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Fiduciary Oversight, Legal and Regulatory Insights
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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

DCIIA posts links to member content as a service to our members, plan sponsors, and the broader retirement industry. Some sites may require registration. Posting these links does not imply endorsement and we are not responsible for non-DCIIA content. Please advise us of any broken links or other updates.

DCIIA Publications

SECURE Act Resources
February 2020

We’ve aggregated links to helpful articles and websites related to the SECURE Act.

Why GDPR Matters: A Reminder for US Retirement Plan Service Providers and Plan Sponsors
October 2019

This primer outlines key components of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and explores its potential implications for multi-national employee benefit plan sponsors and their DC plans. It may be a helpful resource in considering how to respond as similar regulations possibly take effect in the US at the federal or state levels.

Press Release: DCIIA Voices Support for Pending Regulatory Actions
September 2019

Rules Regarding Multiple Employer Plans and Potential Expansion of Investment Opportunities Could Help to Improve Retirement Security for America’s Workers.

Testimony before the ERISA Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans:
Lifetime Income Solutions as a Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) -- Focus on Decumulation and Rollovers
June 19, 2018

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
(comment letter)
July 21, 2015

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.

DCIIA Guide to U.S. Department of Labor Tips on Selecting Target Date Funds
February 2014

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.

Institutionalizing DC Plans: A Starting Point for Addressing Fiduciary Issues
August 2013

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
A Guide for Defined Contribution Plan Sponsors and their Service Providers
April 2013

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.

Member Publications

Improving Investment Outcomes for 403(b) Plan Participants
May 2020

In this public policy ViewPoint, BlackRock provides an overview of the features of CITs, why plan sponsors use CITs in 401(k) plans, the potential cost savings for 403(b) retirement savers if CITs were permitted as an investment option in all 403(b) plans, and ongoing legislative efforts to change the law, including the IRC, to allow all 403(b) plans to have the option to invest in CITs.

CARES Act Brings Immediate Changes for 401(k) Plans
April 2020

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.

A Look at the SECURE Act
January 2020

This paper from Schroders outlines the key law changes to date that investors, administrators, and plan sponsors alike should carefully consider.

Man Bites Dog? What's Driving the Fee Discussion within the DC Market

Fee compression is being driven by forces both within and outside the markets, notes Schroders. Factors include the rash of fee litigation and settlements that have forced plan sponsors and fiduciaries to consider lower cost investment options.

How the Coronavirus Relief Bill Affects DC Plans
March 2020

Callan notes that the coronavirus relief bill, known as the CARES Act, "seeks to address the recent economic tremors stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Certain provisions look to liberalize loan and distribution availability for certain DC plan participants (i.e., “qualified individuals”)."

Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Handbook
June 2019

This handbook by Russell Investments is designed to help you better understand today’s DC market and prevailing best practices as you build a plan to help meet participants’ retirement income needs within the context of meeting your fiduciary obligations.

CCPA: What You Need to Know to Mitigate Risk Under Sweeping Data Privacy Act

Faegre Drinker resources related to the California Consumer Privacy Act

Fee Compression: Five Ways Providers Monetize Recordkeeping

Multnomah Group notes: “Generally, we believe there are five areas where recordkeeping vendors have tried to monetize their relationship with retirement plans: Proprietary investment management, managed accounts, IRA rollovers, cross-selling retail financial products, annuitization. In this paper, we take a closer look at each of these five approaches.

Department of Labor Proposes Multiple Employer Plan Expansion
October 2018

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
October 2018

This guide from Vanguard offers practical steps to take during the process, including comparing TDFs, understanding underlying investments, and reviewing fees.

Loan Leakage: How Can We Keep Loan Defaults from Draining $2 Trillion from America's 401(k) Accounts?
October 2018

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.

PODCAST: Biggest Changes in a Decade Impacting the US Retirement System
September 2018

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.

The Fallout From the Global Financial Crisis Continues a Decade On
September 2018

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)
September 2018

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.

Plan Distribution and Rollover Guidance after Chamber of Commerce v. US Department of Labor
September 2018

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
September 2018

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
September 2018

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.

After a Bumpy Start to 2018 for Financial Markets, What Lies Ahead?
August 2018

Vanguard Senior Economist Andrew Patterson gives an update on trade tensions, rates, stock valuations, and expected returns.

IRS Guidance Suggests Employer Nonelective Contributions to 401(k) Plans Under Student Loan Repayment Program Do Not Violate "Contingent Benefit Rule"
August 2018

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."

IRS Private Ruling on Student Loan Benefit Under 401(k) Plan Likely to Fuel Interest
August 2018

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.

New Legislation Modifying Hardship Withdrawal Rules
August 2018

Learn about the changes to hardship withdrawal provisions resulting from the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. (from Vanguard)

Retirement Trend: Where We See the Industry Going
August 2018

Find out how Vanguard and plan sponsors are adapting to new fiduciary concerns, demographic shifts, and other current trends in the retirement space.

Self-Directed Brokerage Windows in 401(k) Plans: Do Fiduciaries Have to Look Inside?
August 2018

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.

Your Plan Will Face a Cyberattack. Here’s How to Prepare
July 2018

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 Urges IRS to Expand Determination Letter Program
June 2018

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.”

SEC Proposes Interpretation of Standard of Conduct for Investment Advisors
June 2018

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.

Department of Labor’s Field Assistance Bulletin on ESG Investing
May 2018

Mercer provides commentary and insight on the April 2018 US DOL FAB 2018-01.

ESGs – Perspectives of the OECD and New US Guidance
May 2018

Groom Law Group shares observations about the US Department of Labor (DOL) guidance on ESG factors in pension investing.

The Inconvenient Truth of Fiduciary Loan Regulation
April 2018

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.

DOL Issues More Guidance on ESG Investments, Shareholder Activities
April 2018

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.

Fiduciary Update: Using ESG Factors in ERISA Plans
April 2018

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.”

Qualified Default Investment Alternatives (QDIA) Selection Process

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.

Target-Date Risk Dashboard

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.


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