Category Archives: AMVR

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

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

The CommonSpirit Health Decision: Fiduciary Risk Management Lessons for Plan Sponsors

Having read the CommonSpirit Health (CommonSpirit) decision1 and the related briefs several times, three key fiduciary risk management issues stand out to me with regard to plan sponsors 1. SCOTUS needs to expressly resolve this ongoing “apples and oranges” debate … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, best interest, compliance, consumer protection, cost-efficiency | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2Q 2022 AMVR “Cheat Sheets”

At the end of each calendar quarter, I perform a forensic AMVR fiduciary prudence analysis on the non-index mutual funds within the top 10 funds in U.S. defined contribution plans, as ranked by “Pensions & Investments.” InvestSense provides both a … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k investments, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, asset allocation, best interest, consumer protection, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, 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, risk management, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“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

“The Lie of the Pie”: Mutual Fund Marketing “Trickeration”

by James W. Watkins, III The financial services industry likes to use charts…a lot of charts. Attorneys do not like charts. Charts can be confusing and misleading, sometimes deliberately so. One judge told me that after I had argued the … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, asset allocation, closet index funds, clsoet index funds, compliance, consumer protection, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, Cost_Efficiency, ERISA, evidence based investing, 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, 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

Plan Sponsor Alert: The Hidden Message in the #Northwestern403b Hearing

There were two issues properly before SCOTUS in the recent #Northwestern403b hearing: (1) the sufficiency of the plan participants’ complaint, and (2) the legal merits of the 7th Circuit’s rationale for dismissing the plan participants’ complaint, the “menu of options” … Continue reading

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