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January 2017 Digest

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

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DOL Fiduciary Rule Not Yet Caught up in Trump Maelstrom

Abstract: What Mr. Trump has not touched is the DOL's fiduciary rule. Speculation is mounting as to what is taking the administration so long to act. Is President Trump waiting for his DOL secretary nominee to be approved? Or is he finding it harder to repeal than expected?

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

Retirement Preparations in a New Age of Self-Employment

Summary: Study provides research-based insights from 15 countries spanning Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Australia, and outlines recommendations for improving the long-term financial security of the self-employed.

Source: Transamericacenter.org, January 2017

DOL Fiduciary Rule Compliance: SEC Says Brokers Can Impose Their Own Commissions on Sales of 'Clean' Fund Shares

Abstract: the SEC staff issued a no-action letter to Capital Research and Management Company in which the staff confirmed that the restrictions of Section 22(d) of the 1940 Act do not apply to a broker-dealer when, as agent on behalf of its customers, the broker-dealer charges its customers commissions for effecting transactions in "Clean Shares" of a fund.

Source: Ropesgray.com, January 2017

Fee Litigation Update: Moving Beyond Allegations of Self-Dealing

Abstract: In 2016, we saw a considerable uptick in the number and variety of excessive fee lawsuits commenced against plan fiduciaries of defined contribution plans. Article looks at these filings, many of which have advanced novel theories of imprudence that are not dependent on allegations of self-dealing. The article also identifies affirmative steps that plan fiduciaries may take to prevent these types of claims from succeeding.

Source: Proskauer.com, January 2017

DOL Nominee Puzder's Hearing Again Delayed

Summary: The Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee's confirmation hearing for Andrew Puzder, President Trump's nominee for Secretary of Labor, has been delayed again.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, January 2017

Updated Publication 575 -- Pension and Annuity Income

Summary: This is the newly updated 43-page IRS Publication 575 discusses the tax treatment of distributions from pension and annuity plans and also shows how to report the income on a federal income tax return.

Source: Irs.gov, January 2017

Updated Publication 560 -- Retirement Plans for Small Business

Summary: This is the newly updated 28-page IRS Publication 560 which covers retirement plans can set up and maintain for Small Businesses. Includes SEP, SIMPLE, and Qualified Plans.

Source: Irs.gov, January 2017

Top 10 Small Business 401k Providers

Summary: The top 10 401k providers ranking have been stable for the past two years, with only one new provider making it into the top 10 list for defined contribution plans under $10 million in assets.

Source: Forusall.com, January 2017

403(b)'s 'Limitation Year' Rules Demonstrate their 'Individual' Nature

Abstract: Even now, as we hear rumblings that a "universal 401k" arrangement may once again be in the wings under any tax reform package considered by the new Congress, we again are reminded on how ingrained the differences are between the various types of retirement plans. There are reasons these plans, and the differences between them, exist. One of the most unusual differences, and hidden, differences between 403(b) plans and 401k plans is the striking fact that the 415 limit is an individual limit, not a plan level limit.

Source: Businessofbenefits.com, January 2017

Aon Hewitt Sued Over Fee Scheme in Caterpillar's 401k Plan

Abstract: Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors is the latest retirement services company accused of violating ERISA by entering into a fee-sharing agreement with online investment adviser Financial Engines Inc.

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

Employers Key to Retirement Saving, Study Says

Summary: Employer-provided retirement plans remain key to retirement saving to a healthy proportion of the employee population, and interest in some aspects of those plans is especially strong, says a recent study.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

The Keys to the Kingdom: Employees Look to Employers for Answers

Summary: American Century Investments finds that employees continue to look to their employers for guidance in saving and investing for retirement. A sentiment that has been expressed in past surveys, the expectation for employer support is increasingly evident in the 2016 study.

Source: Americancentury.com, January 2017

How to Cope With Student Loan Debt in Retirement

Abstract: Carrying student loan debt into your 60s or older can make it especially difficult to pay for retirement. Those who default on federal student loans might even see their tax refunds and part of their Social Security benefit withheld to repay the loan. Here's how to deal with student loan debt as you approach retirement.

Source: Usnews.com, January 2017

DOL Fiduciary Reform Effort Losing Steam

Abstract: The DOL's fiduciary rule reform effort, more than a decade in the making, seems more likely than ever to finally stall, according to a variety of industry experts called upon to interpret the likely impact of a Trump Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress on the employer-sponsored retirement planning market.

Source: Plansponsor.com, January 2017

Betterment for Business Eager to Challenge Major Recordkeepers

Abstract: Shifting regulations, evolving consumer demands and a strong response from established providers are real challenges, but low-cost automated 401k platform providers remain committed to DC industry disruption.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2017

Edward Jones' Self-Dealing Suit Permitted to Proceed

Abstract: Defendants unsuccessfully argued that the breach of fiduciary claims should be dismissed because they fulfilled their duties by offering an array of investment options.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2017

Long Awaited IRS Guidance on Initial 403(b) Remedial Amendment Period

Abstract: The IRS has announced that the initial remedial amendment period for 403(b) plans to correct plan document defects in form will be open until March 31, 2020. This indicates that the first round of IRS advisory and opinion letters for 403(b) pre-approved plans will be coming out soon.

Source: Groom.com, January 2017

DOL: Lifetime Income Can Be Part of Prudent QDIA

Abstract: The DOL issued an information letter that indicated employer plan sponsors are entitled to use lifetime income products as a part of a prudent qualified default investment alternative (QDIA), even if the products contain certain liquidity and transferability restrictions.

Source: Blr.com, January 2017

Managed Accounts: The Future of Default Options in DC Plans?

Abstract: Commenting on the dramatic growth of target-date funds, the head of retirement research for Morningstar blogging in the Wall Street Journal asks the obvious question: when will we move to more customized solutions? Managed accounts offer that option, but barriers include costs and engagement.

Source: 401ktv.com, January 2017

Choosing Individual 401k Plans: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

Abstract: Individual 401k plans or Solo 401k plans have gained popularity over the last couple years, especially among owner-only businesses and self-employed professionals. Did you ever wonder why some institutions offer Solo 401k plans free of cost whilst others charge a fee?

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2017

Using Science to Reach Participants and Inspire Positive Actions

Abstract: How do we get participants' attention to help them get on track toward retirement and then stay there amid all the noise? Vanguard has developed a three-pronged approach to driving positive participant actions: Create an individualized experience for each participant, provide a clear recommendation for increasing retirement readiness, and use proven communication techniques.

Source: Vanguardinstitutionalblog.com, January 2017

DOL Updates Guidance on Proxy Voting and ESG

Abstract: The DOL's new guidance for ERISA plans withdraws prior guidance and supports ERISA plans in voting proxies, engaging with companies and incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into decision-making. ERISA plans may wish to review and update their proxy voting policies, statements of investment policy and investment manager contracts to reflect the new guidance.

Source: Reinhartlaw.com, January 2017

Is Your Proprietary Target-Date Fund a Trojan Horse for Underperforming Managers?

Abstract: Recognizing that not all managers excel in all asset classes, the marketplace has evolved and today most plans employ an open-architecture approach to core menu construction. In fact, it is unusual for a plan's menu to use the same investment manager for more than two or three different asset classes. Yet, with target-date funds expected to represent 48% of defined contribution assets by 2020, are sponsors unknowingly reverting to an antiquated plan design?

Source: Rackcdn.com, January 2017

Is Trump a Threat to the Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: While the DOL's fiduciary rule is scheduled to take effect April 10, some experts predict that President Trump will somehow, someway put the kibosh on the rule that requires financial advisers to act in their client's best interest, adhering to a fiduciary standard with respect to retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401ks.

Source: Marketwatch.com, January 2017

How to Avoid Borrowing From Your Retirement Plan

Abstract: Have you ever borrowed from your retirement plan? When you need cash in a hurry, it can be tempting. However, there are a couple of reasons why this may not be the best idea.

Source: Financialfinesse.com, January 2017

Industry Veterans Answer: Shall We Praise the 401k or Bury It?

Abstract: Are we burying the 401k to dredge up the rotted carcass of an extinct notion, or are we burying it as we bury a seed, to feed it, to nurture it, so it may grow into a mighty tree that bears fruit when we need it.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, January 2017

Participant Plan Transfers and Account Consolidation for the Advancement of Lifetime Plan Participation

Abstract: The 2016 ERISA Advisory Council followed up on issues identified and recommended for further study by the 2014 and 2015 Council's work on facilitating lifetime plan participation related to plan-to-plan transfers and account consolidations. Based on these past recommendations, the Department of Labor asked the 2016 Council to study further the challenges involved with plan-to-plan transfers and account consolidations, and to make recommendations to facilitate these processes for the advancement of lifetime plan participation.

Source: Dol.gov, January 2017

Cybersecurity Considerations for Benefit Plans

Abstract: The 2016 ERISA Advisory Council examined cybersecurity considerations as they relate to pension and welfare benefit plans. The 2016 Council focused on information that would be useful to plan sponsors, fiduciaries and their service providers in evaluating and developing a cybersecurity program for their benefit plans.

Source: Dol.gov, January 2017

The Divorce Penalty: This 401k Fee Can Add Insult to Injury

Abstract: As more wealth accumulates in defined-contribution plans and divorcing baby boomers move to split it up, more retirement savers are getting to know a little abbreviation that packs a big punch in frustration and exasperation: QDRO.

Source: Bloomberg.com, January 2017

How Plan Sponsors Can Help Boost Participant Savings

Abstract: Now that we face reduced return expectations, plan sponsors and providers cannot rely on the old way of thinking: that returns will take care of themselves. The time has come to rethink our approach to helping participants build and manage their retirement readiness. Here are three steps that plan sponsors may want to consider to help boost participant savings.

Source: Blackrock.com, January 2017

Six Questions to Ask at Your Next Investment Committee Meeting

Abstract: Every plan, and every investment committee, is unique, and yet, conducted properly, there are inevitably areas of commonality. Here are some questions that could enhance the discussion, if not the outcome, at your next investment committee meeting.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

For DC Plans, Lowest Fees Aren't a Panacea

Abstract: There's no question fees are a hot topic for defined contribution plan sponsors. But one risk of focusing too tightly on fees is creating a distortion that addresses cost while possibly overlooking other retirement-saving factors. With so many equal or greater concerns, it's important for plan sponsors to keep a broad perspective and maintain a comprehensive approach to their fiduciary duties.

Source: Abglobal.com, January 2017

Proposed Best Interest Contract Exemption for Insurance Intermediaries

Abstract: On January 19, 2017 the DOL issued a proposed class exemption from certain prohibited transaction restrictions of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. If granted, the exemption would permit certain insurance intermediaries, and the agents and companies they contract with, to receive compensation in connection with fixed annuity transactions that may otherwise give rise to prohibited transactions as a result of the provision of investment advice to retirement plan participants and beneficiaries, IRA owners and certain plan fiduciaries. This update describes the conditions and requirements of the proposed class exemption.

Source: Practicallaw.com, January 2017

Another Provider Charged With Self-Dealing in Its 401k Plan

Abstract: A new lawsuit challenges not only the use of allegedly more expensive proprietary funds, but with no longer offering a stable value fund, and of being negligent in its deployment of a self-directed brokerage account option. The suit, brought by plaintiff Christopher W. Severson, alleged that "the Schwab Fiduciary Defendants imprudently and disloyally larded the Plan with unnecessary, expensive and poorly performing investment products and services offered and managed by the Schwab."

Source: Napa-net.org, January 2017

Puerto Rico Treasury Issues New Guidance on Rules and Procedures for Qualification of Retirement Plans

Abstract: The Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury issued Tax Policy Circular Letter No. 16-08. CL 16-08 establishes new rules regarding the validity of retirement plan qualification letters and the procedures that employers and service providers must follow to request such qualification letters. It also repeals PR Treasury's Circular Letter 11-10 and Letter 13-02.

Source: Littler.com, January 2017

401k Plans Make Big Fund Changes Following New Money Market Rules

Abstract: Employers have drastically mixed up the "safe" investment options offered in their defined contribution plans in response to new rules that came into effect last year regarding money market funds.

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

JPMorgan Sued for Self-dealing in Its 401k Plan

Abstract: JPMorgan has been sued by a participant in its 401k plan for allegedly causing employees to pay millions of dollars in excessive fees through a scheme motivated by "self-interest." The plaintiff claims JPMorgan, as well as various board and committee members, breached their fiduciary duties by, among other things, retaining proprietary mutual funds from the bank and affiliate companies for several years, despite the availability of nearly identical, lower-cost and better-performing funds.

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

Puerto Rico Treasury Department Issues Updated Guidance on Retirement Plans

Abstract: The Puerto Rico Treasury Department recently issued Circular Letter of Tax Policy No. 16-08 (CLTP 16-08) to update and clarify the: (i) rules regarding the effective dates of favorable determination letters issued under Section 1081.01(a) of the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code of 2011 (PR Code), and (ii) due dates and procedures for requesting determination letters for retirement plans intended to be qualified under the PR Code.

Source: Groom.com, January 2017

Seven Essential Retirement Rules for Anyone Over 50

Abstract: The Pew Research Center estimates that 10,000 baby boomers are expected to retire each day until 2030. Whether retirement is close or a bit further out on the horizon, consider these seven tips to ensure you are ready for retirement.

Source: Forbes.com, January 2017

401ks a Tough Nut to Crack for ETFs

Abstract: DC plan platforms were set up with mutual funds in mind, and for the most part haven't been able to handle the intraday trading of ETFs. The big question is whether the DOL's fiduciary rule or other market trends will help get more ETFs on these DC platforms.

Source: Fa-mag.com, January 2017

Roth 401k Deferrals - Answers to Common Questions

Abstract: If your 401k plan allows Roth deferrals, now is a great time to give them a fresh look. The new White House administration and Congress have both indicated a desire to cut personal income tax rates. If that happens, Roth deferrals will be more affordable than ever. You can use this FAQ to help decide if Roth 401k deferrals are right for you.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, January 2017

Rise in Self-Employed Boosting Solo 401k, SEP IRA Usage

Abstract: As the number of self-employed workers in this country grows, so does the demand for more versatile retirement savings options. Many people don't realize they can still have a retirement savings plan if they work for themselves. Contractors and freelancers can set up a Simplified Employee Pension IRA or a self-employed 401k plan.

Source: Employeebenefitadviser.com, January 2017

TDF With Annuity That Restricts Transfers May Be Prudent Default Investment (but not QDIA)

Abstract: The DOL recently concluded that a target date fund with a fixed guaranteed annuity restricting transfers or withdrawals for a 12-month period does not meet the qualified default investment alternative requirements. But noting the need for lifetime income as a public policy issue, DOL said a fiduciary could prudently select a default investment that complies with all requirements of the QDIA regulation save the liquidity and transferability rules. Fiduciaries may be hard pressed, however, to select such an investment as a plan default investment because it does not protect them from liability for investing contributions on behalf of employees.

Source: Conduent.com, January 2017

A Better Methodology for Monitoring Target-Date Funds

Abstract: Plan sponsors are challenged to create a prudent process for selecting and monitoring the plan's target-date fund, and for benchmarking their selection against other options available in the market, relative to performance, risk and fees. Cammack introduces their TDF methodology in this paper.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, January 2017

More Disruptive Than the Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: Sure, you've spent a year getting ready for the fiduciary rule, but are you ready for this? Tax reform is the topic du jour in the nation's capital. The headlines have been filled with promises from both President Trump and nearly every one of his cabinet appointees to do something about tax reform.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

SEC Guidance Update and the DOL's Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The SEC issued Guidance Update No. 2016-06. The update provides disclosure and procedural guidance to address potential issues for mutual funds responding to the Department of Labor's adoption of the Conflict of Interest Rule.

Source: Spencerfane.com, January 2017

The Birth of the First Ever IRS Pre-Approved 403(b) Plan Documents

Abstract: On January 13, 2017, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2017-18 which provides Employers with a three-year remedial amendment period (RAP) that ends 3/31/2020. So now we are on our way, but we still have a number of items to receive from the IRS, namely more guidance and of course the actual approval letters. This is the first RAP for 403(b) documents in the history of these plans.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, January 2017

Can Funds From an Inherited 403(b) Be Rolled Into an IRA?

Abstract: Suppose an advisor has a 68-year old client whose uncle died, and she directly transferred his 403(b) account to an inherited IRA. She has her own 403(b) account and would now like to roll that 403(b) account into her inherited IRA. Is she permitted to do that?

Source: Ntsa-net.org, January 2017

What's the Right 401k Contribution Rate?

Abstract: NerdWallet shared a study recently that concluded a 22% 401k contribution rate is appropriate for millennials. Previous studies, by T. Rowe Price and Vanguard, indicated that participants should target a 15% 401k contribution rate to achieve retirement readiness. Why the big difference and what is the right contribution rate?

Source: Lawtonrpc.com, January 2017

The Next Step for 401k Innovation: Auto-Portability

Abstract: A new "auto" aims to drive retirement savings higher. It's called auto-portability, and it would enable a separating employee to easily roll assets into a new employer's plan. While the notion has been percolating for some time, a growing body of research is highlighting the benefits of consolidating employee assets so they can better grow their retirement nest eggs.

Source: Institutionalinvestor.com, January 2017

2017 401k ERISA Compliance Calendar

Abstract: This compliance calendar highlights critical compliance deadlines for DC retirement plans. Some deadlines apply only to particular plan types and there may be additional deadlines associated with individual plans that are not covered here. Also, plans with non-calendar plan years may be subject to different deadlines.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, January 2017

Trump Administration and the State of the DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: This brief represents the current understanding of the new administration's plan, but there are a couple of key steps that have yet to be fully explained. Nevertheless, it provides the latest information at this time.

Source: Linkedin.com, January 2017

State Retirement Savings Initiatives Do More than Enhance Retirement Security for Private Sector Workers

Abstract: As states look at programs to build retirement savings, they are also asking how a population better prepared for retirement would affect public safety-net programs. Medicaid is the program in which there is greatest interest in estimating potential savings associated with greater retirement savings because it continues to be a major and growing piece of state budgets.

Source: Segalco.com, January 2017

In the Complicated World of ERISA, a Fiduciary Checklist Can Help

Abstract: Checklists. Doctors use them. Engineers use them, Pilots use them. A checklist is a tool to manage complicated jobs. Now let's put that concept into the context of an individual who has fiduciary responsibilities for an ERISA plan. A checklist can help ensure that you are meeting all your responsibilities and accomplishing the plan's objective.

Source: Retirementplanblog.com, January 2017

IRS Relaxes Rules on the Use of Forfeitures to Fund Safe Harbor Contributions

Abstract: The IRS has provided the retirement plan community with a belated holiday gift in the form of proposed regulations that permit forfeitures to be used to fund safe harbor contributions, QNECs, and QMACs. This guidance reverses the IRS's relatively recent (and many would argue, strained) interpretation of statutory language to require that such contributions be nonforfeitable at the time they are contributed to a plan.

Source: Relius.net, January 2017

Delay Seems Likely, But Confusion Remains on DOL Fiduciary Rule Future

Abstract: Conflicting media reports have started to circulate, some to the effect that a delay of the DOL fiduciary rule has already been effectuated, but others are skeptical that this is even possible.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2017

Using Forfeitures for Corrective Contributions: Look Before You Leap

Abstract: On January 18, 2017, the IRS changed course by publishing a proposed regulation requiring that QNECs and QMACs be 100% vested only when they are allocated to an account, and need not be 100% vested when originally contributed to a plan. This means that forfeitures may be used to make QNECs and QMACs if the underlying plan document permits. Caution is advised, however, for plan sponsors wanting to make immediate use of forfeiture accounts for QNECs and QMACs.

Source: Eforerisa.wordpress.com, January 2017

Did President Trump's Executive Order Push Back the Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: On Jan. 20, President Trump signed a regulatory freeze pending review, but did that affect the timing of the fiduciary rule?

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

DOL Fiduciary Rule Will Be Undone in a Cruel Twist

Abstract: Perhaps the biggest legislative effort since 1940 to put client interests ahead of Wall Street will be allowed to effectively die in a Texas court at the hands of what was once deemed to be a two-bit lawsuit, according to Jason Roberts, CEO of the Pension Resource Institute in Los Angeles.

Source: Riabiz.com, January 2017

SEC Publishes 2017 Examination Priorities

Abstract: The SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations published its examination priorities for 2017 for broker-dealers and investment advisers. The priorities generally reflect practices, products, and services that OCIE believes may present heightened risk to investors and to the integrity of the US capital markets. OCIE's 2017 priorities cover three broad areas.

Source: Practicallaw.com, January 2017

Firms Charge Ahead Regardless of Trump Policies

Abstract: Retirement industry executives overseeing one of the largest recordkeeping businesses around say they are optimistic for the future of DC retirement planning, whatever policies emerge from Washington.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2017

Two New Sets of DOL Fiduciary Rule FAQs

Abstract: The DOL has released two new sets of frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) regarding the conflict of interest final rule on fiduciary investment advice. One of the new sets of FAQs focuses on the new definition of fiduciary investment advice itself.

Source: Morganlewis.com, January 2017

Franklin Resources Can't Get 401k Fee Lawsuit Dismissed

Abstract: Franklin Resources lost its bid for quick dismissal of a lawsuit claiming that it stuffed its workers' 401k plan with in-house mutual funds that carried excessive fees and performed worse than competitors' funds.

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

Warren Asks Financial Services Firms Where They Stand on Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: One of the fiduciary regulation's strongest proponents has reached out to the financial services sector for some support. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has written to nearly three dozen financial services firms, firms that her letters suggest have "already announced" positive steps to ensure that their advisers are offering investment products that are in the client's best interest.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

What's the Most Common Match?

Abstract: The most common DC match turns out to not be the one that participants were more likely to get, according to a new report. Altogether, the most common match rates for employee contributions (with various limits on the maximum employee contribution matched) were 50% and 100%, both used by about 37% of plans, while the most common percentage of employee contributions matched (with a variety of limits on the percentage of the contribution matched) was 6%, used by 34.3% of plans.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

Updated Proposed Rules for Oregon Retirement Savings Plan Filed

Abstract: The Oregon State Treasury has updated proposed rules for the Oregon Retirement Savings Plan. The Treasury announced on Jan. 17 that it has filed the updated proposed rules with the Oregon Secretary of State.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

The 401k Problem We Refuse to Solve

Abstract: For all the people arguing that some dire problem in one of these three retirement systems urgently requires that we switch to another kind at once, the major problem with all three is the same. They're badly underfunded, but it's easy to fix.

Source: Bloomberg.com, January 2017

How to Sell Investment Services

Abstract: The term "consultative selling" was first used by author and sales expert Mack Hanan. The concept is simple. Know what your customer needs and offer them solutions to their problems. The process is a two-way street. Both buyer and provider are actively involved and should communicate clearly and with respect.

Source: Pensionriskmatters.com, January 2017

DOL Announces Annual Adjustments to Many Employee Benefit Plan Penalties

Abstract: The DOL has issued the first annual adjustment of civil monetary penalties for a wide range of benefit-related violations. The adjustments just announced are effective for penalties assessed after January 13, 2017, with respect to violations occurring after November 2, 2015.

Source: Thomsonreuters.com, January 2017

Understanding Your Retirement Plan Fee Methodology

Abstract: Understanding your retirement plan's fees is not only a good practice, it's a fiduciary requirement. The principal reason fees have been thrust into the limelight is that plan participants often bear most, if not all the cost of running the plan. This article does not discuss how to determine if fees are reasonable, but instead explores a relatively new debate over which fee assessment methodology is fairer.

Source: Strategicbenefitservices.com, January 2017

Enhancing DC Plan Processes and Outcomes in 2017

Abstract: With a backdrop of an uncertain regulatory environment and heightened litigation activity with a significant increase in not only the volume, but also the breadth of claims, 2017 provides an opportunity to double down on fundamentals. In short, this is an opportunity to go back to the basics, revisit process, past decisions and documentation.

Source: Rocaton.com, January 2017

Mercer Unveils Canadian Retirement Outlook for 2017

Abstract: Mercer launched its 25th Annual Retirement Outlook and Fearless Forecast series with an event in Toronto, projecting the retirement industry is poised for change in 2017 as more employers look at new approaches to meet the evolving pension landscape and employee demands.

Source: Mercer.ca, January 2017

DOL Releases Second Set of FAQ Guidance on Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The DOL issued a second set of Frequently Asked Questions providing guidance on DOL's rule re-defining who is a fiduciary because of providing invest. advice for a fee. This second set of FAQs addresses interpretive questions about the Fiduciary Rule itself, including several of the important exceptions to fiduciary status included in the rule.

Source: Groom.com, January 2017

Winning Retirement Plan Business

Abstract: To be successful in the retirement plan space, the advisor must bring plan-design ideas to the table and put forth a viable action plan to improve the success of the company's retirement program. One way to do that is to partner with a TPA.

Source: Consultrms.com, January 2017

IRS OKs Use of Forfeitures as QNEC/QMAC/Safe Harbor Contributions

Abstract: Proposed IRS changes to 401k regulations will allow employers to use forfeitures as qualified nonelective and qualified matching contributions to help pass nondiscrimination tests and as safe harbor contributions. The change is proposed to be effective after it is finalized, but can be relied on now, great news for employers who have long operated using this logical approach.

Source: Conduent.com, January 2017

How to Make Your 401k or 403(b) Plan a Litigation Target

Abstract: Sometimes it seems as if these defendant fiduciaries were almost asking to be sued, since the practices being described in the complaints are so vulnerable to challenge. These lawsuits keep proliferating, so fiduciaries of 401k and 403(b) plans would be well advised to learn from what the defendants were alleged to have been doing wrong.

Source: Cohenbuckmann.com, January 2017

Correcting the "Best Guesses" on 403(b) Plan Terms

Abstract: The IRS has announced the end of the first remedial amendment period for 403(b) plan documents, in Revenue Procedure 2017-18. The last day of that RAP will be March 31, 2020. Now what do you do with it?

Source: Businessofbenefits.com, January 2017

Are Forum Selection Clauses Valid Under ERISA?

Abstract: The Supreme Court, for the second time, has now taken a pass on ruling on whether ERISA plans can contain forum selection clauses. A number of courts have enforced forum selection clauses in ERISA-governed plans, essentially treating them the same in that context as they would be treated in an action involving a typical private contract, where parties are generally free to select a forum for their disputes.

Source: Bostonerisalaw.com, January 2017

Could Fiduciary Standards Be Lowered to Encourage ESG?

Abstract: Groom Law says the strong push in international bodies such as the European Commission and OECD to encourage pensions to take into account environmental, social, ethical and governance (ESG) factors could spill over to the United States.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

Fewer Options = Better Investment Decisions?

Abstract: Decisions, decisions. In a land of plenty, there are myriad options in almost everything. And that often includes how one's retirement plan funds are to be invested. But a recent paper suggests that at least in that case, less may be more.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

Roth IRA vs 403(b)

Abstract: You may have a 403(b) retirement plan available, but all income earners also have the option to save for retirement in a Roth IRA. So, which one makes more sense? This article explains how they work and the differences.

Source: 403bwise.com, January 2017

Trump's Department of Labor Pick Puzder Ready to Bail?

Abstract: President-elect Donald Trump's choice to be labor secretary has voiced second thoughts in recent days, because of a relentless barrage of criticism from Democrats, labor unions and other liberal groups, says CNN, citing a business ally and GOP sources.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, January 2017

Workers Who Are Excluded From 401k Plans

Abstract: A recent GAO survey found that some groups of employees, including short-term, part-time and young workers, are often excluded from the company 401k plan or denied company contributions. Here's who might not be eligible to save in a 401k plan or keep an employer match and how much it's costing them in lost retirement savings.

Source: Yahoo.com, January 2017

IRS Proposes Changes to QMAC, QNEC Definitions

Abstract: Under the proposal, employer contributions to a plan would be able to qualify as QMACs or QNECs if they satisfy applicable nonforfeitability and distribution requirements at the time they are allocated to participants' accounts not when they are contributed to the plan.

Source: Plansponsor.com, January 2017

401k Advice in a Post-Fiduciary World

Abstract: Numerous surveys conclude that individual company 401k retirement plan participants want independent, third-party investment advice from an investment advisor who acts in their best interests regarding their retirement plan assets. The DOL fiduciary rule provides you exactly that opportunity now.

Source: Insurancenewsnet.com, January 2017

Dividing Qualified Retirement Plan in Divorce Via a Qualified Domestic Relations Order

Abstract: Fortunately for divorcing couples, there is a mechanism called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order which can be used with qualified retirement plans to divide the assets between divorcing spouses without the funds losing their favorable tax treatment and without application of any early-withdrawal penalties.

Source: Ctlawtribune.com, January 2017

Auto-Enrollment Pushes Retirement Plans Higher

Abstract: Plan assets for 401k plans and similar types of defined contribution plans have topped $7 trillion due to continued growth in employee contributions. Part of this increase is not due to employees consciously saving more; it is due to the continued growth of both auto-enrollment and auto-escalation features in a growing number of retirements plans.

Source: Schneiderdowns.com, January 2017

A Proposal: One Defined Contribution Account (NIRA) to Rule Them All

Abstract: Undue complexity reigns in our statutory law and the regulations that govern defined contribution plans. Often this is due to a mishmash of legislation adopted over time, amplified by the regulations that follow. This creates unnecessary administrative costs for employers. In this article, Ron Rhoades proposes "one defined contribution retirement account to rule them all."

Source: Scholarfp.blogspot.com, January 2017

Level Fee Fiduciary -- Past and Future

Abstract: The label "Level Fee Fiduciary" has been used for many years with one meaning, but the Best Interest Contract Exemption has used it for a different purpose and, depending on your reading, a different definition.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, January 2017

2017 Key Administrative Dates and Deadlines for Calendar-Year DC Plans

Abstract: This is a 4-page retirement plan chart and 2017 calendar for defined contribution plans, published Milliman. The document provides key administrative dates and deadlines for calendar-year plans.

Source: Milliman.com, January 2017

The DOL Fiduciary Class Action Lawsuit That Will Really Transform Financial Advice

Abstract: Right now there is no universally accepted minimum competency standard for financial advice, though certainly recognized rigorous designations that include both education and an advice process provide a likely path of safety for Financial Institutions. Which means in the coming year, there may soon be explosive growth in programs like the CFP and RMA, as Financial Institutions recognize and then try to minimize their exposure to a class action lawsuit for failing to meet the fiduciary duty of care.

Source: Kitces.com, January 2017

Most Small Employers Oppose State, Federal Government As Auto-IRA Sponsors

Abstract: While the vast majority of small-business owners support the idea of offering auto-IRAs to their employees, most oppose the plans being sponsored and administered by the state or federal government, according to a survey conducted Pew.

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

Qualified Retirement Plans in 2017 and Beyond: Resources and Considerations for Employers

Abstract: The IRS published its first Required Amendments List in early December, providing an opportunity to develop procedures for maintaining qualified status in 2017 and beyond. This article discusses some resources and considerations that may help to inform plan sponsor.

Source: Caplindrysdale.com, January 2017

How Much Money Do You Need to Retire?

Abstract: There are several metrics that you can use to determine where you are on your journey to building assets for retirement. Once you evaluate these barometers of building financial independence, you can better chart a path to improving your financial plan.

Source: Usnews.com, January 2017

Small Business Views on Retirement Savings Plans

Abstract: The Pew Charitable Trusts recently surveyed over 1,600 small- and medium-sized business owners or managers to better understand the barriers to -- and motivations for -- offering retirement plans and to get their views on policy initiatives. The responses, in one of the few such surveys conducted in the past decade, generally show strong support for offering retirement benefits and for various policy initiatives that would boost savings.

Source: Pewtrusts.org, January 2017

403(b) Universal Availability Requirement

Abstract: A 403(b) plan must satisfy the universal availability requirement with respect to elective deferrals. All employees of the employer must be eligible to make elective deferrals if any employee has the right to do so, with certain limited exceptions. Certain part-time employees may be excluded from eligibility to make elective deferrals.

Source: Irs.gov, January 2017

The Role of IRAs in US Households' Saving for Retirement

Abstract: With $7.5 trillion in assets at the end of the second quarter of 2016, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) represented 31 percent of US total retirement market assets, compared with 19 percent two decades ago. Thus, IRAs play an increasingly important role in saving for retirement. This 40-page report breaks down the details.

Source: Ici.org, January 2017

Be a 401k Match-Maker

Abstract: If your company offers a 401k match and you're concerned about employees who aren't contributing enough to meet the full match, consider downloading and sharing this infographic in time for Valentine's Day.

Source: Fidelity.com, January 2017

Definition of Compensation

Abstract: One of the most common errors submitted to the IRS Voluntary Correction Program involves the Plan's Definition of Compensation. If the definition used in operation does not match the definition stated in the Plan Document, a failure has occurred.

Source: Ekonbenefits.com, January 2017

DOL's Conflict of Interest FAQs (Part II - Rule)

Abstract: Set out here are several FAQs regarding implementation of the conflict of interest final rule. Since the publication of the Rule last April, the DOL has held many meetings with stakeholders to assist in their compliance efforts. Many of the questions they raised related to the various Rule provisions that draw lines between fiduciary and non-fiduciary communications. Like the FAQs the DOL issued in October, this FAQs focus particularly on specific technical questions raised by financial service providers.

Source: Dol.gov, January 2017

Consumer Protections for Retirement Investors - FAQs on Your Rights and Financial Advisers

Abstract: The DOL's recently adopted Conflict of Interest Rule protects retirement investors by requiring advisers to adhere to a fiduciary standard and give advice that is in the investor's best interest. This FAQ provides information about the Rule and related protections so that one can better understand their rights and benefits. At the end of this FAQ is attached a list of questions that a retirement plan investor can ask their financial adviser.

Source: Dol.gov, January 2017

DOL Clarifies Fiduciary Standards on Proxy Voting and Investment Policies

Abstract: In response to concerns that prior guidance has unduly discouraged fiduciaries from exercising shareholder rights, the DOL issued guidance clarifying fiduciary duties on proxy voting and investment policy statements. The guidance also reiterates DOL's acceptance of applying environmental, social and governance policies to investment strategies. Plan fiduciaries wishing to increase shareholder engagement have room under this guidance to do so.

Source: Conduent.com, January 2017

Target-Date Funds With Annuities Can Be Prudent Default Investments

Abstract: Target-date funds with annuities can now be considered prudent default investment options, so long as certain liquidity requirements are met, the Department of Labor said in informal guidance.

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

Last Day of the Remedial Amendment Period for 403(b) Plans

Abstract: Revenue Procedure 2017-18 provides that the last day of the remedial amendment period for Section 403(b) arrangements for purposes of Section 21 of Revenue Procedure 2013-22 is March 31, 2020.

Source: Benefitsforward.com, January 2017

Gauging the Future of the DOL Fiduciary Rule in the Trump Era

Abstract: With the presidential election victory of Donald Trump and the success of Republicans in holding majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the immediate future of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule has been cast into some doubt. A recent analysis explores what its prospects may be.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

Court Orders Fiduciary to Turn Over Cars in Settlement

Abstract: You're aware of the personal liability that comes with being an ERISA fiduciary. Apparently satisfying that liability can include your Lexus, both of them.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

Top Issue Currently "Reshaping" 401ks

Abstract: The research and consulting firm Callan Associates is out with its annual "Defined Contribution Trends Survey" and it reveals that (what else?) fees in 401ks are playing a heightened role in driving plan sponsor decision-making.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, January 2017

Disconnect Exist Between Perceptions of Plan Sponsors and Advisors

Abstract: Voya announced the findings of its survey of retirement plan sponsors and plan advisors. The goal of the survey, "Sponsor Perceptions of Retirement Plan Services: Challenges and Opportunities for Advisors," was to better understand what sponsors want from advisors in terms of services and support, as well as to identify unmet needs and emerging opportunities.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2017

Advisors Should Appreciate Plan Design

Abstract: The coming changes in fee disclosure and the change of fiduciary will require financial advisors to have more of a background in retirement plan issues. But, financial advisors don't have the time to learn about plan design or fiduciary liability issues. Therefore, they need to work with the experts that do such as a third-party administration firm and an ERISA attorney.

Source: That401ksite.com, January 2017

Why Fiduciary Advisors Will Profit Without a Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: If or when the U.S. Department of Labor's new fiduciary rule gets smothered in its cradle by the incoming Trump administration -- as many expect it will be -- responsible financial advisors may still end up on top. So says Bob Veres, a leading proponent of fee-only financial advice for the past 30 years.

Source: Institutionalinvestor.com, January 2017

Chamber Seeks End to Minimum 401k Distributions

Abstract: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be urging Congress this year to end minimum payout requirements from 401ks and IRAs. The effort, along with an effort to spur multiple employer retirement plans, is part of a legislative roadmap for retirement benefits the chamber will roll out February 3rd.

Source: Fa-mag.com, January 2017

Internal Controls in a Retirement Plan

Abstract: Controls at the plan sponsor are important because they may help prevent mistakes in plan administration, help prevent fraud within the plan, and help the plan stay in compliance with laws and regulations. Although many plan sponsors are always looking to implement better controls, others are not as willing to strengthen controls, due to lack of time or resources.

Source: Belfint.com, January 2017

Plan Sponsors Starting to Offer Guaranteed Income Products, but Many Have Questions

Abstract: Guaranteed income products are a hot topic in 401k plans. The Plan Sponsor Council of America conducted a snapshot survey in the fall of 2016 to gauge whether plan sponsors are adding them to their plans, and if not, why.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2017

Missing Participants: Gone but Not Forgotten

Abstract: In light of the more robust efforts being taken by the IRS and DOL in this area, it is best to craft or update procedures to help demonstrate compliance in locating lost participants and the timely payment of plan benefits. Having such procedures in place helps ensure that plan administrators are properly managing their fiduciary liability risk by taking reasonable and prudent steps to protect participants' and beneficiaries' rights to plan benefits.

Source: Truckerhuss.com, January 2017

Small Business Retirement Plans -- SEP-IRA vs. Solo 401k

Abstract: One of the best tax deductions for a small business owner is funding a retirement plan. Beyond any tax deduction, you are saving for your own retirement. If you don't plan for your own retirement who will? Two popular small business retirement plans are the SEP-IRA and Solo 401k.

Source: Thechicagofinancialplanner.com, January 2017

Denise Appleby's Employer Retirement Plans Comparison Table for Small Businesses-2017 Plan Year

Abstract: This table provides a comparison of the features and benefits that apply to retirement plans that can be sponsored/adopted by small business owners. Focus on the areas that are important to the business owner to help ensure that the plan chosen is the plan that is most suitable for the business.

Source: Retirementdictionary.com, January 2017

DOL Issues Interpretive Bulletin 2016-1 on Voting of Proxies

Abstract: The DOL issued Interpretive Bulletin 2016-1, which provides the DOL's supplemental views on the voting of proxies on securities held in employee benefit plan investment portfolios, the maintenance of and compliance with statements of investment policy (including proxy voting policy), and the exercise of other legal rights of plan shareholders.

Source: Practicallaw.com, January 2017

Mobile and Web Abilities Valued by DC Participants Has Changed

Abstract: Corporate Insight surveyed close to 1,500 participants and found the top-15 features most commonly identified by participants as "very important" or "extremely important" saw a considerable amount of change since the 2013 survey.

Source: Plansponsor.com, January 2017

Titles Advisers Use Are Playing a Bigger Role in Fiduciary Regulation

Abstract: Though uncertainty prevails around the future of the fiduciary rule under a new administration, there are clear indications that the titles financial advisers use will play a bigger role in fiduciary regulation going forward. Even opponents of the DOL rule appear to be zeroing in on titles that cause confusion with the investing public.

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

Improved Guidance Could Help Retirement Account Owners Understand the Risks of Investing in Unconventional Assets

Abstract: People who invest their retirement accounts in unconventional assets -- such as real estate or virtual currency -- may be placing their savings at risk. This GAO report recommends that the IRS improve guidance for account owners with unconventional retirement assets and clarify how to annually value such assets.

Source: Gao.gov, January 2017

Why aren't 401k Plan Sponsors and Participants Asking These Questions?

Abstract: Maybe plan sponsors and plan participants should be more concerned about the questions they're not asking than the ones they are asking. What are the questions 401k plan sponsors and participants are asking and what are the questions they should be asking?

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

Four Traits of the Best Small Business 401k Providers

Abstract: There are thousands of 401k providers. This abundance of choice can make choosing a competent 401k provider with reasonable fees seem overwhelming for small business 401k fiduciaries. Fiduciaries should look for these four traits when shopping for a new provider.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, January 2017

Guide to Commonly Used DC Plan Investment Vehicles

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

Source: Dciia.org, January 2017

"Retirement City" Game Brings Innovation to Participant Education

Abstract: Wells Fargo is broadening its retirement outreach with its new Retirement City game, a virtual world with quizzes and challenges to sharpen retirement knowledge. Participants choose from 40 avatars and enter a variety of challenges to move through the game's five levels of increasing difficulty, bringing them closer to retirement.

Source: Corporateinsight.com, January 2017

Ten Employee Benefits New Year Resolutions for 2017

Abstract: There's still plenty of time to make New Year resolutions. If you sponsor or work with an employee benefit plan, here 10 ideas to keep in mind in the upcoming year.

Source: Benefitsbryancave.com, January 2017

DOL Revisits, Relaxes Retirement Plan Proxy Voting Guidance

Abstract: While the DOL's conflict-of-interest guidance is unquestionably the most high-profile fiduciary issue today, it is far from being the only fiduciary consideration to those who sponsor or administer retirement plans. The DOL issued Interpretive Bulletin 2016-1 addresses retirement plan fiduciaries' responsibilities for voting proxies related to retirement plan investments. Notable in this guidance is the DOL's affirmation that plan fiduciaries may consider environmental, social, and governance factors.

Source: Ascensus.com, January 2017

Hospital Target in 403(b) Lawsuit Starts Off the Year

Abstract: Plan participants of Eseentia Health in Minnesota filed a class action lawsuit against the 403(b) plan sponsor claiming that the organization paid excessive fees to their recordkeepers. Experts are predicting an increasing number of lawsuits, especially against 403(b) plans which many consider low hanging fruit.

Source: 401ktv.com, January 2017

Study Demonstrates 401k Plans Are a Crucial Tool for Attracting and Retaining Millennial Talent

Abstract: A study from Fisher Investments 401k Solutions found that eighty percent of millennials say they would prefer to work for a company that offers a 401k plan, dispelling a commonly held belief that millennials are not as interested in 401k plans as other generations.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2017

Spotlight on Fees Is Reshaping DC Plans

Abstract: Callan's 10th-annual "Defined Contribution Trends Survey" reveals that fees are playing a heightened role in driving plan sponsor decision-making. Reviewing plan fees was cited as a key area of fiduciary focus, both now and for the foreseeable future.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2017

Boosting Retirement Savings Rates a Primary Focus for Employers in 2017

Abstract: Despite strong participation in employer-sponsored 401k plans, few employers are satisfied with their workers' current savings rates, per a new report from Aon Hewitt. In response, employers are focused on increasing savings rates and will continue to expand financial wellbeing programs this year.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2017

Six Steps to a 401k Plan That's Ready for 2017

Abstract: For many people, the start of a new year means resolutions to get in shape, save money and spend more time with family. For 401k plan administrators, it's a good time to reflect on the plan's operation and make tune-ups where needed. Here are six steps you can take to make sure your plan is ready for the new year.

Source: Wnj.com, January 2017

Fiduciary Standard vs. Suitability Standard: The Gotcha That Won't Go Away

Abstract: While the DOL's new fiduciary rule arguably helps define the duties owed by financial advisers who provide investment advice to retirement plans and their participants, from a purely legal standpoint, those duties may already be sufficiently defined regardless of the actions the Trump administration may take.

Source: Iainsight.wordpress.com, January 2017

Public Comments on Form 5500 Modernization Proposals

Abstract: The Department of Labor has made available the public comments on its Form 5500 Modernization Proposals.

Source: Dol.gov, January 2017

DOL Green Lights Retirement Programs Run by Cities and Counties

Abstract: Recently issued guidance expands the DOL's state-based retirement safe harbor rule to political subdivisions under specified conditions. As such, cities and counties -- in addition to states -- now have the DOL's blessing to require private employers that do not sponsor a retirement savings plan for their entire employee population to facilitate employee participation in a government-run retirement program.

Source: Conduent.com, January 2017

Can 401ks Get You Where You Want to Go?

Abstract: It seemed like such a great idea. Workers could set aside some of their own money to save for retirement. But now the original advocates of the 401(k) plan say it didn't work out so well.

Source: Bankrate.com, January 2017

How to Make the 401k Better

Abstract: Workplace retirement plans -- most often, the 401k -- have pros and cons. People who have done well are those workers who have maxed out on their contributions year in and year out. Here's how financial experts suggest improving 401k plans and changing your own behaviors.

Source: Bankrate.com, January 2017

Recordkeepers Gear Up for Advice Role

Abstract: Several large recordkeepers are expanding their fiduciary duties by providing more advice to defined contribution clients in response to the Department of Labor's conflict-of-interest rule that is slated to take effect in April.

Source: Pionline.com, January 2017

Brace for Thousands of New DOL Fiduciary-Friendly Mutual Fund Share Classes

Abstract: Expect a barrage of new, DOL fiduciary-friendly T share classes from the mutual fund industry this year, according to Morningstar. The Chicago-based investment tracker says that as many as 3,800 new share classes could make their debut in response to the new Department of Labor fiduciary rule.

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

J.C. Penney Agrees to Pay $4.5 Million to Settle 401k Suit

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

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

Eight Ways to Protect Your Advisory Firm From Cyberattacks

Abstract: With heightened regulatory scrutiny, greater frequency of data breaches, and high-profile incidents of hacks pervasive in the daily news cycle, advisory firms have sharply increased their focus on cybersecurity. While the risk can't be eliminated, steps to raise awareness, adhere to best practices and have a detailed plan can help protect a firm and its clients.

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

Millennials Fear Financial Security, but Not 401ks

Abstract: The Country Financial Security Index remained largely flat year-over-year from December 2015 to December 2016. However, the score among millennials was the lowest among all the age groups polled.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, January 2017

Five Ways Your Retirement Plan May Change in 2017

Abstract: The start of a new year brings with it reflection on the year that has passed and anticipation for the changes that may be coming. For retirement plans, this often means a look at new federal regulations, new technology, and new industry trends. Here are five ways your retirement plan may change in 2017.

Source: Retirementtownhall.com, January 2017

Americans Steadily Boosting 401k Deferral Rates

Abstract: It's not news that Americans aren't saving enough. But the new year brings with it some good news: If people do have a 401k plan through their employer, there's data showing them choosing to set aside more for their later years.

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

Congressman Introduces Bill Delaying DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson introduced a bill today that would provide for a 2-year delay in the effective date of the Department of Labor rule relating to the definition of the term fiduciary.

Source: Joewilson.house.gov, January 2017

2017 Annual Plan Deadlines

Abstract: There are many important requirements for DC plans that occur either during the calendar year or during the plan year. These requirements include participant statements, compliance testing and remittance of plan contributions. This chart (although not intended to be exhaustive) includes the key annual events which must occur within a specific deadline.

Source: Voya.com, January 2017

Gender Retirement Gap

Abstract: Many people save for retirement through their employer, who in turn applies gender-neutral saving rates, investment choices, and spending strategies in retirement. Intuitively this creates a sense of fairness, but this intuition masks the reality that many women face. The challenges women face are arguably greater than those confronted by men.

Source: Ssrn.com, January 2017

Recordkeeping Fees Trigger Latest Excessive Fee Suit

Abstract: A new excessive fee lawsuit claims that plan fiduciaries caused plans to "pay excessive fees" and failed to "monitor and control the Plans' escalating costs," resulting in millions of dollars of losses to the plans, and this time share classes are not the issue.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, January 2017

Breaking Down the Three Key Elements of the DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: All three elements described in the DOL's Fiduciary Rule -- (1) a fiduciary (2) that renders (non-discretionary) investment advice (3) for compensation -- must be present in order for the Rule to apply to an advisor communicating with a plan participant or an IRA owner.

Source: Morningstar.com, January 2017

Outlook for 2017 Retirement Plan Litigation

Abstract: Copycat lawsuits targeting 403(b) plans, as well as litigation probing a fiduciary's duty to monitor investments, the DOL fiduciary rule, church retirement plans and cybersecurity issues are likely to crop up this year.

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

DOL Provides Updated Guidance on Proxy Voting by Employee Benefit Plans

Abstract: The DOL released Interpretive Bulletin 2016-01 which provides updated guidance for ERISA plan fiduciaries with respect to the voting of proxies on individual securities held in employee benefit plan portfolios and the appropriateness of active engagement with corporate management by plan fiduciaries.

Source: Haynesboone.com, January 2017

Trump's SEC Pick Seen Unlikely to Advance Fiduciary Standard

Abstract: With the selection of Jay Clayton to head up the SEC, President-elect Trump has not chosen a government veteran or an attorney with a long record of investor advocacy. Instead, Clayton is someone who some expect to scale back enforcement activity and unlikely to race toward major new rulemakings.

Source: Financial-Planning.com, January 2017

What Trump's Election Could Mean for Your Employee Benefit Plans

Abstract: Now that the most unorthodox presidential election our country has ever seen is over and President-Elect Trump will be sworn into office in January, it's time to take a look at his position on key issues and the possible impact on your overall benefit strategy.

Source: Fidelity.com, January 2017

401ks Are an Accident of History

Abstract: In this opinion piece, the author notes that "401ks were never intended to replace pensions, so it should be no surprise that they aren't up to the task. This has been pointed out before, but it's nice to be reminded that even the people who came up with the 401k concept now 'lament the revolution they started.'"

Source: Epi.org, January 2017

Prudential Cleared in 401k Pay-to-Play Lawsuits

Abstract: Prudential Retirement defeated a pair of lawsuits accusing it of operating a "pay-to-play" scheme for the mutual funds offered through the 401(k) plans it services.

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

2017: MEPs, State Plans, Education Loom Large

Abstract: The champagne flutes may be dry, but plenty of bubbling exuberance remains. And regarding retirement plans, several experts tell us that multiple employer plans (MEPs), state plans and financial education are areas in 2017 in which that exuberance will be especially pronounced.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

Best Practices for RIA Business Continuity Plans

Abstract: While the SEC proposed Rule 206(4)-4 has not yet been adopted, RIAs should nonetheless review their business continuity and disaster recovery plans and ensure that they address many of the issues identified in the proposal, which are reviewed here, and incorporate certain best practices so that they are better positioned to respond to and recover from significant business disruption events.

Source: Alston.com, January 2017

SEC Offers Guidance on DOL Fiduciary Rule Compliance

Abstract: Since the DOL conflict of interest rule's publication, mutual fund providers and their adviser-intermediaries have also been asking the SEC extensive questions about sales loads, fee schedules, etc.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2017

The Potential Liability of Participant Directed 401k Plans

Abstract: This article is about the hidden liability of ERISA 404(c) participant directed plans and how to avoid that potential liability as a plan sponsor.

Source: Jdsupra.com, January 2017

Do Your Fiduciaries Negotiate for Lower 401k Plan Fees?

Abstract: Fiduciaries of very large plans who wouldn't think of not haggling with a dealer over the price of a new car or a hotly negotiating a business deal have sometimes neglected to leverage their plan's size to negotiate lower 401k fees. The result is a sharply increased risk of being sued.

Source: Cohenbuckmann.com, January 2017

Information Letter on Application of Fiduciary Provisions to Certain Default Investments

Abstract: The DOL has issued an Information Letter on the application of ERISA's fiduciary provisions to default investments with lifetime income features that contain certain liquidity and transferability restrictions.

Source: Benefitsforward.com, January 2017

SEC Gets in on 401k Fiduciary Rule Compliance

Abstract: The Guidance Update will make it easier for mutual funds to create and administer compensation arrangements tailored to comply with the fiduciary rules. It does not address, however, the extent to which brokers may independently set their compensation.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, January 2017

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