Articles of Interest

Articles of Interest

Principal Life Convicted of Violating ERISA by Pushing Proprietary Funds
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Principal Life, a subsidiary of Principal Financial, one of the nation’s largest companies in the 401(k) industry, likes to portray itself as the folksy neighbor interested in your financial well-being, but as a recent lawsuit shows, Principal Life has no qualms about pushing its own, more expensive proprietary funds to unsuspecting employees and others in what a court has deemed a clear violation of ERISA.  Continue Reading…

The DOL’s Proposal to Redefine Fiduciary Status
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Educating plan sponsors to the effect on plan related operational oversight and service provider relationships.

DOL Webinar PowerPoint Presentation
Click here to access the webinar recording.

The retirement services industry is going through a historical and revolutionary change as a result of the DOLs proposal to redefine who is a fiduciary and what triggers fiduciary status.

The DOL is attempting to cast a much wider net over those that provide services to ERISA plans and IRA’s. It is critically important for plan sponsors to understand what these changes are in order to effectively oversee the various relationships with outside service providers having a relationship with the plan. We believe the following presentation, provided by Stephen P. Wilkes, Esq. of The Wagner Law Group and the National Society Compliance Professionals, will provide you with a solid fundamental understanding of the proposed definition and its potential impact on plan operations.

Feel free to call or email us here at The Retirement Readiness Institute with any questions you may have.

What Plan Sponsors Need to Do Every Year
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Have all of your plan related service providers been giving you their required annual disclosure each and every year?  Did you just put them in a file and did nothing else with them?  Or worse, did your plan consultant or TPA take them and say they would take care of it for you?  This is what you should be doing with them.  Continue Reading…

The Fiduciary Duty to Ask for Help
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ERISA holds plan fiduciaries to a high legal standard … the responsibilities of fiduciaries have been described as “the highest known to the law.” [Donovan v. Bierwirth, 680 F.2d 263, 272 (2d Cit. 1982)] Obviously, not all fiduciaries have the skills needed to satisfy these high standards. Fortunately, ERISA permits fiduciaries, and in fact requires them, to get help when they need it.
Continue Reading… 

How Plan Sponsors Use Advisers
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DC Survey show retirement plan sponsors turn to advisers more for help with investments than for individual participant guidance.  Continue Reading…

It’s a Plan Sponsors Fiduciary Duty To Ask Questions

Fred Reish and Bruce Ashton recently addressed these issues in a white paper for John Hancock.  The Supreme Court decision in Tibble v. Edison International held that 401(k) plan fiduciaries have a duty to prudently monitor a plan’s investment options … in this case, whether retail or institutional share classes were prudent for the Edison plan.  And, before that, the trial court had said that there was a “duty to ask” about the share classes that were available to the plan.  Continue Reading…

Is an individual a fiduciary within the meaning of section 3(21)(A) of ERISA who advises a participant in exchange for a fee on how to invest the assets in the participant’s account?

In answering the question, the DOL takes over 200 words to say, “yes”.  Continue Reading…

Understanding The Fine Line Between Investment Education and Investment Advice

Plan fiduciaries have a duty to monitor discussions investment advisors are having with their participants. Failing to do so could result in a fiduciary breach and subject them to personal liability. Continue Reading…

Plan Sponsor Should Avoid These Retirement Plan Provider “Con Games”

This article is an introduction to terms and services in the retirement plan industry that plan providers may try to trick you into using that either does not provide what you believe it promises or it’s a little short on detail on what it really is.  Continue Reading… 

The Complete Worthlessness of The 401(k) Fiduciary Warranty

Don’t be had by a pale imitation, only go for real fiduciaries and real fiduciary protection.  Someone who is not willing to be a fiduciary isn’t worth the same as the one who will.  Continue Reading… 

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Position is That a Rollover Recommendation is a Fiduciary Act.

The FINRA notice is not saying anything new, but the regulatory authority is sending out a pointed reminder. The handwriting is on the wall. Rollovers are going to be a big deal. Continue Reading…  

Current Guidelines for Electronic Communications

As long as the plan sponsor determines that they can successfully meet the requirements, almost all notices and statements can be delivered to participants electronically.  Continue Reading…

DOL Interim Policy on Electronic Disclosure Under 29 CFR 2550.404a-5    Click Here

Best Practices for Handling Uncashed Checks

Some plan sponsors are unsure about best practices for handling uncashed retirement plan benefit checks, but a new paper aims to help. Continue Reading… 

 Why you need Fiduciary Liability Insurance

Defending a claim, even if it is without merit, is complex, expensive and time-consuming. According to a Tillinghast survey, the average cost of paid fiduciary liability claims was $994,000, with an average reported defense cost of approximately $365,000.
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Participants Need Help with Retirement Planning

A survey from J.P. Morgan Asset Management found most employees admitted they need professional assistance in planning their retirement. Nearly three in four (76%) said they need professional assistance with elements of retirement planning such as how much to save and how to allocate their investments. Continue Reading…

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