Tag Archives: Fiduciary prudence

“At the Pleading Stage”: An Analysis of the Seventh Circuit’s Reconsideration of Hughes v. Northwestern University

by James W. Watkins, III, J.D., CFP Board EmeritusTM AWMA®  The Seventh Circuit’s recent decision1 in Hughes v. Northwestern University simply reinforces my opinion that there is definitely a trend going on in 401(k) and 403(b) litigation, a trend reinforcing … 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, Cost_Efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary, 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 advisers, plan sponsors, prudence, SCOTUS, Supreme Court | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Humble Arithmetic” and the Future of 401(k) Litigation

By James W. Watkins, III, J.D., CFP Board EmeritusTM, AWMATM Fortunately, there is currently a case pending in the 10th Circuit, the Matney case, which may go a long way in resolving two of the primary issues that continue to … 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, Cost_Efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, fiduciary risk management, fiduciary standard, investments, Mutual funds, pension plans, plan advisers, plan sponsors, prudence, retirement plans, risk management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

401(k) InvestSense: Focus on Fiduciary Process Over Product

By James W. Watkins, III, J.D., CFP Board Emeritus™, AWMA® People often ask me what is the most common mistake that plan sponsors make, The answer is simple-assuming unnecessary fiduciary liability exposure by focusing on product rather than process. Actually, … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 401k plan design, 401k risk management, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, Annuities, best interest, closet index funds, compliance, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary, 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 advisers, plan sponsors, prudence, retirement plans, risk management, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brotherston Revisited: Will the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals “Fix” the Ongoing 401(k) SNAFU?

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored” – Aldous Huxley  In 2018, the First Circuit handed down its decision in Brotherston v. Putnam Investments, LLC.1 The decision is arguably the best analysis of the applicable fiduciary standards … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 401k plan design, 401k risk management, 403b, closet index funds, compliance, cost consciousness, cost efficient, cost-efficiency, Cost_Efficiency, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary, 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 advisers, plan sponsors, prudence, Reg BI, retirement planning, retirement plans, SCOTUS, Supreme Court | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

401(k) Litigation Trends to Watch in 2023

I am often asked what I see as the current trends in 401(k) and what fiduciary risk management steps plan sponsors should consider in order to reduce any potential fiduciary risk exposure. With the end of the year approaching, now … Continue reading

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

Who Will Tell the Plan Sponsors?: The Truth About the Looming Fiduciary Liability Trap in 401(k) and 403(b) Litigation

I have been reading a number of articles from some very impressive law firms suggesting that the attorneys for 401(k)/403(b) firms should file combine motions to dismiss with motions for summary judgment in order to deny plan participants from obtaining … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 401k plan design, 401k risk management, 403b, Active Management Value Ratio, AMVR, 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, fiduciary risk management, fiduciary standard, investment advisers, pension plans, plan advisers, plan sponsors, prudence, retirement plans, risk management, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, wealth management, wealth preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SCOTUS, We Still Have a Serious Problem: The Continuing Inconsistency in Judicial Interpretations of ERISA

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the Sixth Circuit issues its decision in Smith v. CommonSpirit Health (CommonSpirit).1 The Sixth Circuit dismissed the plan participant’s action, largely upon the familiar argument that market … Continue reading

Posted in 401k, 401k compliance, 401k investments, 401k plan design, 401k risk management, ERISA, ERISA litigation, fiduciary compliance, fiduciary duty, fiduciary law, fiduciary liability, fiduciary liability, Fiduciary prudence, fiduciary prudence, fiduciary responsibility, fiduciary risk management, pension plans, plan sponsors, risk management | 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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