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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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DC Provider Mobile Capabilities Increasing

Summary: Retirement plan providers continue to place more emphasis on their mobile presence, according to Corporate Insight research.

Source: Planadviser.com, November 2015

The Future of Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses and Partners

Summary: Now that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states and recognized under federal law, employers must extend certain spousal benefits to same-sex spouses and can do so without additional administrative complexity. In addition, some employers are phasing out unmarried partner benefits by requiring partners to marry in order to be eligible for spousal benefit coverage.

Source: Mwe.com , November 2015

Required Minimum Distributions

Summary: As we approach the end of the calendar year, it is important to be reminded about one frequently overlooked retirement plan requirement. Upon attainment of age 70-1/2, certain participants of a tax-qualified retirement plan may be required by federal tax law to withdraw a minimum amount from such plan each year.

Source: Legacyrsllc.com, November 2015

The Bad Bet of Offering Self Directed Brokerage Accounts in 401k Plans

Summary: Plan sponsor, with self-directed brokerage accounts in their plans, may unknowingly expose themselves to liability. This article is about the hidden dangers of 401k plans in offering self-directed brokerage accounts to plan participants.

Source: Jdsupra.com, November 2015

Monitoring Call Centers: Is It a Fiduciary Duty to Know What They Tell Participants?

Summary: Plan sponsors need to know what their service providers are saying to participants about distributions and rollovers. At the least, this is good risk management. But Fred Reish emphasizes that plan committees have a fiduciary duty to monitor services, meaning that they should monitor their providers' conversations and written communications.

Source: Drinkerbiddle.com , November 2015

"Socially Responsible" Investing Under ERISA: New DOL Guidance

Summary: Fiduciary concerns may have prevented plan committees from considering "economically targeted investments" (ETI) as alternatives for their plans. Recent DOL guidance, Interpretive Bulletin 2015-01, provides helpful clarity and should alleviate many of these concerns. This article outlines a fiduciary process that committees should follow in evaluating ETIs versus other investment alternatives, based on the key points in the Bulletin.

Source: Dbr.com, November 2015

Will DOL Fiduciary Rule Survive Looming Omnibus Deadline?

Summary: Opponents of the Department of Labor's proposed fiduciary rule have been threatening for months to use the appropriations process to defund the DOL's effort to finalize and enforce a new fiduciary standard.

Source: Benefitspro.com, November 2015

DC Plan Loans Staying High

Summary: The number of defined contribution participants with outstanding loans from their savings plan is still high compared to historical norms.

Source: Benefitspro.com, November 2015

Planning for Today's Dual Retirement

Summary: Retiring in lockstep with your significant other was once the right -- maybe the only -- thing to do. But it's unlikely to happen that way for couples today. Article provides some retirement suggestions for couples.

Source: Bankrate.com, November 2015

SEC Sets a Date for Fiduciary Rule

Summary: The good news is that the SEC has established a date for issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking for the Personalized Investment Advice Standard of Conduct. The bad news? That date, according to the SEC Office of Management and Budget's fall agenda, is October 2016.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2015

In-plan Annuities Aren't Prevalent Due to Fiduciary Oversight Concerns

Summary: Why aren't in-plan annuities more prevalent? One reason is sponsor concerns about fiduciary oversight. Committees often worry about the process for selecting and monitoring insurers. Do we have the expertise to do it ourselves, or should we hire a consultant? What's the nature of our liability? These questions dissuade many committees from moving ahead, especially since expected demand from participants is typically low.

Source: Vanguardinstitutionalblog.com, November 2015

DOL's Retirement Advice Rule: Helping or Harming Sound Retirement Planning?

Summary: This 15-page white paper suggests the recently re-proposed DOL fiduciary rule, meant to protect the retirement savings of individuals, may well have the opposite effect. The DOL rule should be more fully analyzed and adjustments made to ensure the rule does not have an adverse impact on retirement plan access and investment education.

Source: Accf.org , November 2015

Anger Turns to Resignation in Face of DOL Rule

Summary: Months and many public hearings later on the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule, anger has mellowed into grudging resignation. That appears to be giving way to the new reality: those non-fiduciaries who sell financial products into retirement plans are simply going to have to adapt.

Source: Insurancenewsnet.com, November 2015

New Fiduciary Rules: Whose Interests Come First?

Summary: Your broker is about to become a fiduciary -- at least when it comes to your retirement accounts -- and, depending on whom you ask, that could be a very good or very bad thing.

Source: Cnbc.com, November 2015

State Open MEPs Ready to Bloom, but With Challenges

Summary: State-backed open multiple employer plans aimed at expanding private-sector retirement savings options are poised to take off -- although not without significant challenges -- under recent Department of Labor soft guidance.

Source: Bna.com, November 2015

2015 Wells Fargo Retirement Study

Summary: On behalf of Wells Fargo, Harris Poll conducted 1,251 telephone interviews of 851 working Americans 40 or older and 400 retired Americans, surveying attitudes and behaviors around planning, saving and investing for retirement. This eight-page document reviews the key findings.

Source: Wellsfargomedia.com , November 2015

DOL Fiduciary Rule Is 'Biggest Change That We'll Go Through': Pershing

Summary: Could the Department of Labor's impending new fiduciary rule fundamentally change the industry as it is today? The real impact of the new DOL fiduciary rule won't be felt immediately, Pershing's John Brett says, but two to five years after it take effect.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, November 2015

Five Reasons 401k Lawsuits Matter to You

Summary: Several 401k lawsuits against major employers have been in the news this year. While all of this may be interesting, you may be asking what does any of this have to do with me? Here are five reasons 401k lawsuits matter to you.

Source: Thechicagofinancialplanner.com, November 2015

DOL Provides Guidance on ERISA Coverage of State-Run Retirement Programs for Private Sector Employers

Summary: The DOL issued two pieces of guidance on ERISA coverage of state-run retirement programs for private sector employers. The guidance admittedly is not determinative about whether any specific state program would be preempted by ERISA, particularly if the program, when combined with state sovereign immunity laws, would leave state-run plan participants without a remedy.

Source: Sutherland.com, November 2015

The Importance of Hiring a High-Quality Auditor for Your Employee Benefit Plan

Summary: The DOL has begun issuing formal notifications to companies regarding the importance of selecting a qualified CPA firm that has the expertise to perform a high-quality audit. An inadequate audit puts your plan assets as well as your plan fiduciaries at risk.

Source: Schneiderdowns.com, November 2015

New Best Practices Are Emerging for Company Stock in DC Plans

Summary: Is the company stock option a legacy feature that needs a closer look? This article revisits the role of company stock in a defined contribution plan. It's a role that is changing.

Source: Russell.com, November 2015

The Recordkeeper Relationship

Summary: Just because one discovers issues with a service provider, does not necessarily mean a conversion is in the retirement plan's future. As in all relationships, some problems are resolvable while others are deal-breakers. Article looks at both.

Source: Plansponsor.com, November 2015

Regulatory FAQs: Department of Labor Fiduciary Re-Proposal

Summary: The Department of Labor's proposed definition of fiduciary expands the number of people who would be considered fiduciaries under ERISA. What does that really mean?

Source: Manning-Napier.com, November 2015

DOL Paves the Way for State-Run Retirement Plans

Summary: The proposed DOL rules allow states to mandate employers not offering qualified retirement plans to enroll employees in individual retirement accounts funded by payroll-deduction. Those accounts would not be subject to ERISA. The guidance also allows states to create multiple-employer retirement plans that are compliant with ERISA. Many questions remain unanswered, but it is clear that even employers offering qualified plans will be impacted.

Source: Lockton.com , November 2015

What Are the Employer's Responsibilities as Benefits Plan Managers?

Summary: Over the last decade, employers who sponsor retirement benefits have become much more aware that properly managing those plans entail what are called "fiduciary responsibilities" or "fiduciary duties." While this may seem daunting, perhaps even a bit intimidating, there are four clear and common sense guidelines that, if followed, can make the job easy.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, November 2015

Habits of Highly Effective Fiduciary Committees

Summary: Combustible issues are the complex and sometimes controversial topics that can intimidate or paralyze plan sponsor decision making. The combustible issue clients ask about most often is that of plan committee composition and plan governance best practices.

Source: Captrustadvisors.com, November 2015

Fiduciary Regulations: A Cautionary Tale for 403(b) Plan Sponsors

Summary: Even with all the regulatory changes over the past nine years, the IRS and DOL have given non-profit organizations a lot of time to bring their 403(b) plans into compliance. However, it now looks like the tide may be shifting and we’re starting to see a tightening of the regulatory reins.

Source: Benefitnews.com, November 2015

Canadian Employers Want to Help Employees in Retirement

Summary: Employers are revisiting how they view their retirement programs and how they view their role when active employees become retirees, said Nigel Branker, partner and leader of Morneau Shepell's DC pension consulting practice in Ontario. But the survey of the same name reports that 21% of employers want to reduce the costs and risks in their retirement plans.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, November 2015

Plan Sponsors, Employees More Aware of 401k Fees

Summary: In the past couple of years, due in large part to fee disclosure regulations that went into effect in 2012 and hearings and discussions over the past couple of years about who is a fiduciary, plan sponsors and plan participants have become more aware of what they are paying for their plan and that there are lower cost options available. The bulk of litigation has been about fees, but participants are also getting savvy about the responsibilities their employer has toward them when it comes to their retirement plan.

Source: Benefitnews.com, November 2015

Student Loan Debt Hindering Retirement Savings

Summary: Student loan debt is burdening millennial employees, who could be losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement savings. There are a number of employers exploring ways to assist employees with student loan debt.

Source: Benefitnews.com, November 2015

An Employer Guide on How to Set up a Retirement Plan Committee

Summary: Retirement plan committees, regardless of the size of the plan sponsor, can be an effective method of managing a retirement plan. This article, by attorney Ary Rosenbaum, is about how retirement plan sponsors can use a plan committee correctly and some of the things they should avoid by setting one up.

Source: Jdsupra.com, November 2015

Politics and Investment Options Don't Mix

Summary: Author writes, "In the midst of rightly placed concerns over proposed new Department of Labor fiduciary rules for brokers, the DOL has also issued a new interpretive bulletin designed to politicize investment choices."

Source: Ncpa.org, November 2015*

Whose Responsibility is Socially Responsible Investing?

Summary: Author writes, "There are readily understood standards for selecting and continuing to monitor an investment for its financial suitability. Picking investments that are compatible with a participant's conscience is another matter altogether."

Source: Erisanews.blogspot.com, November 2015

Universal Savings Accounts (USAs) Introduced

Summary: Senator Jeff Flake and Representative David Brat are introducing companion Senate-House bills to create Universal Savings Accounts. The accounts are like supercharged Roth IRAs.

Source: Cato.org, November 2015

Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Small Business

Summary: In this 11-page paper, Blackrock reviews key federal retirement initiatives and several of the state proposals around expanding access to retirement savings for small business. They offer suggestions on how Congress and the DOL can eliminate unnecessary obstacles to small employers face and caution on the potential for creating regulatory arbitrage that may result in reduced retirement savings.

Source: Blackrock.com , November 2015

2015 Defined Contribution Survey

Summary: This annual DC Survey measures and evaluates the satisfaction levels of 401k and other DC providers according to feedback from their plan sponsor clients. Major defined contribution providers are rated in 23 areas of participant/sponsor services. The information collected is intended for plan sponsors to gauge their plans against their peers.

Source: Plansponsor.com, November 2015

Road Ahead for Auto-IRAs and Open MEPs

Summary: ERISA attorney David Levine offers a few thoughts about the potential road ahead for auto-IRAs and state-run open MEPs for the private sector.

Source: Planadviser.com, November 2015

DOL's Proposed Safe Harbor for State Savings Programs: A Closer Look

Summary: The DOL issued an interpretive bulletin that would give states three options to create an ERISA-covered program that would also not be subject to ERISA preemption. However, if a state chooses to create an ERISA-covered program, the state would be prohibited from requiring employers to use that program.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, November 2015

Who Benefits From the U.S. Retirement System

Summary: This 40-page paper is a summary of Peter Brady's forthcoming book, "Who Benefits from the U.S. Retirement System," to be published in January 2016.

Source: Ici.org , November 2015

What Advisory Fee Structure is Compatible With Your Goals?

Summary: When considering hiring an investment advisor for your 401k or 403(b) plan, one matter to give consideration to is that of advisory fees. You have to review how they charge fees, and whether or not their fee structure is one that is compatible with your company's goals. A fee-only fiduciary advisor is, usually, the best choice. Here are the reasons why.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, November 2015

Sixth Circuit Rules That Continued Investment in Employer Stock Did Not Violate ERISA's Prudence Rule

Summary: A myriad of tasks must be completed each year to keep a 401k plan in compliance with ERISA. When considered together, ERISA compliance tasks can seem overwhelming to a 401k plan sponsor. A checklist can help.

Source: Erisalawyerblog.com, November 2015

Managing 401k Deadlines for the 2016 Plan Year: A Checklist Can Help

Summary: A myriad of tasks must be completed each year to keep a 401k plan in compliance with ERISA. When considered together, ERISA compliance tasks can seem overwhelming to a 401k plan sponsor. A checklist can help.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, November 2015

2016 Annual Plan Compliance Review Checklist

Summary: Offering a 401k plan can be challenging. Administering a plan and managing its assets require certain actions and involve specific fiduciary responsibilities. This 7-page checklist will help guide you through the process.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com , November 2015

Sixth Circuit: Fiduciaries in Stock-drop Suits Should Be Evaluated on Real-time Conduct, Not 20-20 Hindsight

Summary: This case represents good news for fiduciaries of plans that require investment in employer stock, even though the days of a presumption of prudence are gone. This case demonstrates that if fiduciaries use a prudent process then attacks from plaintiffs will be much tougher to sustain even if hindsight shows the outcome of the decision to be a bad one. Article explores the decision and its implications.

Source: Employeebenefitslawreport.com, November 2015

"Socially Responsible" Investing Under ERISA: New DOL Guidance

Summary: Fiduciary concerns may have prevented plan committees from considering "economically targeted investments," such as investments that observe environmental, social or governance responsibility standards, as alternatives for their plans. Recent DOL guidance (Interpretive Bulletin 2015-01), provides helpful clarity and should alleviate many of these concerns.

Source: Drinkerbiddle.com, November 2015

Broker-dealer Advisors at Historic Crossroads

Summary: Article suggests that major brokerage firms that don't adopt fiduciary business models are likely to implode at some time in the future. Is the end near for this profitable business model?

Source: Benefitspro.com, November 2015

Three Plan Providers Talk About myRAs

Summary: BenefitsPro asked three plan providers for their take on myRAs and how they see the program as affecting the country's retirement savings landscape.

Source: Benefitspro.com, November 2015

Helping Employees Get on the Right Retirement Track

Summary: Many things get in the way of people saving enough for retirement. Buying a home. Student loans. Getting married. Having kids. All of these competing priorities make it difficult to set money aside for something that seems light years away. A new study by the Think Tank at Financial Finesse found that employers can do more when it comes to helping employees prepare for retirement.

Source: Benefitnews.com, November 2015

How Do RIAs Grow the Right Way? Industry Think-Tank Clues Us In

Summary: The white paper points out that owners of RIAs, many of whom are nearing retirement, haven't done enough to plan for the future of their businesses. aRIA says that this failure is because many founding partners are less interested in building a business and more interested in being operators of their practices. This type of thinking can be damaging to the long-term viability of the firm.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, November 2015

Millennials Face Unique Set of Obstacles When Saving for Retirement

Summary: A new survey finds that Millennials, more than any other group, may not be saving enough for retirement because they are unwilling to sacrifice things that add to their current quality of life, and because many are also burdened by student loan debt.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2015

How Household Spending Changes in Retirement

Summary: On average, households spend less once they retire, but not all households and not in the same ways. New research from the nonpartisan EBRI finds that while average spending in retirement falls in the first two years in retirement, nearly half (45.9 percent) of retired households actually spent more than they did just before retirement.

Source: Ebri.org , November 2015

Who "Owns" Responsibility for Retirement Readiness?

Summary: A new survey finds that most workers strongly disagree with the statement, "My employer is responsible for providing for my retirement." That finding comes despite the reality that, for the second year in a row, Americans feel less confident about their financial situation. As for getting some professional help, 32% "see value" in paying for professional advice.

Source: Napa-net.org, November 2015

Three Reasons to Consider Collective Investment Trusts

Summary: Article seeks to provide insight for plan sponsors on why CITs have become more popular in recent years, including the top three reasons for selecting a CIT for your retirement plan.

Source: Invesco.us.com, November 2015

Small Business Lobbies Congress to Alter DOL Fiduciary Rule

Summary: Small businesses are pleading with lawmakers and the Department of Labor, saying they're getting the short end of the stick with regards to the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule.

Source: Benefitnews.com, November 2015

DOL Proposes Safe Harbor on State-Based Retirement Savings Programs

Summary: The DOL proposed a regulation establishing a safe harbor for certain state-based savings programs established pursuant to state payroll deduction programs so that these SSPs are not considered pension plans under ERISA. To date, California, Illinois and Oregon have adopted SSPs. The intent of the safe harbor is to reduce the risk of the state laws establishing SSPs being preempted by ERISA if and when they are challenged in court.

Source: Practicallaw.com, November 2015

Correction for Mandatory Contribution Failures in 403(b) Plans

Summary: Author responds to this question, "We recently changed payroll systems, which resulted in a failure to withhold mandatory contributions from several employee paychecks until the error was discovered. I looked to the IRS guidance about the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System, but there appears to be no mention of employee mandatory contributions in EPCRS at all. Am I missing something?"

Source: Plansponsor.com, November 2015

State Street's Handling of GM Stock for 401k Gets Court Blessing

Summary: After much back and forth, an appellate court has finally dismissed a lawsuit against State Street Bank and Trust Company over its handling of the employee stock ownership portion of General Motors 401k plan.

Source: Planadviser.com, November 2015

Closer Look at State-Run Retirement Systems for Private Sector

Summary: Four states have passed laws paving the way to offer state-run retirement plans, and 18 additional states are considering such a measure. And to encourage these plans, the Department of Labor issued its much-anticipated guidance on state-run programs. But industry insiders are divided on whether this is a good idea.

Source: Planadviser.com, November 2015

Reminder Dates for Retirement Plan Participant Notices

Summary: As we approach year end, now is the time to handle the distribution of annual participant notices as required by ERISA. This chart to remind plan administrators of the notices required for distribution, and their applicable deadlines.

Source: Magnetmail.net , November 2015

State-Based Retirement Programs Pose Hazards for Employers, Workers

Summary: ICI President and CEO Paul Schott Stevens issued this statement in response to proposed regulations issued by the Department of Labor governing state-based retirement programs.

Source: Ici.org, November 2015

Don't Let Loans and Withdrawals Erode Retirement Savings

Summary: Fidelity recently analyzed loan and hardship withdrawal trends and their impact on retirement readiness. See what they learned in this infographic.

Source: Fidelity.com, November 2015

Building a Stronger DC Plan

Summary: When building a house, having a framework to guide you is crucial to success. Building a defined contribution plan isn't that different. Discover a framework to help you build a stronger plan in this new infographic.

Source: Fidelity.com, November 2015

DOL Interpretive Bulletin 2015-02

Summary: This document sets forth the views of the DOL concerning the application of ERISA to certain state laws designed to expand the retirement savings options available to private sector workers through ERISA-covered retirement plans.

Source: Dol.gov , November 2015

Mobile Update: Retirement Plan Providers

Summary: Retirement plan providers are placing a greater emphasis on their mobile presence. In the past year, we have witnessed new phone apps, tablet apps and revamped mobile sites.

Source: Corporateinsight.com, November 2015

Fiduciary Training Can Mitigate Liability for Individuals and Organizations

Summary: Who is a fiduciary? What are their responsibilities? These questions may seem simple on the surface, but actually open up a lot of layers of complexity. Lack of awareness about this important role can leave individuals and organizations liable for criminal and civil penalties.

Source: Cpbj.com, November 2015

Five Things for Plan Sponsors to Check Before Year-End

Summary: As a Plan Sponsor providing a 401k plan for your employees, here are some year-end checklist items to consider as you prepare for the administration and operations of the plan for 2016.

Source: Brightscope.com, November 2015

Five Things Plan Participants Should Do Before the End of the Year

Summary: There are only a few weeks left for plan participants to make a 401k contribution for 2015. The deadline is also quickly approaching for retirees to take required minimum distributions from their retirement accounts. Here are some points to consider before the end of the year.

Source: Brightscope.com, November 2015

Boeing Fee Settlement Highlights the High Bar for Large Plans

Summary: In most respects Boeing's retirement offering is a great model of how to run a large retirement plan. Participants in Boeing's 401k plan are beneficiaries of a participant-friendly design with immediate access, automatic enrollment, immediate vesting of company matching contributions, and a simple and diversified investment menu of low-cost collective investment funds. This backdrop, however, did not prevent Boeing from settling its 2006 401k fee suit for $57 million.

Source: Brightscope.com, November 2015

DOL Gives State-Run Plans an Edge Over Private Sector

Summary: The DOL unveiled a proposed rule to clarify ERISA's application to state-run IRA programs, creating an advantage for those programs over those offered by the private sector. The proposal includes a rule modifying the payroll deduction safe harbor to allow for an ERISA exemption for auto-enroll payroll deduction IRAs offered by states as a default program where there is a requirement for an employer to have a plan.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2015

DOL Proposed Regulations on IRA-Based Retirement Programs

Summary: The DOL has issued much-anticipated proposed regulations providing guidance on savings arrangements established by states for private sector employees. These proposed regulations, an interpretive bulletin, and an accompanying EBSA fact sheet were released November 16th.

Source: Ascensus.com, November 2015

Retirement Plan Features That Are Going Obsolete

Summary: Ary Rosenbaum has been around the retirement plan business for 17 years and has seen many things become obsolete. This article is about things associated with retirement plans that have or will become obsolete, like the "Barney Fife Financial Advisor" and "Milk Carton Advisor."

Source: Jdsupra.com, November 2015

Six Ideas to Grow Your 401k Business in 2016

Summary: Chris Barlow, Managing Director KnowHow 401k, suggests that if you master these six ideas and you are well on your way to growing your 401k business in 2016.

Source: Linkedin.com, November 2015

Five Questions Every Plan Sponsor Should Ask Themselves About Retirement Income

Summary: After thoughtful consideration on providing the best investment options for their employees, particularly the default investment alternative, what do plan sponsors need to consider next when it comes to their participants actually retiring? Four-page article has five key questions plan sponsors should ask when it comes to orienting their plan around the provision of meaningful retirement income.

Source: Seic.com , November 2015

Intel Faces Ominous Lawsuit After Using Home-Cooked Alternative Investments in 401k

Summary: David S. Pottruck and the investment committee he heads at Intel Corp. might have been hailed as heroes for calling a market top in 2007 and rotating funds from the company's 401k plan into hedged investments. But since then, Intel has continued to double down on hedge and private equity-style exotica with its 401k assets and the results have sparked what could be a nasty precedent-setting ERISA-invoking class action.

Source: Riabiz.com, November 2015

DOL Pushes Back on Legislation to Kill Fiduciary Rule

Summary: The Labor Department has dismissed a legislative effort that would replace a pending agency rule to raise investment-advice standards for retirement accounts. The DOL made clear that it has no intention of letting any bill influence its rule making process.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), November 2015

Taking the Bite Out of 401k Conversions: Tax Strategies Scan

Summary: Instead of converting the entire 401k assets to a Roth IRA within a year, clients may want to consider spreading the conversion over several years to minimize the impact on their income taxes.

Source: Financial-Planning.com, November 2015

Regulators May Put Robo Firms Under Fiduciary Microscope

Summary: Following industry suggestions that robo advisors may be violating investment laws, SEC Commissioner Kara Stein is publicly questioning whether a fiduciary duty applies to automated advice, and whether existing laws should be revised to account for the digital wealth management platforms.

Source: Financial-Planning.com, November 2015

Generation Lost: Engaging Millennials With Retirement Saving

Summary: Millennials face considerably greater challenges than their parents when it comes to providing for their retirement. But this group, which comprises those born between 1980 and the turn of the millennium, are not being told about the scale of the savings mountain they must climb. Twenty-four pages.

Source: Bnymellon.com , November 2015

Congress Working to Dismantle DOL Fiduciary Proposal

Summary: Some members of Congress have been working to defeat or come up with alternatives for the Department of Labor's fiduciary proposal, which would extend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's conflict-of-interest requirements to brokers handling workers' retirement savings.

Source: Bna.com, November 2015

Guide to Safe Harbor Plans -- Compliance Issues

Summary: Safe Harbor can be a big advantage for plan sponsors. But beware the pitfalls of not following all of the Safe Harbor regulations. Safe Harbor plans still require careful administration to insure that all of the compliance rules are properly followed. Article lists some "trip ups" to avoid.

Source: Benefit-Resources.com, November 2015

Five Reasons Why More Plans Don't Offer Retirement Income Options

Summary: A frequent commentary on today's plan designs is that they are more focused on accumulation than the eventual spend-down of those savings. Here's five reasons plan sponsors give for not offering retirement income options.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2015

Duty to Monitor Fiduciaries Does Not Include Duty to Inform

Summary: A federal judge has found that several defendants named in an ERISA lawsuit are not fiduciaries and has dismissed some claims that BP America failed to monitor fiduciaries. The court found that the plaintiffs have not pointed to any such allegation in the complaint, and their duty-to-monitor claim against the appointing officers fails as a result.

Source: Plansponsor.com, November 2015

The Upside of Target-Date Funds

Summary: Much of the criticism of TDFs misses their real effect. Overall levels of asset allocation inside 401k plans is much better than it was prior to their advent -- many more people have age-appropriate allocations than ever before.

Source: Nwp401k.com, November 2015

Why You Should Work Through Retirement

Summary: What if in between the leisurely activities you voluntarily chose to work throughout your retirement? It sounds counterintuitive, but there are actually some valid reasons for having a job throughout retirement, regardless of whether it's part- or fulltime. Here are three.

Source: Myubiquity.com, November 2015

Year-End Compliance Issues for Single-Employer Retirement Plans

Summary: By year-end 2015, sponsors of calendar-year single-employer retirement plans must act on necessary and discretionary amendments and perform a range of administrative procedures to ensure compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. This article looks at key areas that such employers and sponsors of DB or DC plans should address by Dec. 31, 2015.

Source: Milliman.com , November 2015

Millennials Are Investing at a Younger Age Compared With Earlier Generations

Summary: Nearly one-third of Millennial households owned mutual funds in mid-2015 according to an annual survey of U.S. households by the Investment Company Institute. Though the share of Millennial households that own funds is smaller than that of older generations, these Millennials started investing at a younger age than previous generations.

Source: Ici.org, November 2015

Is Your Benefits Communication Reaching Your Millennial Employees?

Summary: When it comes to benefits information, the challenge has become how to provide the same tech-centric and customer-friendly user experience that millennials have come to expect as everyday consumers.

Source: Frenkelbenefits.com, November 2015

Will New DOL Rule Contain Fiduciary Surprise for 401k Recordkeepers?

Summary: Is a 401k recordkeeper a fiduciary under ERISA? According to § 2509.75-8 questions and answers relating to fiduciary responsibility under ERISA, the answer is "probably not." In general, 401k recordkeepers have been flying safely under the fiduciary radar for some time now. But is all this about to change?

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, November 2015

What Responsibilities do Employers Retain After Outsourcing Plan Administration?

Summary: Because a retirement benefit plan, like a 401k or 403(b) plan, requires you to meet an expert standard, more and more employers are outsourcing administration to third parties, sometimes known as fiduciary experts. Done properly, outsourcing can assure that the plan is well managed while relieving you of significant commitments and responsibilities. However, you still have responsibilities.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, November 2015

Deadline for Restating Your 401k Plan May Be Around the Corner

Summary: As the April 30, 2016 deadline looms, employers should review their plan documents to ascertain the effects of the April 30, 2016 deadline for prototype and volume submitter plans and the potential changes to the IRS determination letter program. When April 30, 2016 passes, some flexibility for employers will be lost.

Source: Benefitslawadvisor.com, November 2015

Men Save More -- Women Save Better

Summary: Men averaged $123,262 in their defined contribution plans, compared with $79,572 for women, according to a new report by Vanguard based on its 2014 recordkeeping data. But these figures hide a larger truth: women are actually better at saving for retirement.

Source: Bc.edu, November 2015

DOL Issues Interpretive Bulletin on Fiduciary Standard Under ERISA in Considering Economically Targeted Investments

Summary: "Economically targeted investments" are investments that are selected for benefits they create apart from their investment return for the plan. Economically targeted investments include investments designed to address social conditions such as affordable housing, environmental factors, or which are intended to aid a specific local economy or provide a needed service to a specific community. The bulletin rescinds a 2008 bulletin and reinstates a 2004 bulletin on the same subject.

Source: Ballardspahr.com, November 2015

How Much to Contribute to Your Solo 401k in 2016

Summary: How much you should save for retirement can depend on many factors, such as your current savings, any debt, your income, and your retirement goals. The more you can afford to save, the faster you will reach your retirement goals.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2015

Best Practices for Portfolio Rebalancing

Summary: This 16-page paper concludes that a rebalancing strategy based on reasonable monitoring frequencies (such as annual or semiannual) and reasonable allocation thresholds is likely to provide sufficient risk control relative to the target asset allocation for most portfolios with broadly diversified stock and bond holdings, without creating too many rebalancing events over the long term.

Source: Vanguard.com , November 2015

The DOL Clarifies Its Safe Harbor Guidance for Selecting Annuity Providers for DC Plans

Summary: This past summer, the DOL provided guidance that clarifies the safe harbor rule for plan investment fiduciaries regarding a prudent process for selecting and monitoring annuity providers and contracts in response to what the DOL says is a "recurring comment" from plan fiduciaries that the safe harbor rule remains unclear as to the scope of their obligations with respect to selecting annuities.

Source: Truckerhuss.com, November 2015

The Power of Re-enrollment

Summary: How can plan sponsors help participants make the most of the sponsor's 401k plan? Re-enrollment is one strategies that takes advantage of inertia -- the same behavior that challenges plan sponsors and participants alike.

Source: Ssga.com , November 2015

ERISA: Have We Reached Paralysis by Regulation?

Summary: A growing number of states have either enacted or are considering legislation aimed at expanding the availability of employment-based retirement saving. At an AARP sponsored event earlier this week, there was a warning about the dangers of asking too much and creating paralysis by regulation. When it comes to ERISA, that advice may have come a couple of decades too late.

Source: Russell.com, November 2015

Anticipated 2016 Retirement Plan Industry Developments

Summary: In the retirement plan industry there's no shortage of new trends, products, regulations or legal rulings each year. Last week, Plansponsor asked readers, "What development are you most anticipating for 2016, and what is your second choice?" Here are the results.

Source: Plansponsor.com, November 2015

End of Year Tips for Retirement Plan Sponsors

Summary: With the Holiday season about to start, we know that the end of the year will soon follow. While plan participants may be more concerned about holiday shopping or the firm's annual holiday party, it's a great and necessary opportunity for plan sponsors like yourself to take a look at your retirement plan before the new calendar plan year begins because there may be some changes you may want to or need to make before the end of the current plan year. So this article is about end of year tips for retirement plan sponsors.

Source: Jdsupra.com, November 2015

Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) Program Changes

Summary: Effective February 12, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service will no longer be offering the ERPA Special Enrollment Examination to become an ERPA. Any current ERPAs will continue to hold the ERPA designation, allowing them to practice before the IRS. Article contains a FAQ.

Source: Irs.gov, November 2015

Practically Everything You Need to Know About Choosing a 401k Plan Provider

Summary: While large companies with dedicated benefits staff and deep pockets to pay outside advisers may have relatively few daunting issues when selecting a 401k provider, finance executives at smaller companies often feel adrift when charged with the task. This guide to plan selection has the latter executives in mind, even though many best practices apply regardless of plan size.

Source: Cfo.com, November 2015

How to Build Wealth In Your 401k

Summary: The trampoline effect is the accelerated growth in a consistent saver's portfolio over the 12 months prior to achieving their wealth target if investing in a diversified stock portfolio.

Source: Brightscope.com, November 2015

Shaping Returns and Managing Behavior With Target-Date Funds

Summary: What do you consider the most important component of a target-date fund? Is it the glidepath, asset allocation, investment management style, fees or something else? While those are all critical, of course, there may be a factor you have not considered: How the fund manages participant behavior.

Source: Blackrock.com, November 2015

Is Your Canadian Pension Plan Compliant With B.C.'s New PBSA?

Summary: It doesn't take much to make a B.C. registered pension plan (or a plan registered in another provincial jurisdiction with B.C. members) quickly become non-compliant with B.C.'s new Pension Benefits Standard Act (PBSA).

Source: Benefitscanada.com, November 2015

Department of Labor's 2015 Proposed Fiduciary Rule: Background and Issues

Summary: This 25-page report from the Congressional Research Service on the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule looks back on how it all came about, its history, and what it entails.

Source: Fas.org , November 2015

Congressional Research Service Issues In-Depth Report on Fiduciary Rule

Summary: As the DOL prepares the final iteration of the fiduciary rule, it may be useful to look back on how this all came about and what it entails. The Congressional Research Service is facilitating just that kind of review through "Department of Labor's 2015 Proposed Fiduciary Rule: Background and Issues," a comprehensive report it recently issued.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2015

Passive Management and the False Premise of Fiduciary Relief

Summary: Defined contribution retirement plan fiduciaries have become increasingly interested in greater utilization of passive management. The decision to move to a purely passive approach seems to be based on two dubious premises, namely, that 1) it is safer for fiduciaries to offer funds that have the lowest absolute cost and little risk of under performing a stated benchmark, and 2) fiduciary oversight obligations are nearly eliminated. This paper particularly examines the second premise.

Source: Russell.com , November 2015

Who's in Charge of the 401k Plan: RIA or Schwab?

Summary: Only when RIAs proved they'd only take 'yes' for an answer on open architecture and themselves installed as fiduciaries did their San Francisco-based custodian yield with just a minor Morningstar contingency.

Source: Riabiz.com, November 2015

How Mutual Fund Store Is the Real Engine Now at Financial Engines

Summary: Unable to hold nine million hands as market tanked, Larry Raffone jumped when Warburg Pincus put The Mutual Fund Store on the block. "Though we didn't see this one coming, we can see where it's headed -- much more after a candid interview with Financial Engines CEO Larry Raffone."

Source: Riabiz.com, November 2015

Does the Intel Retirement Plans Case Have Merit?

Summary: The lawsuit says the Intel breached its fiduciary duties by investing a significant portion of the plans' assets in risky and high-cost hedge fund and private equity investments through custom-built target-date funds. PLANADVISER reached out to Marcia Wagner, principle with Wagner Law Group in Boston, for comments about the case.

Source: Planadviser.com, November 2015

What Vanguard's New Report Does Not Say About 401k Plans

Summary: Vanguard has released a short paper, "Women versus men in DC plans." Author writes, "The study confirmed some prior beliefs, and learned a couple of new things along the way. But I found the story that Vanguard chose not to tell to be more compelling. Three of the article's ancillary figures were striking."

Source: Morningstar.com, November 2015

Financial Engines' Acquisition of The Mutual Fund Store a Turning Point in Robo Debate

Summary: If ever there were doubt of the need for the human element when it comes to robo-advisers, there isn't any more. Deal is proof positive that online advice platforms will need human advisers to offer a full menu of financial planning services.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), November 2015

Twelve Predictions About What the DOL's Fiduciary Rule Will Look Like When Implemented

Summary: Advisers should not be distracted by all of the noise. Despite the daily drumbeat of industry-inspired opposition, a review of the political and regulatory landscape leads to the conclusion that the DOL fiduciary rule will survive largely intact. Author offers 12 predictions about the rule that will come to pass.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), November 2015

Boeing Excessive Fee Case Settles for $57 Million

Summary: The parties in Spano v. Boeing Co. filed for court approval of a Settlement Agreement that was finally made public. The defendants have agreed to a $57 million payment. Schlichter, Bogard, & Denton, attorneys for the plaintiffs, with court approval will receive $19 million in attorney's fees and $1,845,000 in costs.

Source: Fraplantools.com, November 2015

ERISA Advisory Council Unveils 2015 Recommendations

Summary: The ERISA Advisory Council met on Nov. 3-4 to finalize and formally present its 2015 recommendations to Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration Phyllis Borzi on lifetime plan participation and pension risk transfers.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2015

IRS Issues Draft Form 5500-EZ for 2015 Reporting

Summary: The IRS has issued a draft of the Form 5500-EZ to be used by one-participant retirement plans for 2015 information reporting.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2015

DOL Initiative on Missing Plan Audit Reports

Summary: The DOL sent about 1,200 letters by email to filers of 2014 Form 5500 that did not properly include the report of an independent accountant. The emails do not constitute enforcement correspondence, but should be a warning that the DOL has the situation on its radar.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2015

Qualified Retirement Plan Amendments and IRS Filings -- Upcoming Deadlines

Summary: This article reminds plan sponsors of deadlines for amending qualified retirement plans and for submitting certain plans to the IRS for a determination letter, as well as other significant changes to the determination letter process.

Source: Alston.com, November 2015

Retirement Analysis: Account Balances Decline, but Present Opportunity for Roth Conversion

Summary: Fidelity Investments released its third quarter 401k and Individual Retirement Account savings analysis. The analysis reveals three key facts from last quarters stock market volatility.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2015

How Your 401k Fee Disclosure Statement Can Save You Money

Summary: The DOL has required 401k plans to send an annual fee disclosure statement to 401k participants for the past three years. This document lists the costs and investment performance of every fund in your 401k plan in a single document, and it can be used to find the lowest cost and best-performing funds in your plan. Here's how to use your annual 401k statement to save money on your retirement investments.

Source: Usnews.com, November 2015

DCIO Sales Snap Back Sharply in 2015

Summary: The DC market is strong and growing on its surface, with positive net sales for the majority of firms surveyed, but considerable turmoil lurking just underneath, according to Hearts & Wallets' ninth "The State of DCIO Distribution" study.

Source: Napa-net.org, November 2015

Fiduciary Education Needs More Attention

Summary: An educated, engaged and motivated plan fiduciary is arguably the most important factor in determining a plan's success. Yet it's shocking how ill prepared most plan fiduciaries are to run their DC plans.

Source: Napa-net.org, November 2015

How We Got From There to Here in the Fiduciary Wars

Summary: We have the SEC to thank for investors not being able to tell a non-fiduciary broker from a fiduciary advisor, argues Scott Simon of Prudent Investor Advisors.

Source: Morningstar.com, November 2015

401k Plan Design -- This Checklist Can Make the Process Simple

Summary: There is no such thing as a one size fits all 401k plan, but there are six major features a 401k plan must define during the design process -- eligibility, compensation, contributions, vesting, distributions and loans. Each of these features are described here. Use this checklist to choose the 401k specifications for your plan.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, November 2015

BP Wins Dismissal of ERISA Duty-to-Monitor Claims

Summary: BP employees have again lost their bid to have the company and its top officials held liable for allegedly failing to monitor those they put in charge of administering the company's retirement plan investments.

Source: Bna.com, November 2015

Use Plan Design to Help Bridge the Financial Literacy Gap

Summary: For Canadian plan sponsors, financial literacy is seen primarily as a means of improving employees' understanding of their plans so that they make better decisions and enjoy better outcomes. But, if that's the goal, many sponsors would also do well to take a fresh look at their plan to ensure it's designed with the end-users in mind, and doesn't place unnecessary demands on the financial literacy skills of the employees it's intended to serve.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, November 2015

Small Employers Have New Retirement Plan Option With myRA

Summary: Small employers who don't offer 401k plans to their employees have a new option with the federal government's myRA program, officially launched today by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Source: Benefitnews.com, November 2015

Survey on DOL's Proposed Fiduciary Rule

Summary: There has been a fair amount of speculation, some informed and some not, about how the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule will impact advisers and their firms. At least one organization is undertaking to an effort to gather information directly from those impacted by the proposed rule change.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2015

Compliance Checklist to Ensure You're Meeting Plan Obligations

Summary: Periodically evaluating a DC plan's governance structure and procedures is a best practice to confirm a plan is in compliance with ERISA and industry best practices, and to avoid errors. This checklist is a list of suggested review items.

Source: Plansponsor.com, November 2015

Vanguard Examines 401k Behavior/Outcome Gender Paradox

Summary: Vanguard examined gender differences in participants of DC plans, finding that women exhibit better savings behaviors but trail men in outcomes. A new white paper reviewed participation, savings rates, and investments to investigate the substantial imbalance in 401k wealth accumulation for men and women.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2015

Infographic on 10 RFP Insights Institutional Investors Should Know

Summary: What actually happens during the Request for Proposal process? The infographic reflects data from recent Investment Consultant RFPs (over $10 billion in total) issued directly by investment committees of defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans and foundations/endowments.

Source: Theinhub.com , November 2015

Advisor RFPs Not Just for Mega Plans

Summary: The median size of plans conducting advisor RFPs recently is $35 million, according to research by Inhub, an online advisor RFP service. Fielding Miller recently said that his group is filling out an RFP every day, some of which are under $10 million.

Source: Napa-net.org, November 2015

Custom TDF Allocations Draw 401k Lawsuit

Summary: Plan fiduciaries have been sued for allegedly breaching their ERISA fiduciary duties in shifting allocations in a plan's custom target-date portfolios to what it characterizes as "risky and high-cost" investments.

Source: Napa-net.org, November 2015

Responsibilities and Options to Consider When Selecting TDFs

Summary: Employers and plan sponsors have responsibilities and options to consider when selecting TDFs. A key responsibility is to conduct due diligence, perhaps even more than is done for other available funds, precisely because so many participants will make this their sole election. Article outlines some steps plan sponsors should follow when selecting TDFs.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, November 2015

'Recommendation' May Entail More Than Meets the Eye

Summary: The DOL's proposed fiduciary rule would make many changes. One of them, and one central to what constitutes a fiduciary act and who is a fiduciary, is what denotes a recommendation.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, November 2015

Assessing Fee Reasonableness by Implementing a Prudent Process

Summary: Author discusses the third step in a three-step process of assessing the reasonableness of service provider arrangements and fees.

Source: Erisafiduciaryadministrators.com, November 2015

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