401khelpcenter.com Logo

September 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.

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


    

Tips to Keep You and Your Recordkeeper on Track

Abstract: One of a plan sponsors many fiduciary responsibilities is to monitor its service providers. But how do plan sponsors and recordkeepers have productive and positive relationships? This paper reviews how a plan sponsor can be sure that they are getting the most out of their service providers.

Source: Pavilioncorp.com, September 2017

Five Cybersecurity Best Practices

Abstract: Regulators want to ensure advisors safeguard client and business information online. Implement these best practices to reduce the risk of your data being compromised.

Source: Morningstar.com, September 2017

Using Funds From Only One Family Is an Awful Idea

Abstract: When you have thousands of mutual funds out there and hundreds of mutual fund companies, it's just amazing that any plan sponsor thinks it's prudent that every fund on the plan's lineup is from the same mutual fund company.

Source: Jdsupra.com, September 2017

Private Equity Firms See Hidden Value in 401k Recordkeeping

Abstract: Most 401k industry experts claim there isn't money to be made in the recordkeeping business. But some heady private equity firms backing providers like Ascensus, Alight Solutions (the business Aon Hewitt recently sold to Blackstone Group), Newport Group, Aspire Financial Services, and a few robo-advisers are betting against the conventional wisdom.

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

How Do You Know If Financial Wellness Is Paying Off

Abstract: As more companies add financial wellness to their suite of benefits, one question persists: How do you know whether it's paying off for the company? Those who offer financial wellness plans saw a direct correlation to employee well-being, retention, and productivity.

Source: Ey.com, September 2017

Penn Succeeds in Dismissing Retirement Plan Proposed Class Action

Abstract: Since August 2016, sixteen elite colleges and universities have faced class action lawsuits related to management of their 403b retirement plans. After five cases previously survived motions to dismiss, the University of Pennsylvania became the first college to secure a complete victory when accused of retirement plan mismanagement.

Source: Erisa-employeebenefitslitigationblog.com, September 2017

Dismissal of Case Against UPenn Good News for 403b Plan Sponsors

Abstract: Colleges and universities have finally received some encouraging news in the recent spate of class action suits against higher education 403b plans. Last week a federal judge dismissed all claims against the University of Pennsylvania, marking the first time that one of these recent law suits has been be dismissed in full.

Source: Employeebenefitsupdate.com, September 2017

Lawsuits Targeting 403b Plan Fiduciaries

Abstract: Fiduciaries of 403b plans are increasingly facing the same type of litigation that mirrors other retirement plan fiduciary lawsuits. This results in fiduciaries facing liability from plan members even without the stricter ERISA standards.

Source: Bsllp.com, September 2017

No 401k Promises in GOP Tax Reform Framework

Abstract: Republicans rolled out their framework for tax overhaul with a passing mention of encouraging retirement savings. They didn't specifically address possible 401(k) changes, but that doesn't mean change isn't coming.

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

BICE and Related Exemptions: Limiting Providers' Liability Until Full Implementation

Abstract: In August, the DOL proposed to extend the transition period by 18 months for the full implementation of the BICE, the PTE, and PTE 84-24. In this uncertain environment, a critical and bottom-line question for financial advisers and financial institutions serving employer-sponsored retirement plans is, "What do I do during the transition period"?

Source: Blr.com, September 2017

Retirement Plans at Risk for Identity Theft

Abstract: While many cyber threats have special names, your retirement plan's data may be most at risk from common things an employees do every day that put themselves at risk for identity theft. It is those common things, discarding paperwork with personal information, postings on various websites and other information that can be available in the public domain that identity thieves may use to gain access to an individual employee's retirement plan account. Retirement plan accounts have been stolen by identity theft in several incidents.

Source: Winstead.com, September 2017

Operational Risk Is the Achilles' Heel of DC Plans

Abstract: Investment risk and longevity risk tend to receive the most attention from the media and stakeholders alike. However, as defined contribution (DC) plans continue to grow in size and complexity, sponsors need to strengthen their focus on operational risk.

Source: Segalco.com, September 2017

Retirement Assets Total $26.6 Trillion in Second Quarter 2017

Abstract: Total US retirement assets were $26.6 trillion as of June 30, 2017, up 1.9 percent from March 31, 2017. Retirement assets accounted for 34 percent of all household financial assets in the United States at the end of June 2017.

Source: Ici.org, September 2017

GE Hit With Lawsuit Over High Fees in Its $28 Billion 401k

Abstract: General Electric is accused of filling its $28.5 billion 401k plan with high-cost, poorly performing in-house mutual funds, causing its employees to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in their retirement savings.

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

Can Knowledge Empower Women to Save More for Retirement?

Abstract: Retirement-account balances are lower among women than men. Differences between men and women in financial knowledge and motivation contribute to gender gaps in retirement savings. Financial knowledge and motivation can be augmented by multimedia financial education.

Source: Bc.edu, September 2017

Standard Items Appearing in an Investment Policy Statement

Abstract: Although not required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, drafting an IPS is a fiduciary best practice. The IPS serves as a policy guide that can offer an objective course of action to be followed when emotional or instinctive responses might otherwise motivate less prudent action. Here are some standard items appearing in an investment policy statement.

Source: Strategicbenefitservices.com, September 2017

The Advantages of Roth 401k Contributions

Abstract: Has your organization considered a plan amendment that would allow Roth contributions? Or, if you already permit Roth contributions, do you feel like you can easily converse with your employees who have related questions? This 4-page white paper is designed to help in both situations.

Source: Qualifiedplanadvisors.com, September 2017

Less Is More When Designing a 401k Plan

Abstract: Behavioral finance has taught us a lot in recent years about how people make decisions. Just as importantly, it has taught us how plan sponsors can help participants make better decisions while still providing them with choices. However, providing people with too many choices can overwhelm them and lead to decision paralysis.

Source: Pavilioncorp.com, September 2017

DOL's Fiduciary Rule -- An Overview of the Marketing and Sales Implications for Investment Managers

Abstract: The DOL's fiduciary rule will impact the way many investment managers market their products and services to these types of clients. This is an overview of the fiduciary rule with a focus on the marketing and sales implications for investment managers.

Source: Klgates.com, September 2017

401k Lawsuit Attacks Excessive Advisory Fees Paid to UBS

Abstract: A company sponsoring a $157 million 401k plan has been sued for allowing unreasonably high fees to be charged for plan services, including advisory services provided by UBS.

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

FT 401: Full List of the Top US Retirement Advisers

Abstract: This is the Financial Times third annual line-up of leading retirement plan advisers. The list represents an elite group of professionals, with the average FT 401 adviser managing $1.6 billion in DC plan assets, up five percent from last year, and having 19 years' experience with DC plans. The average number of DC plan clients per FT 401 adviser rose from 50 to 55.

Source: Ft.com, September 2017

Target-Date Fund Selection -- Actively Selecting a Passive Offering

Abstract: It is important that plan sponsors understand that choosing a passive target-date option is far more complicated than opting for a passive option in a straightforward, single-style strategy. This 4-page paper highlights the key issues surrounding passive target-date funds, including how they differ from active strategies and how to differentiate between passive offerings.

Source: Fiallc.com, September 2017

Deloitte 2017 Defined Contribution Benchmarking Survey

Abstract: Deloitte's 15th Annual Defined Contribution Benchmarking Survey found that with current regulatory uncertainty and increasing litigation from plan participants, defined contribution plan sponsors are focusing on their fiduciary responsibilities by shifting investments to lower cost options, utilizing direct fees and simplifying investment approaches. These actions aim to help participants tackle their future retirement income needs.

Source: Deloitte.com, September 2017

IRS Issues Guidance to Ease Assistance for Hurricane Recovery

Abstract: While Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have subsided, recovery efforts have just begun. In an effort to help bring timely assistance to beleaguered residents of areas hard hit by the storms, the IRS has issued guidance loosening restrictions on certain distributions from qualified retirement plans and the donation of paid leave benefits.

Source: Bradley.com, September 2017

Supreme Court May Have First ERISA-Free Term in Six Years

Abstract: The U.S. Supreme Court returns next week with nary an ERISA case on its docket and only a handful of significant petitions to watch. This is the second year in a row the justices have started their term with no Employee Retirement Income Security Act cases slated for oral argument.

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

Company Stock Loses Its Luster in 401k Landscape

Abstract: Employee stock purchase plans are becoming more popular among larger public companies at the same time employees have reduced the amount of company stock they purchase within their 401k plans.

Source: Benefitnews.com (registration may be required), September 2017

Improving Audit Quality Through Enhanced Financial Reporting

Abstract: In response to the DOL's findings regarding ERISA plan audit deficiency rate, the AICPA has embarked on an initiative to improve audit quality through auditor badge certification programs, enhanced peer review checklists, and changes to auditing standards by strengthening the audit report.

Source: Belfint.com, September 2017

SEC Chairman Hopes to "Properly Tailor" Approach to Fiduciary Issues

Abstract: Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton hopes that his agency can "properly tailor" an approach that will best address issues related to those the DOL's fiduciary rule concerns. Clayton made his remark during his Sept. 26 testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2017

Tax Reform Proposal Could Undermine Incentives for Small Business Plans

Abstract: More than 90% of businesses are organized as "pass-through" entities. More than 320,000 of these entities sponsor a retirement plan. Unfortunately, many of these businesses may reconsider adopting or maintaining a qualified retirement plan because of significant financial disincentives woven into the fabric of the tax reform proposal.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2017

The Problem of Small 401k Accounts (And What to Do About It)

Abstract: It's generally accepted that the small-balance accounts of terminated 401k plan participants are a problem. For plan sponsors, they result in increased plan costs, fiduciary risk and other ancillary problems, such as missing participants and uncashed distribution checks. Now, based on new information from EBRI and other sources, we're learning that small accounts are a significant and growing problem for active participants, as well.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, September 2017

American Dream Redefined as Savings Rate Skids

Abstract: Americans are showing a significant shift in how they define the American Dream as the U.S. savings rate drops to a five-year low. A new national survey from PurePoint Financial finds that 71 percent of respondents feel the American Dream has changed, and the majority (64 percent) say they define financial success as simply not living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, September 2017

Projected 401k and Retirement Plan Limits for the Tax Year 2018

Abstract: Based upon the actual and projected CPI, there is little doubt that we will see some increases in the pension limits for 2018. Here are our projected changes.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, September 2017

DOL Fiduciary Regulation - Where Are We Now?

Abstract: The author discusses that the prospect of yet further changes to or delays in the full implementation of the Final Rule begs the question: Where are we now? Or more importantly, where are we going?

Source: Sutherland.com, September 2017

When Must Discretionary Amendments to a 403b Plan Be Adopted?

Abstract: The Remedial Amendment Period for 403b plans ends on March 30, 2020 for plan sponsors using IRS pre-approved 403b plan documents. One of the many issues relating to the RAP is determining what errors can be fixed during the RAP. In particular, what happens if a plan sponsor changed the operation of the plan but did not adopt an amendment reflecting that change?

Source: Relius.net, September 2017

University of Pennsylvania Wins Dismissal of Case Against 403b

Abstract: U.S. District Judge Gene E. K. Pratter of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed all claims against the University of Pennsylvania and its vice president of human resources. The case had challenged multiple recordkeepers, multiple investment options and the use of retail share class funds.

Source: Planadviser.com, September 2017

401k Fees: Are You Still Paying Too Much?

Abstract: While saving in a 401k can lead to a more secure retirement, there's one thing that could sabotage your efforts: high fees. Fees can erode the value of your account over time, making it vital to understand just how much you're paying to maintain your investments.

Source: Investopedia.com, September 2017

Jerry Schlichter's Fee Lawsuits Have Left an Indelible Mark on the 401k Industry

Abstract: It's had a tremendous impact and brought awareness to the fees being charged in plans. But, observers say the litigation has also contributed to fee hysteria among employers and, following some large monetary settlements, resulted in a plaintiff's bar that seems to be unnecessarily piling on the litigation to score a quick payday.

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

Four Due Diligence Questions Plan Sponsors and Plan Participants Should Ask

Abstract: Far too many investors and investment fiduciaries simply take a quick glance at a fund's nominal return numbers and a fund's standard deviation and make their decisions based on those numbers alone. Those numbers, alone, simply do not constitute an acceptable due diligence process or a meaningful analysis of a mutual fund.

Source: Iainsight.wordpress.com, September 2017

Collective Investment Trusts and 403b Plans: An Update

Abstract: It may be possible for CITs to be offered in a governmental 403b plan (the limitations on being able to offer CITs in a private tax-exempt 403b plan remain applicable), if certain conditions are met.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, September 2017

The Misperception of Fiduciary Risk and Active Management in DC Plans: A Legal Perspective

Abstract: In the complex and litigation-prone world DC plans occupy, it is important to underline what the real focal points for fiduciaries should be. Here are five guiding principles under ERISA that can aid fiduciaries in selecting and monitoring investment options and assessing active strategies within their plan lineups.

Source: Troweprice.com, September 2017

Leveraging - A Hidden Advantage of Roth 401k Accounts

Abstract: There have been numerous articles published about the advantages of Roth IRAs and Roth 401k accounts. When combined with the ability for leveraging (subject to payment of unrelated business income tax (UBIT)), some interesting planning and tax saving opportunities arise. One such opportunity may be the ability to leverage a Roth account to enhance the deferral and tax-free distribution power of the Roth.

Source: Foxrothschild.com, September 2017

What's Cooking in Congress for Retirement Plans?

Abstract: This article takes a deeper dive into what has been cooking in Congress for retirement plans over the past few months.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, September 2017

Novitex Sued Over 401k Plan Fees, Not First Modest Plan Hit

Abstract: Novitex Enterprise Solutions is the latest company to be accused in federal court of letting its 401k plan participants be charged excessive recordkeeping and administrative fees. The lawsuit is the latest to target a company with a modest 401k plan.

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

Is It Time to Ditch Some Retirement Plan Disclosures?

Abstract: Employers are required to provide their retirement plan participants with a host of disclosures throughout the year and a deadline for one of those disclosures is fast approaching. The summary annual report for DC plans -- mostly 401k plans -- is required to be sent out to participants by Sept. 30 each year, but lately employers are questioning what value it provides their workers.

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

The 411 on Roth vs Regular 401ks

Abstract: Workers usually don't know the difference. Yet employers increasingly are asking them to choose. Nearly two-thirds of private-sector employers with Vanguard plans today offer both a traditional and a Roth 401k in their employee benefits. Just four years ago, fewer than half did. Here are some tips on navigating the traditional-vs-Roth decision.

Source: Bc.edu, September 2017

Education Policy Statement -- Should Your Policy Have One?

Abstract: Should Your Plan Have an Education Policy Statement? The DOL doesn't require qualified retirement plans to have one, but here are some thoughts on why you should consider adopting an EPS for your plan.

Source: 401ktv.com, September 2017

BICE and Related Exemptions: Limiting Your Liability Until Full Implementation

Abstract: It is unclear if the DOL will extend its current temporary enforcement policy on the fiduciary duty rule and exemptions during the Transition Period. In this environment, a critical and bottom-line question for financial advisers and financial institutions is, "What do I do during the Transition Period?"

Source: Wagnerlawgroup.com, September 2017

Maximizing Recordkeeper Relationships

Abstract: While the DOL has provided guidance on the overall responsibilities of plan sponsors, these guidelines fall short of speaking to best practices when dealing with recordkeepers. This 7-page paper aims to help plan fiduciaries maximize their recordkeeper relationships with the end goal of better retirement outcomes.

Source: Porteval.com, September 2017

Comments May Enhance ERISA Council's Attempt to Streamline Plan Disclosures

Abstract: This year, the DOL's ERISA Advisory Council is focusing on "Mandated Disclosures for Retirement Plans." The council is considering testimony submitted by plan sponsors, administrators, communications experts, and participant representatives, among others. This column analyzes comment letters received to date relating to retirement plans' required disclosures.

Source: Hrdailyadvisor.blr.com, September 2017

401k Cybercrime: Key to Keeping a Plan Safe Is Not Delegating Fiduciary Responsibilities

Abstract: Some employers delegate the two fiduciary roles that approve cash disbursements (from their 401k plan) to their provider. In the author's view, this outsourcing of fiduciary authority makes a 401k plan more vulnerable to cybertheft.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, September 2017

A Primer on Reviewing Statements of Investment Policies and Procedures

Abstract: For Canadian plans sponsors that haven't comprehensively reviewed their statements of investment policies and procedures in a while, it may be time to refresh the document to ensure it correctly reflects the details of the plan and is in line with current regulations.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, September 2017

Millennials Still Prefer Real-Life Advisors to Robo-Advisors

Abstract: Robo-advisors are surging in popularity and are projected to handle $8 trillion of all global AUM by 2020, but a new LendEDU poll found that millennials still prefer traditional financial advisors.

Source: Lendedu.com, September 2017

Review Your 401k Providers Regularly -- Here's How

Abstract: The 401k plan marketplace is very dynamic and you are likely to discover some surprises when you conduct a provider review. This article suggests some points to consider in managing your 401k provider reviews.

Source: Lawtonrpc.com, September 2017

Gucci Sued Over 401k Plan Fees, Transamerica Funds

Abstract: The lawsuit challenges Gucci's relationship with its 401k service provider, Transamerica Retirement Solutions. Gucci allowed Transamerica to fill its $96.5 million plan with expensive, proprietary funds that earned fees for Transamerica at the expense of plan participants, according to the complaint.

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

Are Robo-Advisors Fiduciaries?

Abstract: This paper addresses whether robo-advisors are fiduciaries. The simple answer is yes. But that is only half of the equation. Merely labeling robo-advisors as "fiduciaries" does not signify what fiduciary standard of care they are subject to, which should be of most interest to investors and regulators and is the subject of this paper.

Source: Ssrn.com, September 2017

When Technology Meets Benefits

Abstract: Considering that employee benefits at many organizations remains a paper-based, pencil-pushing operation, enormous opportunities for technological advancement are emerging for CEOs and benefits managers alike. Three benefits pros share how they've used technology to improve their organizations' benefits operations in this Q&A.

Source: Workforce.com, September 2017

TDFs Outperformed Typical DC Investor Since 2006

Abstract: The Callan DC Index also shows nearly three-fourths of DC plan account balance growth has been due to investment performance. Callan researchers explain the average TDF has outperformed DC plan investors by 76 basis points annually since they first started measuring in 2006.

Source: Plansponsor.com, September 2017

DOL's Fiduciary Rule: Three Issues to Consider if you Advise IRAs

Abstract: Under the DOL's fiduciary rule, advice to rollover assets from 401ks to an account that you advise constitutes fiduciary investment advice. This article reviews three issues advisers should consider as they engage in rollover discussions with prospective clients.

Source: Klgates.com, September 2017

Pre-approved 403b Plans -- Effective Date Addendum

Abstract: Adopting employers may use an effective date addendum to depict plan operational changes that have occurred at different points in time, which otherwise wouldn't be accurately reflected by the plan's general effective date.

Source: Irs.gov, September 2017

Bitcoins Are All the Rage, but Not for the 401k

Abstract: Bitcoin may be the hottest thing going in the investment world, but 401k plan participants aren't likely to see it on their regular investment menus anytime soon.

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

What You Need to Know About 403b Loans

Abstract: If you find yourself in a tight spot financially, then in some cases you might be able to borrow money from your 403b retirement account rather than taking an early distribution or using higher-interest debt. However, retirement accounts shouldn't be treated like bank accounts and one should borrow with caution.

Source: 403bwise.com, September 2017

403b Plans Must Be Universally Available -- Is Yours?

Abstract: Plan sponsors sometimes run into confusion regarding which employees may be excluded from making salary deferral contributions under their plan. This article discusses the rules to help clarify which employees may be excluded.

Source: Eisneramper.com, September 2017

DOL's Fiduciary Rule: Death By a Thousand Cuts?

Abstract: Every now and then one wakes up with a thought along the lines of, "How the heck did we get to where we are?" Such a thought may easily be suggested by the present state of play regarding the new fiduciary regulation promulgated by the DOL and the related amended and new "prohibited transaction" class exemptions.

Source: Dechert.com, September 2017

ERISA's Reasonable Fee Requirement

Abstract: Plan fiduciaries must review service provider fees annually against reliable indicators as part of proper plan governance. The efficacy of any such review depends upon the ability to break out fees for each service and to utilize acceptable benchmarks, rather than self-serving benchmarks supporting excessive fee arrangements.

Source: Cpajournal.com, September 2017

ESG and Fiduciary Responsibility: Complementary or at Odds?

Abstract: Running the plan and investing its assets in a way mindful of environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns is a practice some plans follow. But a recent commentary questions whether that complements -- or compromises -- fulfilling fiduciary responsibility.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2017

Most DC Plan Participants Don't Understand Roths, Survey Finds

Abstract: Amid all of the recent talk about tax reform and the potential move toward Rothification, Cerulli Associates has come out with a new report showing that only one-third of DC plan participants can correctly identify the benefits of Roth contributions.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2017

Assessing Americans' Financial & Retirement Security

Abstract: The ACLI study analyzes data from 4,500 U.S. households to provide a comprehensive picture of Americans' current state of financial and retirement security. It finds that 65 percent of U.S. households are on track or nearly on track to be financially secure. Among households considered to be the most financially secure, 25 percent earn $50,000 or less. Among households that need significant financial improvement, 25 percent earn $72,000 or more.

Source: Acli.com, September 2017

White Label Fund Options for DC Plans

Abstract: The core lineup of most plans has remained largely unchanged over the past 20 years. The author suggests that it's time for DC plan sponsors to rethink these legacy investment lineups. This paper focuses reframing the design of actively managed options with an emphasis on fewer, broader investment options to ease participant decision making.

Source: Willistowerswatson.com, September 2017

Fiduciary Duties in an Age of Impact Investing

Abstract: This article describes "impact investing" and reviews how fiduciary duties applicable to managers of pension plan assets and charitable institution assets permit and restrict the use of non-financial factors in managing those assets.

Source: Steptoe.com, September 2017

403b Litigation Concerns

Abstract: Over the last year, many colleges and universities have been the subject of lawsuits over the management of their 403b retirement plans. The complaints in the lawsuits have common threads and they identify patterns of high-risk practices. The courts have begun to weigh in on some of these issues, but their interpretations of the issues vary.

Source: Sentinelgroup.com, September 2017

Hurricane Irma Affects Retirement Plan Administration

Abstract: The arrival of Hurricane Irma in September significantly affected individuals and businesses in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Recognizing this impact, the IRS, DOL, and the PBGC have granted extensions of certain deadlines for both plan sponsors and participants directly affected by this disaster. The IRS has also provided special rules for plan sponsors that want to offer hardship distributions or plan loans to employees or former employees that have been affected by Hurricane Irma.

Source: Prudential.com, September 2017

Are 403b Plans Evolving Fast Enough?

Abstract: Traditionally 403b plan sponsors have been uncomfortable with change, at least much more so than their 401k plan sponsor counterparts. But while 403b plans have lagged in adoption of some plan improvements, they're striving to catch up.

Source: Principal.com, September 2017

Cybersecurity Must Be C-Suite Concern at RIAs, Brokers and Managers

Abstract: Cybersecurity attorney and former SEC staffer Marlon Paz suggests it is absolutely essential for advisory firms to have a senior executive "not just appointed but also empowered" as the chief information security risk officer.

Source: Planadviser.com, September 2017

SEC Accuses 403b Plan Advisory Firm of Conflicts-of-Interest

Abstract: The SEC has instituted a cease-and-desist order against Envoy Advisory. Envoy is accused of breaches of fiduciary duty, inadequate disclosures and compliance deficiencies. Most of its clients are small to medium-sized non-profit, faith-based organizations that sponsor ERISA Section 403(b) retirement plans for employees.

Source: Planadviser.com, September 2017

Millennials Engaged in Retirement Saving, but Challenge Norms

Abstract: Millennials are taking steps to save early for retirement, but they also have higher expectations that employers should be offering access to a retirement savings plan and socially responsive investments, according to new survey results.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, September 2017

Webinar Replay: NEPC 12th Annual DC Plan and Fee Survey

Abstract: NEPC's Ross Bremen, CFA, Partner, and Kevin McCullough, CFA, Analyst, hosted this review of NEPC's 12th Annual DC Plan and Fee Survey. NEPC conducted the Survey to capture data and trends around plan design, and to help plan fiduciaries better understand and measure the investment and administrative costs of their plans.

Source: Nepc.com, September 2017

Fiduciaries: "Can Someone Just Tell Me What to Do?"

Abstract: Eight of ten employers say they're concerned about an increase in fiduciary litigation. And more than a quarter listed fiduciary liability and litigation as their top 401k concern. Who can blame a fiduciary for thinking, "Can someone just tell me what I have to do?"

Source: Manning-Napier.com, September 2017

Three Ways Participants are Driving a New Era of Menu Design

Abstract: The industry has put immense effort into introducing new participants to retirement education and help preparing resources to assist in participants' long-term needs. While the effort on behalf of those participants can and should continue to be a large focus, there needs to be an additional layer of planning, preparation, and servicing to those participants who are near or at retirement with a shorter time horizon, and full of diverse needs.

Source: Manning-Napier.com, September 2017

Retirement Plan Advisers Need to Start Marketing to Providers

Abstract: Resources are shrinking as margins get thinner, with more assets moving into target-date funds and passive investments, forcing providers to make tough decisions on who they can support. As a result, advisers need to start "selling" providers on why they deserve support and treat them like true business partners rather than vendors.

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

Fiduciary Liability Defenses for Advisers Under ERISA

Abstract: If an investment adviser makes a recommendation to a retirement plan sponsor or investment manager, who then follows that recommendation and later challenges it as a breach of fiduciary duty, there are several types of defenses available to the adviser.

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

IRS' Pre-Approved Plan Program Gets a Make-Over (With Extensions)

Abstract: The IRS recently issued Rev. Proc. 2017-41, which streamlines and enhances the pre-approved plan program in light of the drastic changes that were made to the determination letter program for individually designed plans. Many of these changes were in response to the benefits community comments on ways to help improve the program and facilitate transition of plan sponsors to these pre-approved programs.

Source: Groom.com, September 2017

Staying Out of Trouble: How to Avoid IRS and DOL Audits

Abstract: This presentation discusses IRS and DOL audit triggers, the process for each, and what to do if your plan is audited. It also discuss the top audit issues and actionable steps companies can take to avoid audits and compliance issues.

Source: Employeebenefitsblog.com, September 2017

Three Loan Errors That Might Be Occurring in Your Retirement Plan Right Now

Abstract: Loans are among the most complex transactions to administer for defined contribution retirement plan recordkeepers and plan sponsors. This article reviews the three most common administrative errors.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, September 2017

How to Do a 403b Collective Trust

Abstract: The University of California made news when it announced that it has found a way to apply the collective trust rules in such a way to make just such an offering to its 403b plan. For sophisticated state universities with large plans, or even those large consolidated K-12 plans, this could be a very real option.

Source: Businessofbenefits.com, September 2017

Employers Looking to "DBification" of DC Plans as Industry Matures

Abstract: As the defined contribution pension industry continues to mature, Canadian employers are considering ways to improve their DC plans by introducing elements of defined benefit plans, according to an industry expert.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, September 2017

Eight Tips to Build and Run Yours Retirement Plan Committee Effectively

Abstract: There's no one size fits all formula for building the "perfect" committee. A lot depends on the size and design of your plan, and the demographics of your participant population. Here are eight tips to help you set up and structure a committee that benefits your plan and acts in your participants' best interests.

Source: 401ktv.com, September 2017

IRS Preapproved Retirement Plan Program Modestly Modified to Accommodate More Designs

Abstract: The modifications are designed to further the IRS's stated intention to encourage sponsors of individually designed plans to transition to a preapproved plan format. However, the changes are relatively modest and most large plan sponsors will likely find other ways to mitigate their higher compliance risk.

Source: Towerswatson.com, September 2017

Book Offers Comprehensive ERISA Compliance Insights

Abstract: Readers of a new publication from Research and Markets are taken step by step through ERISA regulations to help ensure that their plans are properly structured, qualified and implemented.

Source: Plansponsor.com, September 2017

Are Saving More and Working Later the Only Options to Improve Retirement Readiness?

Abstract: In a Pension Research Council working paper, Catherine Reilly, senior investment strategist, defined contribution, at State Street Global Advisors, and Alistair Byrne, head of investment strategy, European defined contribution, at SSGA, state that expected low market returns paired with increasing longevity will make it tougher for future retirees to have sufficient income replacement rates in retirement.

Source: Planadviser.com, September 2017

A Fresh Look at Mid-Year (aka "Projected") 401k Testing

Abstract: It's that time of year again, when many clients and their advisors map out a strategy for the remainder of the year to try to maximize 401k deferral rates for their Highly Compensated Employees. Often, mid-year, or projected, compliance testing is the tool that they use to devise that strategy. This article focuses on how mid-year nondiscrimination testing can be a disservice to advisors, clients, and participants alike. It then reviews how to use 401k test results in a more constructive manner.

Source: Pentegra.com, September 2017

Fiduciary Rule Should Be Largely Positive for Investors

Abstract: In a comment letter to the SEC, Morningstar's Aron Szapiro explores what changes the fiduciary rule has had on the asset management industry and what the SEC can do to help investors.

Source: Morningstar.com, September 2017

Like Harvey, Retirement Plans Can Make Loans, Hardship Distributions to Victims of Hurricane Irma

Abstract: The Internal Revenue Service announced that 401ks and similar employer-sponsored retirement plans can make loans and hardship distributions to victims of Hurricane Irma and members of their families. This is similar to relief provided last month to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Source: Irs.gov, September 2017

Voya Charged Big Fees to Small 401k, Lawsuits Says

Abstract: Voya Financial is accused in a new lawsuit of charging excessive recordkeeping and administrative fees to a small 401k plan.

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

Warren Ups War of Words in 401k Fiduciary Fight

Abstract: Elizabeth Warren fired off yet another letter last week, this time to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, urging the latter to implement the fiduciary rule post haste. She cited comments made by financial services companies during earnings calls to bolster her case, noting "that they are prepared to comply with the rule in its current form and that many believe it to be in the best interests of their customers."

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, September 2017

State Sponsored Retirement Savings Plans: New Approaches to Boost Retirement Plan Coverage

Abstract: This 37-page paper describes and evaluates models and features used in emerging state-sponsored retirement saving plans such as Auto IRAs, open Multiple Employer Plans and Marketplaces. These plans have enormous potential to raise the number of Americans with access to payroll-deduction retirement saving plans.

Source: Wharton.upenn.edu, September 2017

Do We Need a 'Harmonized' Fiduciary Standard?

Abstract: Any efforts to "harmonize" the fiduciary standard of conduct between those who must legally place the interests of their principals above those of their clients -- stockbrokers and insurance agents -- and those who are legally required to place the interests of their clients before their own -- fiduciary registered investment advisors -- are therefore doomed from the start. That's why all such SEC efforts to date have failed.

Source: Morningstar.com (registration may be required), September 2017

Edison International Agrees to Pay $13.2 Million in 401k Fee Lawsuit

Abstract: Parties in the landmark Tibble v. Edison lawsuit have agreed the defendant, Edison International, will pay more than $13 million in damages to cover allegations of excessive 401k fees.

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

Congress Likely to 'Push Down' the Priority of Killing DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: A main congressional opponent of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule said Thursday that Capitol Hill's swelling political agenda will decrease the priority level of taking up legislation to kill the rule.

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

What Kind of Relief May Employers Offer to Affected Employees of Hurricane Harvey and Irma?

Abstract: Employers with employees and operations impacted by the recent hurricanes are asking what type of compensation, employee benefits, and tax relief may be available to them and their affected employees. This is a 7-page review.

Source: Ebglaw.com, September 2017

Five Factors to Consider Before Adding Newer Investments

Abstract: When selecting investments for fiduciary accounts, it's critical to use prudent selection criteria. Some of the most widely used criteria require three years of live history before they are calculated. While the three-year history is used as a gating factor for many, there may be instances where it's prudent to select newer investments for fiduciary accounts.

Source: Fi360.com, September 2017

Low Returns and Optimal Retirement Savings

Abstract: Lifetime financial outcomes relate closely to the sequence of investment returns earned over the lifecycle. Higher return assumptions allow individuals to save at a lower rate, withdraw at a higher rate, retire with a lower wealth accumulation, and enjoy a higher standard of living throughout their lifetimes. However, at the present bond yields are historically lower and equity prices are quite high, suggesting that individuals will likely experience lower returns in the futureThe implications are higher savings rates, lower withdrawal rates, the need for a larger nest egg at retirement, and a lower lifetime standard of living.

Source: Wharton.upenn.edu, September 2017

Retirement Saving and Decumulation in a Persistent Low-Return Environment

Abstract: This paper addresses two related topics: first, how have households responded to the current low interest rate environment and second, are there alternative responses or investments which households might do well to consider?

Source: Wharton.upenn.edu, September 2017

Helping Employers Become Age-Ready

Abstract: This paper examines how living longer is likely to influence working longer, how the nature of changes to work itself will influence future generations of work, workers and workplace, and ultimately, the paper will dive deeply into what employers can do to achieve a competitive advantage from the changing demographics. In short, how do employers become age-ready?

Source: Wharton.upenn.edu, September 2017

Recent Plan Fiduciary Victories in ERISA Single-Stock Fund Litigation

Abstract: Over the last few months, there have been a significant number of court decisions ruling against plaintiffs alleging ERISA breach of fiduciary claims related to single-stock funds. These recent decisions suggest a new era in the ongoing saga of ERISA single-stock fund litigation, and one that may bode well for ERISA plan fiduciaries.

Source: Morganlewis.com, September 2017

Employer Stock in a 401k Plan

Abstract: There are several valuable reasons why companies include employer stock in 401k plans. However, increased risk of litigation has caused many employers to reconsider the decision to offer employer stock as an investment option. This article outlines initiatives for plan sponsors to consider when deciding to maintain or discontinue their employer stock offering.

Source: Milliman.com, September 2017

Proving Loss Causation in Breach of Fiduciary Claims -- The Split Widens

Abstract: Most circuit courts of appeals agree that ERISA requires that causation between the alleged breach and the claimed loss must be established before any liability may be imposed upon a breaching fiduciary. The courts are split, however, as to whether an ERISA plaintiff or the defendant-fiduciary bears the burden of proving the causal link between breach and loss.

Source: Jacksonlewis.com, September 2017

Retirement Account Loan Strategies You May Not Have Thought About

Abstract: Taking a retirement plan loan may be considered taboo in some cultures, primarily because it can be detrimental to your retirement preparedness. That said, not all retirement plan loans are bad. If you are considering a loan, here are a few tips and strategies to make it less costly and more beneficial for you now, and in the future.

Source: Financialfinesse.com, September 2017

Did the 401k Really Kill the Pension Plan?

Abstract: The myth persists that the 401k plan killed the pension. Is this true? The article identifies three macroeconomic trends that slayed the pension plan, once the giant among all retirement plans.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, September 2017

Do Older Americans Have More Income Than We Think?

Abstract: Being prepared not just for a rainy day but for years -- perhaps many -- of post-workforce life drives strategies and safety nets. And analyses often warn that all the effort is insufficient. But panelists at a recent discussion concerning studies on retirement income suggest that the prospects for many are really quite good.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2017

Seven-Year Streak of Falling Corporate DC Plan Fees Ends

Abstract: Investment consulting firm NEPC's annual defined contribution plan and fee survey reported that recordkeeping, trust and custody fees remained flat over the past year, the first time it hasn't declined since 2010.

Source: Ai-cio.com, September 2017

Addressing Disasters & Emergencies: Giant, Large, Medium, Small, Individual

Abstract: Plan sponsors must have the skills of an acrobat -- balancing business needs, employee concerns, legal and compliance requirements -- and sometimes they must do this against a backdrop of emergencies and natural disasters.

Source: Psca.org, September 2017

Hurricane Harvey Affects Retirement Plan Administration

Abstract: The arrival of Hurricane Harvey in August significantly affected individuals and businesses in Texas. Recognizing this impact, the IRS, DOL, and the PBGC have granted extensions of certain deadlines for both plan sponsors and participants directly affected by this disaster. The IRS has also provided special rules for plan sponsors that want to offer hardship distributions or plan loans to employees or former employees that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Source: Prudential.com, September 2017

Saving for Retirement Not Feasible for Many Women

Abstract: Saving for retirement is not economically feasible for 44% of middle-income women, MassMutual found in a survey. By comparison, this is the case for only 14% of men with annual household incomes of between $35,000 and $150,000.

Source: Plansponsor.com, September 2017

DOL Proposes 18-Month Fiduciary Rule Delay; Issues New Guidance

Abstract: The DOL announced additional delays to major aspects of its fiduciary rule by proposing to extend certain transition period deadlines and applicability dates by 18 months. If finalized, full compliance with the rule's chief prohibited transaction exemptions would not be required until July 1, 2019.

Source: Mcguirewoods.com, September 2017

Significant Changes Proposed for Employee Benefit Plan Audit Reports

Abstract: AICPA Auditing Standards Board has proposed changes to the reporting standards for annual audits of employee benefit plans that are covered by ERISA. The proposal, which was issued in April 2017, was in response to a request from the U.S. Department of Labor to re-examine the current audit reporting model for employee benefit plans.

Source: Franczek.com, September 2017

DOL Conflict Rule - 401k Plan Sponsors Need to Step Into the Serve

Abstract: As in the game of tennis, plan sponsors face the strong serves of advisers vying for their business and for more revenue. Plans sponsors need to step into these serves. This means they must vigorously examine their sales collateral, their promises, their agreements, and their direct and indirect compensation.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, September 2017

Can 403b Plans Now Invest in Collective Investment Trusts?

Abstract: The University of California becoming the first 403b non-church plan sponsor to offer collective investment trusts in its 403b plan. This development was somewhat surprising, given the fact that non-church 403b plans are generally restricted to investing in 403(b)(1) fixed/variable annuities and 403(b)(7) custodial accounts, and most CITs are neither.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, September 2017

What Would a Government Investigation Reveal About Your Retirement Plan?

Abstract: Many plan sponsors don't revisit the plans to ensure they are staying in compliance with ERISA and federal regulations, or do not consider governmental policy changes. A DOL investigation can uncover problems with retirement plans and subject employers to costly penalties. There are a number of steps employers can take before they are given notice of any investigation to reduce the risk of penalties.

Source: Bsllp.com, September 2017

DST, Ruane Cunniff Sued Again Over Valeant Stock in 401k Plan

Abstract: Investment firm Ruane Cunniff & Goldfarb Inc. and DST Systems Inc. face a third lawsuit over the alleged imprudent investment of DST's 401k plan assets in Valeant Pharmaceuticals stock.

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

Participants' Best Interests May Not Be Served by the "Race to the Bottom"

Abstract: While lawsuits and investigations have served a purpose in lowering plan fees, a side effect is that many plan sponsors, in their concern to meet compliance standards, have made a search for the lowest fees such a priority that they have unwittingly overlooked the best way to serve plan participants.

Source: Alliantwealth.com, September 2017

401k Services Market Heating Up

Abstract: Fees are top of mind for defined contribution plan sponsors in 2017. A recent Callan survey shows that 26% of sponsors expect to conduct a search for a new recordkeeper this year. Therefore, it's important to closely evaluate what you're getting for your plan dollars when shopping around for new vendors.

Source: 401ktv.com, September 2017

New Pre-Approved 403b Retirement Plan Restatement Period Now Open

Abstract: Sponsors of 403b retirement plans received welcomed news from the IRS in 2013 that it would allow them to adopt a pre-approved 403b plan. This means that for the first time, employers can adopt a written 403b plan document that the IRS has reviewed and approved. While more than three years have passed since the IRS announced this change, the time to take advantage of this new opportunity by adopting a pre-approved 403b retirement plan document has finally arrived.

Source: Wnj.com, September 2017

Hurricane Harvey Victims Eligible for Emergency Retirement Withdrawals

Abstract: Hurricane Harvey survivors are now eligible to take loans and hardship distributions from 401k plans and similar types of retirement accounts, due to relaxed IRS rules. Retirees who haven't received their scheduled Social Security payments also have several options to pick up their checks. Here's how your retirement savings can be used to help cope with the costs of the storm.

Source: Usnews.com, September 2017

IRS and DOL Provide Relief for Plan Sponsors and Participants Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Abstract: The Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor issued temporary relief on deadlines and procedural requirements applicable to employee benefit plans for employers impacted by Hurricane Harvey. This article is a good review relief provided.

Source: Seyfarth.com, September 2017

DOL Proposes 18-Month Delay in Applicability Date for Portions of Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The DOL stated that the delay is primarily intended to give it more time to consider possible changes or alternatives to the rule and exemptions, and to coordinate with the SEC on any changes. The proposal also indicates that the DOL plans to release, in the near future, a new, "more streamlined" exemption based on new developments in the financial services industry.

Source: Ropesgray.com, September 2017

Cybersecurity More Than an Individual Concern

Abstract: Cybersecurity is a special concern for the financial industry, a lawyer who handles cybersecurity cases said recently. But its importance goes well beyond the integrity of clients' and plan participants' sensitive information, it pervades inter-corporate business functions as well.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, September 2017

How Retirement Plan Advisers Can Combat 'Dramatic' Fee Compression

Abstract: As with other service providers to defined contribution plans, price compression for adviser services has been rapid and deep. Price compression in the retirement plan arena isn't new, but it's gotten to a point where observers believe advisers could be in trouble? absent some sort of change

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

Fiduciary Education Is Key for Plan Sponsor Investment Committees

Abstract: As advisers and others serving plans will attest, greater awareness doesn't necessarily mean that committee members understand their legal responsibilities or precisely what they should be doing as a plan fiduciary.

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

DC Plan Participants' Activities, First Quarter 2017

Abstract: DC plan withdrawal activity in the first quarter of 2017 remained low and was like the first quarter in the prior year. Most DC plan participants also stayed the course with their asset allocations as stock values generally rose during the first three months of the year.

Source: Ici.org, September 2017

Retirement Plan Relief for Hurricane Harvey

Abstract: The IRS has issued two relief declarations affecting retirement plans. The first, TX-2017-09, provides 7508A relief postponing numerous deadlines to January 31, 2018. The second, Announcement 2017-11, simplifies and streamlines loans and hardship distributions in the wake of Harvey. This document summarizes the IRS relief and the related DOL announcement.

Source: Erisapedia.com, September 2017

DOL Compliance Guidance for Plans Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Abstract: The guidance provided in this statement applies generally to employee benefit plans, plan sponsors, employers and employees, and service providers to such employers who are located in a county identified for individual assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey.

Source: Dol.gov, September 2017

DOL Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2017-02

Abstract: This document announces a temporary enforcement policy related to the DOL's final rule defining who is a fiduciary under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code, and the related prohibited transaction exemptions, including the Best Interest Contract Exemption, the Class Exemption for Principal Transactions in Certain Assets Between Investment Advice Fiduciaries and Employee Benefit Plans and IRAs, and certain amended prohibited transaction exemptions.

Source: Dol.gov, September 2017

DOL Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2017-03

Abstract: This document announces an enforcement policy related to the limitation of arbitration in the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BIC Exemption) and the Class Exemption for Principal Transactions in Certain Assets Between Investment Advice Fiduciaries and Employee Benefit Plans and IRAs, issued by the DOL under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.

Source: Dol.gov, September 2017

Avoiding Fiduciary Traps: Eight Tips for DC Plan Sponsors

Abstract: DC plan sponsors often worry about landing in hot water for doing the wrong thing. However, many fiduciary issues crop up because plan sponsors have failed to take action. Here are eight potential fiduciary traps and suggest ways to avoid them.

Source: Callan.com, September 2017

The Case Against Delaying the Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Is the Fiduciary Rule perfect? Not by a longshot. Yet, the Economic Policy Institute says the cost to retirement investors of an additional delay could reach $7.3 billion over 30 years. It is also hard to see why a rule that went through the most lengthy comment and review process in recent memory should need extensive rewriting, or why those who had so much advance notice of the effective dates should need still more time to comply.

Source: Penchecks.com, September 2017


Looking for earlier information? Go to our Archive.

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


Press Center | Glossary | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact Us

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