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COLLECTED WISDOM™ on Fiduciary Related News and Intelligence

These are general fiduciary news items. Other topical areas you may find of interest that are not fully covered here include ERISA 404(c) Compliance and Fiduciary Duty, 401k Investment Committees, Fiduciary Responsibility and Liability Issues, and DOL's Final Fiduciary Rule and Best Interests Contract Requirement.

    

DC Plan Sponsors -- Are You Managing Your Fiduciary Duties?

Abstract: Are you properly managing your DC plan? Here are some sample questions that you should be able to answer.

Source: Xerox.com, May 2016

Who's a Fiduciary Now? Understanding the DOL's New Definition

Abstract: The sky isn't falling, but in a very real sense the retirement world is changing with the release of the DOL's final regulation that more broadly defines who is an "investment-advice" fiduciary for purposes of ERISA. This is a 14-page review from the law firm Spencer Fane.

Source: Spencerfane.com, May 2016

SEC Plans to Propose Fiduciary Rule Next April

Abstract: The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to propose rules for raising investment advice standards and authorizing non-governmental examinations of advisers next spring (April 2017), according to its latest regulatory agenda.

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

The DOL Fiduciary Rule, Seller's Exception and Independent Fiduciaries

Abstract: How does a service provider determine whether it is making a recommendation to "independent fiduciaries of plans and IRAs with financial expertise?" This is a key question that could determine whether an organization or individual is tagged as an ERISA fiduciary and subject to added liability as a result.

Source: Pensionriskmatters.com, May 2016

Should Advisors Ditch Their Broker-Dealers in Light of DOL Fiduciary?

Abstract: It is imperative that advisors at broker-dealers begin to consider what kind of business they want to operate in the future, and whether it's really necessary to continue offering commission-based products and deal with the additional compliance burdens, or choose to focus as a level-fee fiduciary instead.

Source: Kitces.com, May 2016

Bay State Says Full Robos Can't Be Fiduciaries

Abstract: The Massachusetts Securities Division says that robo-advisers' failure to conduct due diligence, as well as their depersonalized structure, may render them unable to provide adequately personalized investment advice and make appropriate investment decisions. As such, "the Division" has declared that fully automated robo-advisers, as currently structured, may be inherently unable to carry out the fiduciary obligations of a state-registered investment adviser.

Source: Napa-net.org, May 2016

What Plans Types Do the Final DOL Fiduciary Rule and Its Exemptions Cover?

Abstract: This question is important for financial advisers in order to understand how the new regulations affect their business. This article is not meant to give you a full understanding of the regulation and all of its requirements but more narrowly to give some background and to identify the various types of plans that are covered.

Source: Napa-net.org, May 2016

Class Actions Will Test DOL's New Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The U.S. Department of Labor's highly anticipated final fiduciary rule, designed to help ensure Americans saving for retirement get sound investment advice, creates an opportunity for plaintiffs attorneys to test the rule's meaning by filing class action lawsuits, a Tennessee defense attorney says.

Source: Legalnewsline.com, May 2016

Interesting Angles on the DOL's Fiduciary Rule - Part #3

Abstract: The DOL's concern about the impact of incentive compensation goes beyond payments to advisers. The new fiduciary rules will impact almost every aspect of the sales of investments and insurance products to plans, and especially to IRAs.

Source: Fredreish.com, May 2016

Final DOL Fiduciary Rule has Key Implications for Asset Managers

Abstract: This 14-page white paper analyzes how the "fiduciary rule" will affect the way asset managers do business and suggests ways they can prepare themselves for the new requirements.

Source: Kasina.com, May 2016

How Phyllis Borzi Got Her Way on Fiduciary

Abstract: Phyllis Borzi was the main architect of the so-called DOL fiduciary rule, which requires financial advisers to 401k and individual retirement accounts to act in their clients' best interests. She is credited with pushing through a nearly unprecedented wall of opposition by using her moxie, her might and her friends in high places.

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

Could Fiduciary Become the De Facto Law of the Land?

Abstract: The fight for an expanded fiduciary duty is moving to the SEC, but it by the time the regulator moves forward, it almost might not be necessary, according to fiduciary advocates.

Source: Financial-Planning.com, May 2016

House Passes Resolution Protecting Access to Affordable Retirement Advice

Abstract: The U.S. House passed H. J. Res. 88, a resolution that will block the Department of Labor's "Definition of the Term 'Fiduciary' and Conflict of Interest Rule."

Source: House.gov, April 2016

DOL New Fiduciary Regulation: Seven Action Items for the Next Year

Abstract: Despite the fact that the new DOL fiduciary rule becomes effective 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register, it is not applicable until April 10, 2017. That provides a full year in which to adjust to the new fiduciary investment advice landscape. Article provides a detailed review of the newest augmentation of the fiduciary rule and a short plan sponsor "to-do" list.

Source: Findleydavies.com, April 2016

Fiduciary Duty to Review Fees Goes Beyond Fee Benchmarking

Abstract: Some recent fee dispute case decisions and settlements suggest that in addition to benchmarking fees, fiduciaries may also want to periodically undertake a more thorough review by conducting a Request for Proposal process. This requires obtaining bids from third-party vendors with in-depth analysis of administration, communication, investment, and compliance services and corresponding administration fees charged.

Source: Xerox.com, April 2016

Even 'Softer' Fiduciary Rule Will Challenge Providers

Abstract: One veteran retirement plan adviser predicts the real impact of the new DOL fiduciary rule will take shape over the long-term and firms' initial attempts at compliance may not represent their final approach.

Source: Plansponsor.com, April 2016

Lawsuits Against Fiduciary Rule Likely to Cite DOL's Lack of Authority

Abstract: So far, all's quiet on the court front when it comes to the recently finalized Labor Department rule to raise investment advice standards for retirement accounts. But three groups might file a lawsuit against the rule. Based on comment letters and testimony before Congress, a court challenge will probably focus on the DOL's lacks authority to promulgate a rule that affects broker-dealers.

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

"Excessive" 401k Fees Often in the Eye of the Fund Holder

Abstract: Practitioners, plan sponsors, and ERISA attorneys are left to wonder, absent any objective definition of "excessive" and "reasonable," does the DOL's Conflict-of-Interest Rule have any real meaning, or is it merely another potentially lucrative cash-flow stream for class action attorneys courtesy of your friendly neighborhood government regulator?

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, April 2016

Assessing the Final DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Although the final rule accommodated a few concerns expressed by commenters, according to this paper, many of the critical fixes to the Fiduciary Rule called for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce remain unaddressed or were made worse in the final rule.

Source: Uschamber.com, April 2016

DOL Accused of "Legislation by Rulemaking" on Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The DOL's new rule to amend the definition of fiduciary on retirement advice is "legislation by rulemaking," the former head of DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration told senators Wednesday, with the rule that "ultimately passed" running contrary to what Congress intended when it passed ERISA.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, April 2016

IRA Rollovers in a Post DOL Rule World

Abstract: One of the greatest fear regarding the new DOL rule will not be realized, namely that stockbrokers who currently steer their clients' assets from 401k plans to IRAs as a matter of course will now hold off on making that recommendation. Projections from Cerulli Associates suggest that the rollover gravy train will keep right on chugging.

Source: Riabiz.com, April 2016

Advisers Can't Respond Unilaterally to Final Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: A given financial adviser's response to the final fiduciary rule from the Department of Labor may have more to do with the adviser's brokerage platform provider than their own decisionmaking about how to adjust.

Source: Planadviser.com, April 2016

The DOL Final Definition of Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: This article is intended to provide a brief history of the proposal and provide an overview of the key points of the final rule and how it differs from the 2015 proposal.

Source: Benefitsbryancave.com, April 2016

Seven Reasons Why the DOL Rule Is Flawed to the Point of 'Folly'

Abstract: The only thing that is now more contentious than the back and forth leading up to the DOL passing of its new fiduciary rule is whether or not we should celebrate the moment as a milestone for fiduciaries or take a moment to relegate Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to the same place in the appeasement hall of fame as Neville Chamberlain. Don Trone shares his views.

Source: Riabiz.com, April 2016

DOL's Final Rule on the Definition of "Fiduciary"

Abstract: This is an in-depth review of the DOL's final rule regarding the definition of investment fiduciaries including potential effects on plan sponsors.

Source: Reinhartlaw.com, April 2016

Fiduciary Breaches by Others

Abstract: Fred Reish and Joan Neri Answer the question, "Am I subject to liability if I learn that a one of these committees is about to commit a fiduciary breach or engage in a transaction prohibited by ERISA?"

Source: Planadviser.com, April 2016

'Fiduciary' vs. 'Suitability'

Abstract: ERISA requires that an adviser act as a "prudent expert" when making a recommendation, while FINRA requires that the adviser "have a reasonable basis to believe" that a recommendation is "suitable." The purpose of this article is to give advisers a high-level overview of these standards of conduct and to highlight some differences and similarities.

Source: Planadviser.com, April 2016

How Will the DOL Enforce Its Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: The enforcement impact will be most pronounced in the retail market, experts said, because individual retirement account owners will essentially become the army through which the Department of Labor wields indirect enforcement influence.

Source: Investmentnews.com, April 2016

DOL's Fiduciary Rule Garners Support, Draws Concern

Abstract: The DOL's fiercely debated final rule on conflicts of interest in retirement advice, published in the Federal Register on April 8, was welcomed by critics of the financial services industry and greeted with caution by advocates of retirement plan sponsors, who tended to express guarded relief that it wasn't worse.

Source: Shrm.org, April 2016

Advisor's Guide to DOL Fiduciary and the New Best Interests Contract Requirement

Abstract: This lengthy article provides an in-depth look at the keystone of the new fiduciary rule as it pertains to advisors working with individual retirement accounts: the new "Best Interests Contract Exemption," which most broker-dealers and insurance companies will rely upon in their future attempts to provide conflicted advice to IRAs for commission compensation, and the creation of the new "Level Fee Fiduciary" safe harbor.

Source: Kitces.com, April 2016

Managing Missing Participant Accounts and Fiduciary Responsibility

Abstract: Managing missing participant funds has been somewhat of a gray area within the retirement plan industry. But now, the DOL has decided to increase its scrutiny of benefit payment practices -- including the way plan sponsors and trustees search for missing participants and manage their unclaimed accounts -- to ensure that retirement plan trustees fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities to plan participants. This 4-page paper offers an overview and practical tips.

Source: Penchecks.com, April 2016

New Fiduciary Rule Applies Stricter Standard to Most Retirement Account Advisers

Abstract: ERISA plans should begin now to review their relationship with their current investment adviser/consultant. In conducting this review, plans should interpret the general fiduciary rule broadly and interpret any of the enumerated carve-outs narrowly. Fiduciaries should expect that advisers will provide written documentation of their role and their satisfaction of any carve-out. Plans should require advisers to indemnify the plan from any prohibited transaction that arises as a result of its failure to comply with any carve-out or exemption.

Source: Hollandhart.com, April 2016

No Reasoning Behind DOL Treatment of FIAs in Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The future of fixed indexed annuity sales is up in the air after the Department of Labor added an unexpected wrinkle to its fiduciary rule. In the final version of the rule, the DOL peeled away FIAs' PTE exemption and classified them with variable annuities, which are considered securities.

Source: Insurancenewsnet.com, April 2016

Fiduciary Risk in Data Privacy and Cybersecurity

Abstract: Retirement plans store extensive personal data on each participant and beneficiary. This data ranges from Social Security numbers and addresses to dates of birth, bank account and financial information, and other records and is stored physically and in electronic forms for years, if not decades. Retirement plan fiduciaries must take precautions to help ensure that they have fulfilled their fiduciary duties with respect to data privacy and cybersecurity.

Source: Morganlewis.com, April 2016

DOL's Finalized Fiduciary Rule Released

Abstract: As rumored, this morning the Department of Labor finalized a rule and related exemptions that are intended to ensure that retirement savers get investment advice in their best interest -- commonly called the fiduciary or conflict of interest rule.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, April 2016

Department of Labor Finalizes Rule to Address Conflicts of Interest in Retirement Advice

Abstract: This is a Department of Labor piece reviewing the final version of the 'Conflict of Interest' rule. Topics include, what is covered investment advice under the rule, what is not covered investment advice under the rule, Best Interest Contract, and applicability date.

Source: Dol.gov, April 2016

Chart Illustrating Changes From DOL's 2015 Conflict of Interest Proposal to Final

Abstract: Many changes were made in the final version of the DOL's 'conflict of interest' rule to clarify, streamline, and simplify the proposed rule and proposed exemptions. The following 8-page chart was produced by the DOL to shows some of the most frequently raised issues and how the they addressed them in the final rule.

Source: Dol.gov, April 2016

New Fiduciary Regs: A Win for Plan Sponsors

Abstract: The author states that the new DOL rule is aimed specifically at brokers who provide investment advice to clients under the "suitability" requirement. The issuance of these final regulations ends a long war that the brokerage industry waged against regulators, employing all manner of threats to avoid fiduciary responsibility, and spending millions on intense political lobbying.

Source: Lawtonrpc.com, April 2016

First Round of Industry Response to Final Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Some of the biggest financial services firms and advocacy groups have registered their initial impressions of the Department of Labor's final fiduciary rule, including FSI, TIAA, FPC and others. So have a myriad of independent commentators and ancillary businesses.

Source: Planadviser.com, April 2016

Final Fiduciary Rule Includes Requested Changes

Abstract: After the better part of a decade in the making the new fiduciary rule from the Department of Labor has finally arrived, and on first review it appears to look a lot like the version proposed in the Spring of 2015, albeit with some important softening around the sharpest edges.

Source: Plansponsor.com, April 2016

Under DOL Rule, Fee-Only RIA Plan Advisors in Driver's Seat

Abstract: The steady flow of migration from the brokerage model of retirement services to the fee-based model over the past decade will clearly continue after the DOL releases its finalized fiduciary rule next week, said Skip Schweiss, managing director at TD Ameritrade.

Source: Benefitspro.com, April 2016

The Fiduciary Rule: How Long Will Compliance Take?

Abstract: The DOL expects it will take eight months, according to ThinkAdvisor, but the experts they interviewed recently beg to differ. For its part, the American Retirement Association in its comment letter to the DOL said of that amount of time, "Eight months is simply not enough time to accomplish all the due diligence that will be necessary. The proposed eight-month transition period will result in a costlier than necessary disruption to existing business arrangements."

Source: Asppa.org, April 2016

DOL's Fiduciary Rule Conflicts With Securities Laws

Abstract: A recent report by the Senate Government Affairs Committee indicates that the DOL, ignored, disagreed with, and argued forcefully with the SEC staff over its proposed fiduciary rule. According to the U.S. Chamber, here are a few of the problems with in the rule centered around securities law.

Source: Uschamber.com, March 2016

Distribution and Rollover Education

Abstract: Fred Reish write here, "A reporter recently asked me to explain why people are saying that, under the DOL's fiduciary proposal, an adviser should not recommend that a participant take a distribution and roll over to an IRA, but instead should provide distribution education. Here's my answer."

Source: Fredreish.com, March 2016

How the DOL Fiduciary Rule Will Affect Plan Sponsors

Abstract: While aimed at financial advisors, the Department of Labor's fiduciary standard rule will impact compliance obligations and costs for plan sponsors as well. Article reviews several areas that HR people need to stay on top of.

Source: Shrm.org, March 2016

DOL and SEC Opine on How Fiduciaries May React to Inside Information

Abstract: In separate amicus briefs in Whitley v. BP, P.L.C., the DOL and SEC clarify the responsibilities of a fiduciary under ERISA with control of an employee stock ownership plan, as a company stock fund investment option of a 401k plan.

Source: Groom.com, March 2016

DOL Fiduciary Rule Will Cause Retirement Plan Advisers to Outsource Liability

Abstract: Outsourced investment advisory services for 401k plans stand to reap the benefits of the Labor Department's proposed rule to raise investment advice standards in retirement accounts. The services in question are referred to as 3(21) and 3(38) fiduciary investment services, as defined by ERISA. Industry watchers expect even more uptake if the DOL rule becomes final, in part because these outsourced services tend to be used mostly in the small and micro 401k market.

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

Plan Sponsors Face Risks in Fiduciary Rule Change

Abstract: It's not just financial advisers and investment providers that should be prepping for the final fiduciary rule to emerge from DOL, plan sponsors will likely face changes and new liabilities of their own.

Source: Plansponsor.com, March 2016

President Obama Meets With 401k Fiduciary Rule Advocates

Abstract: President Barack Obama met with financial regulators Monday to give the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule a final push before its expected passage this spring.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2016

What's Next for Variable Annuities After DOL Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: The variable annuity has taken its share of hits in recent years, and as the rule currently stands, the product will likely have to evolve once again in order to remain viable if the pending DOL fiduciary rule is finalized in its current form.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, March 2016

DC Plan Re-Enrollment: A Fiduciary Imperative?

Abstract: This paper looks at the role a re-enrollment campaign can play in guiding all plan participants to an appropriate asset allocation, common reasons cited by plan sponsors for avoiding re-enrollment, and counterpoints to each, key elements of a successful implementation, and re-enrollment terminology.

Source: Russell.com, March 2016

Collective Investment Trusts: A Fiduciary Opportunity

Abstract: CITs are not new to the retirement plan industry, but many plan sponsors are once again considering them as investment alternatives. Article reviews some of the opportunities CIT afford plan fiduciaries.

Source: Manning-Napier.com, March 2016

Ryan Says "Bureaucrat Bullies" Behind Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: If you thought things were going to be quiet between now and the anticipated publication of the Labor Department's fiduciary rule next month, well, you'd be wrong.

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2016

Fiduciary Rule: No Time to Waste in Prepping for Changes

Abstract: Even as a controversial fiduciary proposal is in the final stages of the regulatory process, many advisors aren't bothering to reassess their compliance framework or lay the groundwork for the changes they will have to make in their practices when the DOL's rule becomes the law of the land.

Source: Onwallstreet.com, February 2016

Fiduciary Opponents Still Fighting DOL's Proposed Rule

Abstract: Opponents of the DOL's contentious fiduciary proposal in Congress aren't wasting any time. Less than a week after the department sent its rule outlining stricter requirements for advisors working with retirement plans and investors to the White House for a final review, lawmakers voted to pass two measures that could derail that effort on to the full House for consideration.

Source: Financial-Planning.com, February 2016

DOL Fiduciary Rule Arrives at OMB

Abstract: The DOL sent the measure to the Office of Management and Budget. The OMB has up to 90 days to review the rule, but is likely to expedite the process. After the OMB signs off, the DOL will release the final rule publicly -- perhaps as early as March and likely by April.

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

When Will the DOL Send Its Finalized Fiduciary Rule to the OMB?

Abstract: The timing of when the OMB receives the rule is significant and the Obama administration is leaving little to chance with the Department of Labor's proposed fiduciary rule.

Source: Benefitspro.com, January 2016

RayJay CEO: DOL Fiduciary Battle Is Over

Abstract: After countless hours of lobbying, one big opponent of the DOL's plan to rein in brokers' profit from retirement accounts has thrown in the towel. Paul Reilly, chief executive of Raymond James Financial, said that there are no more political strings to be pulled before a final fiduciary rule requiring brokers to put clients' interests ahead of their own is unveiled.

Source: Advisorhubinc.com, January 2016

Congressional Action on Proposed DOL Fiduciary Rule Postponed to 2016

Abstract: As the DOL considers comments on its proposed changes to the definition of fiduciary under ERISA, an open question has been whether Congress would take action to delay or block the rule. Although several possible approaches were actively discussed, Congress ultimately did not pass any legislation in 2015. But these approaches remain open for 2016.

Source: Morganlewis.com, December 2015

The Case for Why the DOL Fiduciary Rule Won't Kill IRA Rollovers

Abstract: Some in the financial industry to claim IRA rollover activity would slow down if the DOL's fiduciary rule is adopted, as brokers currently held to a less-stringent suitability standard of care would abandon prospecting IRA rollover business from 401k plans to avoid liability risks and regulatory costs. Others believe the effect would be minuscule.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2015

Fiduciary Standards for ESG Funds

Abstract: Over the decades, Republican and Democrat administrations have engaged in periodic tightening and loosening of the rules governing the extent to which fiduciaries may take environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into account in making investment decisions. This puts fiduciaries in a difficult position whenever the rules change, as they recently have again.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2015

Lawmakers Throw Hail Mary to Thwart DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Bipartisan lawmakers introduced bills Friday that would stop a Labor Department proposal to strengthen investment advice rules for retirement accounts and replace it with a standard written by the legislators.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2015

DOL Fiduciary Rule Survives Best Opportunity to Kill It

Abstract: The DOL rule to amend the definition of fiduciary for retirement advice survived one hurdle late Tuesday as the omnibus spending bill did not include riders requiring the rule to undergo another comment period or to defund the rule. The rider may have been opponents' best opportunity to kill the rule before it was completed.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, December 2015

Congress Fails in Effort to Slow Fiduciary Rule Process

Abstract: Congress reached an agreement on a budget deal that did not include riders that would have changed the process of the Department of Labor’s proposal to change the definition of fiduciary advice under. There are rumors that the DOL's final rule will be issued as early as January 2016.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2015

Fiduciary Responsibilities in 403(b) Plans

Abstract: Of non-profit organizations that sponsor 403(b) retirement plans, only 60 percent are reviewing and evaluating the investment options in their plans, according a new survey from the Plan Sponsor Council of America that explores retirement plan trends among non-profit organizations.

Source: Psca.org, December 2015

Institutionalizing DC Plans Can Add Fiduciary Protection

Abstract: The institutionalization of defined contribution plans is gaining traction, and is yet another way plan sponsors can achieve their fiduciary responsibilities, experts say.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2015

DOL Fiduciary Rule Under Two-Pronged Congressional Attack

Abstract: House lawmakers are taking a two-pronged attack in an attempt to prevent the Department of Labor from finalizing its proposed conflict-of-interest rule: by throttling the DOL's funding and by introducing their own "best interest" financial advice bill.

Source: Bna.com, December 2015

Fiduciary Skill Critical to Plan Distribution Success

Abstract: ERISA attorney outlines key fiduciary responsibilities related to retirement plan distributions and rollovers. A new whitepaper by Fred Reish argues participant education and sponsors' fiduciary knowledge are both critical to plan distribution success.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2015

DOL's Fiduciary Exemption Is Not a Workable Option for Advisers

Abstract: Despite months of media attention and frequent discussion within our industry, many financial advisers are only beginning to grasp the implications of the Labor Department's effort to expand its definition of fiduciary under ERISA.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2015

DOL's Retirement Advice Rule: Helping or Harming Sound Retirement Planning?

Abstract: This 15-page white paper suggests the recently re-proposed DOL fiduciary rule, meant to protect the retirement savings of individuals, may well have the opposite effect. The DOL rule should be more fully analyzed and adjustments made to ensure the rule does not have an adverse impact on retirement plan access and investment education.

Source: Accf.org, November 2015

Anger Turns to Resignation in Face of DOL Rule

Abstract: Months and many public hearings later on the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule, anger has mellowed into grudging resignation. That appears to be giving way to the new reality: those non-fiduciaries who sell financial products into retirement plans are simply going to have to adapt.

Source: Insurancenewsnet.com, November 2015

New Fiduciary Rules: Whose Interests Come First?

Abstract: Your broker is about to become a fiduciary -- at least when it comes to your retirement accounts -- and, depending on whom you ask, that could be a very good or very bad thing.

Source: Cnbc.com, November 2015

DOL Fiduciary Rule Is 'Biggest Change That We'll Go Through': Pershing

Abstract: Could the Department of Labor's impending new fiduciary rule fundamentally change the industry as it is today? The real impact of the new DOL fiduciary rule won't be felt immediately, Pershing's John Brett says, but two to five years after it take effect.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, November 2015

Regulatory FAQs: Department of Labor Fiduciary Re-Proposal

Abstract: The Department of Labor's proposed definition of fiduciary expands the number of people who would be considered fiduciaries under ERISA. What does that really mean?

Source: Manning-Napier.com, November 2015

Small Business Lobbies Congress to Alter DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Small businesses are pleading with lawmakers and the Department of Labor, saying they're getting the short end of the stick with regards to the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule.

Source: Benefitnews.com, November 2015

Congress Working to Dismantle DOL Fiduciary Proposal

Abstract: Some members of Congress have been working to defeat or come up with alternatives for the Department of Labor's fiduciary proposal, which would extend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's conflict-of-interest requirements to brokers handling workers' retirement savings.

Source: Bna.com, November 2015

Will New DOL Rule Contain Fiduciary Surprise for 401k Recordkeepers?

Abstract: Is a 401k recordkeeper a fiduciary under ERISA? According to § 2509.75-8 Questions and answers relating to fiduciary responsibility under ERISA, the answer is "probably not." In general, 401k recordkeepers have been flying safely under the fiduciary radar for some time now. But is all this about to change?

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, November 2015

What Responsibilities do Employers Retain After Outsourcing Plan Administration?

Abstract: Because a retirement benefit plan, like a 401k or 403(b) plan, requires you to meet an expert standard, more and more employers are outsourcing administration to third parties, sometimes known as fiduciary experts. Done properly, outsourcing can assure that the plan is well managed while relieving you of significant commitments and responsibilities. However, you still have responsibilities.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, November 2015

Department of Labor's 2015 Proposed Fiduciary Rule: Background and Issues

Abstract: This 25-page report from the Congressional Research Service on the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule looks back on how it all came about, its history, and what it entails.

Source: Fas.org, November 2015

Congressional Research Service Issues In-Depth Report on Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: As the DOL prepares the final iteration of the fiduciary rule, it may be useful to look back on how this all came about and what it entails. The Congressional Research Service is facilitating just that kind of review through "Department of Labor's 2015 Proposed Fiduciary Rule: Background and Issues," a comprehensive report it recently issued.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2015

Passive Management and the False Premise of Fiduciary Relief

Abstract: Defined contribution retirement plan fiduciaries have become increasingly interested in greater utilization of passive management. The decision to move to a purely passive approach seems to be based on two dubious premises, namely, that 1) it is safer for fiduciaries to offer funds that have the lowest absolute cost and little risk of underperforming a stated benchmark, and 2) fiduciary oversight obligations are nearly eliminated. This paper particularly examines the second premise.

Source: Russell.com, November 2015

Twelve Predictions About What the DOL's Fiduciary Rule Will Look Like When Implemented

Abstract: Advisers should not be distracted by all of the noise. Despite the daily drumbeat of industry-inspired opposition, a review of the political and regulatory landscape leads to the conclusion that the DOL fiduciary rule will survive largely intact. Author offers 12 predictions about the rule that will come to pass.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), November 2015

Don't Underestimate the Importance of the "Fiduciary" Designation

Abstract: With more than 3,000 public comments to consider, and facing pressure on many fronts, the DOL has a lot to chew on as it works to finalize its proposed rule defining the term "fiduciary." As we await the outcome of those deliberations, let's remind ourselves why it's such a big deal.

Source: Russell.com, October 2015

Will Your Fiduciary Insurance Cover You When You Need It?

Abstract: Will that insurer your company has been paying premiums to for all of these years stand behind you if you are sued for ERISA violations? Article covers a few points to be considered in a thorough review of coverage.

Source: Pensionsbenefitslaw.com, October 2015

DOL Fiduciary Rule Questions Answered

Abstract: Fi360 recently sponsored a webinar on the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule. More than three-dozen written questions posed by attendees were left unanswered. This is the first of several articles dealing with these unanswered webinar questions.

Source: Fi360.com, October 2015

Labor Secretary Promises Balanced Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The final version of the Department of Labor's conflict-of-interest rule will be thoughtful and balanced, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said. While Perez was reluctant to reveal what specific revisions might be made before the fiduciary rule is finalized, he said that he is confident that there will be changes made to clarify and improve upon the proposal.

Source: Bna.com, October 2015

With Fiduciary Rule, DOL Pursues Conflicts of Interest in the Rollover Process

Abstract: The biggest impact of the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule, a.k.a. the "conflict of interest rule," isn't on plans or plan advisors, it's on the IRA market, ERISA attorney Fred Reish told a workshop session at the ASPPA Annual Conference Oct. 20.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2015

ASPPA Believes DOL Fiduciary Rule Is All but Inevitable

Abstract: Hundreds of retirement plan advisers are shifting their game plan as they descend on Capitol Hill this week. Instead of urging lawmakers to kill a Labor Department rule that would raise advice standards for 401(k)s and IRAs, they've accepted the rule will become a reality and instead seek to modify it to address their concerns.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), October 2015

Impact of Platform Provider Carve-Out on 401k Plans Remains Unclear

Abstract: The article discusses proposal of the DOL to include "carve-outs" on the scope of the fiduciary rule and investment advice definition for recordkeepers and TPAs of 401k plans. Discussion of how the carve-out process works and its associated requirements is provided. Overview of the possible implications of carve-out process in both retirement providers and sponsors is also mentioned.

Source: Wagnerlawgroup.com, October 2015

Fiduciary Rule Backers Have a New Ally: Technology

Abstract: The financial services industry has sold legislators on the idea that, as the contractor in the commercial opines, somehow small investors will lose access to advice if they can't be sold products such as IRAs from mutual fund call centers and insurance companies. But technology has the potential to force a change that no industry can stop.

Source: Institutionalinvestor.com, October 2015

Financial Engines CIO Chris Jones Supports Fiduciary Standard

Abstract: As CIO of Financial Engines, Christopher Jones works at the intersection of two provocative retirement investing themes. In this Q&A, he talks about the DOL's fiduciary standard push and technology's role in providing financial advice.

Source: Institutionalinvestor.com, October 2015

House Committee Passes Bill That Would Delay Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Even if the bill makes it to the floor of the full House, American Retirement Association Director of Congressional Affairs Andrew Remo does not think much of its prospects, remarking, "President Obama's forceful support of the fiduciary rule in February has muted House Democratic support for the Wagner bill, ensuring its defeat in this Congress."

Source: Ntsa-net.org, October 2015

Big Changes Ahead for DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The DOL will make changes to a proposal to raise investment advice standards for retirement accounts as soon as it digests thousands of comments letters, the official spearheading the rule said Tuesday. One such change could involve the controversial contract brokers must sign with clients in order to have flexibility in how they charge.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), September 2015

Department of Labor's Proposal to Define "Investment Advice"

Abstract: The DOL intends to use the proposed definition of "investment advice," addition of a "best interest contract" exemption, and changes to current exemptions to more substantially extend its authority over IRAs. As a result, virtually all sales and marketing activities in connection with IRAs will be "investment advice" and subject to the prohibited transaction provisions. The purpose of this article is to explain how the DOL proposes to accomplish this.

Source: Groom.com, September 2015

Are Plain-Vanilla 401k Investment Options a Fiduciary Imperative?

Abstract: Investment fads come and go, but they tend to stay on the 401k menu of investment options. Whose responsibility is it to recognize when investment fads expire? It may be reasonable to place that responsibility on the fiduciary duty of the plan sponsor who then can offer employees with the proper menu of the core building blocks.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, September 2015

Fiduciary Financial Advisers and the Incoherence of a 'High-Quality Low-Fee' Safe Harbor

Abstract: Americans now hold trillions of dollars in individual retirement savings accounts. Concerned about conflicts of interest among financial advisers who provide advice to retirement savers, the DOL has proposed imposing fiduciary status and a "best interest" standard on such advisers. But authors state, "This policy incoherence is worrisome because of the potential for the safe harbor to swallow the best interest standard."

Source: Ssrn.com, September 2015

Proposed DOL Fiduciary Regulation May Lead to Unintended Roadblocks for 403(b)s

Abstract: The DOL has traditionally been very supportive of 403(b) modernization. In fact, they've encouraged it. Author writes, "That's why it is particularly curious that the DOL's proposed fiduciary regulation seem to introduce prohibitions that will likely prevent future modernization."

Source: Principal.com, September 2015

Fiduciary Education Considerations

Abstract: Rumor has it that regulatory exams of retirement plans continue to include explicit questions about whether a formal fiduciary education program exists and, if it does, what it contains. Still, such programs appear to be rare.

Source: Pensionriskmatters.com, September 2015

Analyst Says DOL Creates New Conflict in Its Conflict of Interest Rule

Abstract: The Department of Labor's proposed fiduciary rule, which is designed to remove conflicts of interests from advisors to IRAs and most of the country's 401k plans, actually creates a new conflict of interest, according to one analyst.

Source: Benefitspro.com, September 2015

Seven Things Fiduciaries Shouldn't Say in Court

Abstract: Fiduciaries and sponsors might want to note these incriminating statements in a notorious 401k court case. Article looks at seven examples of what not to say when under oath.

Source: Benefitspro.com, September 2015


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