Category Archives: 403b

Fiduciary Risk Management and Liability-Driven 401(k) Plan Design

by James W. Watkins, III, J.D., CFP®, AWMA® I have written several posts on this blog critiquing the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Smith v. CommonSpirit Health (CommonSpirit). The decision, particularly the court’s “apples and oranges” argument is inconsistent with the … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 401k plan design, 401k risk management, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, fiduciary risk management, fiduciary standard, investment advisers, investments, Mutual funds, pension plans, plan sponsors, prudence, risk management, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brotherston v. CommonSpirit Health: An Opportunity, and a Need, to Shift the 401(k) Litigation Paradigm

In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity – Sun Tzu As an ERISA attorney, the Sixth Circuit’s recent CommonSpirit Health (CommonSpirit) decision1 concerns me. First, the Court completely ignored the First Circuit’s Brotherston decision2, the Restatement (Third) of … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, cost consciousness, cost-efficiency, Cost_Efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, fiduciary risk management, fiduciary standard, Mutual funds, pension plans, plan sponsors, prudence, risk management, SEC, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Conversation Every 401(k) and 403(b) Plan Needs to Have: The Plan Sponsor Liability Circle™

James W. Watkins, III, J.D., CFP®, AWMA® Whenever plan sponsors and plan advisers talk about 401(k) litigation, they always point the finger at those bad ‘ol ERISA plaintiff attorneys. Since I am one of those bad folks, I respectfully disagree … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, best interest, compliance, consumer protection, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, fiduciary risk management, fiduciary standard, investment advisers, Mutual funds, pension plans, plan sponsors, prudence, Reg BI, retirement planning, retirement plans, risk management, securities compliance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Inconvenient Truth: Cost-Inefficiency and Closet Indexing in 401(k) Plans

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored” – Aldous Huxley The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in the CommonSpirit Health (CommonSpirit)1 401(k) action has brought renewed attention to several key 401(k) compliance and fiduciary liability … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, best interest, closet index funds, compliance, consumer protection, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, investments, Mutual funds, pension plans, plan sponsors, prudence, Reg BI, retirement plans, risk management, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Meaningful Choices”: Cost-Efficiency, the CommonSpirit Health decision, and the Future of 401(k) Litigation

Recently, the Sixth Circuit handed down its decision in the Smith v. CommonSpirit Health (“CommonSpirit) 401(k) action.1 My immediate reaction was “hello again SCOTUS,” as once again we have inconsistent and irreconcilable rulings between two circuits involving ERISA litigation The … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, best interest, closet index funds, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, fiduciary standard, investment advisers, investments, Mutual funds, pension plans, plan sponsors, prudence, Reg BI, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Caveat Fiduciarius: The Reg BI “Reasonably Available Alternatives”/ERISA “Fiduciary Prudence” Liability Trap

I am on record as saying that (a) ERISA plaintiff’s attorneys should never lose a properly vetted 401(k)/403(b) action, and (b) the amount of 401(k)/403(b) litigation is going to continue to increase. Those opinions are based on three trends within … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, 404c, 404c compliance, best interest, compliance, consumer protection, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, fiduciary standard, investment advisers, investments, Mutual funds, pension plans, plan sponsors, prudence, Reg BI, retirement plans, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Redefining Fiduciary Prudence for 401(k) Plan Sponsors

by James W. Watkins, III, J.D., CFP®, AWMA® The legal requirement for prudence, as defined in ERISA Section 404(a)(1)(B), is for a fiduciary to discharge his or her duties with: “the care, skill, prudence, and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent man acting in a … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, closet index funds, compliance, consumer protection, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, DOL fiduciary rule, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, investment advisers, investments, pension plans, plan sponsors, prudence, retirement plans, risk management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

At What Cost?: Annuities, Cryptocurrency, and Fiduciary Law

A [fiduciary] is held to something stricter than the morals of the market place.  Not honesty alone, but the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive, is the standard of behavior….1 Fiduciary law is a combination of three types of … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, Annuities, consumer protection, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, Cost_Efficiency, ERISA litigation, evidence based investing, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, fiduciary standard, investment advisers, pension plans, prudence, retirement plans, risk management, securities compliance, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Heuristics, Cognitive Biases and 401(k)/403(b) Fiduciary Decision-Making

The number of 401(k)/403(b) cases continues to grow. And it will continue to do so unless and until plan sponsors take the time to truly understand their legal responsibilities and adjust their plans accordingly.  I am on record as saying … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, fiduciary standard, investments, retirement plans, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Connecting the Dots: Correlation of Returns and Fiduciary Prudence

With SCOTUS’ recent decision in Hughes v. Northwestern University1, we now have what I like to refer to as the “fiduciary responsibility trinity” (Trinity). The Trinity consists of the Tibble v. Edison International2 (Tibble), Brotherston v. Putnam Investments, LLC3(Brotherston), and … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, closet index funds, compliance, consumer protection, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, pension plans, prudence, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment