401khelpcenter.com Logo

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, 403b 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.

Use the SEARCH feature to located specific items from this digest and from our ARCHIVE.

RSS feed of this page is available:


To subscribe to our free weekly newsletter, enter your email address below then click the "Join" button.

Email Address:

NOTE: WE DO NOT SELL YOUR DATA OR EMAIL ADDRESS TO ANY ORGANIZATION.

    
Court Dismisses Claims Regarding Investments in Former Parent Company's Stock

Abstract: A federal district court has dismissed all claims against the fiduciaries of a DC plan over their retention of investments in the stock of the plan sponsor's former parent company. Together, this case and Tatum show how spun-off employers may risk litigation whether they keep investments in their former parent company's stock or force a divestiture. But the outcome here also illustrates how plan fiduciaries who take the frozen fund approach used here can benefit from Dudenhoefer.

Source: Thomsonreuters.com, May 2018

Settlement Preliminarily Approved in University of Chicago Excessive Fee Suit

Abstract: Without admitting any wrongdoing, the University of Chicago has agreed to a $6,500,000 settlement of an ERISA excessive fee case. According to the settlement agreement, the university has already made changes to the investment lineup for its 403b plans.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2018

Millennials are Better Prepared for Retirement Than Their Parents

Abstract: "Best prepared for retirement." That's not a superlative one might expect to describe Millennials, but according to the J.D. Power 2018 Group Retirement Satisfaction StudySM, it's true. Millennials are most likely of all demographic groups to have set specific retirement goals and have the highest amount of savings -- relative to age -- in group retirement plans.

Source: Jdpower.com, May 2018

Have You Checked Your Plan's Definition of Compensation Lately?

Abstract: If it has been awhile since you have compared your payroll files to the definition of compensation in your plan document, it's recommended that you do an internal audit of payroll now. Don't assume that you know your plan's definition of compensation, but check the actual document. The earlier that any mistakes are detected the less the error will cost you.

Source: Graydon.law, May 2018

The Dirty Little Secret of Auto-Enrollment?

Abstract: Generally, automatic enrollment has been a positive development for retirement plans, as it forces individuals who may not ordinarily save to do so at an important time - the commencement of their working careers. However, auto-enrollment is not a panacea. A new study reveals a potential "dirty little secret" of auto-enrollment; namely, that auto-enrollees incur more debt than non-auto-enrollees.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, May 2018

The Shifting Landscape for Variable Benefits From Canadian DC Plans

Abstract: There has been a lot of talk about variable benefits from defined contribution pension plans recently. Ontario has changes in the works to allow them, while a number of provinces have moved on the issue in recent years. And while it's not yet common for plan sponsors to offer variable benefits, some organizations have had the option in place for some time.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, May 2018

How Well Positioned Are Younger Workers to Save for Retirement?

Abstract: Gains in access to DC plans were offset by lower rates of access to defined benefit plans, but overall younger workers saw some improvements, according to a new study using data from 1998 to 2012. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation, the Pew Charitable Trusts examined how workers ages 18-31 differ across time in terms of their access to, take-up of and participation in workplace retirement plans, including both DB and DC plans.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2018

New DOL ESG Guidance: Friend or Foe for 401ks?

Abstract: As retirement plans are adding environmental, social and governance (ESG) options to their investments, they seek direction over which strategies will resonate with their participants and still uphold their fiduciary responsibility. Recent additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor may have created some confusion.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2018

PSCA Study Shows Retirement Plan Participation Rates Rising

Abstract: The percentage of employees signing up and making contributions to their qualified retirement plan has risen almost ten percent since 2010 according to the PSCA's 60th Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401k Plans. PSCA found 84.9 percent of employees made contributions to their plan in 2016 compared to 76.9 percent in 2010.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, May 2018

Can the Plan Pay for That?

Abstract: This is a question that is often asked. Benefit plans are not free. A bill arrives and either the company or the plan has to pay. Can the bill be paid using plan assets? Rest assured that the government, through ERISA and the Department of Labor, has provided guidance.

Source: Wnj.com, May 2018

Understanding Retirement Plan Sponsors' Responsibilities

Abstract: Retirement savings, pensions, and health plans provide enormous value to existing workers and prospective talent, but administering these benefits also comes with strong administrative and even regulatory challenges. Organizations that decide to act as retirement plan sponsors and offer such plans have several key responsibilities to keep in mind.

Source: Planpilot.com, May 2018

MassMutual Asian American Retirement Risk Study

Abstract: Asian Americans are more concerned about making missteps with their retirement savings in the years just before and just after retirement, yet are more confident and focused about their investments than other retirees and pre-retirees, this new research from MassMutual finds.

Source: Massmutual.com, May 2018

GAO Report on ESG Investing

Abstract: ESG factors have emerged as a way for investors, such as retirement plans, to capture information on potential risks and opportunities that may otherwise not be considered. For example, climate change is expected to have widespread impacts according to a key federal study and may pose significant financial risks for long term investors, such as retirement plans that must manage risk to provide benefits for many years to come. Given the emerging use of ESG factors, GAO was asked to examine how such factors are used by retirement plans in the United States and other countries.

Source: Gao.gov, May 2018

The Complete Guide to 401k Corrective Distributions

Abstract: Making corrective distributions is an administrative burden, can lead to fines and excise taxes if not done promptly, and, perhaps most notably, frustrates HCEs. If you find yourself needing to make corrective distributions, don't worry. This is a very common problem. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about corrective distributions.

Source: Forusall.com, May 2018

Can a Company Freeze a 401k Account If an Employee Is Suspected of Stealing From the Company?

Abstract: This is one of the very rare instances when there is a clear-cut answer, and it is a resounding "no." One of the unique features of company-sponsored retirement plans is that they are protected from legal judgments and bankruptcies. They also cannot be used as collateral and cannot be assigned to another individual. This article reviews a few exceptions.

Source: Dwc401k.com, May 2018

What to Do About Missing Participants: Practical Steps for Plan Sponsors

Abstract: Sponsors of qualified retirement plans often need to locate missing or unresponsive participants or beneficiaries. There are a number of steps a plan sponsor can take to do so, as well as a number of practices and procedures a plan sponsor can implement to minimize the occurrence of missing participants. Read this article for background information on the issue and steps to take to keep your plan compliant.

Source: Drinkerbiddle.com, May 2018

Video: Retirement Policy and Where Washington Is Focused

Abstract: Doug Fisher, Washington Strategy and Advocacy, sits down with Emily Wrightson to discuss the current state of legislative affairs as it pertains to retirement plans, including the proposed Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, May 2018

ERISA 3(16) Administrative Fiduciary Responsibilities

Abstract: Under ERISA, those who administer, manage, or control plan assets have a fiduciary duty to plan participants. This fiduciary duty requires them to act solely in the interest of plan participants and beneficiaries. It is important for plan fiduciaries to understand their roles and responsibilities in deciding whether to outsource some of the administrative tasks to a 3(16) administrative service provider.

Source: Bsllp.com, May 2018

Senate Dems Push for SCOTUS Scrutiny on Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Five key Senate Democrats are concerned about the Department of Labor's current lack of defense of the fiduciary rule, and they want to know what the DOL plans to do going forward.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2018

Three States Denied in Their Appeal Seeking to Intervene in Fiduciary Litigation

Abstract: There appear to be no more options for the states in pursuit of maintaining the DOL investment fiduciary guidance, although the Fifth Circuit has yet to issue its official mandate implementing the March 15 decision that would vacate the guidance nationwide.

Source: Ascensus.com, May 2018

Cybersecurity and Employee Benefit Plans: Questions and Answers

Abstract: This 8-page document was prepared by the EBPAQC to help plan auditors understand cybersecurity risk in employee benefit plans, and to discuss cybersecurity risk, responsibilities, preparedness, and response with plan clients.

Source: Aicpa.org, May 2018

401k Lawsuit Demonstrates the Need for Solid Documentation

Abstract: Lawsuits around the handling of 401k plan assets have become almost commonplace for plan sponsors, plan providers and plan fiduciaries. Plan providers and plan sponsors are aware they may become a party to a future fiduciary lawsuit. Recently, plan fiduciaries were charged with the irresponsible use of a Money Market fund as a plan participant investment option. In such a case the quality of the corresponding documentation within committee meeting minutes and the plan’s Statement of Investment Policy are key to the defense.

Source: 401ktv.com, May 2018

How Living Longer Will Impact Your Retirement

Abstract: Adjusting investment strategies is just one way in which longevity is changing the face of retirement. Living longer has also translated to seniors having more time to do the things they want and added opportunity for expensive health care expenses to emerge. With older Americans living longer than expected, it's key to get your financial plan in order.

Source: Usnews.com, May 2018

The IRS Has a 403b MEP Problem

Abstract: There has been increasing interest in the market to put together Multiple Employer Plans for 403b plans, and with good reasons. Tax exempt entities are well suited to the sorts of economies of scale that a MEP can bring, and they often organize well around common associations. But a 403b MEP is really complicated when you get down to it because -- like anything 403b, it seems -- the devil exists in the details.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, May 2018

The Quick-Start Guide to 401k Plan Documents and Records

Abstract: Whether you're staring down the barrel of a DOL audit or just being proactive, knowing the details on your 401k plan documents (and keeping them organized) can save you a lot of pain. Here is a breakdown of your key 401k plan documents, including some industry-insider tips.

Source: Forusall.com, May 2018

Multiple Employer Plans (MEPs): Employer Considerations

Abstract: Much of the attraction to MEPs is attributed to economies of scale: by joining forces, smaller organizations look to garner interest from larger providers in terms of pricing, fund offerings and services. As a result, some view MEPs as an all-in-one solution. However, is bigger always better?

Source: Cammackretirement.com, May 2018

Automated Processes: Why This Plan Sponsors Moved From Manual

Abstract: Why this 401k plan sponsor moved from manual. After her payroll/401k administrator resigned, the VP of operations of a 62 person company in the Richmond VA area attending a TPSU program was forced to take over. After suffering through the laborious manual processes, she quickly sought help to automate all processes. Watch the video about her experiences and how she plans to use this exercise to better engage senior management.

Source: 401ktv.com, May 2018

Senators Want Federal Commission to Review Private Retirement Programs

Abstract: While not quite calling it a "crisis," two young Senate guns says America's private retirement system nonetheless faces major challenges in the modern economy, and they want to do something about it.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2018

Small 401k Plan Fees Decoded

Abstract: Understanding small plan 401k fees can be confusing for employers. This infographic can help employers by showing them how small plan fees are divided and what the average plan pays.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, May 2018

Missing Participants Procedure

Abstract: Some search steps involve so little cost and such high potential for success that a fiduciary should always take them before abandoning efforts to find a missing participant, regardless of the size of the participant's account balance. The failure to take such steps would violate the fiduciary obligations of prudence and loyalty, as set forth in section 404(a) of ERISA.

Source: Qbillc.com, May 2018*

Top 10 Issues Found in 401k Plans

Abstract: Compiled from lists published by the IRS and plan auditors, here are 10 items to check and review to make sure your 401k plan is operating in line with IRS expectations.

Source: Qbillc.com, May 2018

How Are Retirement Savers Doing?

Abstract: The glass is half full -- or half empty -- regarding retirement saving levels, depending on who one listens to. A recent white paper takes a look not only at how employees are doing, but also the habits that can help in achieving greater financial security in retirement.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2018

Attorneys General Appeal for Right to Intervene in Support of DOL Fiduciary Guidance

Abstract: The states' Attorneys General of California, New York, and Oregon filed an appeal of their recent setback in litigation over the Department of Labor fiduciary guidance. If this attempt by the states to intervene on behalf of the fiduciary guidance fails, it appears that the only step that could be taken to preserve the fiduciary guidance would be for the DOL itself to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Source: Ascensus.com, May 2018

Choice Architecture and Participant Investment Decisions

Abstract: This 12-page paper studies index exposure at the participant level, particularly its sharp rise for the average participant in Vanguard-administered plans because of the expanded use of index target-date funds. The analysis is a case study of the dynamics of individual decision-making that influence the adoption of any investment strategy within a participant-directed plan.

Source: Vanguard.com, May 2018

Some Lessons for Corporate 401k Plan Sponsors From the Litigation Explosion

Abstract: The number of lawsuits against 401k plan sponsors, recordkeepers, and advisors has exploded. Allegations against corporate 401k plan sponsors include violations of the fiduciary duties of loyalty and prudence. For retirement plan sponsors, the moral of the story is to make all decisions according to a reasonably prudent process and with participants' interests in mind, and to keep a record of all decisions.

Source: Psolve.us, May 2018

Research Shows Gig Economy May Replace Retirement

Abstract: For many survey respondents, the gig economy is replacing how they plan to earn income in retirement: 16 percent plan on having gig economy jobs to supplement their retirement; 12 percent of side-hustlers will keep a side-gig job as their main source of income after retiring from their traditional career; and, one in five full-time giggers say they'll continue to pick up incremental work in the gig economy as their main source of income following "retirement."

Source: Betterment.com, May 2018

Hearing Witnesses Urge Passage of Proposed Retirement Plan Legislation

Abstract: The hearing focused on four bipartisan proposals, and hearing witnesses expressed their support for these proposals, while some also urged legislators to move forward on the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2018 (RESA).

Source: Plansponsor.com, May 2018

University of Rochester Called Out for Excessive Fees Paid to TIAA

Abstract: A participant in the University of Rochester Retirement Program has filed a lawsuit alleging that plan participants have paid an estimated $72 million in in recordkeeping, distribution, and mortality risk fees to provider TIAA.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2018

Plan Sponsor Challenged in a Lawsuit for Using Untested Hewitt Funds

Abstract: The plaintiffs say that since these experimental funds were added to the plan in 2013, they have consistently underperformed their benchmarks, and have underperformed the funds they replaced by tens of millions of dollars.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2018

States Ask 5th Circuit to Reconsider Fiduciary Ruling

Abstract: In a filing on May 16, the states explain that since the federal government "is no longer pursuing this appeal... the exceptional importance of the issues, and the grave harm the States will suffer as a result of the panel opinion -- billions of dollars in lost retirement income to their residents and tens of millions of dollars in lost tax revenue -- the States respectfully request that the Court reconsider its decision."

Source: Ntsa-net.org, May 2018

Incentives to Delay Retirement Benefit Both Employers and Employees

Abstract: As more employees begin to reach the traditional retirement age, employers need to examine their policies and procedures to address the potential loss of talented and experienced workers. Encouraging employees to delay retirement not only improves their financial security in retirement but it also keeps experienced and productive employees on the job.

Source: Limra.com, May 2018

Oregon Auto-IRA Success Shows National Program Would 'Work Well,' Advocate Says

Abstract: Oregon launched a pilot phase of its automatic-enrollment, payroll-deduction individual retirement account program, called OregonSaves, in July 2017. Its early success demonstrates a similar framework could work at the national level, a proponent said at a congressional hearing Wednesday.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), May 2018

Defined Contribution Plan Participants' Activities, 2017

Abstract: This report updates results from ICI's survey of a cross section of recordkeeping firms representing a broad range of DC plans and covering more than 30 million employer-based DC retirement plan participant accounts as of December 2017. The broad scope of the recordkeeper survey provides valuable insights about recent withdrawal, contribution, asset allocation, and loan decisions of participants in these plans.

Source: Ici.org, May 2018

Retirement Plan Account Balances: Big and Small

Abstract: Advisors have a variety of tools at their disposal to determine the overall health of a plan sponsor's retirement plan. However, there is a time-tested exercise that only takes about a minute to complete: review the current account balances of all the participants in the retirement plan and complete a "big and small" analysis.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, May 2018

House Subcommittee Seeks ERISA Changes

Abstract: House Subcommittee seeks bipartisan proposals to update ERISA including encouraging defined contribution plans to provide annuities, eliminating the "common nexus" requirement for private multiple employer plans and other changes.

Source: Benefitsforward.com, May 2018

"Thirst for Liquidity" Hurting 401k Savings Rates

Abstract: Deferred gratification or immediate satisfaction? Americans appear to choose the latter. Not exactly news to anyone following the saving rates of the nation's consumers. Yet a new report from Hearts & Wallets finds a "thirst for liquidity is driving increases of certain account types as consumers weigh tradeoffs between tax-deferred investments versus readily accessible funds."

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2018

Redefining Retirement

Abstract: Employees are working longer, whether because of increasing life expectancies or lowered confidence about their ability to retire. Longer work lives are tied to less engagement and more stress, among other negative impacts. For employers, this may mean taking time to consider shifting benefits or programming to better meet changing needs both to help employees retire when they want and stay healthier if they continue working.

Source: Ubabenefits.com, May 2018

Qualified Retirement Plan Audits -- What Your TPA Needs to Know

Abstract: When done correctly, retirement plan audits can be a painless part of the annual administration process for large plan sponsors. However, forgetting to include your compliance consultant in the planning process can cause major headaches for everyone involved.

Source: Tristarpension.com, May 2018

Plan Fees Have Fallen, But So Have Deferral Rates

Abstract: Data from BMO GAM shows DC retirement plan fees have fallen for all sizes of plan sponsors except those with between $10 million and $50 million in assets.

Source: Plansponsor.com, May 2018

Why Plan Sponsors Should Regularly Benchmark Retirement Plan

Abstract: A vital plan fiduciary responsibility is regular benchmarking of plan performance and fees against industry averages. This kind of cross-referencing is the responsibility of plan sponsors and can come with significant risks and opportunities. This article looks at the factors that make sound benchmarking practices so crucial.

Source: Planpilot.com, May 2018

Wells Fargo Struggles to Attract 401k Business in Wake of Banking Scandals

Abstract: Wells Fargo's retirement plan business has suffered following a string of negative stories related to operations within some units of the broader company, according to 401k advisers who use Wells Fargo products and who have had conversations with Wells retirement executives.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), May 2018

Philips North America Reaches $17 Million Settlement in 401k Lawsuit

Abstract: Philips North America has agreed to pay $17 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the company breached its fiduciary duty in connection with the management of its 401k plan. The settlement, which also included nonmonetary provisions, still must be approved by a judge.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), May 2018

Is Excessive Fee Litigation Headed for Its Dudenhoeffer?

Abstract: Groom Law Group litigation principal Mark Bieter analyzes recent trends and outcomes in class actions challenging fees and services in large corporate 401k plans.

Source: Groom.com, May 2018

401k Notice Distribution: Hard Copy vs. Electronic Delivery

Abstract: It seems like 401k plans require a lot of different notices and disclosures be provided to participants each year. We have safe harbor and default investment notices at the end of the year, fee disclosure notices and participant statements each quarter, and the summary annual report when we file our Form 5500. Are we allowed to distribute all of these 401k notices to our participants electronically?

Source: Dwc401k.com, May 2018

The Top 25 401k Plans

Abstract: Listed here in descending order, Employee Benefit News, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge, presents the top 25 401k plans in the United States based on plan-year-end net assets as of April 9, 2018.

Source: Benefitnews.com, May 2018

Avoiding the Curveball of a Taxable 401k Loan Under New Law

Abstract: Under the new Tax Act, the 60-day period was extended to the filing due date for the participant's tax return for the year in which the loan offset amount arises. This means the deadline for any offset that arises during the tax year will not be until April 15 of the following year, which can be extended to October 15 with a tax return extension. Participants now have a much larger window of time to come up with the funds to deposit the offset into an IRA or another qualified plan to avoid taxation.

Source: Belfint.com, May 2018

Eight Steps to Retire a Millionaire

Abstract: Becoming a millionaire is not an unrealistic dream. In fact, if you pace yourself, you could achieve millionaire status by the time you're ready to retire. You just need to follow certain guidelines.

Source: Bankrate.com, May 2018

Stable Value Snub Draws Excessive Fee Suit

Abstract: The law firm of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton has targeted another 401k plan for breach of its fiduciary duties and their claims include that the lack of a stable value fund cost plan participants $41 million.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2018

Bill Would Create Commission to Advise Congress on Retirement Issues

Abstract: The bill's purpose is to create a commission that would study Americans' retirement security, including private retirement programs, and make recommendations to Congress on how to improve it. The Commission would be expected to complete a review and report to Congress not later than two years after the Commission is established.

Source: Ascensus.com, May 2018

Private Equity Firms Seeing a Lot to Like With DC Provider Investments

Abstract: This article highlights the appeal of retirement services companies to private equity firms. The industry is experiencing active M&A activity as private equity investors pursue stable cash flows, reliable revenue, and guaranteed growth.

Source: Ascensus.com, May 2018

Helping Workers Save More -- It's a Matter of Trust

Abstract: Most American workers don't trust their retirement plan provider. In light of that, providers and plan sponsors alike have their work cut out for them when it comes to cultivating that trust.

Source: 401ktv.com, May 2018

DOL Wins Restitution of Misused 401k Assets

Abstract: A federal district court has ordered eye-care company Eye Centers of Tennessee LLC, its owner Dr. Larry E. Patterson, and its office administrator Raymond K. Mays to pay $971,622 in restitution to the company's 401k plan.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2018

Guiding Employees Before They Take Hardship Distributions From 401k Plans

Abstract: The Act broadens the sources of hardship distributions to include qualified non-elective contributions and qualified matching contributions (and earnings on such contributions). Also, a distribution will not be treated as failing to be made upon the hardship of an employee solely because the employee does not take any available plan loan.

Source: Bradley.com, May 2018

Frequent 401k Audit Finding Series - Late Remittances

Abstract: DOL requires plan sponsors to remit employee 401k withholdings in a timely manner. DOL has been very clear that the 15th business day is not a safe harbor and, upon examination, will frequently find that contributions made even one day after the pay date can be late if the sponsor has demonstrated a history of remitting on or before the payroll date.

Source: 5500audit.com, May 2018

Top Five Most Trusted 401k Plan Providers

Abstract: 401k savers' trust in their retirement plan providers has reached an all-time high, according to a recent study. And they're feeling more confident about the way in which their 401k savings are being managed to boot. Who are the top five most trusted retirement plan providers?

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2018

The Fiduciary Rule Wipeout: Fred Reish Shares What Happens and What's Next

Abstract: The DOL Fiduciary Rule died, or did it? In this podcast Fred Reish, ERISA Attorney with Drinker Biddle, and a follower of the long and winding path of the fiduciary rule shares what happened and what's next.

Source: 401kfridays.com, May 2018

The Drought Is Over: Recent Legislation Affecting Retirement Plans

Abstract: New legislation provides several significant modifications affecting retirement plans, effectively eliminating the legislative drought experienced in recent years.

Source: Truckerhuss.com, May 2018

Reasonable Cause for a Missed Required Minimum Distribution

Abstract: Retirement funds were not, however, intended to primarily provide the participant's beneficiary with benefits. As such, Congress created Code Section 401(a)(9) for disbursing retirement benefits to the participant while alive. Participants who ignore the RMD rules must pay a 50% excise tax. A missed RMD resulting from an employer's misunderstanding of the employee's retirement status could be a good case for a reasonable cause to have the 50% penalty waived.

Source: Penchecks.com, May 2018

Financial Literacy Isn't Financial Wellness for Canadian Employees

Abstract: Mercer announced findings of its Inside Employees' Minds Financial Wellness survey. More than 1,500 employees across Canada were asked about their financial attitudes, preferences and behaviors to identify steps employers need to take to help workers achieve it. Findings suggest that although financial literacy levels are high, knowledge is not translating into action and financial security and wellness.

Source: Mercer.ca, May 2018

SEC Proposes Fiduciary Rule for Broker-Dealers

Abstract: The SEC published a separate proposal related to the conduct standards broker-dealers must comply with when engaging retail customers. This article provides both the context behind the proposal as well as a general overview of its requirements. In addition, this advisory briefly discusses the implications associated with its implementation.

Source: Kattenlaw.com, May 2018

FAQ on Required Minimum Distributions

Abstract: This item highlights some FAQs regarding Required Minimum Distributions. It is intended to provide plan sponsors with a broad overview of the general requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a)(9).

Source: Icemiller.com, May 2018

Workers Willing to Sacrifice Pay for Better Retirement Benefits

Abstract: Most U.S. workers are willing to swap their pay for greater retirement benefits, but far fewer would trade off pay for better healthcare coverage, a Willis Towers Watson survey shows. The survey found that 66% of respondents would make higher monthly payments for more generous retirement benefits, and 61% would exchange more pay for a guaranteed retirement benefit.

Source: Hrdive.com, May 2018

How to Manage 401k Lawsuit Risks in Four Steps

Abstract: Even though offering a 401k plan remains one of the best ways to attract and retain talent, it is important to assess risks and design a plan that manages lawsuit risk. Completely eliminating all litigation risks is not a realistic goal. However, it is possible to take steps towards reducing them and seek to improve your chances of defeating a claim in court.

Source: Forbes.com, May 2018

Of Canadian Gen-Xers, 28% Have No Retirement Savings

Abstract: More than a quarter of generation Xers in Canada haven't saved anything for retirement, a new survey from Franklin Templeton has found. While the 28 per cent of Canadian gen-Xers who are in that position suggests a significant gap in retirement savings, the number compares favorably to the United States. In that country, 37 per cent of gen-Xers haven't started on retirement saving.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, May 2018

How to Best Vet 401k Target-Date Funds

Abstract: Target-date funds differ significantly in terms of asset classes, glide path, fulfillment, and fees. It is a rich variety to choose from and at the same time may add to one's perplexity. So, how do plan sponsors evaluate a TDF series?

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2018

Video: What's Next in the 401k Fiduciary Fight?

Abstract: Fred Reish clues us in on what's next in the 401k fiduciary fight.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2018

How to Truly Measure the Value of a Fiduciary

Abstract: One of the many problems with the fiduciary standards proposed by the DOL and SEC is that they do not understand the value of a fiduciary. They do not understand what matters as evident by their singular focus on complex and lengthy disclosures.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2018

2018 Target-Date Fund Landscape

Abstract: This 61-page report covers recent developments in the competitive target-date fund landscape, and then it highlights noteworthy considerations for target-date investors in five areas: Price, Performance, Parent, People, and Process.

Source: Morningstar.com, May 2018

DOL Issues Temporary Enforcement Policy with Respect to Investment Advice Fiduciaries

Abstract: The FAB states that during the period from June 9, 2017 until after regulations or prohibited transaction exemptions or other administrative guidance have been issued, neither the DOL nor IRS will pursue prohibited transactions against investment advice fiduciaries who are working diligently and in good faith to comply with the impartial conduct standards for transactions that would have been exempted in the Best Interest Contract and Principal Transactions Exemptions, or treat such fiduciaries as violating the applicable prohibited transaction rules.

Source: Wagnerlawgroup.com, May 2018

How Employers Think About Financial Wellness

Abstract: Employers have a vested interest in promoting the financial health of their employees. To help address this issue, increasing numbers of employers are implementing financial wellness programs that provide education and tools to help employees adopt financial behaviors to best manage day-to-day finances, achieve important long-term financial goals, and help protect against key financial risks. This survey attempts gain perspective on how employers think about their benefits programs overall, and to gauge the role that financial wellness programs play.

Source: Prudential.com, May 2018

How Plan Sponsors Should Address Increased Market Volatility

Abstract: In spite of generally positive economic conditions, there is reason to suspect the return of a familiar and at times uncomfortable and challenging force in the market: volatility. Given that increased volatility is likely as 2018 progresses, plan sponsors should take certain steps to ensure that their participants' accounts are safe.

Source: Planpilot.com, May 2018

Many Small-Business Leaders Express Limited Knowledge of Retirement Plan Fees

Abstract: Many small-business owners and managers don't have a good feel for how much they or their employees pay in fees to their retirement plans, according to a survey conducted by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The survey results indicate that many of these business leaders -- like many workers -- have limited knowledge about plan fees, a reality that can be detrimental to workers' long-term finances. Whether savers pay high or low fees on their investments can make a large difference over time in the growth of retirement savings.

Source: Pewtrusts.org, May 2018

The $1 Trillion Target-Date Fund Landscape in Five Charts

Abstract: Target-date funds hit a momentous mark in 2017 by eclipsing $1 trillion in assets. The funds' unimpeded growth means target-date funds play an increasingly important role in retirement success for more and more investors. Morningstar's recently released annual report covers recent developments in the competitive landscape. Here's a summary of target-date fund landscape in just five charts.

Source: Morningstar.com, May 2018

DOL Announces Temporary Enforcement Policy in Response to Fifth Circuit Decision

Abstract: Under the FAB, DOL states that it "will not pursue prohibited transaction claims against investment advice fiduciaries who are working diligently and in good faith to comply with the impartial conduct standards for transactions that would have been exempted in the BIC Exemption and Principal Transactions Exemption, or treat such fiduciaries as violating the applicable prohibited transaction rules."

Source: Groom.com, May 2018

It's Not the Professional Title, But This Written Document That Creates a Fiduciary Relationship

Abstract: While many argue about how many financial professionals can dance on the head of the fiduciary pin, the answer to "Who is a fiduciary?" has always been there. It comes in the form of a written document called a "Limited Power of Attorney." Registered Investment Advisers, at least those with the direct authority to trade client assets, can only do so under this legal agreement. Indeed, it can be argued that fiduciary "advice" cannot be given without the existence of a Limited Power of Attorney. This makes the LPOA a very special instrument.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, May 2018

Advisors, Sponsors Cutting 401k Fees

Abstract: Plan sponsors, still feeling the pressure of the Department of Labor's six-year-old fee disclosure rules and the threat of fee-related litigation, are continuing to place 401k fees under the microscope. A number of other factors continue to drive down 401k fees, including a competitive marketplace, growing client awareness about fees, sharper value propositions from advisors, an increase in the quality and volume of reporting of plan outcomes, and an industry shift toward fee-based plans and low-cost investments.

Source: Fa-mag.com, May 2018

Socially Responsible Investing and the Plan Fiduciary

Abstract: Retirement plan fiduciaries increasingly find themselves in the difficult position of having to respond to social concerns when they are raised by plan participants and beneficiaries while fulfilling their fiduciary duties under ERISA. In fact, ERISA plan fiduciaries and the Department of Labor have been wrestling with the concept of socially responsible investing for many years.

Source: Employeebenefitsupdate.com, May 2018

DOL Field Assistance Bulletin 2018-02

Abstract: This Bulletin announces a temporary enforcement policy on prohibited transaction rules applicable to investment advice fiduciaries.

Source: Dol.gov, May 2018

Piwowar to Leave SEC

Abstract: One of the most vocal critics of the Labor Department's fiduciary rule is leaving the Securities and Exchange Commission, with a mammoth advice proposal out for public comment. SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar announced May 7 that he intends to step down from the SEC on July 7, after serving nearly five years on the five-person commission.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2018

DOL Puts Fiduciary Rule Enforcement on Hold

Abstract: As anticipated, the Department of Labor has extended until further notice its temporary enforcement policy relating to its rule defining who is a fiduciary and the associated prohibited transaction exemptions.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2018

Temporary Enforcement Policy Applies After Court Invalidates DOL Fiduciary Guidance

Abstract: The DOL has issued Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2018-02, which outlines a temporary enforcement policy that follows the agency's investment fiduciary final regulations and exemptions package being vacated by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Source: Ascensus.com, May 2018

SEC Proposes New Interpretation of Fiduciary Duty

Abstract: The Proposed Interpretation sets forth the SEC's views of investment advisers' fiduciary duties under the Advisers Act, including the duties of care and loyalty, and the SEC's views on an investment adviser's ability to vary or modify the fiduciary duty. Such an interpretive proposal of an existing obligation, unlike a rule or form proposal, could have some legal effect from the date of its publication and could be cited in SEC enforcement proceedings.

Source: Akingump.com, May 2018

Is Your 401k Plan Ready For Rising Interest Rates?

Abstract: The long bull market in bonds has persuaded some investors that bonds are a "safe" asset class. There is no such thing. Every investment has risks. While it can be said that bonds generally offer less risk and lower return potential than stocks, that doesn't mean bonds are safe investments. Plan sponsors should review their investment policy statements and investment line-ups, paying attention to the three items noted here.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2018

Smaller 401k Sponsors (Still!) Struggle to Understand Fees

Abstract: Morningstar, Investment Company Institute and a plethora of other recent reports point to lower investment fees overall in recent years, good news for 401k plan participants and the industry overall. Despite the decrease and greater awareness on the part of the general public surrounding fee issues, many small-business owners and managers don't have a good feel for how much they or their employees pay in fees to their retirement plans.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2018

Helping Plan Sponsors Establish Internal Controls

Abstract: A plan auditor speaking at the Plan Sponsor Council of America 71st Annual National Conference suggested internal controls plan sponsors should have in place for eligibility, compensation, and contributions and loans.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2018

Confidence in Retirement Planning Correlates With Higher Retirement Income

Abstract: Individuals who have an adviser are more likely to be on track to create adequate retirement income, by a wide margin, a study by Empower found.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2018

Aon Hewitt, Lowe's 401k Plan Latest Target of ERISA Lawsuit

Abstract: Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting and Lowe's are being sued by the participants of the Lowe's 401k retirement plan; the proposed class of plaintiffs puts forward a variety of familiar ERISA fiduciary breach claims.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2018

ERISA Advisory Council Urges DOL to Streamline Retirement Plan Disclosures

Abstract: ERISA Advisory Council has released a report urging the DOL to streamline retirement plan disclosure requirements. The report reiterates concerns the Council expressed in 2005 and 2009, echoed by the U.S. Government and Accountability Office in 2013, that the number and complexity of mandatory disclosures confuses participants and burdens plan administrators. The Council's latest report goes further than previous reports have done, outlining four recommendations for specific rule changes and proposing new model notices to simplify the current disclosure scheme.

Source: Natlawreview.com, May 2018

Dealing With a TPA's Business Challenges

Abstract: Thanks to a competitive marketplace, it's hard for a TPA to manage the day-to-day issues of being in business and standing out in the crowd. This article is about the challenges that a TPA faces and how to deal with them in a super competitive business.

Source: Jdsupra.com, May 2018

Human Interaction Increases Benefits Engagement

Abstract: A new survey conducted among HR and benefits managers on employee benefits engagement and utilization has found that despite the ongoing growth of technology, employees desire personalized, human interaction. This was among the findings of the Driving Benefits Engagement survey by Health Advocate.

Source: Blr.com, May 2018

Participant Communications: Targeting the Goal Line

Abstract: Benefits administrators from two employers in a May 1 session of the Plan Sponsor Council of America's annual conference in Scottsdale, AZ shared their experiences and approaches in communicating with plan participants in their respective retirement plans.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2018

Which 401k Plan Features Boost Retirement Readiness?

Abstract: New research suggests 401k plan sponsors may play an even bigger role in American workers' retirement outcomes than they realize. According to a study by Empower Retirement, the features included in plan designs heavily impact participants' chances of securing a successful retirement.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2018

Design Matters: Plan Distribution Options

Abstract: This paper highlights recent research that demonstrates the impact of plan design on participant behavior with respect to distributions. It also examines the various distribution options available to DC plan sponsors. Except for distributions that are mandated by regulatory policy or law, plan sponsors have significant discretion in designing a distribution policy for their plans.

Source: Ymcdn.com, May 2018

DOL Issues New Guidance for ESG Investing by Plan Fiduciaries

Abstract: The DOL recently released new regulatory guidance "clarifying" that "fiduciaries may not sacrifice returns or assume greater risks to promote collateral environmental, social, or corporate governance (ESG) policy goals when making investment decisions." The guidance comes at a time when investors, especially institutional investors, are calling on companies to focus on ESG issues.

Source: Wsgr.com, May 2018

Benchmarking Is No Substitute for an RFP Process

Abstract: Does periodic benchmarking satisfy a plan fiduciary's duty to monitor? Does benchmarking allow you to determine whether investment-related fees, compensation and expenses are fair and reasonable for the services provided? To answer those questions, one must consider the weaknesses of benchmarking.

Source: Theinhub.com, May 2018

Third Parties Weigh in on 403b Litigation

Abstract: Three briefs were filed with the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in support of the University of Pennsylvania and its Investment Committee. The briefs support the assumption that 403b plans have traditionally been managed differently than 401k plans, and as a result, they cannot be viewed in the same light with respect to litigation.

Source: Sentinelgroup.com, May 2018

Fiduciary Compliance and Best Practices

Abstract: Fred Reish, partner at Drinker, Biddle and Reath, told attendees of the Plan Sponsor Council of America 71st Annual National Conference, from his perspective, plan sponsors have a "best practices hat," meaning "plan sponsors have an option of going beyond looking at what benefits the participants or employer. Meeting minimal objectives of the law is not the goal."

Source: Plansponsor.com, May 2018

Three Technology Trends Impacting Retirement Plans

Abstract: The retirement plan market may have finally reached its point of reckoning with major technological developments. Innovation in the sector is constantly happening, and if plan sponsors are unaware of and adapting to it, they -- and their employees -- could easily find themselves behind the curve. Here are three of the most important tech-driven trends in retirement plan services today.

Source: Planpilot.com, May 2018

Americans Saving an Average of 8% for Retirement

Abstract: Andrew G. Biggs, resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute, said he's been looking at the research and claims that indicate there is a retirement crisis in America and suggests they are understating what Americans will have for retirement income and overstating what they will need. "The outlook is more positive than what the stories tell," he said.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2018

Don't Let Debt Sabotage Your Retirement

Abstract: Borrowing money can enable opportunities otherwise out of reach financially, such as pursuing an education that can lead to employment, buying a car and facilitating a home purchase. However, if not managed effectively, it can undermine a person's financial well-being and erode the long-term financial security of many workers who are nearing retirement. This article offers tips from a noted retirement researcher to manage debt effectively.

Source: Nextavenue.org, May 2018

The Inconvenient Truth of Fiduciary Loan Regulation

Abstract: Many plan sponsors falsely believe that loan defaults do not merit fiduciary attention. Yet the Employee Retirement Income Security Act characterizes plan loans as investments, requiring care and prudence to meet the fiduciary standard. With all the litigation targeting defined contribution plans, now is a good occasion for plan sponsors to re-evaluate their loan practices.

Source: Loaneraser.com, May 2018

Why the Financial Engines/Edelman Financial Deal Could End the 401k Rollover Bonanza

Abstract: The biggest trend being portended by the Financial Engines and Edelman Financial deal is one that the industry has missed so far. And that trend is the rise of human financial advice solutions directly in the 401k channel (as Financial Engines is ostensibly going to soon offer through Edelman Financial), which could be the beginning of the end of the 401k rollover bonanza.

Source: Kitces.com, May 2018

Seven Investment Trends in 401k Plans

Abstract: A number of forces continue to drive change in 401k investing, among them the broad adoption of index funds and litigation targeting 401k plans for allegedly excessive fees. Here's a breakdown of the prevalent trends by the numbers.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), May 2018

A More Accurate Evaluation of Retirement Plan Participation

Abstract: The retirement plan participation rate -- that is, the percentage of employees who participate in either a DC plan or a DB plan at work -- is often used to evaluate the performance of the US voluntary employer plan system. But the participation rate understates the true scope and importance of these plans. Analysis suggests two reasons for this understatement.

Source: Ici.org, May 2018

Scoring the Progress of Retirement Savers

Abstract: New survey results indicate that American employers can heavily influence the retirement prospects of their workers by offering key features in the workplace savings plans they sponsor. In turn, employees can bolster their own chances at a secure retirement by actively pursuing financial advice and education for their own benefit.

Source: Empower-Retirement.com, May 2018

"Do Good" Investing by Retirement Plans to Be Part of New Report

Abstract: The Government Accountability Office will soon be issuing a report on how retirement plans should handle environmental, social, and governance investments. The report will focus on the use of "do good" parameters by retirement plans like traditional pensions and 401k plans in the U.S. and comparable plans abroad.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), May 2018

Plan Fiduciaries: Accused of a Breach? Don't Be Left Out in the Cold

Abstract: Since fiduciaries can be personally liable for losses caused by a fiduciary breach, and there are other ERISA penalties, committee members have a lot of exposure. The good news I was able to give him was that special fiduciary liability coverage is available in the market. It just requires purchasing the right policy. But the policies are not fungible.

Source: 401ktv.com, May 2018

Self-Dealing Ban Eliminates Greatest Fiduciary Conflict-of-Interest

Abstract: Both the DOL and the SEC have focused on the problems inherent in conflicts-of-interest between financial service providers and the clients they serve. Unfortunately, there has been a movement to define the term "conflict-of-interest" so broadly that it loses any meaning. The shift from the broad brush of loosely defined "conflicts-of-interest" to the sharply defined self-dealing transaction may appear of recent vintage, but that's only because many are only now becoming familiar with the concept of "conflict-of-interest."

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, May 2018

Does Your Company Need Fiduciary Liability Insurance?

Abstract: When insurance is not mandatory, deciding whether to purchase a policy may depend on weighing the costs and benefits. When fiduciary liability associated with your company's maintenance of a qualified retirement plan (eg. 401k Plan, Profit Sharing Plan, Defined Benefit Plans and ESOPs) puts your personal assets at risk, you may decide that fiduciary liability coverage is worth the cost.

Source: Bsllp.com, May 2018

401k Lawsuits: What Are the Causes and Consequences?

Abstract: This 24-page paper looks at the broad complaints that motivate the litigation and how the threat of litigation may affect the retirement industry. The first section introduces the three main reasons why litigation is brought in the first place. The second section turns to the potential effects of this litigation on 401k plans.

Source: Bc.edu, May 2018

Legal Experts See Long Road Ahead for SEC Proposals

Abstract: A company 401k plan can be a great asset for an employer, with the three Rs resulting when the plan is thoughtfully designed and managed. Consulting with knowledgeable service providers, plan sponsors can construct a plan that will Recruit, Retain and Retire. The beneficiaries will be employer and employee alike.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2018

SEC Best Interest Standard is Major Departure From DOL Fiduciary Guidance

Abstract: A company 401k plan can be a great asset for an employer, with the three Rs resulting when the plan is thoughtfully designed and managed. Consulting with knowledgeable service providers, plan sponsors can construct a plan that will Recruit, Retain and Retire. The beneficiaries will be employer and employee alike.

Source: Ascensus.com, May 2018

The Three Rs of a Great 401k Plan

Abstract: A company 401k plan can be a great asset for an employer, with the three Rs resulting when the plan is thoughtfully designed and managed. Consulting with knowledgeable service providers, plan sponsors can construct a plan that will Recruit, Retain and Retire. The beneficiaries will be employer and employee alike.

Source: Alliant401k.com, May 2018

Plan Fiduciaries -- The Best Offense is Not a Defacto Defense

Abstract: When it comes to being a workplace retirement plan fiduciary, the best defense is a good offense. That said, if your fiduciary plays are more about keeping yourself out of hot legal water than they are about doing what's in your participants' best interests, even your best defense may not be good enough.

Source: 401ktv.com, May 2018


Looking for earlier information? Go to our Archive.

401khelpcenter.com, LLC is not the author of the material referenced in this digest unless specifically noted. The material referenced was created, published, maintained, or otherwise posted by institutions or organizations independent of 401khelpcenter.com, LLC. 401khelpcenter.com, LLC does not endorse, approve, certify, or control this material and does not guarantee or assume responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, or timeliness of the material. Use of any information obtained from this material is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficacy, and timeliness. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by 401khelpcenter.com, LLC.


About | Glossary | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact Us

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.