PLANADVISER Weekend Newsdash
Week ending May 12th, 2017
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
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 >
MOST POPULAR STORIES
Another Stressed Union Pension to Get PBGC Support

The plan was projected to run out of money at some point this year, but the special financial assistance from PBGC should prevent this outcome.

Class Certified in 401(k) Plan Trustees’ Lawsuit Against John Hancock

The suit alleges that John Hancock Life Insurance Co. violated ERISA by retaining foreign tax credits generated by plans’ investments under a group variable annuity contract.

PPL Corp. and Mass Brigham General Face ERISA Lawsuits

Imprudent investments and excessive fees were themes of lawsuits filed last week against retirement plan fiduciaries.

70% of Eligible Employees Have Joined California’s State-Run Retirement Program

Early evidence suggests the mandate for employers that don’t offer a retirement plan to join CalSavers is driving adoption of new plans.

Retirement Plan Advisers Might Help Lessen ERISA Lawsuits by Adding Defensive Provisions
Advisers can assist plan sponsors with mitigating and preventing claims for benefits and other Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims.
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