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Mastering the Financial Horizon Key Changes for 2024

With the new year approaching, significant shifts within the financial industry are set to impact tax strategies and retirement planning. The IRS has introduced multiple adjustments, from increased contribution limits to expanded income ranges, shaping the financial terrain for the coming year. Let's delve into the highlights of these changes and explore their potential implications for your financial decisions.

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Personalize Your Advisory Offering

In the continually evolving retirement plan space, tailoring your advisory services to the specific needs of plan sponsors can distinguish you in a competitive field. Every plan is influenced by a plethora of factors, all of which can dictate both its requisite advisory services and fees charged. Offering a personalized touch is non-negotiable for advisors who want to grow their book. 

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AI Innovator Faces 401(k) Fee Suit

The artificial intelligence (AI) boom has led to a lot of attention for NVIDIA, the Silicon Valley-based chipmaker of choice for AI computing. But it’s not just the company’s groundbreaking products that have been in the spotlight — NVIDIA also recently made headlines as the named defendant in a 401(k) lawsuit. The ongoing case underscores the continuing legal perils faced by retirement plans, demonstrating that even companies renowned for their prowess in intelligent computing can find themselves unable to outsmart ERISA challenges. 

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Are High Fees Giving You a Fright?

It's that time of year again when, dark forces are looming and the ghouls and goblins are hiding in every corner waiting to strike. You may be safe... but your heart begins to beat faster as you feel them getting closer. But it's not the monsters; it's the high fees haunting your retirement plan. High fees can be the fuel of nightmares, complete with the threat of losing clients and the horrors of litigation for advisors. Luckily, there is a way to make your high fee fears to vanish before your client's very eyes like a shadowy figure disappearing into the night... Plan Fees.

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Biogen’s Plan Fees Hit a Nerve With Participants

A multinational biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Mass., has agreed to pay $9.75 million to retirement plan participants and beneficiaries to settle a lawsuit over alleged ERISA violations, according to a recent settlement notice filed in a U.S. District Court in Boston. Biogen, which specializes in therapies for neurological disorders, was accused of failing to properly monitor its 401(k) plan’s investment performance and neglecting to protect participants from excessive fees. The case serves as a reminder of the critical importance of fiduciary responsibility and diligence in managing retirement plan fees, especially in today's litigious and complex environment.

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Tackling High Retirement Plan Fees

As a retirement plan advisor, one of the most critical parts of your job is ensuring reasonable plan fees. High fees can erode retirement savings and lead to legal entanglements if not properly managed. But having powerful and robust tools at your disposal can help you discharge your fiduciary duty more efficiently and effectively — as well as help provide actionable solutions.

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Retirement Plan Fee FAQs

Retirement plan fees have garnered increased attention in recent years due in part to a growing number of lawsuits filed against employers. Since 2020, more than 170 excessive fee suits have been filed in the U.S., leading to tens of millions of dollars in settlements.

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Why Fees Matter More Than Ever

One of the primary duties of retirement plan advisors is to help ensure their clients’ fees remain reasonable. But between volatile markets, seismic shifts in American household finances, increased fee litigation and changes within the 401(k) industry itself, it’s become even more critical to keep a watchful eye on fees. 

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When Higher Fees May Be Justified

Due to the recent uptick in 401(k) lawsuits, it could be easy to assume that the best course of action is to always obtain the lowest possible fees across the board. But at the crux of these legal actions is the supposition that fees are too high for services provided. What’s considered reasonable isn’t a set dollar amount, and a reasonable fee might not have to be the lowest available, depending on the details and needs of a plan. Here are some instances where higher fees may, in fact, be justifiable.


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Fortune 500 Firm Neglected Fiduciary Duty

Food manufacturing powerhouse Kellogg was recently sued by a former employee, who alleges that the company failed to meet its fiduciary duty in administrating its 401(k) plan. The suit claims that, since at least 2016, Kellogg allowed excessive recordkeeping and managed account fees to accrue and did not take timely action to keep employee-covered fees reasonable. The lawsuit names the company, its board of directors and two separate committees that helped manage the company’s plan.

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