Insights

Share

Best Interest and Best Practices #13

Posted on January 16, 2019, by Fred Reish in 401(k), best interest, DOL Activity, fiduciary, Plan Sponsors, prudent. Comments Off on Best Interest and Best Practices #13

Best Practices: Why Wait Until After You are Sued?

This is the 13th of a new series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series focuses on Best Interest and Best Practices. Those topics give me flexibility to discuss a range of subjects that affect both service providers, including advisors, and plan sponsors, including 401(k) and 403(b) committees.

I am surprised that, after all of the fiduciary litigation against 401(k) plan sponsors, many plan sponsors and their committees have not taken the basic steps to minimize the risk of being sued, or if sued, of being liable. In most of the settled cases, the plaintiffs’ class action attorneys require that certain conditions—or “best practices”—be adopted by the plan fiduciaries. And, in settlement after settlement, those conditions are, by and large, the same. That raises the obvious question, why haven’t plan committees … Read More »

Share

Best Interest and Best Practices #12

Posted on January 10, 2019, by Fred Reish in 401(k), fiduciary, Plan Sponsors, prudent, Registered Investment Advisers. Comments Off on Best Interest and Best Practices #12

What Does Best Interest Mean . . . In the Real World? (Part 4)

This is the 12th of a new series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series focuses on Best Interest and Best Practices. Those topics give me flexibility to discuss a range of subjects that affect both service providers, including advisors, and plan sponsors, including 401(k) and 403(b) committees.

In my last three posts (#9 and #10 and #11), I discuss the Best Interest standard of care and its practical application. This article discusses a novel approach for compliance with the fiduciary standard for the selection of investments for 401(k) plans. All the more interesting, the approach was part of an opinion of the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals.

In October 2018, the First Circuit considered an appeal of a 401(k) case where Putnam Investments, and its fiduciaries, were … Read More »

Share

Best Interest and Best Practices #11

Posted on December 11, 2018, by Fred Reish in best interest, fiduciary, prudent, SEC. Comments Off on Best Interest and Best Practices #11

What Does Best Interest Mean . . . In the Real World? (Part 3)

This is the 11th of a new series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series focuses on Best Interest and Best Practices. Those topics give me flexibility to discuss a range of subjects that affect both service providers, including advisors, and plan sponsors, including 401(k) and 403(b) committees.

In my last two posts (Bests #9 and #10), I discussed the definition of the Best Interest standard of care, with a particular focus on the duty to exercise care, skill, prudence and diligence in developing recommendations for investors. Those articles commented on the consistency in the Best Interest and fiduciary standards being developed by the SEC and several states (including New York), as well ERISA’s duty of care and duty of loyalty.

Bests #9 discussed the similarities of the standards … Read More »

Share

Best Interest and Best Practices #10

Posted on November 28, 2018, by Fred Reish in best interest, Reg BI, Registered Investment Advisers, RIA, SEC. Comments Off on Best Interest and Best Practices #10

What Does Best Interest Mean . . . In the Real World? (Part 2)

This is the 10th of a new series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series focuses on Best Interest and Best Practices. Those topics give me flexibility to discuss a range of subjects that affect both service providers, including advisors, and plan sponsors, including 401(k) and 403(b) committees.

My last article, Bests #9, discussed different definitions of a “best interest” standard of care. The point of that article is that, while there may be slight differences in the wording, the rules converge to require that an advisor (and the advisor’s supervisory entity) act with care, skill, diligence and prudence to make recommendations that are in the best interest of the investor. This article discusses how the standard applies to specific circumstances.

As background, there are three parts to any … Read More »

Share

Best Interest and Best Practices #9

Posted on November 13, 2018, by Fred Reish in 401(k), 403(b), best interest, DOL Activity, prudent, Reg BI, Registered Investment Advisers, RIA, SEC. Comments Off on Best Interest and Best Practices #9

What Does “Best Interest” Mean? (Part 1)

This is the 9th of a new series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series focuses on Best Interest and Best Practices. Those topics give me flexibility to discuss a range of subjects that affect both service providers, including advisors, and plan sponsors, including 401(k) and 403(b) committees.

“Best Interest” has become part of the American lexicon . . . as an aspirational goal or a demanding standard—depending on the point of view. But, what does best interest mean? It may mean different things to different people . . . and perhaps even to different regulators. However, I believe that most people would agree on the definition in this article.

As I read the guidance issued by the Department of Labor (DOL), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and New York State, there are actually … Read More »

Share

Best Interest and Best Practices #8

Posted on November 7, 2018, by Fred Reish in 401(k), 403(b), DOL Activity, fiduciary. Comments Off on Best Interest and Best Practices #8

Fiduciary Training: The Need for Basics

This is the 8TH of a new series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series focuses on Best Interest and Best Practices. Those topics give me flexibility to discuss a range of subjects that affect both service providers, including advisors, and plan sponsors, including 401(k) and 403(b) committees.

In three earlier posts—Bests #4, #5, and #6—about the Sacerdote v. New York University decision, I discussed the good and the bad of the NYU plan committee and made several suggestions about best practices for improving committee performance. This article focuses on one of those suggestions—fiduciary education for committee members.

As a starting point, there is not a legal requirement that committee members receive fiduciary training. Instead, it’s a best practice and good risk management.

But, what should the fiduciary education cover? Based on my analysis of court … Read More »

Share

Best Interest and Best Practices #7

Posted on October 30, 2018, by Fred Reish in 401(k), 403(b), DOL Activity, Reg BI, Registered Investment Advisers, RIA, SEC. Comments Off on Best Interest and Best Practices #7

SEC Best Interests . . . When? And What About the DOL

This is the 7th of a new series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series focuses on Best Interest and Best Practices. Those topics give me flexibility to discuss a range of subjects that affect both service providers, including advisors, and plan sponsors, including 401(k) and 403(b) committees.

The Regulatory Agendas for the SEC and DOL were recently issued. Both have plans for guidance by September of 2019, but the anticipated timing of the guidance has, by and large, been misinterpreted. To understand what I mean, read on.

The SEC’s Agenda said that Final Action on the Regulation Best Interest proposal for broker-dealers and the Interpretation of Standard of Conduct for investment advisers would be “09/00/2019.”

Similarly, the Department of Labor Agenda said that there would be a final rule on … Read More »

Share

Best Interest and Best Practices #6

Posted on October 17, 2018, by Fred Reish in best interest, fiduciary, Plan Sponsors, prudent, Service Providers. Comments Off on Best Interest and Best Practices #6

What is the Baseline for A Committee to Act in the Best Interest of its Participants? (Part 3)

 This is the sixth of a new series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series focuses on Best Interest and Best Practices. Those topics give me flexibility to discuss a range of subjects that affect both service providers, including advisors, and plan sponsors, including 401(k) and 403(b) committees.

 In my last two posts (Bests #4 and Bests #5), I discuss the NYU case and the “bad” and “good” behavior of committee members. I concluded my last post with the point that process matters. Of course, it was unspoken that I was referring to a good process. This article discusses the fundamentals of a good process and the lessons learned from the NYU decision.

The NYU committee met quarterly.

There isn’t a prescribed timing … Read More »

Share

Best Interest and Best Practices #5

Posted on October 11, 2018, by Fred Reish in 401(k), 403(b), best interest, Plan Sponsors, prudent, Service Providers. Comments Off on Best Interest and Best Practices #5

What is the Baseline for A Committee to Act in the Best Interest of Its Participants? (Part 2)

This is the fifth of a series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series focuses on Best Interest and Best Practices. Those topics give me flexibility to discuss a range of subjects that affect both service providers, including advisers, and plan sponsors, including 401(k) and 403(b) committees.

This is my second article about the case of Sacerdote v. New York University. As I discussed in my last post, the Court’s opinion pointed out the deficiencies in the understandings and conduct of some committee members. However, the Court ultimately ruled in favor of the plan fiduciaries and against the plaintiffs. Why was that?

Despite the deficiencies (or “bad practices”) of some committee members, others on the committee were engaged and knowledgeable. Obviously, that was an important factor. … Read More »

Share

TPAs as Fiduciaries . . . of Their Own Plans

Posted on October 8, 2018, by Fred Reish in TPA. Comments Off on TPAs as Fiduciaries . . . of Their Own Plans

Heather Abrigo and I have begun writing articles for third party administrators, TPAs.  This first article is about issues arising from a TPA’s own plan, where it is, by definition, a fiduciary.  If you are interested in receiving future TPA articles, email liz.jutila@dbr.com.

 

 

 

Share





Recent Insights

Best Interest and Best Practices #13

Best Practices: Why Wait Until After You are Sued?

This is the 13th of a new series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series...

Best Interest and Best Practices #12

What Does Best Interest Mean . . . In the Real World? (Part 4)

This is the 12th of a new series of articles titled...

Best Interest and Best Practices #11

What Does Best Interest Mean . . . In the Real World? (Part 3)

This is the 11th of a new series of articles titled...