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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, 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.

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Will Present Retirement Professionals With New Challenges

Abstract: While the primary focus of the Act is on the personal and corporate income tax rates, and the law does not uproot pension and benefits arrangements as radically as past legislation, the new rules will present employers, employees, and tax and benefits professionals with potentially difficult decisions in the areas of retirement planning, employee benefits management, executive compensation, and payroll administration.

Source: Wolterskluwer.com, January 2018

Employer Contributions to 401ks Show Steady Increase

Abstract: Ascensus data shows the number of employers funding employer contributions increased from 53% in 2013 to 81% in 2016, and data gathered from Strategic Insight finds the amount of employers contributions have increased from $108.1 billion in 2010 to $139.2 billion in 2016.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2018

Investment Adviser Named as Defendant in NYU Retirement Plan Case

Abstract: In an unusual turn of events, the investment adviser to New York University's retirement plan has been named as a co-defendant in litigation attacking the plan's allegedly excessive fees. Plaintiffs contend the adviser, Cammack LaRhette Advisors, provided "imprudent investment advice," which enabled NYU to breach its fiduciary duty to plan participants.

Source: Pionline.com, January 2018

Four Reasons Employers Should Use Corporate Tax Cut for Larger 401k Match

Abstract: Amid speculation as to how U.S. corporations will use their tax reductions, employers might consider upping their company match programs for 401k savers on their payrolls. Research has found the 401k match is one of the most important benefits employers can provide to workers.

Source: Cnbc.com, January 2018

The DOL Fiduciary Rule: Charting a Course, Avoiding Collisions & Potential Litigation

Abstract: This Q&A addresses issues raised in the DOL's recent release which provides for an 18-month Extension of Transition Period and Delay of Applicability Dates for the Best Interest Contract Exemption; the Class Exemption for Principal Transactions; and PTE 84-24. In particular, it focuses on the issues the DOL raised regarding the status of "enforcement" procedures during the transition period.

Source: Jdsupra.com, January 2018

Tax Reform: Retirement Plan and IRA Provisions

Abstract: This summary of the tax bill focuses on the rather limited changes made to pension benefits and IRAs. The changes, and next steps for plan sponsors and IRA providers, are summarized.

Source: Groom.com, January 2018

How Do Your 401k Contributions Compare With Your Fellow Earners?

Abstract: Are you putting enough into your 401k? Most Americans aren't. You can find out here how you compare with your fellow earners, and get some tips to help boost your 401k contributions so you can beat the average.

Source: Fool.com, January 2018

Four Reasons Americans' 401k Balances Are Too Small

Abstract: The Center for Retirement Research identified four key reasons why 401k balances are too small for most Americans. This article takes a closer look at these four items, along with some suggestions for individual investors to solve their retirement saving problems.

Source: Fool.com, January 2018

Finance Sector Thinking Long Term With 401k Boosts

Abstract: Several finance and insurance companies have led the charge in increasing their matching contributions to workers' 401k plans in response to the new tax law, and their early responses might just be the beginning.

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

Know About the Roth 401k Surprise?

Abstract: Financial experts and writers often tout the Roth 401k's main selling point: when the money is withdrawn in retirement, it won't be taxed. Well, that's not entirely true. Employer contributions to Roths are different.

Source: Bc.edu, January 2018

New Jersey Legislation Would Require Non-Fiduciary Disclosures

Abstract: Legislation is before the New Jersey legislature that would require certain disclosures by non-fiduciary investment advisors regarding their fiduciary status with clients.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2018

Changing Retirement Plan Administrative Services Providers: Considerations and Pitfalls for Employers

Abstract: An employer's selection of a third-party administrative services provider for its retirement plan is a fiduciary exercise. This means the process by which the employer reaches its decision must be prudently undertaken. It is therefore imperative that an employer pay close attention to the details of, and thoroughly document, the process it follows in selecting or changing its TPA.

Source: Stevenslee.com, January 2018*

DOL Sues Retirement Plan Fiduciaries for Misusing Plan Assets

Abstract: A federal district court judge entered a judgment requiring Michael Lewis, former president of Acme Orthotics and Prosthetic Laboratories Inc., to restore $128,535.75 in losses owed to the company's Profit Sharing 401k Plan and Trust.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2018

Class Action Lawsuit Isn't the Only Fear

Abstract: Most plans aren't big enough to have a class action lawsuit against them, but they have other fears that plan sponsors aren't even aware of. A plan can be targeted by the Department of Labor for an audit, and an audit can be painful and as costly as any lawsuit.

Source: Jdsupra.com, January 2018

Legislation to Promote Retirement Plan Lifetime Income Options Introduced

Abstract: Reps. Tim Walberg and Lisa Rochester have introduced the Increasing Access to Secure Retirement Act (H.R. 4604), which is legislation intended to clarify and simplify rules under which retirement plan sponsors may offer certain lifetime income investments to their plans' participants.

Source: Ascensus.com, January 2018

How to Boost Plan Participation Rates

Abstract: A variety of worker concerns, as well as other factors, could be affecting the participation and retirement readiness of the employees of your organization. Here are a few ways you can address common concerns and increase plan participation rates.

Source: Planpilot.com, January 2018

Advisers Are Apparently Ignoring Cybersecurity Threats

Abstract: Only 27% of RIAs surveyed by TD Ameritrade suggest that cybersecurity issues, even when very broadly defined, are likely to impact client portfolios during 2018; experts suggest this is just wishful thinking.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2018

Bill to Create Missouri Secure Choice Savings Program Introduced

Abstract: Missouri is the latest state whose legislature has before it a measure that would establish a state-run program for employees whose employers do not offer a retirement plan.

Source: Napa-net.org, January 2018

PBGC Publishes Final Rule on Missing Participant Program

Abstract: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation published a final rule that expands its program to track and handle the benefits of missing DC retirement plan participants. The PBGC Rule was issued on the heels of recent guidance by the US Internal Revenue Service on the appropriate steps for qualified plans to take to locate missing participants.

Source: Morganlewis.com, January 2018

Despite an Uncertain Fate, DOL Fiduciary Rule Leaves Its Mark

Abstract: There's no doubt that the DOL fiduciary rule is prompting changes in advisors' practices. Advisors are moving further toward fee-based compensation, and predominantly fee-based advisors and RIAs are the only advisor segments that are growing.

Source: Marketstrategies.com, January 2018

What Are Plan Committees Responsible For?

Abstract: Committees serve at the pleasure of an appointing entity, usually a board of directors that gives them discretionary authority over key aspects of plan operations, investments, and administration. Committees are accountable to that appointing entity for their actions.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, January 2018

HP Scores 9th Cir. Win in Challenge to Stock in 401k Plan

Abstract: Hewlett-Packard Co. is the latest major company to defeat a lawsuit by workers who say they lost out on retirement savings by investing in company stock. The workers failed to show that HP executives took steps to conceal a corporate fraud related to the company's controversial acquisition of British software maker Autonomy Corp., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said Jan. 9.

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

Retirement and Financial Wellbeing

Abstract: This paper looks at the relationship between retirement security and financial wellbeing, because, without an appropriate degree of financial wellbeing, retirement solutions like automatic enrollment may be ineffective.

Source: Ebri.org, January 2018

The Impact of Tax Reform on Qualified Plans and Fringe Benefits

Abstract: The Act makes changes to the rules governing qualified plans (such as 401k plans and pension plans) and fringe benefit plans. These changes generally apply to plan years beginning after December 31, 2017. This is a review of those changes.

Source: Drinkerbiddle.com, January 2018

Fiduciary Fundamentals for 2018

Abstract: In both teaching and spirit, Trust Law instructs ERISA. Trusts are characterized by the relationship between the trustee and the beneficiary of the assets dominated by the former's fiduciary duties to the latter. The relationship between the trustee and beneficiary is measured and recognized not by the result of the interaction but the sincerity of the behaviors that yield the result.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2018

Developing Investment Policy and Structure

Abstract: The challenge for plan sponsors comes when trying to satisfy a wide range of participant investment styles, while also maintaining simplicity to help ease participants' decision-making and minimize overall plan and participant risk. This article reviews four key considerations for your investment policy and selection.

Source: Planpilot.com, January 2018

2018 IRS VCP User Fee Winners and Losers

Abstract: Simplification of IRS' user fees may be easier to memorize, but will be more costly for many common plan errors submitted under the Voluntary Correction Program.

Source: Conduent.com, January 2018

2018 Compliance Calendar for Defined Contribution Plans

Abstract: This is a month-by-month chart of compliance items that a DC plan sponsor should address throughout the year in order to retain the qualified status.

Source: Watkinsross.com, January 2018

IRS Modification of User Fees for VCP Submissions Will Negatively Impact Small Plans

Abstract: The new fee structure is based on a plan's total asset value and represents a significant departure from the historical methods the IRS used to assess VCP user fees. While the new structure will significantly lower the user fee for some applicants, it raises the fees for others (particularly small plans).

Source: Relius.net, January 2018

Bill Would Provide New Safe Harbor for Annuity Provider Selection

Abstract: The bipartisan bill clarifies and strengthens existing rules to make it easier for retirement plan sponsors to provide guaranteed lifetime income products as part of their employee benefits. It intends to amend ERISA and lays out specific criteria for selecting an annuity benefit provider.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2018

Transfers from a Non-ERISA 403b to an ERISA Plan

Abstract: Can a non-QCCO (qualified church-controlled organization) transfer assets to an ERISA 403b plan from a non-ERISA 403b that is part of a multiple employer plan and is not the lead employer in the MEP but a participating one?

Source: Ntsa-net.org, January 2018

Frequently Asked Questions About 401k Plan Research

Abstract: The Investment Company Institute has updated their FAQ on 401k retirement plans. Some of the questions covered include: What is a 401k plan and how does it work? How have 401k plans grown since their introduction? What are the benefits of investing in a 401k plan? Is there a limit to how much an employee and employer can contribute to a 401k plan?

Source: Ici.org, January 2018

401k Auto-Enrollment Doesn't Stop Workers From Taking on More Debt

Abstract: The auto-enrollment trend has grown increasingly more commonplace in the workforce as companies look for ways to combat growing employee debt, particularly among younger generations (who typically own more student debt, but who also lack extensive financial literacy). But it's not exactly the silver bullet to solving the many complications plaguing retirement overall.

Source: Hrdive.com, January 2018

Retirement Pros Reveal Their Own Best Interests When It Comes to Their Retirement Plans

Abstract: Retirement pros spend a lot of time trying to convince people anxiety is not in the best interest of retirement savers. But what about the retirement professionals own best interest when it comes to their retirement plans? What could retirement savers learn about their best interests when they discover how professionals manage their own personal retirement concerns.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, January 2018

Why the New IRS VCP Fees Are Bad for Small Business, TPAs, and Retirement Plans

Abstract: At a time when employers need more encouragement to help employees save for retirement, the trend at the IRS does the exact opposite. The increased risk that the employer takes on due to a lack of communication with the IRS, coupled with the increased expense of correcting any failure, is a move in the wrong direction.

Source: Ferenczylaw.com, January 2018

Eaton Execs Win Battle Over Retirement Plan Stock

Abstract: Four Eaton Corp. executives scored an appeals court victory in a case accusing them of wrongly allowing workers to continue investing retirement savings in company stock. The executives didn't have an option that was clearly better than letting workers continue to invest in Eaton stock during a period when its price fell more than 15 percent, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled Jan. 8.

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

Vanderbilt Can't Shake Suit Over Retirement Plan Fees

Abstract: Vanderbilt University is the latest school to lose an early round in litigation challenging the fees and investment options in its retirement plan. A federal judge on Jan. 5 largely refused to dismiss a proposed class action accusing the school of running a retirement plan with excessive administrative fees, too many service providers, and high-fee investment options.

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

New Tax Law Provides Additional Breathing Room for Repayment of Retirement Plan Loans

Abstract: One option a terminated employee had with an outstanding plan loan was to "rollover" an offset by contributing to the amount of the unpaid loan balance to an IRA with 60 days of leaving. Effective for tax years beginning in 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act extends the rollover deadline from 60 days to the due date of the employee's tax return including extensions.

Source: Retirementplanblog.com, January 2018

Dispelling a Mistaken Belief About the Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: There had been a common belief among advisors that fiduciary status could be avoided by presenting a list of investments to plan sponsors. It was thought that since the list did not "recommend" any particular investments, it could not be a fiduciary recommendation.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, January 2018

Technology, Language and Educational Capabilities: Key Levers in the DC Market

Abstract: While DC plan providers are vetted stringently on their respective abilities to provide personalized, proactive client service and customized plan design, there are other factors that are essential to demonstrate in the recordkeeping suite. These include: technology, language, and educational capabilities.

Source: Marketstrategies.com, January 2018

Top 401k Trends for 2018

Abstract: Author identifies 11 changes that many leading-edge employers will make to their 401k plans in 2018. Nearly all of these changes result in little or no cost to plan sponsors.

Source: Lawtonrpc.com, January 2018

Tax Reform Prompts Visa to Raise 401k Match for Employees

Abstract: Visa said on Monday it will strengthen contributions to employees' 401k savings plans, as a result of the recently passed GOP tax reform.

Source: Cnbc.com, January 2018

Health Savings Account vs. 401k, Which Is Better for Savers?

Abstract: Maxing out contributions to a health savings account before contributing the maximum amount to a 401k plan could be a better strategy for some retirement savers. That's because the benefit of tax-free withdrawals could outweigh the benefit of an employer's match.

Source: Benefitnews.com, January 2018

401k Plan Data, Can It Be Hacked?

Abstract: Failure to deal with cybersecurity issues could be a fiduciary breach under these rules and fiduciaries could have personal liability for the resulting losses, for example, if hackers are able to steal plan assets or fraudulently obtain distributions online by pretending to be participants. Participants whose personal accounts are hacked might also have claims against fiduciaries who failed to protect their data.

Source: 401ktv.com, January 2018

DOL Extends QPAM Relief to Five Financial Institutions

Abstract: The DOL has recently extended the relief previously granted to five financial institutions which allows these banks to continue to rely on the QPAM exemption (Prohibited Transaction Exemption 84-14). The QPAM exemption permits ERISA plans and comingled funds to engage in transactions with "parties in interest" to those ERISA clients without running afoul of ERISA's prohibited transaction rules.

Source: Usbenefits.law, January 2018

Liquidity Fees and the Fiduciary Duty of Best Execution

Abstract: Retirement plan fiduciaries must understand the expenses their participants pay to make trades and access investments, but their duty to monitor and ensure reasonableness is not limited to the issue of pricing alone.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2018

Voluntary Correction Program User Fees Changes

Abstract: The IRS has simplified the user fees charged for most submissions made under the Voluntary Correction Program. The total amount of net plan assets determines the applicable user fee. Most alternative or reduced fees that were part of previous revenue procedures no longer apply.

Source: Irs.gov, January 2018

Tax Law's Pass-Through Provision Could Harm 401k Plans

Abstract: The new tax law's provision on pass-through businesses is proving to be one of the most challenging to dissect, and it's one that some retirement pundits are eyeing with concern. Some industry groups say the pass-through rules could become the most impactful part of the law for 401k plans.

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

Retirement Readiness -- How Do We Compare?

Abstract: This article compares the retirement system of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The objective is to discover different areas where each country excelled and from which the other two could learn.

Source: Bpsm.com, January 2018

Nationwide Spurred by Tax Law to Give Bonuses, Bump 401k Match

Abstract: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. will pay $1,000 bonuses to about 29,000 employees and increase matching 401k contributions for all its associates. The move is a response to the new tax law enacted by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in December, a Nationwide spokesman told Bloomberg Law.

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

Major Problem Reported With 401k Auto Enrollment

Abstract: The benefits of automatic enrollment in 401ks are all but a given, and a major reason Richard Thaler, a behavioral economist at the University of Chicago, won last year's Nobel Prize in economics. But now new research has arrived that could wreck it all.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, January 2018

The Plan Committee: Should You Have One?

Abstract: Plan sponsors are not legally compelled to set up committees. Most standardized plan documents give plan sponsors the flexibility to set one up or not. But just because you are not required to do something doesn't mean it's not a good idea.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, January 2018

Lesser-Known Tax Reform Provisions That May Affect Retirement Plan Sponsors

Abstract: President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While there are few provisions that directly affect retirement plans, there are a few lesser-known provisions of the new law that may indirectly affect retirement plan sponsors.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, January 2018

How Wall Street Hopes to Thwart 401k Hackers

Abstract: The industry-led project, called Sheltered Harbor, already is known to back up data for savings and checking accounts. But quietly, it's wrapping in data on retail brokerage accounts at some of the nation's largest firms, according to participants. And ultimately, the goal is to expand it to an even heftier pool of 401k accounts and pension funds, whose breach could upend global markets.

Source: Bloomberg.com, January 2018

New Yorker Cartoon Considers 401ks

Abstract: A New Yorker cartoon by Trevor Spaulding is cute, but -- spoiler alert -- it's not quite right.

Source: Bc.edu, January 2018

IRS Makes Major Change in Retirement Plan VCP Fees and Other Fees

Abstract: The IRS has issued Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB) 2018-1, which is this year's annual update describing procedures and user fees for obtaining agency guidance, including opinion and determination letters, private letter rulings, etc. It also updates fees for submissions under IRS correction programs.

Source: Ascensus.com, January 2018

PBGC Issues Final Regulations for Terminating Defined Contribution Plans

Abstract: The Pension Protection Act of 2006 added ERISA Section 4050(d) which authorized the PBGC to establish a program similar to its existing Missing Participants Program for defined contribution retirement plans and professional service organizations with fewer than 25 active participants. On December 22, 2017 the PBGC issued final regulations making the program available to defined contribution plans and small professional service plans terminating on or after January 1, 2018.

Source: Wagnerlawgroup.com, January 2018

Hurricane Relief for Distributions and Loans to Participants in Puerto Rico Retirement Plans

Abstract: The Puerto Rico Treasury Department is providing special relief for distributions and loans from Puerto Rico qualified and dual-qualified retirement plans following Hurricane Maria. Under Administrative Determination No. 17-29, Puerto Rico residents affected by the hurricane may take distributions from their qualified retirement plans at lower tax rates. Additional relief is available for outstanding plan loans.

Source: Towerswatson.com, January 2018

Fiduciary Governance: Doing It Right Matters

Abstract: Any organization that sponsors a regulated retirement plan needs a blueprint for compliance and a system for governing the plan that integrates with its overall business risk strategy. This article presents five tips that are fundamental to an integrated compliance solution.

Source: Rolandcriss.com, January 2018

Some Benefit Limits for Puerto Rico Plans Are Different From U.S. Plans

Abstract: The Puerto Rico Treasury Department issued Circular Letter of Tax Policy 17-02 formally announcing the key pension limits for 2018, as required by the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code. Different limits and rules for retirement plans qualified in Puerto Rico may cause some operational issues for plan sponsors.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2018

Details From the Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act

Abstract: Alongside numerous proposed changes, employees who work for three consecutive years with at least 500 hours of service each year would have to be made eligible to participate in an employer's plan, but would be excluded from top-heavy and nondiscrimination testing.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2018

Time for SEC to Take Fiduciary Baton From DOL

Abstract: With the core of the DOL fiduciary rule in place and the rest of it delayed for 18 months, can advisers expect all to be quiet on the fiduciary front in 2018? In a word, no. The regulatory baton has been passed from the DOL to the SEC and it's likely we will see an SEC fiduciary rule proposal by midyear.

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

How Can Fiduciaries Use New Tax Cuts to Nudge 401k and IRA Retirement Savers?

Abstract: There's a chance for savers to increase the odds they'll retire in comfort thanks to the 2017 tax law. Here's how, but the window of opportunity will close fast.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, January 2018

Annual IRS Revenue Procedure Includes Surprising Change to User Fees

Abstract: This year's update includes a significant fee change surprise for the VCP program; and while changes in past years typically went into effect about a month after they were announced, this year's changes are effective immediately.

Source: Erisapracticecenter.com, January 2018

Five Plan Sponsor Resolutions for 2018

Abstract: Sometimes, you need to step back and see the big picture. This applies to advice to plan sponsors as well, because the recommendations they get are sometimes so detailed that big compliance issues get lost in the shuffle. Here are five resolutions to help plan sponsors get a grip on the most important compliance issues.

Source: Cohenbuckmann.com, January 2018

DOL 2018 Inflation-Adjusted Penalties

Abstract: The DOL has published its final rule to adjust for inflation the civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced in its regulations.

Source: Benefitsforward.com, January 2018

2017 Closes With a Bang for Average 401k Balances

Abstract: An analysis by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute found that the average account balance for younger (25-34), less tenured (1-4 years) workers gained 43% in 2017. What about older workers? Well, the average 401k account balance of those aged 55-64 with more than 20 years of tenure ended the year nearly 20% (19.5%) higher than they began the year.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2018

Retirement Plan Trends to Watch in 2018

Abstract: Plan sponsors are ramping up benefits education efforts and increasingly empowering employees to take charge of their healthcare and retirement savings. They're doing this in a variety of ways outlined here.

Source: 401ktv.com, January 2018

Why Auto Portability Makes Everything Better

Abstract: In the realm of retirement savings, auto portability is the public policy equivalent of bacon, great by itself, but even better when mixed with other retirement initiatives. In fact, for many public policy plans to be palatable, auto portability is an essential ingredient.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, January 2018

Common Issues Discovered During Retirement Plan Audits

Abstract: Diane Wasser of EisnerAmper LLP, a national certified public accounting firm with a practice group specializing in the audit of retirement plans, discusses common issues that Diane and her team discover during their audits of retirement plans.

Source: Truckerhuss.com, December 2017

Settlement Agreement May Conclude Allianz Self-Dealing Challenge

Abstract: Along with non-monetary relief, Allianz will pay $12 million into a common fund for the benefit of class members, to be allocated pro rata among the members in proportion to their account balances in the plan during the relevant period.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2017

2018 Key Administrative Dates and Deadlines for Calendar-Year DC Plans

Abstract: This is a 5-page retirement plan chart and 2018 calendar for defined contribution plans, published Milliman. The document provides key administrative dates and deadlines for calendar-year plans.

Source: Milliman.com, December 2017

Noteworthy Federal Cases Relating to Employee Benefit Plans in 2017

Abstract: Here is a round up of cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court and the First and Second Circuit Courts of Appeals in 2017 involving ERISA employee benefit plans.

Source: Employeebenefitsupdate.com, December 2017

Four Canadian Pension and Retirement Trends to Watch in 2018

Abstract: As 2017 draws to a close, we turn our attention to the new year. As usual, there's a lot happening in the Canadian pension environment. Here are four pension trends to watch in 2018.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, December 2017

Troubling 401k Trend for Hispanic Workers

Abstract: Less than 10 percent of small business workers in the five top Hispanic metro areas of the United States have access to employer-sponsored retirement savings accounts. Additionally, according to a recent study from Finhabits, the states with the largest concentration of Hispanic residents had the lowest participation in retirement savings.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2017

Four Steps to a Successful 401k Business Brand Audit

Abstract: Branding is a natural starting point for working on your practice and yet often overlooked. A crucial step is the brand audit, which in essence asks how well you articulate your brand, and in what mediums.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2017

Reporting Emerges That Many DOL Fiduciary Rule Comments Could Be Fake

Abstract: The Wall Street Journal published an analysis this week suggesting "at least five governmental agencies have received fake comments challenging the agencies' rules," including the Department of Labor; the DOL is so far declining additional comment.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2017

Stable Value Lawsuits and the Goldilocks Zone

Abstract: Even though there is no typical stable value fund, heading into 2018 there have been three typical types of lawsuits filed against fiduciaries offering stable value funds, according to ERISA attorneys with Mayer Brown.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2017

Plaintiffs Lack Standing to Bring ERISA Fee Litigation Case

Abstract: A federal district court in Georgia dismissed claims by participants in Delta Air Lines 401k plan who alleged that Delta breached its ERISA fiduciary duties by allowing the plan to invest in funds that allegedly charged excessive fees and unperformed against comparable funds. Consistent with rulings in other jurisdictions, the court held that plaintiffs lacked Article III standing because they failed to allege that they were invested in the challenged funds or that they paid excessive fees.

Source: Erisapracticecenter.com, December 2017

Bill Proposes Enhancements to Auto Enrollment, RMD, and Other Retirement Plan Rules

Abstract: Representative Richard Neal has introduced the Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act of 2017. The legislation would significantly modify current rules for individual retirement arrangements and employer-sponsored retirement plans. The bill aims to expand retirement plan coverage, preserve retirement income, and simplify retirement plan rules.

Source: Ascensus.com, December 2017

How to Kick-Start Your Retirement Savings in 2018

Abstract: It doesn't matter whether you're 20 or 60. You need to be saving for retirement. If that's something that's been on the back burner, make 2018 the year you focus on preparing for your future.

Source: Usnews.com, December 2017

New Evidence on the Demand for Advice Within Retirement Plans

Abstract: Using participant-level data from TIAA, this study sheds new light on demand for advice within retirement plans. In addition to examining how demand varies based on participant demographics, the authors explore how demand is affected by default investment options and the means by which advice is offered.

Source: Tiaainstitute.org, December 2017

DC In-Plan Retirement Income Solutions: Are We There Yet?

Abstract: The decision to offer an in-plan retirement income solution is a fiduciary decision that rises to the top of potential concerns. The market and appetite for these options continues to evolve. This article reviews the options available to plan sponsors and provide an update on developments within the industry.

Source: Porteval.com, December 2017

ERISA Litigation Landmarks Set the Stage for 2018

Abstract: One ERISA attorney who specializes in defending employers against fiduciary breach claims says 2017 has delivered no shortage of important, potentially precedent-setting decisions involving employee benefits law; and the stage is set for another whirlwind of a year in 2018.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2017

Whether a Plan Sponsor Should Hire an ERISA 3(16) Administrator

Abstract: When it comes to a 401k plan, there is a difference between outsourcing and delegation. This helps 401k plan sponsors understand what outsourcing plan administration with an ERISA Section 3(16) administrator entails and the traps you should avoid if you choose that route.

Source: Jdsupra.com, December 2017

Four Questions to Ask Before Doing a 401k Plan Re-Enrollment

Abstract: Employers do re-enrollments to make sure plan participants have appropriate asset allocations and savings rates. Having a process to help plan sponsors with 401k plan re-enrollments is becoming table stakes for retirement plan advisers.

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

New DOL, SEC Officials Help Advance Fiduciary Rule Work

Abstract: Three new officials -- one at the Labor Department and two at the Securities and Exchange Commission -- will help the agencies advance their work on investment advice standards. Senate confirms Preston Rutledge to key Labor Department role, while Hester Peirce and Robert Jackson Jr. join SEC as commissioners.

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

What Has Your 401k Plan Advisor Done for You Lately?

Abstract: The lack of thorough service by plan advisors of 401ks is not sitting well with plan sponsors. In an annual Plan Sponsor Attitudes survey, 38% of sponsors are looking to switch advisors, up from 30% in 2016 and 9% in 2013. Advisor complacency, coupled with a need for more knowledgeable advisors, is prompting the switch.

Source: Forbes.com, December 2017

Three Money Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Retirement

Abstract: More than 40% of pre-retirees say running out of money during retirement is their greatest fear, and six in 10 older Americans are actually more afraid of spending their retirement stash than they are of dying. To avoid running out of cash, it's important to avoid mistakes that could undermine your efforts at financial security, like these three big blunders that could ruin your retirement.

Source: Fool.com, December 2017

The New Tax Bill Is Enacted: What Does This Mean for Retirement Plans?

Abstract: The bill makes very few benefits changes directly, although the change in the tax structure contained in the bill may affect retirement plan formation and maintenance. Here is an initial take on the new law's effect on retirement plans.

Source: Ferenczylaw.com, December 2017

What Does the New Year Hold? Three Predictions for 2018

Abstract: The trends that unfolding in the coming year are well-trod ground at this point without any radical shifts; mostly extensions of trends already in place. Captrust Senior Director John Curry outlines predictions for plan sponsors, participants, and the retirement industry in general in the new year.

Source: Captrustadvisors.com, December 2017

Princeton Retirement Plan Lawsuit Paused by Judge

Abstract: A lawsuit challenging the fees and investment options in Princeton University's retirement plan will be put on hold until a federal appeals court considers a similar case against the University of Pennsylvania.

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

How Much Do Participants' Negative Behaviors Affect Retirement Readiness?

Abstract: Participants dipping into retirement savings early and suspending contributions to their 401k plans is projected to reduce their retirement savings by 14% percent on average, new analytics from MassMutual show.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2017

Senate Confirms Rutledge to Key DOL Post

Abstract: The successor to regulatory powerhouse Phyllis Borzi who preceded him, supporters and detractors alike note Rutledge is very familiar with the responsibilities of the role, and industry advocacy groups praised the nomination and confirmation.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2017

A Bunch of Reasons to Use More 401k Fintech

Abstract: Technology's cool and compelling, yet far too many advisors rely on innovation of old. Using an estimated 10 percent of their platforms' full capabilities on average at best, they're not helping their participants, or themselves.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2017


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