The unsuccessful challenge was viewed as somewhat unique amid the glut of retirement industry litigation because it cited the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law of 1970, known as RICO.
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.
The appellee, Market Synergy Group, argued unsuccessfully that its representatives would never be able to make the Best Interest Contract Exemption, a key mechanism underlying the new DOL fiduciary rule, workable.
A new analysis out from Empower Retirement finds historical investment performance does not serve as an optimal overall measure of value delivered by a managed account; there is strong evidence to suggest “engaged participants” extract more value from managed accounts.
The firm says it does not have additional information to share at this juncture beyond what has been noted in a 2017 year-end SEC filing; in that newly emerged document, Wells Fargo Advisors says it has begun an internal investigation into “whether there have been inappropriate referrals or recommendations” made by its advisors, including with respect to rollovers for 401(k) plan participants.
According to data from CEM Benchmarking, defined benefit pensions have outperformed defined contribution plans by less than half a percentage point over the last decade—described as a “huge improvement” for DC plan sponsors.
Plaintiffs argue it was inappropriate to allow three recordkeepers to supply the plans with a separate menu of investment choices, including mutual fund share classes that charged higher fees than other alternatives that offered the same investment strategies or less expensive share classes of the exact same investment fund—or both.
The enforcement arm of the Massachusetts Securities Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth alleges that Scotttrade violated the Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act and related regulations by leveraging sales contests that violated the expanded DOL fiduciary rule.
“While appropriate for some participants, heavy reliance on equities is almost certainly not suitable for as many 401(k) participants as the allocation of the largest TDF managers suggests,” P-Solve argues. “TDFs are built mainly for favorable economic and market environments.”
The sizable ERISA suit’s third amended compliant explicitly names as a defendant one of the advisory firms supporting NYU’s retirement plans.
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.
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.
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.
The direct-to-sponsor firm proudly brands itself as an advisory industry disruptor, boasting fast revenue growth and a 30-day average sales cycle; we sit down with lead strategy officer Josh Robbins for a frank conversation about what comes next for the company and its “traditional” competition.
In a dense dismissal decision, the district court offers a reminder of the exacting pleading standards of ERISA and statues of limitations before roundly rejecting the plaintiff's allegations for failing to state an actionable claim.
The underlying lawsuit will proceed and will test whether the firm acted imprudently or disloyally in discharging its discretionary fiduciary authority when including its own affiliated investment products in its internal retirement plan.