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Daily Article Digest - Updated Throughout the Day

This digest contains a wide variety of the freshest source material dealing with current trends, opinion, news, legislative action, investments, marketing, sales, consulting, and legal issues regarding 401k, 403(b) and other retirement plans. Each listing contains a headline (hyperlinked to the source document), description, source of the item, and the month and year posted to this digest.

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A Tale of Two Countries: Defined Contribution Plans in the UK and US

Abstract: While the shift from DB to DC plans got off to a later start in the UK, the changeover was faster. Both the US and UK seem headed for a common approach: automatic enrollment into a matching contribution structure with a default life-cycle investment fund. And 28% of plan participants in the US and 21% in the UK expect to work until 70 or even later.

Source: Towerswatson.com, February 2017

IRS Operational Compliance List

Abstract: The Operational Compliance List is provided per Rev. Proc. 2016-37, Section 10, to help plan sponsors and practitioners achieve operational compliance by identifying changes in qualification requirements effective during a calendar year.

Source: Irs.gov, February 2017

Self-Correct Defective 403(b) Plan Provisions During the Remedial Amendment Period

Abstract: 403(b) plan sponsors may self-correct plan provisions that violate the Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b) written plan rules by adopting plan amendments by March 31, 2020. This correction period is known as the "remedial amendment period." This is updated guidance.

Source: Irs.gov, February 2017

Substantiation Guidelines for Safe-Harbor Hardship Distributions From 401k Plans

Abstract: This memorandum sets forth substantiation guidelines for EP Examinations employees examining whether a 401k plan hardship distribution is "deemed to be on account of an immediate and heavy financial need" under safe-harbor standards.

Source: Irs.gov, February 2017

Who Feels Stressed About Retirement?

Abstract: Stress is an unavoidable part of life for your employees, and it affects their health, well-being, and job productivity. But they aren't just stressed about money, family, or work. Many of them also are stressed about retirement. This is an infographic for you to share with your employees to help them think through the stress they may feel about retirement, and perhaps find ways to relieve it.

Source: Fidelity.com, February 2017

Retirement Policy Directions in 2017 and Beyond

Abstract: With a new Congress and a new president in Washington, how are U.S. retirement policies likely to change? Possibly quite radically, and for two main reasons.

Source: Ebri.org, February 2017

Top U.S. Tax Firms Carry Wealthy 401k Plans on Their Books

Abstract: The top 10 largest accounting firms in the U.S. know how to work numbers for their clients, and it turns out these firms also know how to work the numbers for their employees' retirement savings.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), February 2017

How to Fix Common 401k Participant Mistakes

Abstract: Two plan design features -- re-enrollment and re-solicitation -- can correct what are potentially costly behaviors and strengthen retirement outcomes for employees. Article outlines steps a plan sponsors can take to decide if they should offer re-enrollment or re-solicitation.

Source: Benefitnews.com, February 2017

IRS Publishes New Guidelines on Hardship Documentation

Abstract: The IRS has published new examination guidelines for documenting a hardship distribution. Specifically, the memorandum sets forth substantiation guidelines for EP Examinations employees examining whether a 401k plan hardship distribution is "deemed to be on account of an immediate and heavy financial need" for safe harbor distributions.

Source: Asppa.org, February 2017

State Sponsored Retirement Plans - The Why, What and If for Employers

Abstract: There are a lot of opinions, information and misperceptions circulating right now about state run plans. After you listen to this podcast you will be more informed, understand how this may or may not impact your company, and will have the framework to process future developments rationally.

Source: 401kfridays.com, February 2017

Peeling Back the Fiduciary Layers and Unscrambling the Fiduciary Confusion

Abstract: In seeking clarity about the "type" of 401k professional it has retained, plan sponsors often find the answers they are given to be incoherent with a slant in favor of the 401k industry instead of plan participants. The residual fuzziness plan sponsors are left feeling about this topic is a source of significant irritation to them. This comprehensive article attempts to peel back the fiduciary layers and unscramble the fiduciary fuzziness.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2017

401k Service Providers and Cybersecurity: Questions to Ask

Abstract: 401k plan fiduciaries have an obligation to secure and keep private the personally identifiable information of plan participants and beneficiaries. Part of this essential task is ensuring that plan service providers take cybersecurity preparedness and plan data protection seriously.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2017*

Cybersecurity Risks and Liabilities for Employers, Retirement Plan Sponsors and Fiduciaries

Abstract: Many employers historically were only concerned with privacy and security for health plans under the privacy regulations. However, there are other references to protecting participant information in ERISA and employee information that should not be overlooked. Cyber security should be a consideration for every employer and retirement plan fiduciary.

Source: Winstead.com, February 2017

Retirement Transitions in Four Countries

Abstract: This 20-page Vanguard research studies the transition to retirement in four countries -- the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia -- all in various stages of a shift from defined benefit to defined contribution workplace retirement systems.

Source: Vanguard.com, February 2017

Helping Millennials Save for Retirement

Abstract: Over the past several decades, employers have recognized that employees' physical health impacts the workplace, prompting them to introduce wellness programs designed to help workers lose weight, quit smoking, increase their activity levels and more. Now businesses are learning that employees' financial wellness is equally critical to individual and corporate health and are seeking ways to respond.

Source: Shrm.org, February 2017

Cybersecurity Considerations for Employee Benefit Plans

Abstract: One of the most significant challenges that face employee benefit plans is the reliance on service providers to manage daily activities of the plan. As a result, employee benefit plans typically share sensitive employee data and beneficiary and employer information with these service providers. Based upon historical cybersecurity breaches, third parties can be considered the weakest cybersecurity link.

Source: Schneiderdowns.com, February 2017

The Retirement System Diaries: The So-Called Retirement Crisis

Abstract: By "crisis" we don't mean anything obvious like war, famine, or national penury. Instead, "retirement crisis" has come to mean simply that people aren't saving as much as they should and won't be able to retire with enough money to maintain their late-career standard of living. This is not a crisis. The real crisis is fiscal and global. Simply put, we've promised ourselves more retirement benefits than we can afford.

Source: Pentegra.com, February 2017

The Impending Fiduciary Armageddon of (Most) Mutual Fund Share Classes

Abstract: Under a fiduciary rule, there is only a legitimate need for one or two share classes at most. Thus, whether it's the DOL fiduciary rule, or one that follows within a few years from the SEC, what we'll soon see is an Armageddon that destroys most mutual fund and variable annuity share classes, as we complete the shift from selling whatever products we can get paid to sell, into advisors who actually sell advice and implement the best solutions we can at the lowest cost available.

Source: Kitces.com, February 2017

J.C. Penney Agrees to Settle 401k Suit

Abstract: Department-store chain J.C. Penney is poised to pay $4.5 million to settle allegations over company stock in the firm's 401k plan, following a district court judge's preliminary approval of the settlement.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), February 2017

American Views on Defined Contribution Plan Saving

Abstract: The survey polled respondents about their views on DC retirement saving and their confidence in 401k and other DC plans. Survey responses indicated that households value the discipline and investment opportunity that 401k plans represent and that households were largely opposed to changing the tax preferences or investment control in those accounts.

Source: Ici.org, February 2017

An Ironic Twist to 401k Fee Lawsuit Settlements

Abstract: It appears that companies who manage corporate retirement plans for their clients can't even properly oversee their own 401k plans for their own employees from a fiduciary standpoint. Talk about a case of the "cobbler's children having no shoes"!

Source: Greenspringwealth.com, February 2017

401k Index Funds -- They Make it Easy to Reduce Fiduciary Liability

Abstract: Investment in equity index funds -- and other passively-managed investments designed to track a market index -- is exploding. If you are a 401k fiduciary, this trend is great news. While it can be difficult for 401k fiduciaries to insulate themselves from investment-related liability using actively-managed funds, this job can be dead simple using index funds.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, February 2017

Roth 401k Contributions, From the Participant's Point of View

Abstract: More employers are making a Roth option available in their 401k and 403(b) plans. So, employees must decide if they want to save on a pre-tax (tax-deferred) basis or on an after-tax basis? This article reviews a number of factors an employee will have to consider.

Source: Consultrms.com, February 2017

Upheld, Delayed and Under Review-Heads are Spinning over the Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Changes are coming so fast it is hard to process them. So far, all three cases challenging the Fiduciary Rule have upheld it without reservation. Even though the Trump Department of Labor is not bound to follow the reasoning in the court decisions, it is required to hold new hearings on its proposals with respect to the Rule.

Source: Cohenbuckmann.com, February 2017

Back to Basics: Investment Terminology

Abstract: This short article features some investment terminology with which plan fiduciaries should be familiar as they evaluate plan investments.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, February 2017

DC Trends Survey

Abstract: In addition to a focus on fees. other trends include an increase in recordkeeper search activity, a movement to institutional fund structures, a de-emphasis on revenue sharing, and the adoption of fee policy statements.

Source: Callan.com, February 2017

DOL Retains Perfect Record in Fiduciary Rule Challenges

Abstract: The Labor Department's fiduciary rule survived yet another legal challenge when a federal judge in Kansas upheld the rule on its merits after previously refusing to block the rule's enforcement.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), February 2017

Determining Retirement Readiness a Complex Task

Abstract: Just as retirement savings models do not factor in changes participants may make in their working lives and savings habits, retirement readiness calculators also do not look at the big picture.

Source: Plansponsor.com, February 2017

More Bad News on the 401k Front

Abstract: Based on new research, which relies on tax data instead of surveys, only about a third of workers are saving in a 401k or similar tax-deferred retirement plan. What's more, it now appears -- using this new research methodology -- that only about 14 percent of employers offer retirement plans at all! How can that be?

Source: Hreonline.com, February 2017

2017 Annual Plan Deadlines for Plan Years Ending December 31, 2017

Abstract: This 7-page chart, although not intended to be exhaustive, includes the key annual events which must occur within a specific deadline for a calendar year plan. The chart is intended to serve as a tool that can be used by employers to monitor compliance over the plan and calendar year.

Source: Voya.com, February 2017

2017 Retirement and Employee Benefits Compliance Calendar

Abstract: This 1-page chart is intended to provide plan sponsors with a list of notable retirement plan deadlines. The deadlines in this chart assume a calendar-year plan year.

Source: Strategicbenefitservices.com, February 2017

Retirement Plan Access and Participation Across Generations

Abstract: This paper examines data to look for differences among millennials, Generation Xers, and baby boomers in how many participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans. Then it explores some key reasons for those differences and notes similarities in access rates, participation rates, and reasons for not taking part.

Source: Pewtrusts.org, February 2017

Is the Prudent Man Standard Good Enough?

Abstract: Any law that holds human beings to the standards of an expert in any field is a high standard, and one that can be difficult to meet even with the ablest of expert assistance. It's often said that ERISA's prudent man rule is the highest duty known to law. But is that enough?

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2017

Fiduciary Confusion: What's a 401k Plan Sponsor to Do?

Abstract: There have been a lot of comments circulated on the impact of a delay in the implementation of the DOL's fiduciary rule. And of course, debate has once again been revived on the value of these new rules. Most important, though, is what this means for your 401k plan and participants and what your 401k fiduciary responsibility is.

Source: Lawtonrpc.com, February 2017

Education Is an Important Part of the Fiduciary Process

Abstract: There have been so many misconceptions that plan sponsors and advisors have had concerning ERISA 404(c) plans. They had this belief that if they just give a mutual fund lineup and some fund profiles to plan participants that they are exempt from liability. But, ERISA 404(c) protection is about following a process and fund profiles are just not enough education to give to plan participants. On the flip side, education to participants doesn't have to amount to an MBA education.

Source: Jdsupra.com, February 2017

Is Your 401k Plan in Compliance?

Abstract: As a 401k plan sponsor are you confident that your plan complies with all current employee benefits laws and regulations? Does the plan operate within the its current provisions? If you're not certain, then it's time for an annual self-checkup.

Source: Dgccpa.com, February 2017

A Guide to Commonly Used DC Plan Investment Vehicles

Abstract: DCIIA produced this 21-page presentation to provide a better understanding of the various investment vehicles that are commonly used within DC plans, their benefits and drawbacks, and considerations for deciding which structure to use.

Source: Dciia.org, February 2017

Oracle Corp. Faces Setback in 401k Fee Lawsuit

Abstract: Oracle Corp. got some bad news on Feb. 16 when a magistrate judge recommended that a proposed class action challenging the fees in its 401k plan move forward.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), February 2017

Two-Thirds of Americans Aren't Putting Money in Their 401k

Abstract: U.S. Census Bureau researchers have come up with estimates that rely on tax data, which should be more reliable than surveys. Their conclusion: Only about a third of workers are saving in a 401k or similar tax-deferred retirement plan. Also, the gap is far wider than expected between the number of employers offering retirement plans, and the number of workers saving in them.

Source: Bloomberg.com, February 2017

Missed the PPA Restatement Deadline?

Abstract: If you missed the PPA restatement deadline and failed to update your 401k plan document, you can still update it. And if you update it by April 30, 2017, then there are discounted penalties from IRS.

Source: Benefit-Resources.com, February 2017

In Retirement, Spending Varies Widely by Region

Abstract: Most discussion about retirement preparation revolves around national averages, but a lot could depend on where you live in retirement, according to new research by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2017

BrightScope Releases Annual Top 30 401k Plans

Abstract: BrightScope announced the eighth BrightScope year-end ranking of the Top 30 401k Plans List, recognizing companies with the best 401k plans containing more than $1 billion in assets. Seven new companies in the list this year and some key statistics are provided.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2017

2017 Compliance Checklist for Retirement Plans Subject to ERISA

Abstract: As a retirement plan sponsor, you know how important it is to comply with ERISA and the ever-changing reporting and disclosure requirements mandated by the federal government. This checklist incorporates defined benefit, defined contribution, and ERISA 403(b) requirements and provides information on the materials that you will need to file, filing due dates and agencies to which the filings should be made.

Source: Prudential.com, February 2017

Understand Your Target-Date Fund Series

Abstract: To help out plan sponsors and investment committees, the DOL offers tips for ERISA plan fiduciaries with respect to choosing target-date funds, including the establishment of a process for the periodic review of your selected target-date funds. The DOL reminds plan sponsors that plan fiduciaries are required to periodically review the plan's investment options to ensure that they should continue to be offered.

Source: Orbablog.com, February 2017

New Labor Secretary Nominee Brings Legal Mind to Fiduciary Debate

Abstract: Alexander Acosta, nominated Thursday to lead the Department of Labor, drew praise today as a thoughtful, experienced candidate likely to express mainstream conservative views on regulations.

Source: Insurancenewsnet.com, February 2017

Fiduciary Rule Update: Is the Applicability Date Applicable?

Abstract: There have been informal indications that the process used by the Department of Labor in 2009 to delay (and eventually withdraw) the participant investment advice regulations and class exemption is a likely example of the process occurring now.

Source: Groom.com, February 2017

Participants and HR Will Love the MEP 401k

Abstract: A 401k MEPs offers much more than lower expenses, to both plan sponsors and plan participants. Most immediately, 401k MEPs permit corporate executives currently exposed to fiduciary liability to mitigate a significant portion of that liability.

Source: Benefitspro.com, February 2017

New Determination Letter Procedures for Puerto Rico Retirement Plans

Abstract: Circular Letter 2016-8 from the Puerto Rico Treasury Department (Hacienda) sets out revised procedures for obtaining a determination letter to confirm a retirement plan's qualified status under Puerto Rico law. The deadline for requesting a determination letter for a plan amendment is now based on the amendment's execution date (i.e., its adoption date) rather than its effective date.

Source: Towerswatson.com, February 2017

Charting a Course for Your Plan Design and Administration by Reflecting on Industry Standards

Abstract: For plan sponsors, benchmarking plans is more relevant than ever, between avoiding lawsuits, attaining and retaining employees and contending with budgetary and investment pressures. Comparing plans, or benchmarking, usually falls into one of three categories reviewed here.

Source: Plansponsor.com, February 2017

Advisers' Role Goes Beyond Investments

Abstract: The most essential support that advisers should give is detailed oversight of the investment lineup, followed by compliance and fiduciary protection, analysis of fees, provider evaluation, participant education, updates on regulatory and industry developments, and plan metrics/outcomes.

Source: Plansponsor.com, February 2017

Increased Litigation Leads Plan Sponsors to Take Defensive Stance in Monitoring and Evaluating Fees

Abstract: When monitoring investment and recordkeeping fees, a plan sponsor would be smart to remember the recurring themes of recent 401k participant fee lawsuits. This article reviews the themes that have frequently arisen in recent fee lawsuits.

Source: Plansponsor.com, February 2017

Structuring a Plan Committee: Who Should Participate?

Abstract: There are no specific legal requirements regarding the number of members or who should or should not sit on a retirement plan committee. However, there are common practices plan sponsors might keep in mind that can serve as guidelines for establishing this body.

Source: Plansponsor.com, February 2017

Fiduciary Liability Claim Trends

Abstract: Retirement plans are increasingly in the crosshairs for plaintiffs' lawyers. Allegations of breach of fiduciary duty based on payment of higher-than-reasonable fees to ERISA plan service providers are becoming more common. In the past 18 months, at least 38 ERISA class actions have been filed.

Source: Lockton.com, February 2017

Kansas Judge Again Upholds DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Judge Daniel D. Crabtree granted summary judgment to DOL in a lawsuit filed by Market Synergy Group, a Topeka insurance agency that develops fixed index annuities and other proprietary insurance products.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), February 2017

State Retirement Plans Could Be Over Before They Start

Abstract: New state-sponsored retirement savings plans proposed in seven states could be in jeopardy before they even begin. Congress took the first step Wednesday to roll back an Obama-era rule that paved the way for such plans.

Source: Cnn.com, February 2017

Are the Fiduciary Rule's Prospects Really that Dim?

Abstract: The DOL fiduciary rule was on track until the November election brought an administration that could delay its application or even withdraw it. But are the rule's prospects really that dim?

Source: Asppa.org, February 2017

Planning to Keep Your 401k? Be Careful When You Reach RMD Age

Abstract: When most advisors discuss RMDs, it's often in the context of traditional IRAs. But the RMD rules for IRAs and employer-sponsored plans can be different and not knowing those differences can be trouble.

Source: Vanguardblog.com, February 2017

Congress' Resolution on State-Run Plans Is Another Step Toward Open MEPs

Abstract: A large proportion of private sector workers don't have access to a workplace-based retirement savings program, and that means that few of them save for retirement. And if state-run programs are not to be part of the answer to the retirement coverage gap, that will likely increase the focus on the most viable alternative: open multiple employer plans (MEPs).

Source: Russellinvestments.com, February 2017

Acosta Nominated for Secretary of Labor

Abstract: The 48-year-old Acosta is no stranger to the Senate confirmation process, having been approved by the Senate three times. The son of Cuban immigrants, he received a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He practiced law at the firm of Kirkland & Ellis.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, February 2017

Over Half of Canadian Employers Provide Access to Financial Advice in Their Group Retirement and Savings Plan

Abstract: Fifty-seven percent of defined contribution plan sponsors and 61 percent of group registered retirement savings plan sponsors say they provide their members with access to professional financial advice, according to the 2016 Capital Accumulation Plan Benchmark Report.

Source: Greatwestlife.com, February 2017

Common 401k Plan Administration Data-Quality Errors

Abstract: A list that includes some of the most common tactical 401k data-quality errors found during plan conversions.

Source: Forusall.com, February 2017

Update on the DOL Conflict of Interest Rule and Related Exemptions

Abstract: There were two key developments last week concerning the ongoing challenges to the DOL conflict of interest rule and related exemptions: a Presidential Memorandum calling for a review of the rule, and a ruling by a federal court in Texas rejecting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's challenges to the rule.

Source: Erisapracticecenter.com, February 2017

Allergan Stock Losses Spawn ERISA Class Action

Abstract: Allergan's connection to an alleged price-fixing scheme among generic drug makers spawned a proposed class action Feb. 14, with an Allergan employee claiming he lost retirement savings by investing in the company's stock.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), February 2017

Adding Automatic Features to Your 401k Retirement Plan

Abstract: This article looks more closely at features such as automatic enrollment and automatic increases or escalation, and hopefully will help you determine whether they are right for your plan.

Source: Belr.com, February 2017

Five Retirement Plan Trends in 2017

Abstract: There is never a dull moment in the retirement plan marketplace, and the new year promises for more innovation, updates and change. Here are five retirement plan topics you can count on to create buzz in 2017.

Source: Bcigroup.com, February 2017

Finances in Retirement: New Challenges, New Solutions

Abstract: A new survey finds that Americans don't know how much they will need to fund their retirement, and think they should be saving about five times more than they are. Little wonder they are also more likely to second guess their financial decisions than any other major life decision.

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2017

House Passes Resolutions to Block State-Run Plans for Private Sector

Abstract: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed two resolutions of disapproval to block Labor Department regulations regarding state-run retirement plans for private sector workers.

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2017

Values-Driven Investors Getting Low-Cost Retirement Options

Abstract: High-tech robo-advisers continue to innovate. They are now bringing low-cost and customized socially responsible products to retirement investors.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), February 2017

T. Rowe Price Accused of Self-Dealing With 401k Plan

Abstract: T. Rowe Price Group Inc. is accused of profiting at the expense of its employees' retirement savings by offering, almost exclusively, in-house mutual funds in the company's $1.7 billion 401k plan.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), February 2017

DOL Secretary Nominee Backs Out

Abstract: With his Senate confirmation hearing set to kick off tomorrow, DOL Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder has withdrawn himself from consideration.

Source: Plansponsor.com, February 2017

Courage, not Literacy, Key to Financial Wellness

Abstract: Helping employees become more confident about engaging in financial matters -- improving their financial courage -- is more critical than employers providing benefits that focus solely on financial education, a survey from Mercer suggests.

Source: Plansponsor.com, February 2017

401k Participants Move Into Equities in January 2017

Abstract: The new year started with light trading activity for investors in defined contribution plans, according to the Aon Hewitt 401k Index. For 13 of the 20 trading days in January, participants favored equities over fixed income funds in their trades.

Source: Planadviser.com, February 2017

Puerto Rico Retirement Plan Qualification Requirements and Trusts Modified

Abstract: The Puerto Rico Governor signed into law Act No. 9-2017. The Act is intended to amend certain provisions that govern the treatment of retirement benefit plans to halt the exodus from Puerto Rico of professionals, protect their economic future, and attract productive human talent to Puerto Rico.

Source: Mcvpr.com, February 2017

Small Companies Have a Big Retirement Problem

Abstract: Thinking about taking a job at a small company? Don't expect a good retirement plan. At companies with fewer than 50 workers, not even half the employees have access to a 401k or pension, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At companies with 500 workers or more, 90 percent of employees have access to a retirement plan.

Source: Bloomberg.com, February 2017

Fiduciary Law Is Trust Law

Abstract: The author suggests that there is plenty of evidence that ERISA and the DOLs most recent fiduciary clarification are modeled after trust law. Indeed, with respect to the fiduciary standard of care, trust law can go to a place where contract law cannot. Perhaps the two can be differentiated by one fundamental distinction: behavior vs outcome.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, February 2017

IRS Issues 2016 Required Amendments List for Individually Designed Retirement Plans

Abstract: In Notice 2016-80 the IRS issued its inaugural list of required amendments for individually designed retirement plans. These lists are scheduled to be issued annually after October 1. The good news for plan sponsors is that the 2016 list includes only one change, which will not affect most plan sponsors.

Source: Towerswatson.com, February 2017

Is This the End of the Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: An anticipated six-month delay of the April 10 effective date of the Rule was not included in the final executive order, making its initial impact less than clear, but here's what we know and can make an educated guess about.

Source: Penchecks.com, February 2017

Ultimately No Turning Back on Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The Trump administration's dramatic series of rapid-fire executive orders and regulatory announcements and reviews purport to delay, perhaps gut or even ultimately kill the DOL's fiduciary rule. But a recent analysis suggests that the genie may be out of the bottle regardless.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, February 2017

Private Sector MEPs Return in House Bill

Abstract: U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan has introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement benefits to employees.

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2017

Fewer Canadians Contributing to RRSPs

Abstract: Between 2000 and 2013, fewer and fewer 25- to 54-year-olds used registered retirement savings plans, a study from Statistics Canada has found. The number of individuals using the savings vehicle dropped by 16 percent to 4.2 million, and the total value of annual contributions fell by 26 percent to $22.5 billion.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, February 2017

How Job Changes Affect Retirement Timing by Socioeconomic Status

Abstract: This 8-page paper assesses the effect of voluntarily changing jobs by workers in their 50s on how long they stay in the labor force. The brief also investigates whether any effect differs by socioeconomic status as measured by educational attainment.

Source: Bc.edu, February 2017

Plan Sponsors, Approach Target-Date Funds With Caution

Abstract: Even though the DOL has suggested that selecting a target-date fund with a lifetime income component as a plan's default investment alternative may be prudent, the protections afforded by ERISA 404(c) will not apply if the product does not meet all of the QDIA requirements. This means that a plan fiduciary will not be automatically insulated from liability for participants' investment losses by selecting this investment option as the default alternative.

Source: Alston.com, February 2017

Four Questions to Improve Your Target-Date Fund Selection Process

Abstract: With so much concentration of money in one type of investment, it's important retirement plan advisers have a process in place to choose the right target-date fund for their clients. Here are a few questions advisers can use to improve their TDF selection process.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), February 2017

Why Roth 401ks Are a Great Deal for Millennials

Abstract: Of all consumer and investor demographics, Roth 401ks work best for younger career professionals. So why don't more millennials take advantage of Roth 401ks in particular, and full retirement savings in general?

Source: Yahoo.com, February 2017

Plan Governance

Abstract: This article provides an overview of the importance of developing proper plan governance procedures under ERISA as well as key steps to implementing those procedures.

Source: Truckerhuss.com, February 2017

The Destructive Effect of Expenses on Building Retirement Savings

Abstract: Retirement plan expenses reported as a percent of account value seem small and incidental, but compounded over one's working career, small percentages grow into large percentages. Total expenses include not only the nominal charges, but must also include the loss of earnings on those nominal dollars.

Source: Seekingalpha.com, February 2017

Case Study Finds Re-Enrollment Effective for Portfolio Diversification

Abstract: Six months after a re-enrollment, 94% of participants and 74% of plan assets were in TDFs, while one year later, 92% of participants and 81% of plan assets were in TDFs, a case study by Vanguard showed.

Source: Planadviser.com, February 2017

Update on DOL Fiduciary Rule Applicability Delay and Litigation

Abstract: On February 9, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget received a proposed rule to delay the applicability date of the fiduciary rule the DOL finalized last year. While there are many reports and speculation among the press regarding the length of the delay, we won't know any definitive details until the proposal is submitted for publication in the Federal Register.

Source: Morganlewis.com, February 2017

Congress Poised to Halt State-Mandated Small Business Retirement Plans

Abstract: Large employers are backing two Congressional resolutions that would put a stop to burgeoning state and city-mandated workplace retirement savings programs meant to cover the 55 million American workers without a private sector plan. The vote could come next week, and is causing alarm among retirement security watchdogs and the states that are rolling out plans.

Source: Forbes.com, February 2017

Retirement Preparations in a New Age of Self-Employment

Abstract: At a time of rapid technological advances and societal changes, the increasing prevalence of the self-employed not only represents a change in how people work, it also calls for changes in how people save, invest, and plan for retirement.

Source: Aegon.com, February 2017

Four 401k Options When You Leave a Job

Abstract: When you leave the job to move on to another opportunity or retire, you need to decide what to do with the account balance. You could leave the money in the 401k plan, roll it over into an IRA, take it with you to your new employer's plan, or cash out the account. Here's a look at which option might work best for you.

Source: Usnews.com, February 2017

TIAA Lawsuit Puts the Spotlight on 403(b) Participant Loans

Abstract: Participant loans from 401k plans have never been an employer favorite plan provision. Now participant loans from 403(b) plans have come into focus. It's in the form of a class action lawsuit recently filed by participants in the Washington University 403(b) plan against TIAA. The Plaintiffs allege that TIAA violated several provisions of ERISA regarding the manner in which loans were administered.

Source: Retirementplanblog.com, February 2017

The Latest Trend in Excess Fee Litigation

Abstract: The newest wave of retirement plan lawsuits targets self-dealing in the sponsored plans of several big name financial firms. This latest trend proves that even industry professionals get lax with their procedures and fail to properly fulfill their fiduciary duties. However, Plan Sponsors can take simple, effective steps to prevent themselves from falling to the same fate.

Source: Ekonbenefits.com, February 2017

Labor Department to Delay, Revisit Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The DOL is preparing to delay its controversial Obama-era fiduciary rule on financial advice for 180 days and seek public comment on the rule.

Source: Reuters.com, February 2017

Oregon Treasury Proposal Puts 401k Plans at Risk

Abstract: The Oregon State Treasury has put forth a proposal in support of its state-run plan for private sector workers who don't have a plan at work, that could affect private sector 401k plans.

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2017

DOL Files for Delay in Fiduciary Rule Applicability Date

Abstract: It looks like that much-anticipated delay in the applicability date of the DOL fiduciary regulation might be a reality, or at least on its way to becoming one. Late Thursday evening, Feb. 9, the DOL sent documents to the Office of Management and Budget for approval, citing sources familiar with the agency's actions.

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2017

Dallas Court Approval Thwarts Trump's Attempt to Block DOL Rule

Abstract: A Dallas federal judge's decision on Wednesday to uphold the Labor Department's fiduciary rule buttresses supporters' efforts to prevent the Trump administration from overturning the rule.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), February 2017

Accounting Treatment of Refund of Excess Contributions

Abstract: This short article looks at whether retirement plan contributions that end up exceeding legislative limits for the plan year can still be considered contributions on the plan's financial statements.

Source: Belfint.com, February 2017

List of National 401k Recordkeepers

Abstract: There are hundreds of companies that provide recordkeeping services to 401k plans, but only 37 that provide service nationally. 401kTV has compiled this complete and current list of national 401k recordkeepers.

Source: 401ktv.com, February 2017

Correction of Elective Deferral Failures

Abstract: It is not uncommon for the sponsor of a 401k plan to discover that elective deferral contributions were not deducted from the pay of certain eligible employees as the result of an operational or procedural error. The IRS provides specific guidance for this error.

Source: Voya.com, February 2017

DOL Safe Harbor State-Run IRAs for Private-Sector Employees

Abstract: The safe harbor allows the establishment of a plan that would not be subject to ERISA when certain requirements and conditions are met. In December of 2016 the DOL released amended final regulations to permit certain qualified political subdivisions to establish the same type of IRA savings plans as the states.

Source: Voya.com, February 2017

Resolutions Introduced in Congress to Block State-Sponsored Private-Sector Retirement Plans

Abstract: Rep. Tim Walberg, chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, and Rep. Francis Rooney have introduced two resolutions of disapproval (H. J. Res 66, H. J. Res 67) to block DOL regulations allowing state-sponsored private-sector retirement plans.

Source: House.gov, February 2017

Finding Hidden 401k Fees in Participant Disclosure Notices

Abstract: In a 2015 study of 4,368 retirement plan participants, NARPP found that 89% could not correctly calculate their account fees. However, all is not lost. If you are a 401k participant, you can still uncover all of the fees deducted from your account, even the undisclosed ones. This article shows you how.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, February 2017

Fiduciary Standards, Yes. DOL Rule, Maybe

Abstract: A tighter focus on unconflicted financial advice appears to be the wave of the future, whatever the fate of the Labor Department's fiduciary rule.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), February 2017

What Are the Biggest Problems With 401k Loans?

Abstract: Most workplace retirement plans allow participants to take a loan against their retirement plan balance, but administering the option carries risks for plan fiduciaries. Here are what the IRS has identified as the most common plan loan failures.

Source: Asppa.org, February 2017

Warren Finds Financial Firms Fiduciary Fit

Abstract: Two weeks ago, Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote to a number of financial services firms asking where they stood on the fiduciary regulation. She's now shared their responses with the Acting Secretary of Labor.

Source: Asppa.org, February 2017

Three Ways to Get an Automatic Enrollment Plan Out of Its Rut

Abstract: Inertia is a powerful force in nature, and in human behavior. Even the most proactive and engaged plan designs (and plan designers) can, over time, slide from being in a groove to being in a rut. Here are three ways to reinvigorate automatic plan designs.

Source: Asppa.org, February 2017

TIAA Loan Practices Questioned in Latest ERISA Lawsuit

Abstract: A participant who drew four loans from a retirement account over the years argues her provider inappropriately kept portions of interest payments that should have been credited back to her account.

Source: Planadviser.com, February 2017

ERISA Advisory Council Issues Report on Benefit Plan Cybersecurity

Abstract: The Report notes that while cybersecurity is a focus area for organizations as to ongoing business activities, benefit plans often fall outside the scope of cybersecurity planning. Given that plans maintain and share sensitive employee data and asset information across multiple unrelated entities on a regular basis as part of the plan administration process, the Report indicates that such data and asset information should be specifically considered when implementing cybersecurity risk management measures.

Source: Passwordprotectedlaw.com, February 2017

Fiduciary Rule Delay Could Face Bumpy Path Forward

Abstract: Acting Labor Secretary Ed Hugler responded to Trump's memorandum by saying that the DOL will "consider its legal options to delay the applicability date" as it complies with Trump's directives. Such a delay may be easier said than done, according to attorneys interviewed by Bloomberg BNA.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), February 2017

Robo-Advisers Steer 401k Plan Litigation Trend

Abstract: Robo-advisers -- companies that provide digital financial advice -- are winning ground in the retirement plans industry, but with that growth comes some legal challenges.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), February 2017

Remedial Amendment Period for 403(b) Plans

Abstract: With the release of Revenue Procedure 2017-18, IRS has announced that the last day of the remedial amendment period is March 31, 2020. IRS plans to issue approval letters on the plans that have been submitted by March 31, 2017. Thus, if a plan has not satisfied the requirements of Section 403(b) with the prototype documents during the remedial amendment period but is amended by March 31, 2020 to satisfy those requirements, the plan will be considered to have satisfied those requirements for the entire period.

Source: Strategicbenefitservices.com, February 2017

Trump Orders DOL to Reconsider Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Although it now seems likely that the DOL will find a way to delay and revise the rule (if not rescind it entirely), it is difficult to predict exactly what impact the DOL's actions will have, given that the directive to reconsider the rule comes more than six months after the effective date, and less than three months before the April 10, 2017, applicability date, of the Rule.

Source: Spencerfane.com, February 2017

Trump Mandates Reconsideration of DOL's Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The Memorandum does not provide a deadline by which the DOL must complete its analysis, and it is unlikely that the DOL could complete its review before April 10 or release its findings before a new Secretary of Labor is in place. The DOL might delay the applicability date on its own accord.

Source: Shearman.com, February 2017

Trump's Order on DOL Rule Sows Chaos in Financial Advice Industry

Abstract: A Trump administration effort to give the financial industry clarity about the fiduciary rule has thrown it into a state of chaos. The executive order sent by the President of the United States to the Department of Labor mandating a review of the fiduciary rule has changed it by either 180 days or 180 degrees -- or both.

Source: Riabiz.com, February 2017

DOL Fiduciary Not Yet Delayed by President Trump After All

Abstract: The irony of how President Trump's intervention has played out is that his delaying-Executive-Order-that-wasn't has angered the fiduciary advocates (and much of the mainstream media) who are characterizing the potential rollback as a consumer loss, while the firms that have opposed the rule find themselves facing even more uncertainty above whether the Trump administration is really aiming to stop or delay the rule, or simply begin a rulemaking process to alter it at some point in the future.

Source: Kitces.com, February 2017

Maintaining Retirement Plan Records

Abstract: Employers who sponsor a retirement plan are required by law to keep books and records available for the IRS to review. Having these records available is also helpful when determining participant benefits. What records should you keep and how long must they be retained is address in this article.

Source: Consultrms.com, February 2017

Securing America's Retirement: A Legislative Roadmap

Abstract: This 18-page policy statement focuses on strengthening the voluntary employment-based retirement benefits system and enhancing retirement security for workers, while proposing solutions to address our country's evolving workforce as demographics continue to change.

Source: Centerforcapitalmarkets.com, February 2017

The Impact of Trump's Presidential Memorandum on the Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Though the rule becoming applicable on April 10th appears to be highly unlikely at this juncture, it remains to be seen whether the rule is modified or rescinded altogether.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, February 2017

Fiduciary Rule Delay Gets Mixed Reaction in Plan Sponsor World

Abstract: The retirement plan advice industry has already made changes with the times, so large employers appear to be largely unconcerned with President Donald Trump's decision to put the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule on hold. However, the picture is a bit muddier with small employers.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), February 2017

Trump Orders Review of DOL Fiduciary Rule and Addresses Financial Industry in Latest Actions

Abstract: While the Memorandum does not delay the rule or have any immediate effect on affected parties, if the DOL finds that the rule runs contrary to any of the considerations in the Memorandum, the DOL is directed to "publish for notice and comment a proposed rule rescinding or revising the Rule, as appropriate and consistent with law."

Source: Benefitslawadvisor.com, February 2017

Text of the Presidential Memorandum on Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: This is the text of the Presidential Memorandum on Fiduciary Duty Rule issued by President Thump on Friday, February 03, 2017.

Source: Whitehouse.gov, February 2017

What Trump's Action on Advisor Rule Means for Retirement Savers

Abstract: Trump's directive puts consumer protections that were on the way for traditional and Roth IRAs, 401ks and some health savings accounts into question. At minimum, this means consumers must do their own due diligence before hiring financial advisors and brokers.

Source: Nerdwallet.com, February 2017

Preliminary Analysis of Trump Memorandum on the DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Finding No. (i) would be subjective and require the DOL to determine the regulation causes "harm." Finding No. (ii) would similarly be subjective and require it to conclude that the regulation "adversely" affects investors or retirees. Finding No. (iii), however, is objectively a slam dunk. There is no question that if there are millions of written BICE agreements in circulation, it will necessarily increase the number of potential breach of contract claims filed by investors, particularly after a significant market correction.

Source: Linkedin.com, February 2017

401k Savings Hit Record Numbers

Abstract: Record investing in 401k accounts is yielding impressive results for retirement savers. That's because people have recently been socking more money away. Workers in 2015 saved 6.8% of their salaries in 401k and profit-sharing plans, versus 6.2% in 2010.

Source: Investopedia.com, February 2017

Final Trump Memo Lacks Explicit Directive to Delay DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The final version of a memo sent by President Donald Trump on Friday to the Department of Labor directs the agency to review a sweeping investment-advice rule but does not contain an explicit delay of the April 10 implementation date.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), February 2017

State Auto-IRAs: The Wrong Answer

Abstract: According to this 20-page paper, states considering mandating automatic enrollment payroll deduction Individual Retirement Accounts are likely to hurt the very workers they think they are helping. The reason is simple, state autoIRAs are a poor substitute for employer-provided plans.

Source: Uschamber.com, February 2017

Puerto Rico 2017 Retirement Plan Limits

Abstract: The Puerto Rico Treasury Department (Hacienda) has announced 2017 benefit limits for retirement plans qualified under Puerto Rico's Internal Revenue Code.

Source: Towerswatson.com, February 2017

Halt of Fiduciary Rule Means More Work for Plan Sponsors

Abstract: Industry experts have opined that the rollback of the DOL fiduciary rule will actually put more pressure, not less, on plan sponsors to ensure they are meeting their own required duties.

Source: Plansponsor.com, February 2017

Safe Harbors and Exclusions in the DOL's Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Some communications are not deemed by the fiduciary rule to be a "recommendation," so they're not "investment advice." This article takes a closer look at the safe harbor exceptions/exclusions.

Source: Morningstar.com, February 2017

Correcting ADP Test Failures

Abstract: New resource from ICI working groups explore how fund intermediaries can fulfill disclosure requirements under the DOL fiduciary rule.

Source: Legacyrsllc.com, February 2017

Not All Fiduciaries Are Created Equal

Abstract: There are different kinds of fiduciaries, and some offer more layers of protection than others. So make sure you understand the nuances behind the designations.

Source: Kiplinger.com, February 2017

What You Need to Know About Trump's Plan to Halt DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The DOL is being directed to examine the fiduciary duty rule to determine whether it may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice. As part of this examination, the DOL is expected to prepare an updated economic and legal analysis concerning the likely impact of the rule.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), February 2017

Disclosure of Noncash Compensation and Third-Party Payments in Response to the DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: New resource from ICI working groups explore how fund intermediaries can fulfill disclosure requirements under the DOL fiduciary rule.

Source: Ici.org, February 2017

It's Time for 401k Plans to Become Part of the Sharing Economy

Abstract: Over the last few years there have been those of us in the industry who have advocated for a better way. One that eliminates the fiduciary dysfunction we currently see in the small employer market. The better way is the aggregation of the plans of unrelated 401k plan sponsors into single plans called multiple employer plans.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, February 2017

Ten Reasons Why It's Better to Rollover Your 401k Into an IRA

Abstract: There are any number of reasons to get your money out of an old employer's 401k plan. Here are 10 of them.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com (registration may be required), February 2017

401k Balances, Contributions and IRAs End 2016 at Record Levels

Abstract: Fidelity Investments today released its 401k and Individual Retirement Account analysis for the fourth quarter of 2016, which reveals a record average 401k balance.

Source: Fidelity.com, February 2017

Record Retention Requirements Applicable to Employee Benefit Plans

Abstract: Presentation details the general rules of ERISA and then discusses several specific recordkeeping requirements for employee benefit plans and a number of general requirements that imply a duty to retain records, for example general fiduciary duties, plan distribution requirements, COBRA requirements and qualified medical child support requirements.

Source: Employeebenefitsblog.com, February 2017

Eight Concerns 401k Sponsors Have About DC Plan Administration

Abstract: Sponsors of large and mega 401k plans are continuing to step up oversight of retirement plans and in many cases are taking a more paternalistic approach to plan design. Fee consciousness and heightened oversight are key themes.

Source: Benefitspro.com, February 2017

Five Steps to Setting up a Canadian DC Pension Plan

Abstract: You've decided to launch a defined contribution pension plan for your employees, but you don't know where to begin. What's the answer? How do you decide what's right for your organization? This article takes a five-step approach.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, February 2017

The Effect of Job Mobility on Retirement Timing by Education

Abstract: Job-changing among late-career workers increased steadily from the 1980s through the mid-2000s before declining somewhat in recent years. This 26-page paper asks how the rise in job-changing affects retirement timing and whether this effect varies by a key measure of socioeconomic status or educational attainment.

Source: Bc.edu, February 2017

Target-Date Funds: What's Under the Hood?

Abstract: While nearly 60 percent of new 401k participants have savings in target-date funds, little research has looked under the hood of this investment vehicle. This analysis uses a unique dataset with extensive information on the underlying mutual funds that TDFs hold.

Source: Bc.edu, February 2017

Trump Tackles Fiduciary Reg Just Short of its "Go" Line

Abstract: The President signed a memorandum to the Secretary of Labor that pushes back the April 10 implementation deadline by 180 days. In his daily press briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer described the rule as "a solution in search of a problem," charged the Obama Department of Labor with exceeding its authority in promulgating it, and remarked that the rule represents the "kind of regulatory overreach that President Trump was elected to stop."

Source: Asppa.org, February 2017

With Change on the Horizon, Advice for DC Plan Sponsors in 2017

Abstract: With a new president and a new party now in charge, change is in the air and on everyone's mind. But the wheels of government generally turn slowly. For sponsors of defined contribution pension and savings plans, 2017 could be relatively quiet. This lull gives DC plan sponsors the chance to proactively focus on certain issues that might need attention.

Source: Segalco.com, February 2017

Retirement Plan Investment Programs Harbor Newly Revealed Risks

Abstract: Investment advisor conflicts of interest can cause participants to overpay for investment related services, which reduces their net investment returns and exposes their employers to fines and class action lawsuits. The DOL points out that the organizations that sponsor the plans, not the investment firms, are accountable for any excessive fees paid from plan assets. If you're unsure of where your plan's investment program aligns with the DOL's revelations, here's what to look for.

Source: Rolandcriss.com, February 2017

Is the Revised Form 5500 the Next Big Thing?

Abstract: On July 11, 2016, the Department of Labor issued proposed forms and regulations that would significantly overhaul the Form 5500 again. These changes would apply to 2019 and later plan years. So is this change to a government form "the next big thing"? Very likely, yes.

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2017

Exploring the Impact of the DOL Fiduciary Ruling on the DC Marketplace

Abstract: This 9-page research paper explores the DOL fiduciary ruling's impact on the DC market. The paper begins by looking at how DC advisors see the ruling changing their businesses and how it's shifting their priorities. Then it turns to the participant view, examining their awareness of the ruling and how it alters their perceptions of financial advisors and the industry overall. Then, it looks at DC advisor satisfaction with the support they are receiving from financial providers.

Source: Marketstrategies.com, February 2017

ADP Test Basics

Abstract: The tax code governing 401k plans was written to prevent qualified retirement plans from overly favoring Highly Compensated Employees. A series of non-discrimination tests were devised to measure whether a plan's design or operation lends to favoring the HCEs over the Non-Highly Compensated Employees. This a review of the tests.

Source: Legacyrsllc.com, February 2017

Justice Department Continues to Defend DOL Fiduciary Rule in Court

Abstract: The Department of Justice continues to defend a Labor Department investment-advice rule in a lawsuit in a Texas federal court almost two weeks after President Donald Trump was sworn into office. Some experts anticipate the Trump administration will abandon the rule in court.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), February 2017

How Retirement Plan Advisers Can Help Clients With Compliance

Abstract: Retirement plans are complicated, and employers often find themselves too busy to give them appropriate attention. So, it seems pretty natural that over the years an investment adviser's role has evolved into one that, ideally, helps ensure compliance and minimize risk, which has become of utmost importance, especially as 401k litigation has increased.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), February 2017


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