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July 2022

The universe is not as it appears. Neither are retirement plan service providers.

This past week, NASA unveiled images from the James Webb Space Telescope. These pictures have delighted, awed, and amazed us with images of deep space and the immeasurable number of stars, galaxies, and constellations in the earliest and deepest reaches of the universe. Immeasurable indeed! Astronomers tell us that if you held a grain of sand up to the sky at arm’s length, that tiny speck is the size of Webb’s now famous first image. It occurs to us that the universe of retirement plan service providers is quite similar. Everyone’s heard of the large recordkeepers, the Milky Ways and Andromedas of our industry: Fidelity, Vanguard, Empower, and the like. Perhaps more interesting are the smaller, more focused, and attentive recordkeepers that dot the spacescape. Here you’ll find NWPS. NWPS is certainly not a household name. When we ask most retirement plan advisors if they’ve heard of NWPS, we are treated to blank stares and stammers. Ask an advisor or client who has worked with NWPS however, and you’ll hear a galaxy of compliments: stellar, awesome, outstanding, capable, helpful, responsive. The list really does go on. We work with clients who are delighted that their NWPS consultant gets back to them the same day

NWPS Co-Sponsors the 2022 Broadridge Fi360 Solutions Conference!

Several hundred retirement plan industry professionals gathered in Austin, Texas last week to discuss the latest trends and important topics impacting the retirement plan market today. Industry giants such as ERISA attorney Fred Reish, Editor-in-Chief of 401(k)Specialist, John Sullivan and sales & marketing brand sage, Sheri Fitts shared their perspectives on everything from ESG investing, in-plan annuities, cryptocurrency, to SECURE 2.0 and so much more. The agenda was robust, relevant, and timely. The headliner was none other than Daymond John of NBC’s Shark Tank who reminded the audience that “responsibility must be taken, not given.” The “Retireholics” (have you seen these guys?) were also on hand providing their usual brand of levity and raucousness. NWPS co-sponsored the event and conducted a highly informative session on Demystifying 3(16) Services. Scores of questions were posed to the panel by audience members. Contact us to receive a copy of the presentation. Equally important to the agenda was the opportunity to visit with retirement plan veterans from every major discipline in the industry: advisors, custodians, recordkeepers, DCIOs, ERISA attorneys, middleware FinTechs, insurance companies, and brand consultants. So many professionals gathering to further the noble effort to provide plan sponsors and their participants the very

Back to the Basics – Pay Special Attention to the Fund Menu.

At some point, a certain amount of apathy and blasé comes to those who watch legal proceedings relevant to retirement plans. Another excessive fee lawsuit involving overpriced funds. More performance lagging investments. Failure to negotiate rising recordkeeping costs. However, a unanimous, swift, and pointed proclamation from the Supreme Court merits attention. And the most recent treatise demands that plan sponsors and their advisors go back to the basics with respect to retirement plan fund menus.In the matter of Hughes v. Northwestern University, SCOTUS rejected the idea that a fiduciary can escape the legal challenge of having imprudent investment options in the plan, as long as there are other, prudent options. Rather, the Court reinforced the notion that plan fiduciaries must monitor “all” plan investments and remove “any” imprudent ones. Furthermore, fiduciaries must consider all the investments “at regular intervals” to ensure that they are prudent. Is this being done? As a plan sponsor or a retirement plan advisor, are you regularly reviewing your plan’s fund menu? With all the focus on “financial wellness” and “fiduciary training,” let’s not forget the basics: Fiduciaries must actively review plan investment options, ideally against stated criteria, at regular intervals. Equally important is documentation of