 29, 2019) Incredible feeling of déjà vu!
MEPs on the March—DOL Announces 401k Rule: Outcomes 2019 Conference,” (401K Specialist, July 29, 2019) This has a little bit of a “news as its happening” flavor.
For a Limited Time, MEPs Can Fix This Form 5500 Mistake,” (PLANADVISER, July 29, 2019) Granted, this applies to only a small niche, but it’s larger context may be more relevant.
Department of Labor OKs retirement auto portability program,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, July 31, 2019) Makes sense. Goes a long way towards prevented accidental leakage from retirement savings.
A DOL Secretary Scalia Would Quickly Find Direction,” (PLANADVISER, August 1, 2019) This is an “oh, by the way” sort of article reminding you Scalia served in the DOL under the Bush 43 administration.
Department of Labor rule next step to open retirement plans,” (Employee Benefit News, August 2, 2019) The dust is settling and the picture is getting clearer.

Fiduciary – Pushme-Pullya Again:
She loves me… she loves me not… How many daisy pedals will be consumed in this tug-of-war?
Industry Groups Object to Massachusetts Fiduciary Proposal,” (PLANADVISER, July 26, 2019) And this surprises who?
NASAA Supports Massachusetts’ Tough Fiduciary Standard,” (Financial Advisor, August 2, 2019) Interesting.

Fees – Gotcha!:
There’s no escaping the deadly claws (or jaw?) of hidden conflicts-of-interest.
SEC Hits Commonwealth for Failure to Disclose Revenue Sharing Conflicts,” (ThinkAdvisor, August 1, 2019) Just when you thought it was save to go back to the beach…

Investments – Rolling Up The Sleeves:
It’s good when we have a focus on practical terms. This gives folks some real meat to chew on. Who knows? They may just find they will profit from this intellectual exercise.
These Annuities Are Better Than Bonds for Guaranteed Income,” (Money, July 25, 2019) This is all about autopilot and reinvestment risk. Autopilot can be addressed by any form of professional management, which may or may not include annuities. Reinvestment risk works both ways: against you in falling interest rates, in your favor during periods of rising rates.
Tax-Efficient Funds Don’t Belong In Your IRA,” (, July 30, 2019) Or your 401k, either. Why pay twice for the same thing?
Tell Clients About Sequence of Returns Risk,” (ThinkAdvisor, July 31, 2019) There is a way to deal with this potential problem, but it requires advanced planning an advanced positioning.

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.
5 Areas of Focus for Future 401k Success: Outcomes 2019 Conference,” (401K Specialist, July 28, 2019)
How to Offer ‘Financial Wellness That Actually Works’: Outcomes 2019 Conference,” (401K Specialist, July 28, 2019)
Participant Success Comes One at a Time: Outcomes 2019 Conference,” (401K Specialist, July 28, 2019)
Auto Alternative—Set it and Remember it: Outcomes 2019 Conference,” (401K Specialist, July 28, 2019)
Helping Participants After They Have Taken Hardship Withdrawals,” (PLANADVISER, July 29, 2019)
Why 401k Advisors Can’t ‘Auto’ Life Goals: Outcomes 2019 Conference,” (401K Specialist, July 29, 2019)
Department of labor expands small business retirement plans,” (Employee Benefit News, July 29, 2019)
Open MEPs Seen as a Promising Way to Narrow the Coverage Gap,” (PLANADVISER, July 29, 2019)
Will wellbeing work if linked to benefit plan design,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, July 30, 2019)
Revolutionizing the 401k Participant Relationship: Corby Dall at Outcomes 2019 Conference,” (401K Specialist, July 30, 2019)
St. Elizabeth’s Wins Suit Challenging Church Plan Status,” (PLANADVISER, July 30, 2019)
Young employees want stock plan benefits,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, July 30, 2019)
SEI Agrees to Pay $6.8 Million to Settle Self-Dealing Suit,” (PLANADVISER., July 31, 2019)
3 tips for improving your retirement plan’s fiduciary file,” (BenefitsPRO, July 31, 2019)
Participants Not Up to Speed on Distribution Options,” (PLANADVISER, July 31, 2019)
What You Need to Know About Association Retirement Plans (Now),” (401K Specialist, July 31, 2019)
Trend of Excessive Fee Suits Against Smaller Plans Continues,” (PLANADVISER, August 1, 2019)
Here’s Where Plan Sponsors and Participants are Not on Same Page,” (401K Specialist, August 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.
529 Plan Vs. Roth IRA: Here’s How Families Can Use Both To Save For College,” (, July 26, 2019)
Should you max out your 401k or IRA at the beginning of the year?” (CNBC, July 28, 2019)
Self-Employed Americans Aren’t Taking Advantage of IRAs, 401k Plans, or SEPs,” (Barron’s, July 28, 2019)
2 Key Introductory Financial Wellness Conversation Questions: Jeanne Fisher at Outcomes 2019,” (401K Specialist, July 29, 2019)
Supersize a Roth 401k With Backdoor Contributions,” (ThinkAdvisor, July 29, 2019)
Solve the Pressing Problems Before Retirement Planning: Outcomes 2019 Conference,” (401K Specialist, July 29, 2019)
What You Need to Know About Running a Business in Retirement,” (US News, July 29, 2019)
Parents’ Health Care Spending Can Be a Risk to Clients’ Retirement,” (ThinkAdvisor, July 29, 2019)
401k Cashout Confusion: Who’s Doing It and Why?” (401K Specialist, July 29, 2019)
American Workers Say They Dread Outliving Their Money,” (Financial Advisor, July 30, 2019)
Retirement savings by age: How much you’ll need to invest each month,” (CNBC, July 30, 2019)
Why Your Client’s Retirement Plan May Be Lethal,” (Financial Advisor, July 30, 2019)
Social Security Is The Only Source Of Retirement Income For Many, Report Says,” (Financial Advisor, July 31, 2019)
Americans: not investing in a 401k is the biggest financial mistake,” (CNBC, July 31, 2019)
Your Retirement Income Style. Yes, There Is Such A Thing,” (, July 31, 2019)
How to Create Retirement Income That Lasts,” (Barron’s, July 31, 2019)
Expert Advocatees Returning Social Security To FDR’s Original Purpose,” (Financial Advisor, August 1, 2019)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Something to augment what you do |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The RFP Process has to be on the up and up |
Data “Points”: How Much (Should) a New Committee Member Know? |
Squared Away Blog: A Proposal to Fill Your Retirement Gap |
Ary Rosenbaum: Hot Topics For 401k Plan Providers |
Fi360: Weekly Update |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Morningstar: Cut Stocks or Add to Them? A Key Dilemma for Your Retirement Plan |
The Motley Fool: Closing the Gap Between When You Want to Retire – and When You’ll Be Able To |
National Association of Plan Advisors: DOL Unveils Final Rule on Association Retirement Plans |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Who’s Auditing Retirement Plan Auditors? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Taxpayer Rights Group Reengages CalSavers Challenge |
National Association of Plan Advisors: DOL Issues Temporary Form 5500 Relief for ERISA MEPs |
Kiplinger: Should You Buy an Annuity? |
Morningstar: Rethinking Retirement Income |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Retirement Savings Shouldn’t Be a Political Piggy Bank |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Half a Chance |
National Association of Plan Advisors: CRS: Multiemployer Pension Bill Would Hike Deficit by $64 Billion | The 3 Biggest Expenses You Need to Save for in Retirement |
The Motley Fool: No Matter How Prepared You Are, This 1 Mistake Could Ruin Your Whole Retirement |
National Association of Plan Advisors: DOL Okays RCH’s Auto-Portability Program |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Case of the Week: What’s a Stretch IRA? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Terms of SEI Excessive Fee Settlement Disclosed |
National Association of Plan Advisors: ARA: Bay State’s Fiduciary Proposal Correctly Excludes ERISA Plans |
Morningstar: Should Working Longer Be a Part of Your Retirement Plan? |
Kiplinger: Retirees, Be Prepared for a Natural Disaster |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Another ‘Small’ Plan Hit with Excessive Fee Suit |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Average 401k Balance Continues to Build |
The Motley Fool: These Mistakes Could Slash Your Social Security Benefits for Life |
Kiplinger: Use an HSA to Boost Your Retirement Savings |
National Association of Plan Advisors: READER POLL: (Should) You Be More Involved with Plan Audit/Auditor Selection? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Tackling the Missing Participant Problem |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.


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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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