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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 8/25/17 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 8/25/17
August 28
00:03 2017

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 True Legacy of Ben Franklin’s Last Will and Testament,” (, August 22, 2017) Why did Philadelphia’s fund grow slower than Boston? Davis says, “If they had been invested for the same time at the same rate, there would be no difference, so it would appear that Philly got lower returns on funds invested than Boston.”

Compliance – States’ Rights or States’ Wrong?:
We’ll find out soon enough. Just, as they say, “watch your wallet” – whether you’re a participant of this grand experiment or merely the taxpayeron the hook for bailing them out.
8 states, 8 state-sponsored retirement plans,” (BenefitsPRO, August 22 2017) Damn the ERISA torpedoes! Full speed ahead!
The tale of two trusts: Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, August 23, 2017) Ben Franklin’s 200-year-old experiment, including his Boston trust, exposes why government can’t be asked to manage long-term trusts (like retirement plans).

Fiduciary – Advice or Sales?:
If it’s been said once, it’s been said a million times – The Fiduciary Rule does not regulate sales, only advice. If you’re selling securities, you’re not supposed to be acting in the best interests of the buyer, but of the firm you’re selling for. If you’re offering advice, you better be acting in the client’s best interest.
Morningstar proposes enforcement alternative to fiduciary rule’s BIC exemption,” (BenefitsPRO, August 22, 2017) Planning for Godot.
Will CFP Board Make History?” (ThinkAdvisor, August 22, 2017) Knut Rostad asks if this is the year we finally distinguish advice from sales.
Latest DOL Fiduciary Fight Zeros In on Advice vs. Sales,” (ThinkAdvisor, August 25, 2017) And, there you go, just like that, the issue comes to the forefront. The good news is that maybe there will be a judge out there that says, “Advice is not sales.”

Fees – Getting What You Pay For:
In this grand multi-verse, we’re slowing becoming the one universe that expects professionals to become unpaid interns.
In landmark Tibble 401k case, participants recover modest sums, lawyers pocket millions,” (BenefitsPRO, August 23, 2017) Something doesn’t sound quite right about this.
Have retirement plan fees hit bottom?” (BenefitsPRO, August 23, 2017) Is the race to the bottom over?
How Does Your Client’s 401k Compare?” (Financial Advisor, August 23, 2017) Same subject. Different take.

Investments – Fake News Meet Wall Street:
Like clockwork, it’s like there’s a template of “ready-to-run” articles that repeat the same-old/same-old at a moment’s notice. Making matters worse, most readers can’t even tell.
Simple portfolios to get you to your retirement goals,” (USA Today, August 18, 2017) Ah, remember the good old days when the mass media was filled with such adorably out-of-touch advice like this?
Long-term stock investors may not be thinking long-term enough,” (MarketWatch, August 21, 2017) If you’ve got to go back to the nineteenth century to make a point, you may as well be talking about tulips and the madness of crowds.

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.
The No. 1 Reason for 401k Frustration,” (The 401(k) Specialist, August 17, 2017)
Foot Locker Fails in Cash Balance ‘Wear Away’ Litigation Appeal,” (PLANADVISER, August 18, 2017)
Skin Surgery Center to pay $5 Million to ESOP,” (PLANADVISER, August 18, 2017)
403(b) plans: Charting a course for the future,” (BenefitsPRO, August 21, 2017)
Majority of Multiemployer Pension Plans in Green Zone,” (PLANADVISER, August 21, 2017)
Manager Changes and the Investment Policy Statement,” (PLANADVISER, August 21, 2017)
Federal Pension Funds Sue Big Banks Over Securities Lending,” (PLANADVISER, August 21, 2017)
Retirement plan menu design continues to evolve,” (Employee Benefit News, August 22, 2017)
Less is more when designing a 401k plan,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, August 22, 2017)
Why small retirement accounts are the root of many problems,” (Employee Benefit News, August 23, 2017)
401k auto-enrollment is great, until it’s not,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, August 23, 2017)
Auto-Plan Features on the Rise in 403(b)s,” (PLANADVISER, August 24, 2017)
Don’t overdo the modern investment menu,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, August 24, 2017)

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.
How to make sure your 4-year-old can retire: the Child IRA,” (BenefitsPRO, August 21, 2017)
Retirement Planning: What Recent Retirees Would Change,” (Money, August 18, 2017)
Retirement savers, non-savers say financial stress affects job performance,” (BenefitsPRO, August 18, 2017)
Millennials: This is how to fix your money to get the retirement you want,” (MarketWatch, August 19, 2017)
‘Granny pods’ become a solution for retirees with limited budgets,” (CNBC, August 20, 2017)
How Far Does $1 Million Go In Retirement?” (Financial Advisor, August 21, 2017)
Could you live off Social Security alone?” (The Washington Post, August 21, 2017)
Older workers want to retire later — but employers aren’t helping them do so,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, August 21, 2017)
How Working During Retirement Impacts Social Security Benefits,” (ThinkAdvisor, August 21, 2017)
401k Plans Put Spotlight On Wealth Gap,” (Financial Advisor, August 23, 2017)
Nearly 20% of Workers Reduced Their Savings in the Last Year,” (PLANADVISER, August 24, 2017)
Are shorter marriages shifting retirement planning?” (Employee Benefit News, August 24, 2017)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Nerd’s Eye View: Kitces Comment Letter On CFP Board’s Proposed Fiduciary Standards |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Plan Design Consultants try to Kickstart 401k plans for employers |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Focusing Too Much On Fees Isn’t Healthy Either |
ERISA Lawyer Blog: Seventh Circuit Rules That ERISA’s Venue Provision Does Not Invalidate A Forum-Selection Clause Contained In Plan Documents |
Squared Away Blog: The U.S. Labor Participation Problem |
Fred Reish: Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule #59 |
401k Plan Blog: What are the latest Trends in 401k plans with respect to small businesses and data security? |
Nerd’s Eye View: Why Paying 401k Loan Interest To Yourself Is A Bad Investment |
Ary Rosenbaum: The Plan Providers That A 401k Plan Sponsor Needs |
Nerd’s Eye view: How the Fiduciary Movement Became a Global Phenomenon |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: 5th Circuit Panel Presses DOL on Fiduciary Rule |
NAPA Net: Survey Says Large Plans Nervous About Roth Mandate |
NAPA Net: Plan Sponsors Increasingly Choosing Non-Proprietary TDFs |
The Motley Fool: What Are the Required Minimum Distribution Percentages |
Kiplinger: Transferring IRA Money to a Health Savings Account |
NAPA Net: Not All $5 Million Plan Fees Are the Same |
NAPA Net: Marital Patterns Portend Shifts for Financial Planning |
NAPA Net: How Do Employers Feel About State Retirement Expansion Ideas? |
The Motley Fool: How to Make Your Retirement Savings Last a Lifetime |
Kiplinger: 1 Critical Mistake to Avoid When You Retire |
NAPA Net: Large Employer Trade Group Weighs in on Nevada Fiduciary Law |
NAPA Net: Excessive Fee Suit Alleges Fiduciary ‘Abdication’ |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: Who Is an Officer for Top-Heavy Determination? |
NAPA Net: DOL Extends Nomination Period for 2018 ERISA Advisory Council |
NAPA Net: ARA Weighs in on Nevada Fiduciary Law |
NAPA Net: Are Throwbacks Ready for a Comeback? |
NAPA Net: Active Gains Ground, But… |
NAPA Net: Investment Adviser Charged with Defrauding Professional Athlete, Wife | To Retire Early, Focus on Just One Thing |
The Motley Fool: 76% of Americans Don’t Do One Thing That Can Boost Your Retirement Savings |
Kiplinger: 4 Ways to Map Out Your Retirement Journey |
NAPA Net: Large Plan Recordkeeping Fees Snap ‘Losing’ Streak |
NAPA Net: Reader Poll: The Case for Financial Literacy |
NAPA Net: DOL Pulling Back on 408(b)(2) Guide Project |
NAPA Net: Small Plan Service Pushes to the Top of the Topics for NAPA 401k Summit Agenda! |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

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Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

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