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What do you think of our site upgrade? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 3/20/20 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 3/20/20
March 23
00:03 2020

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:
COVID-19 Quarantine Question: How Should 401k Plan Sponsors Communicate to Employees Working From Home?” (, March 17, 2020) With the large influx of employees working from home, telecommuting may be here to stay. Companies need to rethink how they’ve addressed 401k communications in the past. One never knows when the “new” normal will appear.

Other Top Stories:
Use Your Self-Quarantine Time To Become A ‘Coronapreneur’,” (, March 14, 2020)
What happens when 401k sponsors’ fiduciary duty goes viral? – Carosa,” (BenefitsPRO, March 18, 2020)
How You Can Still Communicate Effectively With Staff And Coworkers While Working From Home,” (, March 19, 2020)

Compliance – Not as Important:
Well, it is, and we may be hearing more from this in the next week or so. All those laid off people aren’t contributing to their retirement. Bigger issue, they may be tapping into those same funds to survive today.

Fiduciary – Somewhat Important:
Why ERISA fiduciaries must monitor market turbulence,” (BenefitsPRO, March 19, 2020) Good to review.

Fees – Unimportant:
Yes. It is. It’s totally preventable. Be smart.

Investments – Very Important:
But not for the reasons that are getting all those readers’ eyeballs.
The Bear Market Can Derail Your Retirement if You’re Not Careful. Here’s What to Do About It,” (Barron’s, March 15, 2020) Another article on the sequence of returns risk.
Managing your retirement risk during market volatility,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, March 19, 2020) Well, maybe…

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.
SunTrust ERISA Litigation Draws to a Close,” (PLANADVISER, March 13, 2020)
Salesforce Is Latest National Employer to Face ERISA Fee Litigation,” (PLANADVISER, March 13, 2020)
Coronavirus Concerns For 401k Plan Sponsors,” (401K Specialist, March 16, 2020)
BOK Financial Faced With Self-Dealing Suit,” (PLANADVISER, March 16, 2020)
Salesforce Sued For 401k Fiduciary Breach,” (401K Specialist, March 16, 2020)
9 ways employers can transform retirement plans to help workers,” (BenefitsPRO, March 16, 2020)
Wells Fargo Faces New 401k Self-Dealing Suit,” (PLANADVISER, March 17, 2020)
Cybersecurity needs grow as retirement plan providers get into personalized services,” (BenefitsPRO, March 17, 2020)
At the Helm: Advisers and Clients Embrace 3(38) Services,” (PLANADVISER, March 17, 2020)
401k service providers adding call center staff to help ease participant fears,” (BenefitsPRO, March 18, 2020)
Suit Challenging TDFs in Walgreen Retirement Plan to Proceed,” (PLANADVISER, March 18, 2020)
Putting The Spotlight On An Often-Overlooked Tax Credit,” (Financial Advisor, March 18, 2020)

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.
Millennials, Gen Z Saving for Retirement, But…,” (401K Specialist, March 12, 2020)
3 ways the downturn could help you build tax-free retirement savings,” (CNBC, March 12, 2020)
When using your 401k to pay off debt makes sense,” (Fox Business, March 12, 2020)
Are millennials fooling themselves with their retirement-savings strategy?” (MarketWatch, March 12, 2020)
Ask Larry: Will My Wife’s Benefit Increase If I Work Past My FRA?” (, March 15, 2020)
Recession-Proof Your Retirement Years,” (, March 16, 2020)
Don’t look at your 401k,” (MarketWatch, March 17, 2020)
In the wake of coronavirus, how do you build up emergency savings?” (Fox Business, March 17, 2020)
Roth 401k or Traditional 401k – Which Is Best for Your Clients?” (TheStreet, March 17, 2020)
The Coronavirus Effect on Retirement Could Hit Baby Boomers Hard,” (Money & Markets, March 18, 2020)
How to find your own personal retirement tax haven,” (MarketWatch, March 18, 2020)
Managing your retirement risk during market volatility,” (Employee Benefit News, March 19, 2020)
Use Of Roth IRAs And Survivorship Insurance After The SECURE Act,” (Financial Advisor, March 20, 2020)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Intel case will mean more lawsuits |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: 401k Averages Book Shows Fees Are Still Falling |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Fidelity’s decision on rollovers is a sign |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: $300 million Plan sued over share classes |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: You can’t sell Betamax in a world of VHS |
Scholarly Financial Planner: 4th Update from Scholar Financial: Examining the Relationship Between Decreased Portfolio Values, Expected Returns, and the Retirement Rate of Withdrawal |
Data “Points”: ‘Nothing’ Doing |
The Business of Benefits: The Immediate COVID-19 Retirement Fix Which Congress Missed in the Great Recession: Temporarily Suspend the 10% Early Distribution Penalty Tax |
Fred Reish: Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors #28 |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
The Motley Fool: 5 Social Security Tips for 2020 and Beyond |
National Association of Plan Advisors: SunTrust Strikes Big Settlement in Proprietary Fund Suit |
National Association of Plan Advisors: ERISA Advisory Council Calls for Guidance on Uncashed Checks |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Millennials, Gen Z Saving for Retirement But Not Always Conserving It |
National Association of Plan Advisors: The Motley Fool: 3 Steps to Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone |
National Association of Plan Advisors: ARA Requests Plan Filing Relief Due to Coronavirus Impact |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Corona Conscious |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Salesforce Fiduciaries Slapped With 401k Excessive Fee Suit |
The Motley Fool: 4 Retirement-Planning Tips in the Time of Coronavirus |
National Association of Plan Advisors: ARA Presses for Retirement Plan Relief in Coronavirus Stimulus Bill |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Case of the Week: Reducing or Suspending 401k Safe Harbor Contributions Mid-Year |
National Association of Plan Advisors: The SECURE Act |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Gender Gaps in Savings, Investing, Confidence |
The Motley Fool: How Long Do You Have to Work to Qualify for Social Security Retirement Benefits? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Suit Slams CITs as Untested, Imprudent Choice |
National Association of Plan Advisors: More Employees Willing to Forgo Pay for Better Retirement Benefits | Employers Who Help Employees in Need: Valued Employers, Indeed |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Senate Bill Expands Retirement Plan Access for Coronavirus Impact(s)  |
National Association of Plan Advisors: ARA Crafts Proposal to Provide Retirement Plan Funding Relief for Small Businesses |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.

About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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