Category Archives: best interest

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

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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

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

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

The #Northwestern403b Decision: What Next For Plan Sponsors?

This past Monday, SCOTUS issued its much anticipated decision in Hughes v. Northwestern University (#Northwestern403b) The original issue before the Court was whether or not the plan participants had properly plead their case in their complaint. The lower courts had … 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, Cost_Efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, investments, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putnam Investments, LLC v. Brotherston: The End of “Business as Usual” for 401(k) Plans

Earlier this year I posted an article on this blog, “Putnam Investments, LLC v. Brotherston: Pivotal Point for 401(k)/403(b) Industries?” The article focused on the potential impact of the case regarding both the general operation of 401(k) plans and legal … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, 404c, 404c compliance, 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 law, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary standard, investment advisers, investments, pension plans, prudence, Reg BI, retirement plans, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Fair Dealing”-The Key to Navigating the Suitability, Best Interest and Fiduciary Standards

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. – Albert Einstein With FINRA’s recent announcement that it will keep its suitability rule and … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, 404c compliance, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, best interest, closet index funds, compliance, consumer protection, cost consciousness, cost-efficiency, DOL fiduciary standard, ERISA, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary standard, pension plans, Reg BI, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Q3 2019 Top Ten 401(k) Mutual Funds “Cheat Sheet”

At the end of each calendar quarter, InvestSense calculates new Active Management Value Ratio™ (AMVR) data for our clients. We also publish for the public an AMVR analysis of the top ten actively managed mutual funds in U.S. 401(k) plans, … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 403b, 404c, 404c compliance, Active Management Value Ratio, best interest, closet index funds, compliance, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, investment advisers, pension plans, prudence, retirement plans, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment