PLANSPONSOR Weekend Newsdash
Week ending December 1st, 2017

Happy Friday, readers! For advisers and many other professionals and business owners, the end of the year can be a helpful time to step back and survey one’s recent progress. This is particularly important today for retirement specialist financial advisers. Broadly speaking, the industry in 2017 has again seen a steady stream of important new developments—shifts in regulation, the creation of innovative new products and service strategies, and the emergence of automation technologies. Collected below is a helpful series of articles centered on the theme of embracing industry change and evolving for the long-term future. We hope you’ll share some of what you read with a client or colleague.

Practice Management
Onboarding Clients
Newport Capital Group in Red Bank, New Jersey, winner of the 2016 PLANSPONSOR Plan Adviser Large Team of the Year designation, has many strategies in place to onboard and get to know new plan sponsor clients. The advisory firm believes it is important to “thoroughly understand each plan sponsor’s goals for its company.” Immediately upon starting with a new client, the practice sits down with and asks its executives what issues are the most pressing—both for the company and for individual employees. As Newport Group puts it, having an “open dialogue during early onboarding sessions” is one of the keys to long-term retention. It may seem obvious, but even in the age of technology and plan automation, having as many of the initial conversations in person as possible is crucial to establishing rapport. Read more >
Pooling Investors’ Assets
Pooling investor assets results in a number of efficiencies including significant cost savings. That said, advisers should be aware of certain considerations that arise depending on the types of investors that participate in pooled investment funds. Specifically, certain requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code must be met when accepting benefit plan investors, such as ERISA-covered plans and individual retirement accounts. Read more >
When Advisers Tout Their Own Services
Under the fiduciary rule reforms, an adviser can still tout the value of their services and educate the prospective client without becoming a fiduciary adviser. However, when you recommend a specific investment, an investment strategy or a particular type of account that results in compensation to you or your firm, you will engage in a fiduciary act. And you may also be committing a prohibited transaction for which an exemption such as the best interest contract exemption is needed. Read more >
Keeping Them Happy
When plan advisers ask sponsor clients for their feedback, this can call forth compliments that validate an advisory firm’s service model and working style. But sometimes sponsors give negative feedback about an advisory firm’s services. Premier advisers learn to welcome not just sponsors’ compliments, but their occasional criticisms, too. Read more >
2017 PLANADVISER Retirement Plan Adviser Survey
Advisers were asked to rank both their perception of listed recordkeepers and how often they have worked with those recordkeepers. The providers that received the largest percentage of “very favorable” ratings were: Empower Retirement, Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price, Vanguard and Principal Financial Group. Still, it is worth noting that only Empower received a very favorable rating from more than half of the advisers scoring them—53%. The rest of the group most frequently worked with were John Hancock Retirement Plan Services, ADP Retirement Services and American Funds Distributors. Read more >
MOST POPULAR STORIES
Tax Bill Passed By Senate Backs Off 457(b), 403(b) Plan Changes

It appears some last-minute amendments have largely removed controversial provisions from the Senate’s version of tax reform legislation that would have had a big impact on governmental 457 and nonprofit 403(b) plan sponsors.

Pass-Through Tax Reform Impact on Small Businesses May Be Mitigated via Roth

The American Retirement Association says that tax reform could be a disincentive for small businesses to offer retirement plans; however, as one reader shares, there are counter considerations having to do with Roth 401(k) options that could mitigate some of the concern.

Settlement Ends Fujitsu Lawsuit Filed Over Plan Fees, Custom TDFs

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs called the Fujitsu plan one of the most expensive in the country and specifically called out the design and implementation of the plan’s custom target-date funds.

Congressional Democrats Continue Push on Butch Lewis Act

The legislation would take steps to provide additional anti-cutback protections for Teamsters, miners, and other unionized American workers who have paid significant sums into multiemployer pension funds.

Education on Lifetime Income Needed in Not-for-Profit Sector
In-plan lifetime income options can secure certain benefits participants may not find in retail solutions, suggests a new study by TIAA.

Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

Advertising: Paul Zampitella paul.zampitella@strategic-i.com

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