Post-Hughes, Mid-Lawsuit Frenzy: Keeping Records on Your Recordkeeping Fees May Be Crucial
2023 ranks among the highest for number of lawsuits against plan administrators in the last decade or so, and 2022 had nearly 100 such suits. One reason for the spike is the 2021 Supreme Court ruling in Hughes v. Northwestern. This summer, the lower court ruled on the Hughes case, and its findings further muddied the waters on recordkeeping fees.
Trend Watch: Pension Popularity
Into the brave new world of post Secure Act 2.0 benefit administration comes new and challenging accommodation requests for things such as mental health and long COVID-related illnesses, which may create confusion over balancing and discrimination testing a plan. So, we can only imagine the dismay some benefits advisors may have over news noting an increased favorability of pensions.
Supreme Court Weighs Power of Agencies Like the DOL to Impose Penalties without a Jury
Last Fall, we noted several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court that could impact the power federal agencies have to regulate and prosecute plan sponsors. Many of those cases are now working their way through the Court and may have profound impact on agencies such as FINRA, the SEC and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. They may also impact the Department of Labor and its investigative wing, the EBSA.
Divesting Inflation Demographics: Consumer Studies May Show It’s More Than Inflation Irking Investors
Two recent studies released in January of 2024 point in opposite directions: one indicates that inflation may be slowing down quieting consumer concerns, others say inflation is still top of mind for most workers. What gives? It may be where investors live. For advisors struggling with determining how to manage inflation’s impact on their clients, digging into these studies may help.
New Year, New Rules: Fiduciary Duty Rules and Independent Contract Rules May Put Advisors in a Pinch
Financial advisors may feel like they are finding themselves between a rock and a hard place lately and both rock and hard place may be the doing of the Department of Labor. If you thought the proposed fiduciary rule was the only problem popping up, beware the independent contractor definition changes.
Major Overhaul of Financial Regulations Coming? Supreme Court Considers Chevron Change
Three major supreme court opinions may be coming soon that could have significant implications for financial advisors and they may not be the ones you’ve heard about. These cases may be more significant: they may reduce the ability of agency regulators to oversee, investigate, and fine financial advisors and institutions by changing a long-held rule deferring to federal agencies in their decisions.
New Statistics on American’s Feelings About Annuities and the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule: Possibly Out of Synch
If you are searching for answers to this knowledge gap, don’t look to advisors. Results from a study released by the Harris Poll in August 2023 showed that advisors are twice as likely (80% to 40%) to include annuities as asset protection and diversification tools over EFTs. What’s the holdup?