What Your 401k Investment Committee Should Discuss

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

If you are like most 401k plan sponsors, you worry about whether your 401k plan investment committee is focused on the right stuff. Is the investment committee using its time wisely talking about what is important? Or do you spend way too much time agonizing about investment performance? I believe that your 401k plan investment committee should focus on reviewing the following at their meetings: [Read more…]

Fiduciary Confusion: What’s A 401k Plan Sponsor To Do?

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

On February 3, President Trump signed a memorandum asking the Department of Labor to review the new fiduciary rules that apply to retirement accounts. The next week, on February 9, the Department of Labor (DoL) filed documents that will likely result in a six-month delay of the scheduled April implementation of the rules. There have been a lot of comments circulated on the impact of a delay or any changes. And of course, debate has once again been revived on the value of these new rules. Most important, though, is what this means for your 401k plan and participants and what your 401k fiduciary responsibility is. [Read more…]

Why Trump Won’t Roll Back New Fiduciary Regs

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

There have been significant differences of opinion on whether President-elect Trump will roll back the new fiduciary regulations set to go into effect on April 10, 2017. These fiduciary regulations, issued by the Department of Labor (DoL), require anyone working with retirement accounts to act as a fiduciary with regard to advice provided. I don’t believe the new Trump administration will cancel or roll back these fiduciary regulations. Here’s why. [Read more…]

Did You Hire The Right 401k Investment Adviser?

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

As a 401k plan sponsor, you are probably aware that there are some new fiduciary regulations going into effect in April of 2017. You probably have spent some time wondering (worrying?) whether these regulations affect your relationship with the investment adviser or investment advisor who works with your 401k plan. They might. Here’s how to tell. [Read more…]

What 401k Plan Sponsors Want To Know About The New Fiduciary Regs

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

Since the Department of Labor released its final fiduciary compliance rules, there has been a tremendous amount of media coverage devoted to what plan sponsors need to know about the new fiduciary regs. Although much of it has been well written with good intentions, most of it has been wrong and has only served to confuse plan sponsors. Based on what I am hearing from plan sponsors, following is what you say you want to know about the new fiduciary regs: [Read more…]

New Fiduciary Regs: A Win For Plan Sponsors

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

On Wednesday, April 6, 2016 the Department of Labor (DoL) issued its final fiduciary regs for investment advisors working with retirement accounts. The rules were aimed specifically at brokers who provide investment advice to clients under the “suitability” requirement (which exempted brokers from being fiduciaries). The issuance of these final fiduciary regs ends a long war that the brokerage industry waged against regulators, employing all manner of threats to avoid fiduciary responsibility (e.g.; small clients will not be able to receive investment advice — absolutely ridiculous) and spending millions on intense political lobbying. Who won? Remarkably, plan sponsors!

What is a fiduciary?

[Read more…]

Nine Questions Employers Have About Fiduciary Responsibility

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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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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…]

What To Look For In A Top 401k Investment Adviser

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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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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…]