- Retirement Research Center
|Fiduciary Oversight, Legal and Regulatory Insights|
Welcome to DCIIA's online resource library for DCIIA and member thought leadership. If you have resources to contribute in this topic area contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Testimony before the ERISA Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans:
DCIIA offers insights regarding lifetime income (LTI) solutions as a qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) based primarily on the collective input of DCIIA members and plan sponsors as compiled in two surveys conducted by DCIIA in May/June 2018.
Definition of a Fiduciary
DCIIA commentary to the Department of Labor on its re-proposal of the Definition of the Term “Fiduciary.” In providing this commentary, DCIIA seeks to respond to the questions raised by the Department.
The DOL's “Tips for ERISA Plan Fiduciaries" provides guidance to plan fiduciaries as they select and monitor the TDFs in their DC plan’s investment lineup. This guide from DCIIA is intended to supplement the DOL’s fact sheet and offer additional information on the different types of products that may be available.
This article provides a basic framework for plan sponsors and fiduciaries interested in exploring perspectives on institutionalizing their DC plans.
Complex Investments and Navigating the New Participant Disclosure Rules
DCIIA provides a framework to help identify and suggest practical approaches for addressing the challenges of new reporting and disclosure requirements, particularly as they apply to non-registered investment funds and custom investment solutions that are offered in many 401(k) plans.
Discussion from Groom Law Group on the Department of Labor’s proposed regulation to facilitate and expand the availability of multiple employer defined contribution plans (“MEPs”).
Evaluating Target-Date Funds: A Fiduciary's Guide
This guide from Vanguard offers practical steps to take during the process, including comparing TDFs, understanding underlying investments, and reviewing fees.
Custodia Financial notes that while financial wellness remains an important topic within the retirement plan landscape, a little understood yet disturbing problem in defined contribution plans has escaped greater scrutiny: Retirement plan leakage from 401(k) loan defaults. Deloitte's analysis finds that more than $2 trillion in potential future account balances will be lost due to loan defaults from 401(k) accounts over the next 10 years, potentially threatening the retirement security of millions of Americans.
Drew Carrington, head of Institutional Defined Contribution at Franklin Templeton Investments, and Michael Hadley, a partner at the Washington, DC law firm Davis and Harman, discuss noteworthy legislative proposals that may significantly affect retirement plans—including President Donald Trump’s most recent executive order.
Vanguard Senior Economist Roger Aliaga-Díaz looks at where we stand a decade after the global financial crisis.
IRS Issues Guidance on Changes to Section 162(m)
This Lawflash by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP examines the IRS Notice 2018-68 (Notice), which provides guidance on changes in Code Section 162(m) made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), Public Law 115-17. The Notice has some good news and some not-so-good news, but on balance is helpful, particularly in continuing to respect state law in identifying a "written binding contract" under the grandfather rules.
This paper by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP examines how a plan service provider (such as a trustee, record-keeper, broker-dealer, or investment adviser) can offer participant-level distribution and rollover guidance under the US Department of Labor's (DOL's) Advisory Opinion to Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators (the Deseret Letter) in compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
Our Take on US Order to Ease Retirement Regulations
This year is proving to be an active year for retirement-related legislation. On August 31, President Trump signed a new executive order that offers several changes to retirement plans. Here, Franklin Templeton’s Yaqub Ahmed and Drew Carrington, who attended the signing, highlight a few aspects of it.
Trump Executive Order on Retirement
Groom Law Group discusses the President’s Executive Order, which directs the Department of Labor and the Treasury Department to consider regulations or guidance expanding the availability of multiple employer retirement plans (MEPs), loosening the required minimum distribution rules that apply to individuals over age 70½, and improving notice requirements to reduce the paperwork and administrative burdens for plan sponsors.
Vanguard Senior Economist Andrew Patterson gives an update on trade tensions, rates, stock valuations, and expected returns.
This blog post by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP examines the IRS guidance in a private letter ruling that suggests employer nonelective contributions to 401(k) plans under a student loan prepayment program do not violate the "contingent benefit rule."
Commentary from Groom Law Group on the IRS private letter ruling (PLR 201833012, May 22, 2018) regarding an employer’s proposal to amend its plan to include a student loan benefit program.
Learn about the changes to hardship withdrawal provisions resulting from the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. (from Vanguard)
Find out how Vanguard and plan sponsors are adapting to new fiduciary concerns, demographic shifts, and other current trends in the retirement space.
This blog post by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP discusses issues related to the level of liability risk for plan fiduciaries where a self-directed brokerage window is available, and in particular, examines the fiduciary obligations related to offering the brokerage window that, if not met, could trigger liability.
Callan notes that while hacking is nothing new, the pace of large-scale cyberattacks has accelerated significantly in recent years, and the focus of cyberattacks in the DC world has shifted from hardened targets like recordkeepers and custodians to plan sponsors. This quarter's edition of the DC Observer is designed to assist plan sponsors with formulating and executing their cybersecurity strategy to protect their information and their assets.
Groom Law Group notes that it has submitted two letters recommending consideration of certain plans as applicants for updated determination letters, noting that “The IRS determination letter program for individually designed retirement plans was revised, effective January 1, 2017, to dramatically limit when a plan could seek a determination on its tax-qualified status.”
This Lawflash by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP describes the key questions raised by the US Securities and Exchange Commission's new proposed interpretation of the standard of conduct for investment advisers and discusses its potential impact on the existing interpretation of fiduciary duty.
Groom Law Group shares observations about the US Department of Labor (DOL) guidance on ESG factors in pension investing.
This article from Custodia Financial notes that many plan sponsors falsely believe that loan defaults do not merit fiduciary attention. Yet the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) characterizes plan loans as investments, requiring care and prudence to meet the fiduciary standard. With all the litigation targeting defined contribution plans, now is a good occasion for plan sponsors to re-evaluate their loan practices.
This blog post by Morgan, Lewis, Bockius LLP examines the US Department of Labor (DOL) guidance related to an ERISA fiduciary's consideration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments for employee benefit plans and when voting proxies and exercising other shareholder rights. The key issue here is how the consideration of ESG factors fits with an ERISA fiduciary's obligation to act prudently and solely in the interest of plan participants and beneficiaries, including when making investment decisions.
In this commentary Natixis notes, “On April 23, 2018, the US Department of Labor (DOL) published Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2018-01 (FAB), addressing the use of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in ERISA plans. Overall, this bulletin continues the DOL’s long-standing position that fiduciaries may not sacrifice investment return to promote collateral or social goals. Using this as a guiding star, ERISA plan fiduciaries considering investing plan assets using ESG factors should be able to navigate safely through these fiduciary waters.”
Vanguard's Take on the Tax Law
After the House and Senate approved a major overhaul of the U.S. tax code, Vanguard's expert examines how policy changes will impact investors and retirement savers.
This online guide from American Century Investments helps plan sponsors satisfy their fiduciary obligations by adopting and implementing a five-step QDIA selection process. Each step is outlined with important points of consideration for the plan sponsor and their plan consultant. Supporting resource guides help the advisor and ultimately, the plan sponsor step through the process, from assessment to implementation to monitoring of the QDIA.
The Target-Date Risk Dashboard from American Century Investments aims to deliver forward-looking insights that plan fiduciaries need to select an appropriate QDIA option. It looks to identify the major risks that participants often face on the road to retirement, including volatility, inflation, and rising interest rates. A simple, three-step process allows plan fiduciaries to create a custom analysis that compares TDF solutions based on participant demographics and risk preferences.
Fiduciary Best Practices
This guidebook serves as a roadmap to plan sponsors' fiduciary duties while providing Vanguard's perspective on recommended best practices.
GuidedChoice describes fiduciary responsibility -- the duty plan sponsors and fiduciaries have to protect the best interests of retirement plan participants, retirees, and their beneficiaries.
GuidedChoice notes: “Outsourcing investment decision-making — and the risk — to a qualified expert such as a 3(38) fiduciary investment manager (so named for the section of ERISA law that defines it) is one of the simplest and most effective ways employers can help reduce their fiduciary risk when it comes to managing the investments in their plan.”
This paper, written by Goodwin and sponsored by T. Rowe Price, notes that "in the complex and litigation-prone world defined contribution plans occupy, it is important to underline what the real focal points for fiduciaries should be. Here are five guiding principles under ERISA that can aid fiduciaries in selecting and monitoring investment options and assessing active strategies within their plan lineups."
This white paper from Morningstar discusses what the government has tried, and what is still needed, to help Americans prepare for their financial future.