PLANADVISER Weekend Newsdash
Week ending February 17th, 2018

Happy Friday, readers! This weekend’s mailing offers a broad look at the topic of Client Service, starting with a new PLANADVISER exclusive examining the recent fee change announced by Fidelity, impacting any new plan sponsor clients choosing Vanguard products. Below you will also find coverage of a new SEC initiative offering “amnesty” to advisers who self-report and correct violations of conflict of interest rules pertaining to the collection of 12b-1 fees. According to SEC leadership, if advisers return any ill-gotten gains to clients, the SEC won’t heap on any penalties. However, the Wagner Law Group warns there are inherent risks in self-disclosure. We hope you share some of what you learn with a client or colleague! 

Client Service
Fee and Industry Shifts Mean Retirement Plan Providers Can Play Hardball
A look back at how Fidelity will charge new plan sponsor clients on its platform who choose Vanguard products makes visible the hard-nosed competition that defines the retirement plan recordkeeping and brokerage industries. Read more >
SEC Reveals Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative
Under the new “SCSD Initiative,” the SEC’s enforcement agents will recommend “standardized, favorable settlement terms” for investment advisers that self-report that they failed to disclose conflicts of interest associated with the receipt of 12b-1 fees by the adviser or an affiliated broker/dealer; the regulator further warns that advisers who fail to take advantage of this program will be punished more severely in the future. Read more >
Self-Reporting to SEC of 12b-1 Conflicts of Interest Not Without Risk
Offering some preliminary commentary on the SEC’s newly announced adviser 12b-1 fee conflict of interest “amnesty” program, as it’s being referred to in the trade media, Wagner Law Group attorneys warn of the inherent risks in the self-reporting of violations. Read more >
Social Security, Medicare Guides Receive 2018 Updates
Updates to Manning & Napier’s Social Security and Medicare guides, among other publications, aim to help individuals and employers make the best decisions when it comes to maximizing and coordinating private and government benefits. Read more >
Interest Doesn’t Always Bring Adoption of Robo-Adviser Tech
Since 2015, investors’ interest in using digital advice platforms has increased modestly, far outpacing actual adoption, according to Cerulli; for clients of both traditional advisers and robo platforms, knowing disclosure information is easily available is often felt to be more important than reviewing it in depth. Read more >
Using Data to Determine the Best QDIA for Your Clients
A paper from Morningstar Investment Management lays out a framework for advisers and plan sponsors to determine the qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) that is the best fit for a plan’s demographics. Read more >
MOST POPULAR STORIES
Stimulus Bill Extends Some Provisions of the CARES Act

It also provides a way for retirement plan sponsors to avoid a partial plan termination.

Coronavirus Hardship Withdrawals, Taxes and Your Retirement Plan Clients
Coronavirus-related withdrawals made in 2020 were a financial lifeline for some, but they could also turn into a major tax headache for others.
Once They Catch On, PEPs Could Grow Exponentially
The current hesitancy over how they will take shape will be overcome by appreciation among advisers and sponsors alike at the prospect of expanding retirement coverage, sources say.
Warn Your Clients: Don’t Abuse Coronavirus Hardship Withdrawals
Though retirement plans can allow individuals to self-certify that they qualify for a penalty-free coronavirus-related distribution, should the IRS discover otherwise during a future audit, a participant can be subject to substantial penalties.
Many Near-Retirees Don't Understand Social Security Benefits

More than one-third failed a basic Social Security quiz administered by MassMutual.

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