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March 2018 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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Court Orders Plan Fiduciary to Pay Restitution to 401k Plan

Abstract: A fiduciary to the Southside Manufacturing Corp. Retirement 401k Savings Plan will pay restitution of $87,276 for stealing from an employee benefit plan, and failing to pay federal taxes.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2018

Webinar: How Much Is Active Management Worth?

Abstract: Documenting the reasonableness of 401k investment options has never been so difficult or so important. Today's unique market environment, participant risk tolerance, and risk capacity creates new fiduciary risk. This webinar discusses prudent approaches to evaluating active management on 401k menus.

Source: Manning-Napier.com, March 2018

What Is a Prohibited Transaction Under ERISA?

Abstract: ERISA broadly prohibits plan fiduciaries from causing the plan to enter either a direct or an indirect transaction involving the plan or its assets that would have a potential for conflicts of interest. This one-page article provides an overview of these prohibited transactions.

Source: Boutwellfay.com, March 2018

How Much Should You Contribute to Your 401k?

Abstract: While there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, there are a few general rules of thumb to follow when figuring out how much money to stash away in your 401k account. Here are some ways to determine the amount to save for retirement.

Source: Usnews.com, March 2018

How Do You Measure the Success of Your Retirement Plan?

Abstract: There can never be enough questions for your investment committee to ask as it reviews your organization's retirement plan. Understanding the underlying strategy of your plan's investment options -- and being able to communication them -- is critical. To better gauge the performance of your committee, this article suggests a few questions to ask at the next meeting.

Source: Schneiderdowns.com, March 2018

Helping Plan Sponsors Deal With the Missing Participant Problem

Abstract: When participants terminate employment, either through turnover or retirement, many often leave their DC accounts with their former employers. However, if the employer has lost track of the participant's location, it now has a missing participant. It may not be the fault of the sponsor, but it remains the responsibility of the sponsor to find the participant.

Source: Napa-net.org, March 2018

Constructing "the Best 401k Investment Menu." Really?

Abstract: Fiduciary best practices are guideposts, principles that can be followed while allowing latitude for interpretation and implementation. This is certainly the case when constructing investment menus. The key to success here is to follow (and document) a sound process that passes expert muster.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, March 2018

Contingent Workers -- Consequences for Qualified Retirement Plans

Abstract: Distinguishing common-law employees from independent contractors can be challenging. Mistakes in this area can trigger dire consequences for qualified retirement plans, like plan disqualification and participant lawsuits under ERISA. Plans should periodically review worker classifications for compliance purposes, paying particular attention to eligibility terms and definitions, as well as proper inclusions and exclusions of classifications for testing purposes. Article reviews some proactive strategies.

Source: Conduent.com, March 2018

Understanding and Evaluating Retirement Plan Fees

Abstract: With retirement plan fees serving as the centerpiece of ERISA fiduciary breach lawsuits, understanding the dynamics of retirement plan fees is critical for plan sponsors and fiduciaries. Regardless of plan size or defined contribution plan type, fees have become a primary focus and concern of plan fiduciaries. This article explores the three types of fees that retirement plan fiduciaries need to understand and evaluate.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, March 2018

The Parallel Universes of 403b Plans

Abstract: There are some higher education, healthcare, and non-profit 403b plans that leave a lot to be desired. It is important not to generalize when reading about the failings of 403b plans or make assumptions about any one particular 403b plan, without close examination.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, March 2018

The IRS's Gradual Shift on Applying 415 Limits to 403b Plans

Abstract: There is a little noticed change in the IRS's recent update of Publication 571 (which is the IRS's 403b technical guide). In a highlighted box on page four is a statement on how the limits on "annual additions" -- otherwise known as the 415 limits -- apply. This innocuous statement is pretty outstanding, finalizing a quiet morphing over a generation of the way the IRS applies a regulation in a way we rarely see.

Source: Businessofbenefits.com, March 2018

Here's What the DOL Might Do Next With the Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The financial sector and investors are eager to know how the DOL will move forward with the rule. Major companies already have invested millions of dollars to adhere to the stricter standards set up by the rule. The stakes are high and the deadlines are fast approaching.

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

Edward Jones Can't Escape 401k Fee Class Action

Abstract: Edward Jones couldn't convince a federal judge to throw out claims that it violated federal benefits law by paying excessive recordkeeping fees and offering imprudent investment options in its 401k plan.

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

Was Your Employee Benefit Plan Selected For Examination? Don't Panic!

Abstract: Each year, hundreds of retirement plans are examined by the IRS and DOL. The agencies are particularly focused on compliance issues that pose the greatest potential risk to the largest numbers of employees. As with any situation you'd rather avoid, being prepared is always the best way to ensure that an examination isn't any worse than your worst expectations.

Source: Benefitslawadvisor.com, March 2018

Tips for Meeting 401k Fiduciary Duties

Abstract: The Department of Labor's fiduciary rule may be on hold indefinitely, but that doesn't mean that fiduciary duties similarly are in limbo. This article offers some tips for meeting them.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2018

ERIC Strikes a Deal With Oregon on OregonSaves Reporting Requirement

Abstract: The ERISA Industry Committee filed a lawsuit Oct. 12 against the Oregon Retirement Savings Board, saying that a provision of the state's OregonSaves retirement program for private-sector employees obstructs ERISA, specifically the employer reporting requirement imposed by the program. The trade group has settled its lawsuit against the ORSB, but the issue raised doesn't seem to be settled yet.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2018

Competing Financial Needs Disrupt 401k Saving for Many Americans

Abstract: It's not that U.S. workers don't want to save for retirement. In fact, more Americans than ever before say retirement security is important. However, many are experiencing financial stress, which in turn is inhibiting saving.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2018

Dispelling Myths: Retirement Security Is a Priority for All Generations

Abstract: It's no secret that many people aren't saving enough for retirement. The question for most is: how to afford it? At the same time plan generosity has declined, other financial pressures have gone up. The result is a growing number of employees -- due to low wage growth and mounting debts -- literally live paycheck to paycheck.

Source: Willis.com, March 2018

Five Retirement Fees You Should Never Pay

Abstract: Retirement benefits often have complicated rules, and it's easy to trigger fees. However, those who carefully follow the rules will be able to accumulate a bigger retirement account balance and get more money from Social Security. Here are some retirement penalties you can avoid with careful planning.

Source: Usnews.com, March 2018

PSCA Study Shows Steady Increase in Automatic Features

Abstract: Plans with an automatic enrollment feature nearly doubled over the past decade according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America's 60th Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401k Plans. PSCA found 59.7 percent of plans have an automatic enrollment feature in 2016 compared to 35.6 percent in 2007.

Source: Psca.org, March 2018

401k Plan Benchmark Report Released

Abstract: Judy Diamond Associates has published the results of the third annual 401k Plan Benchmark Report. The in-depth analysis and report examine approximately 500,000 active 401k plans.

Source: Prnewswire.com, March 2018

Market Volatility Hasn't Tempered Historically High DC Plan Optimism

Abstract: The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index remains at a 17-year high, despite a clear uptick in volatility, with the index at +139 in the first quarter; the firm's head of retirement dissects the findings here.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2018

NAFA Drops Its Fiduciary Rule Challenge in DC Circuit

Abstract: Following a broadly structured decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the DOL fiduciary rule expansion, the National Association for Fixed Annuities decided its own appellate challenge has been made unnecessary.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2018

TPA Accused of Stealing Assets From Retirement Plans

Abstract: Vantage Benefits has already been ordered to restore funds to one 401k plan; now a new lawsuit accuses it of stealing funds from MBA Engineering's 401k and cash balance plans as well as approximately 20 others.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2018

What 401k RESA Legislation Means for MEPs and PEPs

Abstract: By now the retirement industry recognizes that MEPs will play an expanded role in the future of the U.S. retirement system. The question for most retirement specialists is what to do about it. A stand-alone pension bill that re-introduces the concept of a PEP (Pooled Employer Plan) surfaced in the Senate recently. A study of PEPs -- currently the most likely-to-pass legislative advancement of open MEPs -- is a good place to start.

Source: Pentegra.com, March 2018

Gannett 401k Participant Sues Over Stock Holdings

Abstract: A participant in the Gannett Co. Inc. 401k Savings Plan sued the company and plan executives, alleging they violated their fiduciary duties for holding too much stock in Gannett's former parent company in the 401k plan.

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

What Does the 5th Circuit Decision Mean for Rollover Recommendations?

Abstract: The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated the DOL's fiduciary rule and exemptions. What does that mean for recommendations to participants that they take plan distributions and rollover to IRAs? In some cases it means a lot.

Source: Fredreish.com, March 2018

Best Practices for Fund Replacements to Keep You in Compliance

Abstract: Like good design, people know a good fiduciary process when they see it. When replacing a poorly performing investment in a fiduciary account, follow these best practices to ensure fiduciary compliance.

Source: Fi360.com, March 2018

Tax Act Extends Rollover Period for Plan Offset Amount on Outstanding Plan Loan

Abstract: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which was enacted on December 22, 2017, extends the time for rolling over the plan offset amount from an outstanding plan loan, thereby helping the borrowing participant to avoid adverse tax consequences.

Source: Erisalawyerblog.com, March 2018

401k Contributions Types and How They Work

Abstract: There are profit-sharing contributions, matching contributions, qualified nonelective contributions, Roth contributions, and many others. This article explains what all these types of contributions are and a little about how they work.

Source: Dwc401k.com, March 2018

The Impact of Inflation on Retirement Plan Investing

Abstract: Inflation is one of many economic factors that impacts the value and performance of retirement savings. The impact is different across each asset class and sector of the market. Offering a diverse array of investment options to retirement plan participants can allow them the flexibility to protect their portfolio when rates rise.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, March 2018

Bye-Bye Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: Should you say goodbye to the Fiduciary Rule? Maybe, but not just yet. The DOL has until the end of April to decide whether to let the 5th Circuit decision vacating the Fiduciary Rule stand or try to get it over-turned. If they do nothing, the ruling becomes effective May 7, and bye-bye Fiduciary Rule.

Source: Brokerdealerlawblog.com, March 2018

Wyoming Task Force Tackles Retirement, State-Run Plan for Private Sector

Abstract: Wyoming Gov. Matthew H. Mead has signed legislation (WY SF 116) creating a retirement income security task force to study the Equality State's retirement preparedness and retirement savings programs and the possibility of creating a state-run retirement plan for private-sector workers.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2018

401k Catch-Up Contributions and How They Work

Abstract: For employees who have attained their 49th birthday by December 31 of the previous year, an additional "catch-up" contribution for the calendar year may be made. The catch-up limit is subject to annual Cost of Living adjustments. For 2018, the calendar year limit is $6,000. The catch-up limit applies not only to the Section 402(g) limit, but also to any other limit imposed by the Plan or the IRC.

Source: Qbillc.com, March 2018

Retirement Income Solutions in a DC World

Abstract: The need for a withdrawal plan is compelling. Unfortunately, most retirees are ill-equipped to decide on which path to take. Much time and resources have been expended on the pre-retirement investment and contribution aspects of retirement savings, but little effort has been put into post-retirement withdrawal planning. Plan sponsors and financial intermediaries need to examine their educational focus and expand it to include resources for this important aspect of retirement planning.

Source: Pavilioncorp.com, March 2018

Study Finds Fewer GenXers Have Retirement Savings

Abstract: With only ten years until the eldest of the cohort turn 65, the majority GenXers believe their savings will cover their basic expenses and allow for leisure and travel in retirement. However, this confidence is misguided as forty percent of GenXers have no retirement savings, an increase of 5 percent from the previous study.

Source: Myirionline.org, March 2018

Fifth Circuit Vacates DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Although the fate of Fiduciary Rule is not entirely certain, the Fifth Circuit's decision provides the Trump Administration a clear pathway to undoing the Fiduciary Rule and reinstating the prior definition of "invest. advice." This article discusses the implications of the decision and next steps.

Source: Groom.com, March 2018

Should You Include a Managed Account Option in Your 401k?

Abstract: As is the case with so many aspects of running a 401k, a managed account option may or may not be a good fit for your plan. It depends on you and your employees. If a large percentage of your employees have complex finances and own considerable assets outside the 401k, you may decide that the managed account approach justifies the cost.

Source: Forusall.com, March 2018

DB Plan Performance Still Ahead, but DC Plans Catching Up

Abstract: While many would argue that comparing the returns of DB and DC plans is not an apples-to-apples analysis, a new report examines the plan performance gains that DC plans have made against DB plans.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2018

Marcia Wagner: How to Avoid 401k "Share-Class Chaos"

Abstract: Share class confusion is an increasing concern and focus of regulators. While it might seem like an evergreen and ongoing issue for the investment industry, a new wrinkle in the form of the fiduciary rule is adding a frenzied air.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2018

Roth 401k Contributions: Gaining Popularity, Looking to increase Tax Diversification

Abstract: As a retirement planning tool, Roth 401k contributions can offer 401k plan participants a more nuanced approach to retirement saving than a traditional 401k plan can on its own. The different tax status of Roth 401k withdrawals gives plan participants more flexibility and opportunities to broaden their retirement planning strategies and turbocharge their retirement plan outcomes.

Source: Willis.com, March 2018

Circuit Court Fiduciary Rule Decisions Raise Important Process Questions

Abstract: While the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated the DOL fiduciary rule expansion, one attorney warns the rule is still technically in effect, at the very least until the court issues a "mandate" opening a limited period during which the Department of Labor can choose to contest the decision; he also questions whether the circuit courts are in fact split on the matter, as some are suggesting.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2018

Morningstar and Prudential Win RICO Suit Dismissal

Abstract: The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Morningstar and Prudential. The unsuccessful challenge was viewed as somewhat unique amid the glut of retirement industry litigation because it cited the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law of 1970, known as RICO.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2018

The Fiduciary Standards Conversation is Just Beginning

Abstract: The running debate about the standards of care in the financial services industry is beginning in earnest. Pete Swisher provides a discussion of current fiduciary law and the country's options with respect to standards of care.

Source: Pentegra.com, March 2018

Will Your Target-Date 401k Fund Blow Up Your Retirement?

Abstract: Like self-driving vehicles, TDFs are still loaded with bugs. Some take too much stock market risk. Some not enough. What happens if a bear market tanks your stock holdings a year or two before retirement? Will you have time to recover?

Source: Forbes.com, March 2018

The IRS Has a 403b MEP Problem

Abstract: There has been increasing interest in the market to put together Multiple Employer Plans for 403b plans, and with good reasons. But a 403b MEP is really complicated when you get down to it because -- like anything 403b it seems -- the devil that exists in the details.

Source: Businessofbenefits.com, March 2018

Supreme Court May Have to Decide Fate of DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The future of the DOL's fiduciary rule could land on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court now that a federal appeals court has vacated the rule, including the expanded definition of fiduciary and associated exemptions. Another possibility would be a stay of the case for a Supreme Court appeal.

Source: Blr.com, March 2018

Video: Plan Sponsors Maximize Outcomes Relying on Plan Advisor

Abstract: There are times when plan sponsors just fail to receive value from their service providers. Mark Albers, plan administrator for this company's 401k retirement plan made it very clear that his firm relies on the expertise of their retirement plan advisor.

Source: 401ktv.com, March 2018

Fifth Circuit Vacates DOL Fiduciary Rule "In Toto"

Abstract: In a 2-1 decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down the DOL's fiduciary rule, deciding in favor of several leading financial services industry trade associations. This article examines the impact of this decision and provide suggestions on what financial institutions should be thinking about.

Source: Morganlewis.com, March 2018

Defend Your Retirement Plan From Cyberattacks

Abstract: Retirement plans are notorious targets for these attacks because they involve a high volume of sensitive information that is invaluable to criminals with malicious intent. Plan participant and financial information is generally shared with many different parties, making it more vulnerable to such threats. This article discusses current risks as well as some useful tips for protecting plan participants' information.

Source: Planpilot.com, March 2018

Will SCOTUS Decide the Fate of the DOL Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: Some ERISA attorneys argue the Fifth Circuit decision last week to vacate entirely the DOL's fiduciary rule expansion makes a Supreme Court decision on the matter inevitable; others are less sure that a decisive SCOTUS decision could be forthcoming, instead expecting the SEC to take the lead; still others admit they have little idea how the regulatory picture will shake out, recommending patience and ongoing compliance.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2018

Washington State Launches Retirement Marketplace

Abstract: The Washington State Department of Commerce announced the launch of the state's Retirement Marketplace, a virtual marketplace in which financial services firms will offer low-cost retirement savings plans to businesses with fewer than 100 employees, including sole proprietors and the self-employed.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, March 2018

Bitcoin: Should Plan Sponsors Consider It for Retirement Plans?

Abstract: Bitcoin is a digital currency or cryptocurrency not tied to a sovereign or bank. Used primarily as a tool for transactions and trading, it is most popular with people on the leading edge of technology, and a number of large investors, rather than the everyday consumer. Is bitcoin an appropriate investment vehicle for retirement plan sponsors?

Source: Milliman.com, March 2018

Fifth Circuit Vacates Controversial DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The decision in Chamber of Commerce v. U.S. Department of Labor represents a major victory for industry participants who raised concerns that the rule had unintended collateral effects that would render investment and retirement services more costly and potentially inaccessible for certain individual investors. The Fifth Circuit's decision further muddles the rule's already uncertain future, while simultaneously providing an even greater impetus for the SEC to adopt its own rule.

Source: Mcguirewoods.com, March 2018

401k Education Best Practices

Abstract: Many experts don't believe that 401k employee education works. The challenges of educating adults, who may not be excited to learn more about their 401k plan, are sometimes difficult to overcome. What can plan sponsors do to make their 401k employee education sessions more effective?

Source: Lawtonrpc.com, March 2018

How the Product Distribution Industry Beat DOL's Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: It's about recognizing that brokers and registered representatives fulfill a sales role that is functionally different than actual advisors, and therefore it's about giving consumers a clear choice between advice and sales. All the while ensuring that the industry uses proper titles and labels in their advertising and other marketing that clearly convey and disclose to the consumer not just the nature of the products they may be purchasing, but the nature of the relationship itself.

Source: Kitces.com, March 2018

Just like that, the Fifth Circuit Strikes Down the New Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: In Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. United States Department of Labor, No. 17-10238, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the "Fiduciary Rule" promulgated by the U.S. Department of Labor in April 2016.

Source: Erisalawyerblog.com, March 2018

Debt Levels for Households Nearing Retirement Decreasing, But Still High Compared to Past Generations

Abstract: Evidence paints a mixed picture of trends relating to debt levels of families with a "near elderly" head, those ages 55 to 64. By many measures, the debt burden has improved for this demographic group since the Great Recession. At the same time, in many ways, this family cohort shows higher levels of indebtedness than families with older heads.

Source: Ebri.org, March 2018

Which 401k Plan Fees Can Be Paid Out of Plan Assets?

Abstract: Are we allowed to pay 401k plan-related expenses out of the plan assets? This is another one of those questions with a short answer and a longer answer. The short answer is yes, it is perfectly allowable for some 401k plan expenses to be paid out of plan assets, but the flip side of that is that there are some expenses that are not allowed to be paid from the plan.

Source: Dwc401k.com, March 2018

Fifth Circuit Strikes Down Obama-Era Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated as arbitrary, capricious, contrary to the law, and in excess of its authority DOL's expanded definition of fiduciary and newly created prohibited transaction exemptions, putting the brakes on the application of the fiduciary rule in its entirety, nationwide.

Source: Conduent.com, March 2018

Evaluating Weighted Average Plan Fees

Abstract: A new feature of Callan's DC IndexTM, the DC Fee Analysis chart examines the effects of plan size, participant allocations, and vehicle utilization on investment management fees. The data can help plan sponsors compare their fees to peers and can provide guidance on how to restructure their plan options to reduce fee levels.

Source: Callan.com, March 2018

Labor Dept. Won't Enforce the Obama-Era Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The Labor Department won't be enforcing the fiduciary rule -- at least for now -- after a federal appeals court in Louisiana vacated the rule, a department spokesman told Bloomberg Law March 16.

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

Prudential, Morningstar Beat Robo-Adviser Lawsuit

Abstract: Prudential and Morningstar have escaped a lawsuit claiming their 401k plan robo-adviser intentionally steered investors toward higher-cost funds that pay fees to Prudential.

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

The DOL and Other Agencies Focus on Plan Efforts to Locate Missing Participants

Abstract: The DOL has drastically increased audits of retirement plans with participants -- or beneficiaries -- who cannot be located in conjunction with the distribution of owed benefits. This short article summarizes a plan's duty to search for missing participants.

Source: Benefitsnotes.com, March 2018

What the Fiduciary Rule Decision Means for Your Retirement

Abstract: The Fifth Circuit on March 15 vacated DOL regulations that redefined the circumstances in which a person who provides invest. advice in connection with a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement acts as a fiduciary under ERISA. The opinion came two days after the 10th Circuit the same regulations.

Source: Bankrate.com, March 2018

Fifth Circuit Strikes Down DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The Fifth Circuit on March 15 vacated DOL regulations that redefined the circumstances in which a person who provides invest. advice in connection with a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement acts as a fiduciary under ERISA. The opinion came two days after the 10th Circuit the same regulations.

Source: Ballardspahr.com, March 2018

DOL Puts Fiduciary Rule Enforcement on Hold

Abstract: The industry may be wondering what's next in the wake of last week's federal court decision vacating the fiduciary rule, but, for now anyway, the DOL says it is taking a pause.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2018

DOL Rule Struck Down in Court: Will Fiduciary Standards Prevail?

Abstract: The Fifth Circuit Court put the kibosh on the Department of Labor fiduciary rule. According to the court, the rule "overreached" and was "unreasonable." Clearly, that stirs up a lot of uncertainty.

Source: 401ktv.com, March 2018

What You Should Know About Your Plan's ERISA Fidelity Bond Coverage

Abstract: ERISA bonding requirements can often be confusing, so it is important that all plan fiduciaries understand the requirements in order to make sure their current fidelity bond is in compliance with the current rules and regulations. Plans should have ERISA fidelity bond coverage from an approved provider as of the beginning of the plan reporting period with a coverage amount in accordance with the regulations.

Source: Withum.com, March 2018

DOL Fiduciary Rule Likely to Live on Despite Appeals Court Loss

Abstract: Despite suffering a major blow when it was struck down Thursday by a federal appeals court, the Labor Department's fiduciary rule could still live on. Uncertainty, though, will continue to surround the measure as it morphs its way into the future.

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

Industry Reacts to Fifth Circuit Fiduciary Rule Ruling

Abstract: Groups representing both sides of the fiduciary debate were quick to respond to news yesterday that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the entirety of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule. Here's what some of them had to say.

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

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Vacates DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the Labor Department's fiduciary rule in a split decision announced late Thursday afternoon, overturning a Dallas district court that was just as adamant in upholding the measure. By a 2-1 vote, the appellate judges held that the agency exceeded its statutory authority under ERISA in promulgating the measure. The rule requires that brokers act in the best interests of their clients in retirement accounts.

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

What's Next for the DOL Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: The Department of Labor fiduciary rule does not exist anymore after a late-Thursday court ruling. That court decision opens the door for the Securities and Exchange Commission and state insurance departments to take over rulemaking. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' 2-1 decision stunned the industry and has many asking the same question this morning: What now?

Source: Insurancenewsnet.com, March 2018

Target, Microsoft Lead Move Away From 401k Stock Investments

Abstract: Verizon, Target, Comcast, and Microsoft are among the growing number of public companies rethinking the wisdom behind offering their own stock as an investment option in their workers' 401k plans. In the last five years, some of the country's largest employers have taken steps to reduce or eliminate the company stock held in their retirement plans, according to securities filings reviewed by Bloomberg Law.

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

All Auto Everything, Shlomo Benartzi on 401ks in the Digital Age

Abstract: The famed behavioral economist compares autoenrollment and escalation to autopilot, get the altitude and heading wrong and it's all gonna crash. What's just over the horizon for 401k saving nudges, and what dynamic will digital innovation play? Here's what advisors need to know.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2018

How Technology Is Transforming the Fiduciary Role

Abstract: While compliance pressures continue to rise for executives charged with overseeing their organizations' employee benefit plans that are qualified under ERISA, sophisticated technology solutions are beginning to offer a reassuring light at the end of a seemingly endless regulatory tunnel.

Source: Rolandcriss.com, March 2018

401k Service Providers Owe No Fiduciary Duty With Respect to Negotiating Their Fee Compensation

Abstract: Following the findings expressed in three other Circuits, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that plan administrators are not ERISA fiduciaries when negotiating their own compensation with prospective customers. Instead, because the employer/plan sponsor has the express duty under ERISA to defray reasonable expenses of administering a 401k plan, any claims that fully disclosed fee arrangements are unreasonable "lie against the employer, not the service provider."

Source: Masudafunai.com, March 2018

Fiduciary Rule Shifts Power to Broker-dealer Compliance Departments

Abstract: The DOL fiduciary rule was a wake-up call for many broker-dealers, some of which had paid little attention to defined contribution plans like 401ks in the past. But no one is arguing that compliance departments gained greater power over how their advisers interact with 401k and 403b plan sponsors and their employees.

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

Brightscope and ICI Release Latest Edition of Comprehensive 401k Study

Abstract: An analysis from of newly available 401k data shows that employers are using a range of plan features and a diverse mix of investment options to encourage retirement saving among their employees. The study shows that large plans have ramped up target-date fund offerings in their investment lineups and that most plans are offering employer contributions and loan features. Plans also are increasingly using auto-enrollment to boost participation.

Source: Brightscope.com, March 2018

Form 5500 -- Sponsors Forgetting to File Can Be a Costly Mistake

Abstract: It's important for plan sponsors to know the timing and requirements for filing the Form 5500. Doing so can help you avoid fines and other unnecessary plan expenses. It can also help you keep tabs on your 401k provider to make sure they're completing and filing the Form 5500 competently and on time, which is an important part of your fiduciary responsibility.

Source: 401ktv.com, March 2018

401k Fiduciaries: Is It Time to Hone Your Processes?

Abstract: Three key areas of vulnerability arise from last year's ERISA litigation. This article discusses these vulnerabilities in detail and suggest ways plan fiduciaries can defend against them and reduce their exposure to liability.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, March 2018

Evaluating the Impact of a Retirement Managed Account

Abstract: Many DC plans today offer a managed account option. Yet there is no standard method for valuing these accounts that considers the full range of potential product features and their financial impact. This 16-page paper presents a method for valuing managed accounts and also delineates the menu of features that may be offered through a managed account investment option in a DC plan.

Source: Empower-Retirement.com, March 2018

Voya Escapes Lawsuit Over 401k Robo-Adviser Fees

Abstract: A 401k investor who accused Voya Financial and its subsidiaries of overcharging for investment advice from robo-adviser Financial Engines Advisors won't get another chance to make her case. A federal judge on March 13 denied the investor's request to amend her complaint, effectively ending the proposed class action.

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

Court Rules in Favor of DOL Fiduciary Restrictions on Annuity Products

Abstract: In the latest episode of what has become an ironic series of DOL enforcement and federal judicial events, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against plaintiffs who oppose DOL restrictions on annuity products sold to retirement savers.

Source: Ascensus.com, March 2018

The Mobile Workforce's Missing Participant Problem

Abstract: This 13-page survey on stale address records in employer-sponsored plans was conducted in collaboration with Retirement Clearinghouse. The report is the first of its kind to survey terminated participants themselves about the status of their accounts left behind in former-employer plans.

Source: Rch1.com, March 2018

Becoming a Retirement Plan Committee Member

Abstract: When a person is appointed or is being sought to be member of a retirement plan committee, the natural question is to understand exactly what the person is committing to. Simply stated, a committee member is a fiduciary, who is expected to always act on behalf of plan participants, using the care of a person familiar with retirement plans and investments. This article covers the specifics on the role and responsibilities of being a fiduciary.

Source: Planpilot.com, March 2018

Litigation Against 403b Plan Fiduciaries

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of 403b plans, discuss when such plans are subject to ERISA, review the key allegations raised in ERISA breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits, and discuss the status of these cases.

Source: Groom.com, March 2018

Rollover Period for Loan Offsets Extended

Abstract: If a participant defaults on a retirement plan loan after separating from service, the plan will "offset" the outstanding balance of the loan, deducting it from the participant's account and treating it as a taxable distribution. Under a new rule, the rollover deadline to avoid taxation is now extended from 60 days to the due date for the participant's tax return, including extensions, for the year in which the loan offset occurred.

Source: Fidelity.com, March 2018

Can Bonuses Be Excluded From Retirement Plan Compensation?

Abstract: This article answers the question: "Is it possible to disregard signing bonuses from plan compensation or do we have to treat those the same as all other bonuses? If they must all be treated the same, could we carve out all bonus payments?"

Source: Dwc401k.com, March 2018

More 401k Plans Moving From Revenue-Sharing Model

Abstract: Annual surveys by Callan show a steady decline in the use of revenue sharing. Many 401k plans are moving away from revenue sharing as executives cite the need for greater transparency, simplicity and democracy in how fees are assessed to participants. But confusion remains among some plan executives.

Source: Callan.com, March 2018

How 401k Advisors Can Use ETFs

Abstract: As the popularity of ETFs rise, 401k advisors must be ready to answer investors' calls. In order to do so, it is important to understand what is driving ETF adoption and how to best implement them in a 401k plan.

Source: Brightscope.com, March 2018

Audit Guidelines on Missing Participants and RMDs

Abstract: This memorandum directs EP examiners not to challenge a 403b plan as failing to satisfy the required minimum distribution (RMD) standards under Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b)(10) in the circumstances set forth.

Source: Benefitsforward.com, March 2018

Video: 401k Mirror Plan Can Solve Testing Issues

Abstract: 401k Mirror Plan Can Solve Testing Issues. Plan sponsors dread telling senior executives that their tax bill is higher than they expected because their 401k plan failed testing. But there is a solution beyond plan design.

Source: 401ktv.com, March 2018

PSCA Study Finds Roth Usage Doubled in Past Decade

Abstract: Roth availability doubled in the last decade according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America's 60th Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401k Plans. PSCA, part of the American Retirement Association, found Roth was offered in 63.1 percent of plans in 2016 compared to 30.3 percent in 2007.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2018

Why Your 401k Plan Should Get a Tune-Up

Abstract: Taking care of a retirement plan is like taking care of a car; you must perform maintenance. As a plan sponsor, you need to review your plan on an annual basis to determine whether the retirement plan you have in place still works for you. This article discusses items that must be reviewed.

Source: Jdsupra.com, March 2018

Is Title Reform the Answer to the Fiduciary Debate?

Abstract: Could clearing up the decades-old confusion over the role of a broker compared to that of an investment adviser be as easy as clarifying their professional titles? So-called title reform has recently emerged as a serious consideration as the SEC sets out to put forth a proposal creating a new fiduciary standard in the financial advice industry. But what many thought could be a silver bullet against piles of fiduciary regulation now seems just as controversial.

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

GAO Offers Ideas on Lost Participants, Foreign Plans

Abstract: A recent study by the Government Accountability Office examines the challenges facing plan administrators when dealing with lost plan participants and reporting foreign retirement savings, and reviews steps federal agencies might take to help.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2018

Millennials Look to 401k Returns to Fund Passion Projects

Abstract: Over 80 percent of Americans feel it's important that their work and their values align. And Millennials, more than any other generation, seem gung-ho when it comes to making this a reality. The survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Swell Investing, indicated almost 30 percent of Millennials who invest said they would look to returns to fund this endeavor. Survey results showed 24 percent of Gen Xers agree.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2018

Investment Advisers and Conflicts of Interest

Abstract: The DOL and SEC have expressed concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest that investment advisers do not explicitly disclosed. These concerns were recently highlighted when the SEC launched an initiative in connection with investment advisers' selection or recommendation of a higher-cost mutual fund share class for their clients when a lower-cost share class of the same fund is available. The SEC's initiative reminds plan fiduciaries of the importance of obtaining appropriate information to fulfill their fiduciary obligations when engaging and monitoring investment advisers.

Source: Spencerfane.com, March 2018

Changing DC Plan Recordkeepers Can Be Complex

Abstract: The process of procuring defined contribution (DC) plan services is a significant undertaking that may result in a plan sponsor selecting a new recordkeeper as a means to improving service, cost-effectiveness or both. Although DC plan services have become more standardized over the years, the process of moving from one recordkeeper to another is complex.

Source: Segalco.com, March 2018

Fidelity Puts Six Million Savers on Risky Path to Retirement

Abstract: Client money has continued to flow out of the Fidelity's Freedom Funds as retirement plan sponsors shift workers' savings to rivals in the target-date fund business. The exodus stems in part from unease with the way Fidelity has boosted performance, by ramping up risk. Since a strategy overhaul that took full effect in 2014, Fidelity has substantially increased exposure to stocks, including those from volatile emerging markets. The firm also scrapped a long-held belief of sticking to pre-set allocations of stocks, bonds and other assets in target-date funds.

Source: Reuters.com, March 2018

Retirement Saving Focus Especially Needed for Latino Women

Abstract: Researchers at the University of Notre Dame, in a study funded by the National Endowment for Financial Education say Latinas -- Hispanic women -- have a huge appetite for financial education and a strong desire to save, and their savings could provide a critical safety net to America's largest minority group.

Source: Plansponsor.com, March 2018

Latest Wells Fargo Flap Underscores Need for Fiduciary Standard

Abstract: The most recent scandal brewing at Wells Fargo Advisors, this one regarding questions from the Justice Department about potentially inappropriate recommendations on rollovers for 401(k) plan participants, underscores yet again why the financial advice industry needs a clear, simple fiduciary rule for all brokers and advisers and their clients.

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

Fifth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Class Action Against Fiduciaries of Radio Shack's 401k Plan

Abstract: In Singh v. RadioShack Corp., the Plaintiffs held RadioShack stock in their 401k accounts after November 30, 2011. They appeal the dismissal by the district court of their claims that Defendants breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA by allowing plan participants to invest in RadioShack stock despite the company's descent into bankruptcy. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's dismissal.

Source: Erisalawyerblog.com, March 2018

"Hell's Kitchen" of Plan Document Mistakes

Abstract: More than a few plan sponsors make some head-scratching mistakes, particularly with respect to plan documents. Why? Because their work environment is hectic enough to cause mistakes. The article covers two such mistakes.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, March 2018

Exception to the Rule: Understanding the DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: This article covers the exception to the fiduciary rule, as well as some steps employers can take to ensure the new DOL fiduciary rule is being properly adhered to.

Source: Blr.com, March 2018

IRS to Issue Letters to Master and Prototype, Volume Submitter Plans

Abstract: The IRS on March 9 said in Announcement 2018-05 that it plans to issue opinion and advisory letters for master and prototype and volume submitter defined benefit plans that were restated for changes in plan qualification requirements listed in Notice 2012-76 and that were filed with the IRS during the submission period for the second remedial amendment cycle.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2018

Many Women Feel Unprepared for Retirement

Abstract: Women worry much more than men do about running out of money in retirement. But fear of impoverishment hasn't dampened women's desire to work for free. That's one of the takeaways from a report issued this week on the challenges women face in retirement.

Source: Aarp.org, March 2018

Plan Sponsors Fail to Find 25 Million 401k Accounts

Abstract: Between 2004 and 2013, plan sponsors failed to connect approximately 25 million retirement accounts with their employee owners. Most often, it occurred unintentionally as a result of workers switching jobs. The GAO recently outlined challenges that could be inhibiting workers from keeping track of accounts, along with concerns about a lack of guidance with regard to reuniting plan participants with unclaimed property.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2018

Major MEP 401k Bill Reintroduced in Senate

Abstract: Outgoing Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and Ranking Member Ron Wyden introduced an updated version of the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA), a bill they say will improve access to retirement savings.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2018

IRS Extends RMD Audit Guidelines for Missing Participants to 403b Programs

Abstract: The IRS has extended to section 403b programs the audit guidelines for required minimum distribution failures due to missing participants and beneficiaries that were accorded in an October 2017 memorandum to "qualified plans."

Source: Us.eversheds-sutherland.com, March 2018

Millennials Already Falling Behind in Retirement Savings

Abstract: A new report from the National Institute on Retirement Security examines the challenges facing Millennials and where this generation currently stands in preparing for retirement. As a generation, they have faced a number of financial and economic obstacles. Compared to previous generations at this point in their lives, they are less likely to own a home, have earned less, and accumulated less wealth.

Source: Protectpensions.org, March 2018

DC Pulse Survey Highlights Sponsor Decumulation Challenge

Abstract: BlackRock has released the results of its third Defined Contribution Pulse Survey, compiling the opinions of some 200 large DC plan sponsors and about 1,000 plan participants. More plan sponsors this year than last have voiced a concern that their workers may have to delay retirement; this is the case despite the fact that plan participants are broadly feeling much more optimistic.

Source: Plansponsor.com, March 2018

Negative Tax Consequences Often Result From Poor Rollover Knowledge

Abstract: Unforeseen negative tax consequences often hit job changers when they decide to move money from their previous employers' retirement plans without sufficient know-how; in an extensive new report, the GAO recommends employers and regulators provide far more support for plan participants.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2018

Basic Due Diligence for ERISA 403b Plans

Abstract: It is important for 403b plans to review, with their legal counsel, any fiduciary responsibilities they may have under state law. There can be benefit from having knowledge regarding ERISA and utilizing some of the provisions that would be beneficial to their plan. This article examines some basic areas for review.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, March 2018

401k Best Practices: Plan Design

Abstract: You may want to look at some 401k plan design elements that have become standard in leading-edge 401k plans. These features have been proven as best practices in helping participants achieve retirement-ready balances and are reviewed here.

Source: Lawtonrpc.com, March 2018

Who's Your Fiduciary?

Abstract: According to a recent survey of DC plan executives, many don't acknowledge their role as a fiduciary. You'd think fiduciary awareness would improve over time, but the surprising fact is that fiduciary awareness seems to be declining at a time when all roads are leading to greater fiduciary scrutiny in the marketplace.

Source: Hrexecutive.com, March 2018

Summary Plan Descriptions Required for All ERISA Retirement, Health and Welfare Plans

Abstract: Misconceptions of the ERISA rules can lead plan administrators to believe that they either have provided an ERISA-compliant SPD when they have not, or that an SPD is not required at all. Administrators of all employee benefit plans subject to ERISA should ensure their plans' compliance with ERISA's Summary Plan Description (SPD) requirement.

Source: Hklaw.com, March 2018

Advisor Allegedly Steered Client to 401k Fraudster

Abstract: An Illinois investment advisor stands accused of causing close to half a million dollars in losses as a result of steering his client to a 401k program run by a fraudster, Law360.com writes. Allpoints, an architectural engineering firm, alleges that an advisor with World Equity Group failed to investigate Vantage Benefits Administrators before recommending it as Allpoints' new benefits administrator in 2014.

Source: Financialadvisoriq.com, March 2018

Supply and Demand in the Markets and the Retirement Saver's Best Interest

Abstract: Retirement savers can best help themselves by using their mind to concentrate on saving. They can best hurt themselves by following their passions in the investing markets. Securities markets, though, are no different than markets for goods and securities. They each follow the same fundamental economic fact, the law of supply and demand. The fiduciary who can effortlessly and clearly explain the mechanism of supply and demand no doubt helps retirement savers embrace their best interests.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, March 2018

Intelligent Fiduciary - New 2018 Guide

Abstract: Fulfilling ERISA fiduciary responsibilities is a constant challenge. Carol Buckmann has been blogging and speaking about fiduciary best practices for many years. Her guidance for fiduciaries has been compiled in a new 2018 edition of the Intelligent Fiduciary Guide.

Source: Cohenbuckmann.com, March 2018

How to Avoid Mistakes Dividing Up 401k Assets in Divorce

Abstract: Different types of retirement accounts are subject to different rules. Dividing workplace plans like 401ks and traditional pensions requires a court order that is separate from the divorce agreement. It's important to make sure the attorney drafting that separate document is an expert in this.

Source: Cnbc.com, March 2018

Conflicting Views on Americans' Retirement Prospects: Workers Confident, Employers Concerned

Abstract: Strong market performance has helped fuel increasing optimism among American workers about their retirement prospects, but many employers don't share their upbeat view, according to the latest DC Pulse Survey from BlackRock.

Source: Businesswire.com, March 2018

Don't Wait for Full Implementation of New DOL Fiduciary Rule to Understand It

Abstract: With the new DOL fiduciary rule in effect, and the phased implementation and extended transition period set, it is reasonable to imagine that all members of the retirement plans community have been refreshing their understanding of the fiduciary duties tied to plan administration. However, recent surveys of DC plan sponsors yielded somewhat alarming results about grasping the role of fiduciary and what duties apply.

Source: Blr.com, March 2018

Five Retirement Plan Changes That Employers Should Consider

Abstract: As with most components of a successful business, staying up-to-date on new developments as a means of remaining competitive -- in this case, attracting and retaining employees -- can make a huge difference. So, what should a business owner be thinking about when it comes to the company's retirement plans? Here are five ideas to consider.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2018

401k Hardship Withdrawals - Made Easier by the 2018 Budget Act

Abstract: Effective for hardship distributions that occur after January 1, 2019, employees will no longer be subject to the 6-month suspension period for contributions. Also, amounts eligible for withdrawal will be expanded to include earnings, as well as other employer contributions previously made to the plan. Lastly, the legislation would remove the requirement to take a loan before qualifying for a hardship withdrawal.

Source: Schneiderdowns.com, March 2018

Americans Saving Nearly 8% for Retirement

Abstract: In a survey of 1,000 adults, PenFed Credit Union learned that Americans, on average, are saving 7.6% of their salaries for retirement. This increases to 8.9% for men and decreases to 6.4% for women.

Source: Plansponsor.com, March 2018

Congressman Neal's Automatic Retirement Plan Proposal

Abstract: This article we discuss Congressman Neal's Automatic Retirement Plan Act of 2017, which would (with some very limited exceptions) require every US employer to maintain an "automatic contribution" retirement plan. The bill would also create a framework for "open" multiple employer plans.

Source: Octoberthree.com, March 2018

Is the New Fiduciary Rule Enforceable During the Transition Period?

Abstract: Among the "myths" surrounding the fiduciary rule is that the rule will not be enforced during the transition period. But that's not the whole story, Fred Reish notes.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, March 2018

Bill Would Help Establish Database for Orphaned 401k Accounts

Abstract: Two senators are trying to help workers locate retirement savings they may have forgotten when they switched jobs. On Thursday, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Steve Daines introduced the Retirement Savings Lost and Found Act, which would establish a national database of orphaned retirement accounts.

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

How to Avoid Penalties on Unpaid 401k Loans

Abstract: While some employers do allow you to continue to make loan payments if you leave your job, one provision of the new tax law that hasn't gotten much attention can make a huge difference to people who find themselves in a bind with an outstanding loan and no more job. Basically if you default on your 401k loan, there is a way to still repay it, but the details matter.

Source: Financialfinesse.com, March 2018

Five Ways to Save for Retirement Outside a 401k

Abstract: Your workplace 401k plan is typically the most convenient way to begin saving for retirement. But if you don't have access to a 401k plan or it isn't meeting all of your investment needs, you may want to diversify your savings. The good news is there are quite a few ways to save money for retirement without completely relying on a 401k plan.

Source: Usnews.com, March 2018

What Makes the 401k So Popular?

Abstract: The 401k plan has been one of the most popular forms of qualified retirement plans because it offers a robust set of customizable features and elements to benefit the company sponsoring the plan and its employees. Flexibility is significant because it translates to customization.

Source: Tristarpension.com, March 2018

Tax Credit for Small Employer Start-Up Retirement Plans

Abstract: Although this particular tax credit has been available for over a decade, it is still surprising to see the general lack of awareness that most plan sponsors have regarding this tax saving opportunity. This article is intended to familiarize readers with this tax credit so that they can attempt to evaluate its application to their tax situation.

Source: Legacyrsllc.com, March 2018

Congress Enacts Changes to Hardship Withdrawal Rules

Abstract: The recently enacted Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 included some unanticipated provisions that directly affect retirement plans. One such provision relates to the availability and amount of hardship withdrawals made under 401k plans. This article summarizes the impact of these new rules.

Source: Legacyrsllc.com, March 2018

How Low Can 401k Advisory Fees Go?

Abstract: Lowering plan costs got many experienced advisers in the door and became one of their major value propositions. But that strategy has affected not just recordkeeping and money-management fees; it has also affected advisory fees, and it shows no real signs of letting up. There are market forces at play that could continue to depress advisers' fees even further.

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

Defined Contribution Plans Have Come a Long Way

Abstract: The changes plan sponsors have made such as offering Target-Date Fund, automatic enrollment and making Target-Date Fund the main default option have reduced the net return differential between DB and DC plans. DC plans have become better retirement savings vehicles than we thought they would be just a decade ago.

Source: Cembenchmarking.com, March 2018


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