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December 2016 Article Digest

This article digest contains a wide range of source material dealing with current trends, opinion, news, legislative action, investments, marketing, sales, consulting, and legal issues. 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.

Employee Benefits Consideration in Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions

Abstract: Employers that sponsor a retirement plan face a host of potential issues to consider both before and after a corporate merger or acquisition. These topics can be complex and often require appropriate analysis and planning prior to an acquisition in order to meet the goals of all parties and the needs of the affected employees.

Source: Vanguard.com, December 2016

DOL Significantly Increases Some Penalties for ERISA Violations

Abstract: The DOL increased the penalties for specified violations of ERISA. Most of the penalty increases involve reporting and disclosure failures related to benefit plans and will be effective for penalties assessed after August 1, 2016, if the violation occurred after November 1, 2015.

Source: Employeebenefitsblog.com, December 2016

A Plan Sponsor's Guide to Navigating 2017

Abstract: History will likely show that the events of 2016 were an impetus for significant change in the landscape of America's retirement system. How exactly events will play out in 2017 is difficult to predict, but this article suggests several issues that will be the main drivers of change.

Source: Captrustadvisors.com, December 2016

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

Abstract: In Revenue Procedure 2016-37, the IRS formally announced the elimination, effective January 1, 2017, of the five-year remedial amendment cycle system for individually designed, qualified retirement plans. The first RA List was published in early December, providing an opportunity to develop procedures for maintaining qualified status in 2017 and beyond. In this article is a discussion of some resources and considerations that can help inform employers in such actions.

Source: Caplindrysdale.com, December 2016

Yes, Plan Fiduciaries, You Can Exercise Shareholder Rights

Abstract: Employee benefit plan fiduciaries can exercise their shareholder rights with proxy voting as part of their fiduciary duty to manage plan assets, the Department of Labor said Dec. 28.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), December 2016

Unintended Results? Conflicts of Interest and the 401k Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: It is important for participants to have the opportunity to work with advisors, planners, or other financial professionals who can help determine that course of action that makes the most sense. Unfortunately, the new fiduciary rule may limit participants’ access to professional financial advice and that could affect retirement outcomes in unexpected ways.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2016

What's Next for Robo-Advice in the DC Space?

Abstract: Robo-advisers gained some traction in the DC industry this year, and many have come to see how the technology could work with, rather than against, traditional advisers.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

Grandfathered 403(b)s

Abstract: In this piece, Ellie Lowder tells us whether a client's 403(b) account in a public school district's plan in which no contributions have been made since 2003 qualifies as grandfathered and if the client can self-certify.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, December 2016

Errors Can Cause Auto Enrollment to Fail

Abstract: By unintentionally overlooking little-known pitfalls, employers can inadvertently create a failure in their automatic enrollment programs.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, December 2016

2016 Practice Benchmarking Survey

Abstract: What do retirement plan advisers view as their biggest challenges? Their greatest opportunities? What are the primary benefits they receive from custodians and broker/dealers? The 2016 PLANADVISER Practice Benchmarking Survey of 613 retirement plan advisers shares insights into these and other key questions, and gives you a guidepost to see how you compare with your peers.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

Five New Year's Resolutions for Canadian DC Plan Sponsors

Abstract: In the spirit of New Years' resolutions, here are five "resolutions" that defined contribution pension plan sponsors can undertake in 2017 to ensure their program is even more successful in the year ahead.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, December 2016

Using an EPS to Evaluate Target-Date Funds

Abstract: What is an Evaluation Process Statement? An EPS is a written document that describes in detail a complete sequence of steps for selecting and monitoring investments, including the qualified default investment alternative and target-date fund, that incorporate your plan's investment objectives, fiduciary priorities and risk constraints.

Source: 401ktv.com, December 2016

2017 Checklist: Required Notices for DC Plan Participants

Abstract: Running a DC plan is complicated with lots of required notices when employees become eligible with some required every year. Though most companies rely on their recordkeeper, TPA, or advisor to help, it does not relieve them of the responsibility or liability if notices are not sent out. With 2017 plan year looming, here are the required notices to participants.

Source: 401ktv.com, December 2016

DOL Issues Rules on Savings Programs Established by State Political Subdivisions

Abstract: The Department of Labor issued final regulations on retirement savings programs for private sector employees established by qualified political subdivisions of the states. The final regulations adopt the proposed regulations issued in August 2016 but make several modifications.

Source: Practicallaw.com, December 2016

Retirement Savings Drive Shift in Capital Distribution

Abstract: A new analysis by several well-known economists warns of severe economic consequences related to income inequality; but there are also positive findings about capital distribution and retirement savings.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2016

Leveraging Technology Ahead of the Fiduciary Rule in 2017

Abstract: The DOL'svConflict of Interest rule is anticipated to thrust advisers in the retirement services industry into an unprecedented regulatory space. With its April 10 implementation just months away, advisers are developing and seeking new strategies to comply with the so-called fiduciary rule.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

DC Plan Regulatory Issues Not Foremost on the Minds of Executives

Abstract: Defined contribution plan executives have plenty to do in 2017 without contemplating the impact of the next president, the next Congress or the next set of regulatory agency chiefs. From fee negotiations to plan design changes, sponsors will work on practices and confront challenges independent of Washington's influence or interference, consultants said.

Source: Pionline.com, December 2016

Tips to Keep You and Your Recordkeeper on Track

Abstract: One of a plan sponsor's many fiduciary responsibilities is to monitor its service providers. Best practices suggest that you and your committee should review your record keeper on, at least, an annual basis. Some areas for evaluation are reviewed.

Source: Pavilioncorp.com, December 2016

401k Education Best Practices

Abstract: Have you started planning your 2017 401k employee education sessions? Generally, most plan sponsors conduct employee education sessions during the early part of the new year to explain changes that went into effect on January 1. As you think about your 2017 education sessions, keep the following 401k education best practices in mind.

Source: Lawtonrpc.com, December 2016

2017 Will Be Year of Change for Retirement Industry

Abstract: Although the economic and public policy outlook is murky, thanks to the largely unexpected victory of president-elect Donald Trump, 2017 could be the year that holistic retirement planning becomes the norm.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2016

Six Things to Know About State Auto-IRA Programs

Abstract: Five states have passed legislation requiring employers that do not sponsor employee retirement plans to automatically withhold funds from employees' pay, and forward them to IRAs maintained under state-run investment programs. Considering this growing trend, what do employers need to know about auto-IRA programs? Some key points are listed here.

Source: Benefitnews.com, December 2016

ADP and ACP Tests

Abstract: As a mechanism to prevent discrimination in DC plan deferral and match contributions, Congress developed the Actual Deferral Percentage (ADP) and the Actual Contribution Percentage (ACP) tests.

Source: Belfint.com, December 2016

Process Remains Critical Factor in ERISA 401k Plan Litigation

Abstract: A recent decision by the Northern District of California provides a welcome counterpoint in the fact that a detailed complaint has been filed alleging various breaches of the duty of loyalty and duty of prudence does not mean that there was any breach of fiduciary duty whatsoever.

Source: Wagnerlawgroup.com, December 2016

IRS Simplifies User Fee Relief for Small Employer Plan Determination Letter Requests

Abstract: The IRS has issued a notice simplifying the requirements for certain small employers to avoid paying a user fee when submitting recently established retirement plans (including 401k plans) for determination letters.

Source: Thomsonreuters.com, December 2016

A Financial Services Regulation Wish List for the Trump Administration

Abstract: Ron A. Rhoades, J.D., CFP(R), is an Asst. Professor of Finance at Western Kentucky University's Gordon Ford College of Business, where he serves as Director of its Financial Planning program. This is his five-point financial services regulation wish list for the Trump administration.

Source: Sscholarfp.blogspot.com, December 2016

Practice Development: Best Practices When Managing Your Staff

Abstract: In the success of your firm, equally important to free cash flow, is the people. You need to make sure you have the right people on your team. This article reviews a number of best practices when hiring and managing your staff.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

Services to Look for From Recordkeepers

Abstract: Selecting a recordkeeper is critical for retirement plans. They provide a variety of services, and plan sponsors and advisers should look for the ones most important to them and their participants.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

Avoid Disaster When Designating Beneficiaries on Your Retirement Plan

Abstract: A retirement plan beneficiary designation is a contractual agreement between the account owner and the company holding the retirement plan assets. One of the most confusing, and potentially costly, estate planning issues relates to these beneficiary designations on retirement plan accounts.

Source: Mossadamswealthadvisors.com, December 2016

States Make Efforts to Expand Retirement Coverage

Abstract: States are considering leveraging three key existing federal programs as they try to expand access to retirement savings vehicles: individual retirement accounts, Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees IRAs, and multiple-employer plans.

Source: Morningstar.com, December 2016

Benefit Plans Not Target for Tax Revenue, at Least Not Yet

Abstract: The tax advantages that employee benefit plans and their participants enjoy don't appear to be in the crosshairs of the next Congress, despite fears to the contrary.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), December 2016

Retirement Plan Communications and Planning Going Digital

Abstract: The world is undergoing a digital transformation, and everything is going digital now, including personal financial management and commerce, says TIAA's Chief Digital Officer and CIO, Scott Blandford, who is based in Iselin, New Jersey. And, the same is true for employer-sponsored retirement plan data and communications.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2016

Holistic Retirement Planning on the Horizon

Abstract: The Insured Retirement Institute released a new 28-page report forecasting that more advisors in the years ahead will embrace a holistic retirement planning approach, one focused on developing retirement income for clients.

Source: Irionline.org, December 2016

DOL Fiduciary Rule Delay Likely and Death Not Out of the Question

Abstract: Post-election, the fate of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule is in question. Confusion and speculation about how, when and if the rule will move forward threaten to distract firms from planning and preparing for its scheduled implementation in April.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2016

DC Plan Profile: A Close Look at 401k Plans

Abstract: The comprehensive study analyzes the most recent detailed data available from the Department of Labor on a wide range of private-sector 401k plans. The 76-page report studied plan sponsors' combinations of automatic enrollment, employer contributions, and participant loans in those 401k plans. In addition, the study examined trends in plan investment options and fees, providing additional insights into the 401k system.

Source: Ici.org, December 2016

House Freedom Caucus Takes Aim at Financial Regulations

Abstract: A Freedom Caucus report targets for repeal a diverse set of regulations finalized or proposed during the Obama Administration, including several that are important to the financial services industry. These include the fiduciary rule for investment advisers, the proposed arbitration rule for consumer financial institutions, and rules setting recovery plan guidelines for OCC-regulated banks.

Source: Covfinancialservices.com, December 2016

Economic Hurdles, Retirement Plan Design Inefficiencies Discourage Millennials From Saving for Retirement

Abstract: America's working population is undergoing shifts that will inevitably affect the retirement plan industry, with millions of Baby Boomers retiring and as many Millennials joining the workforce. Providers will have to adjust to the demands of young, tech-savvy employees who have high expectations for the participant digital experience and are skeptical toward financial services firms.

Source: Corporateinsight.com, December 2016

The Legacy of DOL's Champion for Employee Benefits

Abstract: Phyllis Borzi has one month to go in office as assistant secretary for the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration, but stacks of files are still heaped on her desk and on the floor.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), December 2016

Hotel Giant Starwood Hit With 401k Fee Class Action

Abstract: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is the latest company accused of breaching its fiduciary duties by layering up its 401k plan with high-priced, poorly performing investment options.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), December 2016

Delta Air Lines Latest Company Hit With 401k Class Action

Abstract: Delta Air Lines is accused in a new lawsuit of selecting high-priced, poorly performing and duplicative investment options in the company's 401k plan despite the availability of less-expensive alternatives.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), December 2016

How Millennials are Redefining Retirement

Abstract: Millennials are redefining what retirement will look like when it is their time to join the ranks. According to a study by Bank of America Merrill Edge, 83% of millennials plan to work into retirement, which is the exact opposite of current retirees, the majority of whom say they aren't working in retirement or have never worked during their retirement.

Source: Benefitnews.com, December 2016

Adopting a Fiduciary Governance Program

Abstract: This article discusses establishing a program for fiduciary governance, a program that defines the roles and responsibilities of those who oversee and manage your corporate retirement plan, as well as processes and tasks for their committee meetings.

Source: Alliantwealth.com, December 2016

The Role of the Investment Committee in Your DC Plan

Abstract: The New Year is a perfect time to address many of the annual review items in the 401k compliance and governance checklist. As the New Year unfolds, plan sponsors may want to evaluate the composition of their Investment Committee.

Source: 401ktv.com, December 2016

Extensive Plan Data Reveal Key Design Features and Trends

Abstract: A new in-depth study of 401k plans by BrightScope and the Investment Company Institute finds that the great majority of employers that sponsor 401k plans -- more than three-quarters -- contribute to their plans, using a range of formulas when they provide matching contributions. The report, released today, also reveals that plans offer a wide variety of investment choices and that mutual fund fees in 401k plans have trended down.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2016

Puerto Rico Treasury Announces Key Benefit Plan Limits for 2017

Abstract: Puerto Rico's secretary of Treasury has announced the qualified retirement plan limits for 2017. Plan sponsors should ensure that documents and employee communications are updated to reflect the adjusted 2017 limits, and take steps to apply these limits properly in the administration of Puerto Rico qualified or dual qualified retirement plans.

Source: Xerox.com, December 2016

Two More Victories for the Fiduciary Rule - But Will They Be Hollow Ones?

Abstract: Following in the footsteps of a District of Columbia district court judge, a second judge in Kansas refused to issue an injunction barring enforcement of parts of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule. However, the big question here is whether any decisions upholding the fiduciary rule will be nullified by actions of the new Trump administration.

Source: Cohenbuckmann.com, December 2016

Establishing a Strong Investment Committee

Abstract: It's not enough to simply have an IPS. You also want to establish an engaged and informed investment committee, and task it with keeping your plan's IPS alive and well over time. While there is no such thing as a "perfect," one-size-fits-all investment committee, there are several broad factors to consider as you form and maintain a committee best suited for your plan. These include: committee size, make-up, operations and documentation procedures.

Source: Alliantwealth.com, December 2016

Goldilocks and the Three Bonds

Abstract: Once upon a time, there was a busy company manager named Goldilocks who was lost in the woods of deciding which ERISA bond was right for her company's qualified retirement plan.

Source: Alliantwealth.com, December 2016

17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey

Abstract: The latest research findings from TCRS' 2016 survey of American workers. The Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey explores attitudes about retirement and retirement readiness among American workers. This study is one of the largest and longest-running of its kind and is conducted by Harris Poll.

Source: Transamericacenter.org, December 2016

2016 PLANSPONSOR DC Investment Survey

Abstract: This year's PLANSPONSOR/Janus Capital Group survey of plan sponsors' approaches, attitudes and intentions shows a shift in focus from fiduciary risks and duties to the importance of fees. Is this a good thing? Maybe. Or maybe not.

Source: Rackcdn.com, December 2016

A Glimpse Into 403(b) Plan Trends

Abstract: New 10-page Plan Sponsor Council of America survey highlights fiduciary awareness. PSCA's 2016 403(b) Snapshot Survey reflects responses from 281 not-for-profit organizations that currently sponsor a 403(b) plan.

Source: Psca.org, December 2016

Will the Trump Administration Target the DOL Rule?

Abstract: While it is unclear what action will be pursued, many expect that addressing the DOL rule will be a priority for the Trump administration in 2017, especially given that Trump's nominee for secretary of labor, Andrew Puzder, has been a vocal opponent of regulation in general.

Source: Pimco.com, December 2016

A Look at Private-Sector Retirement Plan Income After ERISA

Abstract: The movement away from employer-managed DB plans toward employee-directed DC plans has raised concerns among some in the public policy community. These concerns typically focus on whether Americans will have adequate retirement resources and whether they can manage assets prior to and in retirement. To help provide context for retirement policy discussions, this 32-page paper examines the role that private-sector pensions (both DB and DC) historically have played in providing retirement income.

Source: Ici.org, December 2016

D.C. Court of Appeals Denies Emergency Request to Halt Conflict of Interest Rule

Abstract: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied the emergency request from the National Association for Fixed Annuities for an injunction blocking the implementation of the Department of Labor's conflict of interest rule and related exemptions.

Source: Erisapracticecenter.com, December 2016

DOL Files Lawsuit to Appoint Independent Fiduciary to Administer 401k

Abstract: The DOL is seeking the removals of Hidebumi Minagawa as plan administrator and trustee, and of Hailu Solomon as trustee, and the appointment of an independent or successor fiduciary with discretionary authority to administer the plan in order to effectuate its termination and the distribution of the plan's remaining assets.

Source: Dol.gov, December 2016

New ERISA Safe Harbor for Municipally Sponsored Private-Sector IRA Plans

Abstract: The DOL announced a final rule to assist large cities and other political subdivisions that establish payroll deduction individual retirement account savings programs for workers who do not have access to workplace savings arrangements. The rule amends a similar rule related to state savings initiatives published earlier in 2016.

Source: Dol.gov, December 2016

Fact Sheet: City or County Savings Programs for Non-Governmental Employees

Abstract: The DOL has published a regulatory safe harbor that describes how certain political subdivisions, such as large cities and counties, may design and operate payroll deduction savings programs, using automatic enrollment, for private-sector employees without causing the cities or counties or the private-sector employers to establish employee pension benefit plans under ERISA. This is a 3-page "fact sheet."

Source: Dol.gov, December 2016

Satisfying Today's Retirement Plan Participant: Study Now Available

Abstract: This study shares the results of our September 2016 survey of close to 1,500 DC plan participants, shedding light on participant satisfaction with providers and examining such key aspects of the relationship as advice and planning offerings, communication, mobile apps, and websites.

Source: Corporateinsight.com, December 2016

Fidelity, Putnam 401k Investors Get Class Treatment

Abstract: A pair of lawsuits accusing Fidelity Management Trust Co. and Putnam Investments LLC of 401k mismanagement were certified as class actions.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), December 2016

Edison Workers' 401k Fee Challenge Revived by Ninth Circuit

Abstract: Edison International workers convinced an appeals court to revive their claim accusing the company of breaching its ERISA fiduciary duties by failing to monitor allegedly high fees charged in the company's 401k plan.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), December 2016

ABC Suggests More Flexible Determination Letter Process, Expansion of Private Letter Rulings Program

Abstract: In written comments to the Internal Revenue Service, the American Benefits Council suggested a number of approaches the agency could take to facilitate the retirement plan qualification process in light of the ongoing phase-out of the determination letter program.

Source: Americanbenefitscouncil.org, December 2016

Mercer Outlines 2017 Top Priorities for DC Plan Sponsors

Abstract: The changing needs of individuals and an evolving regulatory landscape requires plan sponsors to reassess their defined contribution plans. Mercer suggests that DC plan sponsors prioritize eleven areas for 2017.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2016

PSCA Releases Results of 59th Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401k Plans

Abstract: Participation and deferral rates in Defined Contribution Profit Sharing and 401k Plans posted steady increases in the most recent annual survey published by the Plan Sponsor Council of America. Respondents to the survey report that almost 90 percent of US employees are eligible to participate in their employer's DC plan. The average percentage of eligible employees who have a balance in their plan is 87.6 percent, and 81.9 percent made contributions to their plan in 2015. This is up 5 percent over 2010.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2016

New Evidence on the Demand for Advice Within Retirement Plans

Abstract: This 13-page paper uses participant-level data from TIAA to shed new light on the demand for advice within retirement plans. In addition to documenting how demand for advice varies over time and across different groups of participants, it take initial steps to determine how demand for advice interacts with reliance on default investment options.

Source: Tiaainstitute.org, December 2016

NAFA Loses Another Round in DOL Fiduciary Fight

Abstract: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied a motion for an emergency injunction of a Labor Department investment advice rule, leaving it in place as the Trump administration comes into office.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2016

Puerto Rico Issues Guidance on Retirement Plan Limits for 2017

Abstract: Puerto Rico Treasury Department issues guidance on retirement plan limits for 2017 and reminder on taxation, withholding and reporting requirements applicable to distributions from Puerto Rico tax qualified plans.

Source: Groom.com, December 2016

Take Advantage of These Six "Low-Hanging" Opportunities

Abstract: Advisors and plan sponsors should be taking advantage of the "low-hanging" opportunities that still exist, says industry insider Steff Chalk. Steff lists six areas of opportunity.

Source: Napa-net.org, December 2016

2017 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Benefit Plans

Abstract: Sibson Consulting's 2017 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Benefit Plans summarizes compliance requirements for qualified, single-employer benefit plans.

Source: Sibson.com, December 2016

Mum on DOL Rule, Labor Chief Appointee Andy Puzder's CKE 401k Plan Speaks Volumes

Abstract: Puzder generally dislikes anything that'll trouble an employer. That's a concern for DOL-rule advocates. But if Puzder's actions as plan sponsor speak louder than words, that attitude may extend to managing 401k plans more to the benefit of employers than employees.

Source: Riabiz.com, December 2016

The Pension Protection Act Decreased Retirement Security

Abstract: The Pension Protection Act (PPA) was intended to do two things: first, to improve the funding levels of defined benefit pension plans; second, to increase participation in defined contribution 401(k)-style plans. The PPA set out to improve pension plan funding by increasing funding requirements and shifting plans to a market-based value of assets and liabilities. Unfortunately, rather than shoring up underfunded pension plans, the PPA prompted companies to close their plans altogether.

Source: Protectpensions.org, December 2016

Fiduciary Rule Drives Reconsideration of Fee-Based Annuities

Abstract: Nearly half of insurers feel the DOL conflict of interest rule would positively impact sales of fee-based annuities, according to Cerulli Associates; less certain is how to effectively package and price such products.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

403(b)s Rethinking Adviser Choices Due to DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: A new survey by the PSCA highlights strategies some plan sponsors are taking to comply with the DOL rule including hiring a fiduciary adviser or switching to one (24%), changing investment lineup (19%), and reevaluating plan governance structure (15%).

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

Eligibility: When to Let Employees Join Your 401k Plan

Abstract: Who 401k fiduciaries let into their plan can have a dramatic effect on the plan's cost, ease of administration, and perceived value to existing or prospective employees. Fiduciaries should understand their eligibility options to best match them to company 401k plan goals.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, December 2016

Insights Into Retirement Planning Behavior

Abstract: Voya Financial conducted a brief consumer survey to gain insights into how people think and act when it comes to certain retirement plan behaviors and decisions. Specific questions asked in the survey addressed the themes of "time spent" and "trade-offs" that are made in the decision process.

Source: Voya.com, December 2016

Hispanics' Retirement Security

Abstract: Many older Hispanics face significant financial challenges because they worked at low-paying jobs that did not offer retirement benefits. Various policy options, such as workforce development initiatives, efforts to promote education and retirement savings, and Social Security reforms that increase benefit progressivity, might improve financial security for current and future generations of older Hispanics.

Source: Urban.org, December 2016

The Future of the DOL Rule - What Advisors Should Do and How the Marketplace Will Respond

Abstract: Knut Rostad, President of the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard, participated in a panel discussion "How Advisors Should Prepare for the DOL rule in the Trump Administration" at the recent MarketCounsel Summit. This is his 14-page slide deck.

Source: Thefiduciaryinstitute.org, December 2016

Fiduciary Best Practices: A Few Ways Plan Sponsors Can Reduce Litigation Exposure

Abstract: While there's no foolproof way for plan sponsors to avoid litigation or liability, enacting the proper policies and procedures to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities today may avoid potential costs in the future.

Source: Plantemoran.com, December 2016

Year-End Action Items for 403(b)s

Abstract: As 2016 comes to a close, what are the year-end 403(b) retirement plan action items that warrant special attention?

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2016

Fiduciary Rule May Push Advisers Out of DC Business

Abstract: As implementation of the DOL's fiduciary rule approaches, advisers may have to choose between remaining in the DC business and pursuing traditional wealth management.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

403(b) Advisors: What to Watch for in 2017

Abstract: "Washington didn't see this coming," NTSA Executive Director Chris DeGrassi said about the results of the 2016 elections in a Dec. 12 webcast. Elections have consequences, he noted, and those could include actions that affect retirement plans and benefits, including 403(b)s and 457s.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, December 2016

Top 10 401k Trends for 2017

Abstract: Competition for qualified employees is becoming intense. As a result, firms that you compete with for talent will be buffing up their benefits packages in 2017. Listed here are the changes that leading-edge employers will make to their 401k plans as a result of the most important 2017 401k trends.

Source: Lawtonrpc.com, December 2016

Additional Instructions for VCP Submissions

Abstract: You must follow the instructions in Revenue Procedure 2016-51 when making Voluntary Correction Program submissions to the IRS beginning January 1, 2017.

Source: Irs.gov, December 2016

2016 Required Amendments List for Qualified Retirement Plans

Abstract: The IRS has released its initial Required Amendments List for individually designed qualified plans.

Source: Irs.gov, December 2016

A Guide to Avoiding 401k Litigation

Abstract: As the pool of large plans diminishes and the litigation theories become well-known, it is inevitable that the volume of 401k litigation will expand. Fortunately, most plan sponsors can avoid 401k litigation by taking a few obvious steps. Here are some suggestions.

Source: Greensfelder.com, December 2016

DOL Sues Company for Abandoning 401k Plan After Ceasing Operations

Abstract: The complaint seeks the removal of Authorized Factory Service as the plan fiduciary, and the appointment of an independent fiduciary to administer the plan in order to effectuate the termination of the plan and the distribution of plan assets to all affected participants and beneficiaries.

Source: Dol.gov, December 2016

Survey of the Participant Experience in the New Fiduciary World

Abstract: Looking to understand the relationship between improving participant experiences and complying with the DOL Rule, Broadridge surveyed retirement industry executives in the fall of 2016. Respondents were questioned on how the DOL Rule would impact the participant experience in general, and on the potential impact at their firms.

Source: Broadridge.com, December 2016

State Auto-IRA Programs: The Keys to Financial Self-Sufficiency

Abstract: This 7-page paper, which is based on a study for the state of Oregon's Retirement Savings Plan, examines what fees may be required to enable auto-IRA programs to be self-financing and identifies the most important drivers of, and barriers to, financial self-sufficiency.

Source: Bc.edu, December 2016

Fitch: DOL Fiduciary Rule Effects Will Vary

Abstract: Fitch Ratings has weighed in on what it thinks the impact of the DOL's fiduciary rule will be on wealth managers. The bottom line? The effect will vary, according to the report.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2016

401k and 403(b) Plan Administrators Guide

Abstract: New regulatory initiatives by the DOL, as well as a sharp spike in litigation against plan sponsors and third party recordkeepers, have underlined the importance of addressing plan administration in a proactive and comprehensive way. This 8-page guide is designed to help employers administer their 401k or 403(b) plans.

Source: Jdsupra.com, December 2016

DOL Sues Defunct Company to Restore Unremitted Participant Contributions to 401k

Abstract: The lawsuit seeks to require each of the fiduciary defendants, the company, and plan trustee to jointly restore all losses caused to the plan by their fiduciary breaches.

Source: Dol.gov, December 2016

How the Republicans Could Unwind the DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The Rule generated major criticism followed by restructuring plans within the retirement services industry, challenges by Congressional Republicans, and numerous lawsuits. January 2017 will bring President Donald Trump and Republican majorities in the Senate and the House. Can they jettison the Rule?

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), December 2016

Trone: Prepare for the DOL Fiduciary Rule by Thinking BIG

Abstract: Still searching for the best way to prepare for the DOL's fiduciary duty rule? Consider a behavioral governance framework.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2016

Andy Puzder Picked to Lead the DOL

Abstract: President-elect Donald Trump has formally named Andy Puzder as his choice to be the next Secretary of Labor. When viewed in context, Puzder's positions on various DOL developments paint a nuanced picture of how he would lead the agency in the coming years.

Source: Littler.com, December 2016

Build a Better Fiduciary: Operational Duties

Abstract: When you establish an employer-sponsored retirement plan, you assume certain duties pertaining to plan operation. A vital step in being a fiduciary is understanding what these duties require of you and how they affect participant outcomes.

Source: Ekonbenefits.com, December 2016

Satisfying Today's Retirement Plan Participant

Abstract: Corporate Insight will publish a new special study on the retirement space. Satisfying Today's Retirement Plan Participant combines insights from an in-depth survey of close to 1,500 retirement plan participants with our analysis of retirement industry trends and emerging best practices for the digital participant experience. This is an interview with Silviya Simeonova, lead author on the study, and James McGovern, head of our Consulting Services team, that discusses the objectives of the study and some of the key findings from the research.

Source: Corporateinsight.com, December 2016

Trump's Pension Policy

Abstract: With Democrats worried about the repeal of the ACA and Republicans focused on reinvigorating their legislative and administrative agendas, national pension and retirement policy questions aren't at the forefront of Donald Trump's first-100-days agenda. But given recent regulatory moves in retirement and the current shaky foundation for the future of U.S. retirement, both he and Congress are likely to focus on some of these issues in the days ahead.

Source: Cfo.com, December 2016

The Fiduciary Underpinnings of Plan Loans

Abstract: We spend much of our time focusing on the minutiae of fiduciary investments making sure compensation is reasonable; finding ways to comply with variable compensation under the fiduciary rule; documenting procedures; evaluating cost and fees related to investments; and all manner of plan financial issues. In doing so, however, we cannot lose the proverbial forest for all the trees. This point becomes very real when dealing with plan loans.

Source: Businessofbenefits.com, December 2016

How to Order a Triple Stack Match for Your Plan

Abstract: If you are an owner, the most important thing to think about may be how to contribute the highest amount you can under Section 415. In those cases, the triple stack match formula may be the solution.

Source: Belfint.com, December 2016

Two-Thirds of Americans Fail 401k Wellness Survey

Abstract: A new 401k survey, released today by Fisher Investments 401k Solutions, suggests a startling knowledge gap among Americans when it comes to the 401k plans offered by their employer. While most people may think they understand their 401k, 71 percent of respondents failed Fisher's 401k IQ in the Workplace Quiz, missing at least three of the nine basic questions.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2016

Trumped: The Future of the Conflicted Advice Rule

Abstract: There are many pathways to repeal or revision of the DOL's Conflict of Interest Rule. Each bears its own risks and uncertainties for financial institutions and advisors. So, what's going to happen? No one knows for sure, but a few things are certain.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, December 2016

Explanations of Vesting, Eligibility Rules Leave Some Plan Participants in the Dark

Abstract: Employers are not giving their 401k plan participants clear enough explanations on the impact of the plan's eligibility and vesting policies, a report by the Government Accountability Office said. Part of the problem may lie with the summary plan description.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), December 2016

DC Retirement Plans: Who Has Them and What Do They Cost?

Abstract: This article takes a look at five types of employer-sponsored defined contribution retirement plans in private industry. The article shows the overall employee participation rates, employee participation rates by type of plan, and overall employer costs and worker participation costs for all types of plans.

Source: Bls.gov, December 2016

Will the Gig Economy Kill Retirement Savings?

Abstract: While everybody loves how the so-called "gig economy" lets people work when they want, there seems to be a downside when it comes to people's retirement savings. However, there are options for the self-employed and those working in the gig economy.

Source: Thestreet.com, December 2016

Impact Investing: What Role for Defined Contribution Plans?

Abstract: Impact investments can be viewed as an offshoot of socially responsible investing and have the stated intent of delivering measurable social impact. This 8-page study delves into impact investing to gauge thoughts and attitudes on the concept as a whole, as well as within defined contribution plans.

Source: Prudential.com, December 2016

Financial Engines a Litigation Target?

Abstract: A handful of recent lawsuits have named, but not charged, Financial Engines in alleged "pay-to-play" arrangements with providers. That could be getting ready to change.

Source: Napa-net.org, December 2016

Why You Need a Fiduciary to Help You Plan Your Retirement

Abstract: Planning for retirement can be one of life's most stressful events. Retirees would be well served if they could find a fiduciary to help craft the decisions that impact their retirement. However, too many retirees overlook the backgrounds and professional credentials of their advisers. They find, often too late, that there are major differences between fiduciaries and non-fiduciaries when it comes to the advice they can offer and how they are paid.

Source: Kiplinger.com, December 2016

Understanding Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts

Abstract: A recent article published by the Wall Street Journal suggests more plan sponsors are adding self-directed brokerage accounts to their corporate retirement plans. But what exactly is a self-directed brokerage account, and is adding one to your plan a good idea?

Source: Francisinvco.com, December 2016

Three Must-Know 401k Moves

Abstract: Employers never make it too simple for 401k investors. They'll hand you a stack of mutual funds and hope you can sort out what to do over the next 30 years or so. But if you adopt a goals-based investing plan -- and stick to it -- you can stay on track and not be distracted by extreme market moves.

Source: Forbes.com, December 2016

Wave of Lawsuits Strikes Retirement Plan Sponsors

Abstract: A significant number of lawsuits have been filed against retirement plan sponsors for failing to properly administer their plans and subsequently violating ERISA regulations. Although lawsuits like these were once seen as taboo, they have recently shed light on plan mismanagement and also exposed plan sponsors to a lot of risk.

Source: Dgccpa.com, December 2016

Bill Would Get Rid of Alabama State Income Tax on Most 401k Earnings

Abstract: Retirees in Alabama would pay significantly less tax on their 401k incomes under a proposal by state Rep. Lynn Greer.

Source: Decaturdaily.com, December 2016

Robos Set Their Sights on Retirement Plan Providers

Abstract: It is no surprise that the retirement industry -- with entrenched players and complex arrangements between multiple vendors for services like fund lineups, administration and record-keeping -- is proving difficult for the "robos" to disrupt. Recent announcements, however, hint that these alternative retirement plan providers may be gaining traction.

Source: Corporateinsight.com, December 2016

Robo Advisors: Looking Beyond the Low-Cost Service

Abstract: Results of a new study from Loring Ward comparing the portfolios from the top five robo-advisors to a benchmark portfolio with several decades of measurable performance reveal that while the robo-advisor portfolios are very well diversified, they also contain construction gaps that should not be present in well-constructed portfolios.

Source: Advisorinsightsblog.com, December 2016

Are 401k Robo Recordkeepers for Real?

Abstract: The question is whether robo recordkeepers are for real and whether employers should consider them? Are they just for small companies and tech start-ups or will they go mainstream?

Source: 401ktv.com, December 2016

Podcast: How the New DOL Rule Impacts Plan Sponsors

Abstract: Mike Kulick, CPA, Withum Partner and Employee Benefit Plan Services Group member, interviews CEO and Founder of Retirement Playbook Inc., Trisha Brambley, on the new DOL rules and how it will impact plan sponsors.

Source: Withum.com, December 2016

ERISA Liability From 401k Plan Revenue Sharing

Abstract: While popular for many reasons, 'revenue sharing' arrangements have been a magnet for class action litigation, and teachings from recent cases (and the accompanying sizable settlements), suggest that employers should review their 401k plans to stay out of the litigation "line of fire." This article analyzes two recent cases where plaintiffs challenged revenue sharing arrangements under ERISA and also provides recommendations for employer to reduce the risk of costly litigation involving revenue sharing arrangements.

Source: Weil.com, December 2016

SPARK Institute Comment Letter Regarding Proposed Form 5500 Reporting Changes

Abstract: SPARK expresses concerned that the Agencies' Proposed Reporting Changes include many elements that would frustrate their call for a simplified reporting process. They are concerned that many of the new information requests would unnecessarily expand the reporting requirements in a way that would increase the administrative burdens and costs associated with Form 5500 reporting.

Source: Sparkinstitute.org, December 2016

The DOL Rule: Tension at the Heart of the Fiduciary Standard

Abstract: Although the recent election result has created some doubt over its future, the DOL's conflict of interest rule is currently scheduled to go into effect early next year. For advisors dealing with individual investors, the rule represents a significant change.

Source: Russellinvestments.com, December 2016

ERISA Stock Drop Suit Filed Against Exxon Mobil

Abstract: Misrepresentations regarding climate change caused Exxon Mobil's stock price to be artificially inflated, the compliant says.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

Senator Asks That Implementation of Fiduciary Rule Be Ceased

Abstract: Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, asked three top regulators in the outgoing Obama administration to cease implementing especially burdensome new regulations.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

Advisers and Clients Slow Innovation to Prevent Litigation

Abstract: A new survey report from Cerulli Associates examines how the unprecedented number of lawsuits being filed against 401k and other defined contribution retirement plan sponsors and providers have impacted the pace of innovation.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

Target-Date Fund Managers Evolve to Capture Burgeoning 401k Market

Abstract: Over the last several years, TDFs have crafted new strategies and engaged in a marketing bonanza to stand out from the competition.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2016

Time for 401k Plans to Step Into the Modern Age

Abstract: The world of work has changed dramatically in the past 20 years, but some of our laws and customs have not kept up with these changes. The result can be harmful for workers who are relying on employer 401(k) savings plans to fund their retirement.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2016

How Lawsuits and DOL Audits Are Changing the 401k Landscape for Employers

Abstract: There are two main drivers transforming the 401k industry for employers that affect your role as a fiduciary for your workforce: a spate of class-action lawsuits and the reality of the Department of Labor's plan audits. You can no longer afford to put your company's 401k on autopilot as companies have learned in litigation and DOL audits.

Source: Forbes.com, December 2016

How to Optimize a 401k Plan for Employer, Employees

Abstract: Plan sponsors wanted out of the DB business largely because their costs were unpredictable. But with a properly designed market-return cash balance plan, costs should be easy to budget for and within very tight margins.

Source: Cfo.com, December 2016

Compliance and Fee Compression Are Top Advisors Concerns

Abstract: A survey of 275 financial advisors released by SEI Advisor Network reveals that in the wake of the impending DOL Fiduciary Rule, compliance issues followed by fee compression and an increased investment in technology are the top issues for financial advisors going into 2017.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2016

In DOL/Post-DOL Fiduciary World, RIAs Need to Re-Differentiate

Abstract: The election of Donald Trump means that finance will get a new wave of deregulation that will (almost certainly) sweep away the DOL fiduciary rule. The watchword for RIAs in this new world: re-differentiation. Re-differentiation should be the "best practice" of any advisor in the DOL/post-DOL fiduciary world that lies ahead.

Source: Thefiduciaryinstitute.org, December 2016

2016 Retirement Preparedness Survey Findings

Abstract: Key themes of this 8-page include: 1) Saving for retirement is getting progressively harder for each generation. 2) Overwhelmed with investment choices, individuals have little understanding about what they are invested in. 3) Far from reaching savings goals, pre-retirees need a plan, but have inertia. 4) Advisors play an important role in bridging the retirement preparedness gap.

Source: Prudential.com, December 2016

DC Advisers Cite Fewer Go to Providers

Abstract: Defined contribution specialist financial advisers have trimmed down their set of go-to providers, according to the latest Cogent Reports study from Market Strategies International.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

Voya Facing Lawsuit Over Stable Value Funds

Abstract: A 403(b) plan participant is claiming that Voya set crediting rates for stable value funds lower than rates of return in order to make a profit.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2016

Who Does the DOL's Conflict of Interest Rule Apply To?

Abstract: Three elements must be present in order for the Rule to apply to an advisor communicating with a plan participant or an IRA owner.

Source: Morningstar.com, December 2016

Senate Democrats Control Fate of DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Unlike the cumbersome regulatory process required to replace the rule or the vagaries of the courts, a legislative move is the quickest, cleanest route to its demise. But Senate Democrats are likely to hold together well enough to ensure the rule is modified rather than taken off the books.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2016

401k Reporting Costs Could Jump Under Proposed Regulatory Changes

Abstract: A little-noticed regulatory change could affect the cost and complexity of 401k administration. ICI Assistant General Counsel Shannon Salinas details the issue.

Source: Ici.org, December 2016

Fiduciary Rule in Limbo?

Abstract: Experts weigh in on the likelihood of a repeal or delay of the new fiduciary rule under a Trump administration -- and what it means for employers.

Source: Hreonline.com, December 2016

Recordkeeping Fee Allocation

Abstract: As plan sponsors address the increasingly important issue of whether recordkeeping expenses should be paid as a percentage of assets, a fixed-dollar fee, or a combination of both, the author provides a few thoughts.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, December 2016

Emergency Motion Filed in Fiduciary Litigation

Abstract: Knocked down twice by the D.C. District Court, the National Association for Fixed Annuities has filed an emergency motion asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to halt the rule while NAFA's appeal proceeds.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2016

ARA Files Comment Letter on Form 5500 Improvement Proposals

Abstract: The American Retirement Association's Government Affairs Committee on Dec. 1 filed a comment letter with the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration on the proposals that the DOL, IRS and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation made to modernize and improve the Form 5500.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2016

ARA Files Comment Letter on Substantiating Hardship Distributions and Participant Loans

Abstract: The American Retirement Association Government Affairs Committee on Dec. 2 filed comments with the IRS providing recommendations on the documentation needed to substantiate a hardship distribution or participant loan.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2016

Issues in Target-Date Fund Evaluation and Selection

Abstract: The investment community has made significant strides in understanding and evaluating target-date fund strategies over the past decade. Now, however, we have reached a plateau in target-date communication characterized by overly-simplistic dichotomies. This post will break down four key labels commonly used in target-date manager evaluation.

Source: Americancenturyblog.com, December 2016

2017 Defined Contribution Compliance Calendar

Abstract: This is a 17-page calendar of key deadlines for calendar-year plans.

Source: Amazonaws.com, December 2016

Small Businesses Buy Into Safe Harbor 401k Plan Design

Abstract: However, only 8.71% of plans automatically enroll employees that fail to make an affirmative enrollment election, an analysis finds.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2016

401k Plan Fee Litigation Update

Abstract: The wave of fee litigation is ongoing and has significantly increased the responsibility of 401k plan fiduciaries to follow well documented, prudent processes to monitor 401k plan fees and expenses. This article reviews the litigation trends and then provides some observations and take-aways.

Source: Milesstockbridge.com, December 2016

The Potential Downside of Automatic Enrollment in 401k Plans

Abstract: Automatic enrollment has become a staple of 401k best practices over the past decade, touted to boost important metrics such as plan participation and savings rates among employees. Adoption has more than doubled since 2006, when federal law incentivized employers to use automatic enrollment. Now roughly 52% of all 401k plans use the feature. However, new research suggests the effects of auto enrollment on participants aren't always rosy.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2016

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