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Fiduciary Rules and Practices

Fiduciary duty, who is responsible for fulfilling it, and the rules that will — or won’t — guide and regulate it have been generating great attention for years. And for good reason. In “A Cascading Behavioral Roadmap for Fulfilling Fiduciary Duties” a recent blog entry by Neal Shikes, Managing... READ MORE
Under questioning at a May 1 hearing on Capitol Hill, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta appeared to confirm that the Department of Labor will issue a new fiduciary rule.  Acosta appeared before the House Education and Labor Committee for a hearing to examine the policies and priorities of the... READ MORE
The plaintiffs in an excessive fee case have managed to keep their case alive on appeal – in a case that also has an intriguing dissenting opinion. The suit was not only one of the first of the university 403(b) excessive fee suits to be filed, the district court decision, in favor of the... READ MORE
After extensive litigation, lengthy discovery, and protracted arm’s-length negotiations with the assistance of a national mediator, the parties in an excessive fee suit have announced the terms of their settlement agreement – and once again, it's about more than lost money. Specifically,... READ MORE
The Garden State has formally proposed a new uniform fiduciary standard – and there’s some good news.  Issued April 15 by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the state’s Bureau of Securities, the proposed rule would establish by regulation a common law fiduciary duty and apply it to... READ MORE
Having a retirement plan and a commitment to facilitating employees’ saving for their retirement is important. In MarketBeat, John Iekel discusses a recent blog entry that argues that the good that accomplishes can be blunted if the employer and the plan administrators don’t communicate about the... READ MORE
The Maryland Senate Finance Committee has overwhelmingly voted to recommend the rejection of a pending fiduciary bill. In fact, 10 out of the 11 committee members voted in favor of a motion to consider Maryland Senate Bill 786 – The Financial Consumer Protection Act of 2019 – as “unfavorable.”... READ MORE
New survey results show that nearly half of Americans incorrectly believe all advisors are legally obligated to act in a client’s best interest.   According to findings in Personal Capital’s 2019 Financial Trust Report, 48% of survey respondents mistakenly believe that all financial advisors are... READ MORE
Running and maintaining a plan can be complicated — and fiduciary rules are part of the reason. In MarketBeat, John Iekel discusses a recent blog entry that offers some suggestions regarding how to reduce the risk of making fiduciary errors in operating a plan. READ MORE
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is considering amendments to cybersecurity rules that could have an impact on retirement plan professionals. The FTC voted 3-2 to propose amendments to the Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information, which became effective on 2003 and requires that financial... READ MORE
A plan audit need not be unpleasant, and there are steps that can be taken to prepare for one and make it a smoother experience. In MarketBeat, John Iekel discusses a recent blog entry that offers suggestions regarding what can be done to prepare for a plan audit and avoid making errors. READ MORE
Nevada may be gambling with access to brokerage services for residents, based on the reactions of a number of brokerages to the Silver State’s proposed fiduciary regulation. According to published reports, Morgan Stanley says it would halt its brokerage services in Nevada entirely if the state... READ MORE
A group consisting of 12 separate financial services trade associations – including SIFMA, ACLI and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – have highlighted both preemption issues and legal deficiencies with Nevada’s proposed fiduciary regulation that they say goes “well beyond” the state’s legal authority... READ MORE
The Silver State managed to overlook the long history of ERISA preemption in its recent draft fiduciary regulations. Once again, the American Retirement Association has brought this to their attention. The comments came in response to draft regulations issue in mid-January by Nevada’s Office of... READ MORE
Plan fiduciaries have asked the nation’s highest court to weigh in on when ERISA’s three-year statute of limitations begins – and if disclosure alone is enough to start that clock.  In asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case, plan fiduciaries at Intel said the question presented was “... READ MORE
Another settlement has been announced in the series of university 403(b) plan excessive fee suits. The latest settlement (Cassell v. Vanderbilt Univ., M.D. Tenn., No. 3:16-cv-02086, status report 2/25/19) involved Vanderbilt University, where fiduciaries of Vanderbilt’s $3.4 billion (as of 2014)... READ MORE
“Fiduciaries that manage employer-sponsored benefits plans will likely get sued no matter what they do.” Thus begins a request from a number of retirement industry groups – including the American Retirement Association – that the U.S. Supreme Court weigh in on a controversial fiduciary case. Said... READ MORE
The NTSA Certified Retirement Education Specialist (CRES) initiative has been launched, and a complimentary, members-only webcast on Feb. 7 featured a panel discussion about the new program. Panelists included Tamara Indianer of Lincoln Investment; Adam Pearce, also of Lincoln Investment; Bill... READ MORE
For the second time in about as many weeks, an excessive fee suit against the fiduciaries of a university 403(b) plan has been dropped. The original suit had been filed by two participants on behalf of some 4,000 participants in the 403(b) plan of Long Island University. The plaintiffs claimed... READ MORE
The proposed settlement in a university 403(b) excessive fee case has received preliminary approval from a federal judge. Last month Judge Catherine C. Eagles of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina noted that, “while class counsel have adequately addressed many of the... READ MORE

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