PLANSPONSOR Weekend Newsdash
Week ending May 12th, 2017
Happy Friday, readers! Merrill Lynch again grabbed headlines this week for the way it is tweaking its approach to the DOL fiduciary rule, becoming one of the first nationally recognized firms to explain how the uncertain future of the rulemaking will be treated in terms of its sales and services processes. There is little doubt that other firms are making similar adjustments as they struggle to comprehend what the Trump administration and Republican leadership in Congress might do (or not do) in terms of fully stopping the controversial Obama-era rulemaking. Find our full coverage and helpful context articles below. 
Editor's choice
Merrill Lynch Signals More Flexibility in Fiduciary Rule Response
The firm has consistently been an early mover in announcing fiduciary rule implementation plans—and that trend continued this week with the news that ML advisers will retain some access to commission-based IRAs. Read more >
DOL Announces Fiduciary Responsibilities Seminar in Illinois
The seminar will be held in Springfield, Illinois, on June 21. Read more >
Varying Fees
Can an adviser charge different fees for different investments in a retirement plan? ERISA attorneys Fred Reish and Joan Neri ask, how do current ERISA standards treat this question, and how might that change in the near future?  Read more >
Fiduciary Rule Litigation Still Matters
The DOL’s authority to regulate the financial services industry is separate from the authority conferred on the Securities and Exchange Commission, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and state insurance, and other, regulators. Notwithstanding the potential conflicts and overlaps, the courts appear to believe that the DOL and other regulators can co-exist and effectively regulate together. Read more >
Assessing Independence
Many advisers would rather venture on their own than affiliate with a B/D, and the current regulatory environment is only adding to the pressure.  Read more >
Nearly Three-Quarters of Boomers Want to Delay Retirement

More than three in 10 have no retirement budget.

Will SCOTUS Decide the Fate of the DOL Fiduciary Rule?

Some ERISA attorneys argue the Fifth Circuit decision last week to vacate entirely the DOL’s fiduciary rule expansion makes a Supreme Court decision on the matter inevitable; others are less sure that a decisive SCOTUS decision could be forthcoming, instead expecting the SEC to take the lead; still others admit they have little idea how the regulatory picture will shake out, recommending patience and ongoing compliance.

Confusion Abounds After Fifth Circuit Decision Vacates DOL Fiduciary Rule

The latest decision out of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals throws a dramatic new element of confusion into the epic regulatory saga that has been the rollout of the Department of Labor fiduciary rule.

Many Americans Would Forego Social Security Payments for Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

The Student Security Act of 2017​ would grant $550 in student loan forgiveness for each month a student debtor was willing to raise his or her full retirement age, or $6,600 per year.

Retirement Programs Must Continue to Evolve to Address Participant Needs
Chuck Coldwell, vice president - national director, Consulting and BOLI Services at Pentegra, believes as an industry, we still have not reached the goal of getting the majority of participants in a good place for retirement—even with auto enroll and escalate.

Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer

Advertising: Paul Zampitella

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