Fiduciary News

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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker. Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 2/9/18 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 2/9/18
February 12
00:03 2018

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:
A Fundamental Economic Fact Fiduciaries Use to Fight Fear of Falling Markets,” (, February 6, 2018) Economic concepts can lay dormant for extended periods of time, but they never truly disappear. This is why it pays to know people who are older than you and have actually lived through one (or more) economic cycles.

Compliance – Ideas, Ideas:
How come so many ideas start with a top-down premise, as in, “we’ll tell people what to eat”? What if, instead, we started with a bottom-up premise, as in “we’ll set the table and people can choose to feed themselves”?
State-Run Stupidity With Another Savings Scheme: Opinion,” (The 401(k) Specialist, February 5, 2018) This is why states can’t have good things.
Fixing Retirement Without Tax Hikes or Benefit Cuts,” (ThinkAdvisor, February 8, 2018) Teresa’s back and she’s pitchin’.
Budget Bill Includes Creation of Committee to Deal With Multiemployer Plans,” (PLANADVISER, February 8, 2018) Because the PBGC says it will run out of money for these plans in 2025. That’s a decade before Social Security.

Fiduciary – It Won’t Simply Go Away:
Fiduciary has always been here and it always will be. It’s not that it lay dormant, it’s just that it had to be rustled out of the bushes.
Trump Should Support Both DOL and SEC Fiduciary Standards, Coalition Says,” (Financial Advisor, February 4, 2018) Even if they’re not in “harmony”?
DOL, SEC Fiduciary Rules Likely in Fall,” (ThinkAdvisor, February 5, 2018) We’re waiting.
Retirement Income, Managed Accounts and ‘Shadow Fiduciaries’,” (PLANADVISER, February 6, 2018) Yeah, this is a potential fiduciary liability problem that many don’t expect until it’s too late.
Rollovers Present the Biggest Risk During the DOL Transition,” (Financial Advisor, February 7, 2018) So it would seem the safest thing to do is to comply with the DOL. That being said, investing in products (as opposed to stocks and bonds directly) may raise at least yellow (and possibly red) flags.

Fees – Is that a Fee in Your Pocket…?:
Most people can’t see fees and aren’t glad when they do. After all, why should they pay someone who offers them goods and services? Don’t they deserve everything for free? It’s not like they pay for their food. They get that free, don’t they? Well, retirement services should be treated the same way. A free lunch for everyone!
7 ways plan sponsors can monitor 401k fees,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, February 5, 2018) A common sense overview for those interested in taking the first step.
Americans know more about streaming fees than retirement fees,” (BenefitsPRO, February 5, 2018) A TC Ameritrade survey shows that 59% of the respondents either don’t believe they’re paying fees on their 401k plan or didn’t know their 401k had fees.

Investments – There’s a Reason People Ride Roller Coasters:
They’re fun, they’re death defying, and, except for a “911” episode every now and then, you usually come off of them without a scratch. With the sudden and extreme return of volatility to the markets, it’s fascinating to see how this old friend is being reported. It’s not like we haven’t ever seen it. It’s just that we haven’t seen it in a while. What do we remember about it? What have we forgotten about it? Are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes?
Why these early retirees won’t touch bitcoin or other cryptos — and neither should you,” (MarketWatch, February 4, 2018) Well, for one thing, at least with tulips you can eat the bulbs or the greens. With cryptos, all you have are electrons, and even that’s virtual.
Goals-Based Investing and 4 More Trends for Advisors to Watch,” (ThinkAdvisor, February 5, 2018) Or, if you want to read the articles that came out before everyone knew it was a trend, take a look at “Goal-Oriented Target: How Leading Advisers and 401k Plan Sponsors are Using this New System to Replace Outdated Modern Portfolio Theory Risk Tools,” (, August 1, 2018).
Three Things Bond Fund Managers Say That Set Off Our Alarms,” (PLANADVISER, February 6, 2018) The bottom-line: When they start thinking their bonds funds act like bonds, they might not be as smart as a fifth grader. OK, those who don’t know Jeff Foxworthy will probably think that last statement was a bit harsh. But it’s not.
If you’re close to retirement, here’s where to hide from market volatility,” (CNBC, February 6, 2018) Cash is king. Seriously. That’s what the article says.
401k Trading Goes Haywire With Market Drop,” (The 401(k) Specialist, February 7, 2018) And just why does any single day (or week or month or even year) market movement matter to a long-term investor.
Live from Wall Street: behavioral finance in action – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, February 7, 2018) It’s the tea leaves that bear watching. Mostly because you can read into them whatever you want.
Strategic Perspective Is a Key Commodity During Bouts of Volatility,” (PLANADVISER, February 7, 2018) Very advanced article.
5 things to do right now instead of panicking about the stock market,” (MarketWatch, February 8, 2018) Yeah, well, about that…

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.
Why Counter Culture Coffee brewed up a financial education plan,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, February 4, 2018)
Plan Sponsors Need Help Managing Concerns and Priorities,” (PLANADVISER, February 5, 2018)
Anthem contributing $1,000 to employee 401k plans,” (Employee Benefit News, February 5, 2018)
Employee Gets Jail Time for Embezzling 401k Funds,” (PLANADVISER, February 5, 2018)
Helping Clients Understand the RMD Rules for Retirement,” (ThinkAdvisor, February 5, 2018)
Jeff Bezos Embroiled in 401k Plan Pain,” (The 401(k) Specialist, February 5, 2018)
U.S. Retirement Market Has Greater Propensity Towards Home Bias,” (PLANADVISER, February 5, 2018)
401k best practices: decision-making and documentation,” (Employee Benefit News, February 6, 2018)
Small-Business Clients Will See Biggest Tax Impact on Retirement Plans,” (PLANADVISER, February 6, 2018)
Avoid pitfalls when choosing retirement plan administrative services providers,” (Employee Benefit News, February 7, 2018)
10 companies where a million-dollar retirement is possible,” (BenefitsPRO, February 7, 2018)
RadioShack Stop Drop Suit Dismissed,” (PLANADVISER, February 8, 2018)
Do workers saving in both 401k plans and HSAs end up cannibalizing one account for the other?” (BenefitsPRO, February 8, 2018)
4 trends in financial education,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, February 9, 2018)
A blueprint for reuniting orphaned 401k accounts with their owners,” (Employee Benefit News, February 8, 2018)

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.
3 examples of doing good with a self-directed IRA,” (MarketWatch, February 2, 2018)
How Tax Reform Impacts Your Traditional 401k Or Roth 401k Decision,” (Forbes, February 3, 2018)
Majority of Gen Xers Say Advice Would Help With Financial Goals,” (PLANADVISER, February 5, 2018)
Increases in paychecks creates ‘golden opportunity’ for retirement savings,” (BenefitsPRO, February 5, 2018)
Will Tax Reform Create a Retirement Saving Teachable Moment?” (The 401(k) Specialist, February 5, 2018)
Retirement savings up, but half still unprepared,” (BenefitsPRO, February 6, 2018)
Americans’ Retirement Preparedness on Upswing: Fidelity,” (ThinkAdvisor, February 6, 2018)
Factors Can Derail Plans to Retire Later,” (PLANADVISER, February 7, 2018)
Retirement: How to Maximize Your Income,” (Money, February 7, 2018)
3 things you need to know about the 4% rule,” (CNN, February 7, 2018)
How Much do You Know About RMDs?” (Wealth Management, February 8, 2018)
Participants Achieved Six-Figure Average 401k Balance in 2017,” (PLANADVISER, February 8, 2018)
401k, IRA account balances rise to record levels,” (Employee Benefit News, February 8, 2018)
Only One-Third of Boomers Are Confident They Have Adequate Retirement Savings,” (PLANADVISER, February 8, 2018)
The number of 401k millionaires hits new high,” (CNBC, February 8, 2018)
Nearly 40% of Participants Rely on Plan Provider to Manage Outside Assets,” (PLANADVISER, February 8, 2018)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
Data “Points”: Why the Match Matters – to Employers |
Data “Points”: 5 Things of Which Plan Fiduciaries Need to Be Aware |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: More news bout Vantage Benefits |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Plan sponsors need to Google Their TPA’s Principals |
Nerd’s Eye View: Why Financial Self-Efficacy Is Crucial To Financial Success |
RetirementRevised: Why stock market dive points to good news for retirees |
Business of Benefits: Senate Testimony on Open MEPS in the Gig Economy |
fi360: Regulating titles in financial services |
Squared Away Blog: Cautionary Tale of Defrauding the Elderly |
Fred Reish: FINRA 2018 Annual Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter Makes No Mention of a Fiduciary Duty for Brokers |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
NAPA Net: Fee Benchmarking Rises, But Does it Matter? |
NAPA Net: Are (Your) Plan Participants Clueless About Fees? |
NAPA Net: Are HSAs a Better Investment Vehicle Than 401k Plans? |
NAPA Net: Americans Confident in Ability of 401k Plans to Achieve Retirement Goals |
The Motley Fool: 3 Bad Reasons Americans Don’t Fund IRAs |
Morningstar: Finding The Right ‘All-in-One’ Retirement Community |
NAPA Net: 401k Contribution Rates Trending Upward |
NAPA Net: The 3 Biggest Mistakes Fiduciaries Make |
NAPA Net: More Employers Raise Retirement Contributions After Tax Reform |
NAPA Net: EBRI Names New CEO |
NAPA Net: Case of the Week: 414(h) Pick-Up Plans |
NAPA Net: Should Plan Sponsors Add CITs to Their Investment Menus? |
NAPA Net: IRS Confirms Impact of Tax Reform on Contribution, Benefits Limits |
Kiplinger: Put a Student on the Path to Retirement Without Hurting Financial Aid |
The Motley Fool: Your Tax Questions, Answered: Can I Still Use the IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution? |
NAPA Net: Senate Panel Explores Ideas to Foster Retirement Savings for ‘Gig’ Workers |
NAPA Net: Target-Date Funds: The Next Generation |
NAPA Net: Stock Slump Sends 401k Investors Scurrying |
NAPA Net: SEC’s OCIE Unveils 2018 Exam Priorities |
The Motley Fool: Here’s What Gen Xers Have Saved for Retirement |
Morningstar: 5 To-Dos for Retirees as Volatility Returns |
NAPA Net: Retirement Provisions Included in Federal Budget Deal |
NAPA Net: Half of Retirees Retired Earlier Than Planned, But Not Necessarily by Choice |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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