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Hosting an industry conference? Ask us about including it in this ticker? Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/8/20 Trending Topics for ERISA Plan Sponsors: Week Ending 5/8/20
May 11
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:
What Can 401k Plan Sponsors Do to Discourage Unnecessary Premature Retirement Plan Withdrawals?” (, May 5, 2020) The good news is 401k plan sponsors don’t need to treat this as a solo act. They’ve already got a team of hired hands to help them.

Other Top Stories:
Try These 5 Things Before Prematurely Taking Money Out Of Your Retirement Savings,” (, May 3, 2020)
1980s Recovery Offers You Clues To COVID Comeback,” (, May 8, 2020)

Compliance – Who CARES?:
Will we never get tired of this?
Social Security Needs YOU,” (PLANADVISER, March/April 2020) More dire news. And maybe something you can do about it.
Extend the Spirit of the CARES Act to Automatic Rollovers,” (401K Specialist, April 29, 2020) This op-ed presumes rollovers are necessarily a bad idea.
Munnell Calls for Post-Crisis Action to Stabilize Social Security Finances,” (401K Specialist, May 1, 2020) Kick the Can will always remain a popular game. But that’s all it is. A game. Not a solution.
CARES Act FAQs: RMD waivers and coronavirus-related distributions,” (Financial Planning, May 4, 2020) the venerable Ed Slott opines.
EBSA Issues New CARES Act 401k Guidance,” (401K Specialist, May 4, 2020) More guidance for those seeking it.
Combating The Washington Post’s Ridiculous 401k Criticism,” (401K Specialist, May 5, 2020) Nay-sayers say, “Nay” and that’s what the silliness is all about.
IRS Answers Questions About CARES Act Provisions,” (PLANADVISER, May 7, 2020) More for those wanting to know.

Fiduciary – The Sound of Silence…:
…is golden and there’s an opportunity here that journalists may be missing.

Fees – Move Along Now…:
…nothing to see here.
Lawsuit Argues Fees Are Excessive for University of Miami 403(b),” (PLANADVISER, May 1, 2020) Again…
Excessive Fees, Conflicts of Interest Alleged in New ERISA Lawsuit,” (PLANADVISER, May 5, 2020) …and again.

Investments – The Return of Active Investing:
This was bound to happen.
Interest Rate Risk Comes to the Fore,” (PLANADVISER, May 4, 2020) This is only part of the equation when it comes to interest rates. The other thing to consider is the reinvestment risk. That’s what many are experiencing right now.
Active vs. Passive Investing in a COVID-19 World,” (ThinkAdvisor, May 4, 2020) Bottom-line: Active wins in down markets, passive wins in up markets.
Investors Turn to Stock Picking at the Expense of S&P 500 Funds,” (Bloomberg, May 5, 2020) Whoa! Is this a real thing?
QDIAs Have Evolved. They Will Again After the Coronavirus,” (PLANADVISER, May 6, 2020) Looks like the long recession of 2008/2009 was good training for today.

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.
On Small Plans and Large,” (PLANADVISER, March/April 2020)
Wilmington Trust to Pay $80 Million to Settle DOL Investigations,” (PLANADVISER, May 1, 2020)
Major League Baseball Team Suspends 401k Employer Match,” (401K Specialist, May 1, 2020)
Losing the Retirement Assumption,” (Financial Advisor, May 1, 2020)
4 ways for sponsors to enhance retirement plan value amid COVID-19 impact,” (BenefitsPRO, May 4, 2020)
Lawsuit Says Host International Discriminated Against Tipped Employees in 401k,” (PLANADVISER, May 4, 2020)
What retirement plan sponsors and participants need to know about the CARES Act,” (BenefitsPRO, May 5, 2020)
The Pull of Managed Accounts: Protection in Downturns,” (PLANADVISER, May 5, 2020)
Court Drops ERISA Lawsuit Targeting Johnson & Johnson,” (PLANADVISER, May 5, 2020)
More 401k plans are liberalizing rules rather than cutting benefits,” (BenefitsPRO, May 6, 2020)
ADP Multiple Employer Plan Facing Excessive Fee Lawsuit,” (PLANADVISER, May 6, 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.
Coronavirus retirement planning: Muni funds, debt strategies and more,” (Financial Planning, April 28, 2020)
Why FIRE Movement Is The Pandemic’s Latest Victim,” (Financial Advisor, May 1, 2020)
Is delaying Social Security benefits still smart for clients during coronavirus?” (Financial Planning, May 1, 2020)
3 Retirement Strategies That Aren’t Completely Fool-Proof,” (Money & Markets, May 2, 2020)
Strategies for retirement planning in the age of coronavirus,” (Employee Benefit Adviser, May 5, 2020)
Women Receive Only 83% of Retirement Income Men Get, New Study Finds,” (Financial Advisor, May 7, 2020)
U.S. workers remain optimistic about retirement,” (BenefitsPRO, May 7, 2020)

Wisdom from Some of Our Favorite Blogs:
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Tell your TPA the whole story |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: The problem with plan investments and audits |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Don’t be friendly with employees |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Here comes the Outflows |
The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. Blog: Still push automatic enrollment |
Nerd’s Eye View: Using Coronavirus-Related Distributions To Manage Tax Exposure |
Proskauer: New IRS Guidance Answers Pressing CARES Act Questions for Retirement Plans |

Hot Tips from Popular Web Resources:
Kiplinger: Planning How To Claim Social Security Benefits |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Average 401k Springs Back in April |
National Association of Plan Advisors: What’s Your Perspective on the Paycheck Protection Program? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Self-Employed Retirement Contributions and the Paycheck Protection Program—Part 3 |
National Association of Plan Advisors: DC Plan Participants Appeared Quite Content… Last Year |
Morningstar: What Ultralow Yields Mean for Your Financial and Retirement Plan |
National Association of Plan Advisors: ADP MEP Tapped in Excessive Fee Suit |
National Association of Plan Advisors: The Next Chapter |
National Association of Plan Advisors: IRS Hits the Brakes on Deducting PPP-Related Expenses |
National Association of Plan Advisors: So Far, Easing 401k Access Prevails During COVID-19 Pandemic |
Kiplinger: In Your 40s? Don’t Let Bear Market Dash Your 401k |
National Association of Plan Advisors: IRS Answers Some CARES Act Questions |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Case of the Week: PPP Loan and Deductible Employer Contributions |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Excessive Fee Suit Makes Landfall Against Hurricanes |
National Association of Plan Advisors: A Look at 401k Participant Behavior During the COVID-19 Pandemic |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Is That COVID-19 Distribution Subject to State Taxes? |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Women’s Wage Gap Worsens Retirement Security |
National Association of Plan Advisors: Excessive Fee Settlement Hits Snag |
National Association of Plan Advisors: READER POLL: Parsing the Paycheck Protection Program |
Kiplinger: My First Bear Market, By the Book |

Miss anything? Feel free to add a comment below.


About Author

Christopher Carosa, CTFA

Christopher Carosa, CTFA


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