Top Ten 401k Plan Trends

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

What will those progressive plan sponsors who wish to maintain leading edge 401k plans be doing in 2016? Read on below to learn the top ten 401k trends for 2016. [Read more…]

Why Target Risk Funds Are Wrong For 401k Plans

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Recently, PLANSPONSOR reported that target risk funds experienced aggregate outflows of $2.9 billion during the second quarter of 2015. Are target risk funds appropriate for 401k plans? I don’t think so. Here’s why: [Read more…]

Plan Sponsors Should Support Harmonization Of Fiduciary Regulations

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

When the recently proposed fiduciary rules are finalized there will likely continue to be significant differences between how Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and brokers interact with their retirement plan clients from a fiduciary standpoint.

Currently, RIAs are required to act as fiduciaries to their clients while brokers, essentially, are not. This is confusing to plan sponsors because most assume that any investment advisor they work with takes on fiduciary responsibility when they share advice. However, since brokers are acting as agents for their employers, they are allowed to offer advice and products based upon a “suitability” standard. This standard permits brokers to share advice that may put their interests or their firm’s interests ahead of their client’s. RIAs are always required to keep their client’s best interests first. [Read more…]

Nine Questions Employers Have About Fiduciary Responsibility

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Recently the Department of Labor shared a proposed set of regulations about retirement plan fiduciary responsibility. As a result, many 401k plan sponsors have begun asking questions about their fiduciary responsibility. Following are the most frequent questions that I hear: [Read more…]

Who Is Impacted By The New DoL Fiduciary Rules

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

The Department of Labor’s (DoL) new proposed fiduciary rules have caused quite a bit of excitement in the retirement plan community. A frequent question has been who is and who is not impacted. Following are my thoughts on the impact of the new rules.

Who is NOT impacted by the fiduciary rules

Registered investment advisors (RIAs), existing plan fiduciaries, plan participants and plan sponsors will not be impacted or will be minimally impacted by the new rules. Anyone who is a fiduciary now will continue to be a fiduciary in the future, with little or no difference in how they interact with retirement plan sponsors or participants. Plan sponsors will not see any change in the content or type of fiduciary services or advice they receive from their advisors (unless their advisor is not currently serving as a fiduciary). Plan participants who have been receiving advice (from services like Financial Engines) will experience no change in the quality or content of the services they receive.

Who IS impacted by the fiduciary rules [Read more…]

Your 401k Investment Adviser Can Help Manage Providers

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Most 401k plan sponsors work with an investment adviser to help them manage their 401k plans. Many are unaware that it is reasonable to expect their investment adviser to help manage providers. Leading edge investment advisers are familiar with the marketplace for trust, custody, employee education and recordkeeping services. As a result, plan sponsors should expect help from their investment adviser with: [Read more…]

What To Look For In A Top 401k Investment Adviser

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

As we move toward the end of another year, plan sponsors should make time to review their 401k plan providers. Most employer plan sponsors use an investment adviser to help them with their 401k plans. This is a smart decision since most advisers are able to save plan sponsors at least as much as they charge. How can you tell if you are working with a top 401k investment adviser? A top 401k investment adviser: [Read more…]

Which Fiduciary Should 401k Plan Sponsors Hire: 3(16), 3(21) Or 3(38)?

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about whether plan sponsors should contract with their administrative providers for section 3(16) fiduciary services. Outlined below are the different types of fiduciary services available to 401k plan sponsors. [Read more…]

Why All 401k Plan Sponsors Should Use BrokerCheck

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

The Department of Labor (DoL) feel it is important that you, as a 401k plan sponsor, review your providers at least every 3 to 5 years. One way to check on the status of the financial advisor working with your 401k plan is by using BrokerCheck — a free service provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA is the regulator for all securities firms doing business in the U.S. Their primary objective is to protect investors.

BrokerCheck lists any financial advisor violations of investment-related regulations or statues and will also tell you whether your financial advisor is licensed to do business in your state. Don’t worry, your financial advisor will not be informed about whether you used the service to check his/her background.

BrokerCheck will tell you: [Read more…]

401k Decision-Making And Documentation Best Practices

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Are you making retirement plan decisions using a prudent process? Do you always put the interests of plan participants ahead of the company’s when considering plan issues? Following are some decision-making best practices and documentation best practices. [Read more…]