The ominous "F word" has been part of the DC plan vernacular for decades. It can be complicated and even a little scary. The fiduciary concept is such an integral part of the retirement plan space that the Department of Labor continues to try to refine and clarify its fiduciary rule. The latest iteration of the rule was sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review last month and is expected to be released this spring.

While uncertainty swirls around the fiduciary landscape, it is important to stay up to speed on the ins and outs of being a fiduciary. ERISA defines the basic fundamentals of being a fiduciary, and Donovan v. Bierwirth, decided in 1982, established that the fiduciary duty is the highest duty known to law. Retirement plan fiduciaries are making decisions that affect plan participants' retirement savings, and for many participants, it is the largest sum of money they will ever see, said Jonathan Young, senior national accounts manager at Capital Group. Young outlined the basics of fiduciary responsibilities and best practices in a recent webinar.

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