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The Department of Labor’s 2016 Final Fiduciary and Conflict of Interest Rule: The Best Interest Contract Exemption

Last month the U.S. Department of Labor published a suite of final regulations governing the fiduciary status of, and prescribing conflict of interest rules that apply to, persons who provide investment advice to...more

The Wait Is Over – the DOL Announces New Rules Impacting Broker Regulation

The Department of Labor recently enacted rules that require financial advisers and brokers handling individual retirement and 401(k) accounts to act in the best interests of their clients. The much-anticipated rules have...more

Recent Lawsuit Demonstrates Continuing Need for Plan Fiduciaries to Document Decision-Making Process

Late last year, another lawsuit was brought on behalf of participants in a 401(k) plan alleging breaches of fiduciary duties resulting from allegedly high plan fees. This type of case is not novel; the law firm that brought...more

“They’re Here!” – Department of Labor Issues Final ERISA Fiduciary and Conflict of Interest Regulations

After receiving and reviewing extensive feedback on its earlier proposals, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) has issued final regulations expanding the definition of a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act...more

Courts Strike Down Church Plan Exemptions for Church-Affiliated Organizations

Until recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Labor (DOL), and federal courts seemed to agree that a retirement plan established and maintained by a church-affiliated organization generally qualified...more

Private Equity Funds Held Liable for Pension Obligations of a Portfolio Company

District Court: Two Affiliated Funds Formed “Partnership-in-Fact” and Have Controlled Group Liability for Portfolio Company Pension Liabilities - In a closely watched case (the “Sun Capital” case), the U.S. District...more

Private Equity Funds Liable for Withdrawal Liability of Portfolio Company

What you need to know: On March 28, 2016, the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts held, on remand from the First Circuit, that two related private equity funds were jointly and severally liable for...more

Statutory and Contractual Limitations Periods and the Events that Trigger Them: Insight from the Fourth Circuit

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) does not contain a statute of limitations provision, and courts generally apply the most analogous state law statutory limitation. However, some plans fill the void...more

Broker-Dealer Liability: Are the Rules Pertaining to Providing Investment Advice to Retail Customers About to Change?

In the securities industry, broker-dealers play an important and vital role. If the current broker-dealer regulatory environment is not daunting enough already, it is about to get more complicated and costly, from a revenue...more

Supreme Court Emphasizes Heightened Pleading Standard for Stock Drop Cases

On January 25, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a per curiam opinion in Amgen Inc. v. Harris, holding that the Amgen, Inc. employees who filed suit after the value of the employer stock in which they had...more

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies the Scope of ERISA Fiduciary Obligations in Recent Stock Drop Decision

In recent years, plaintiffs’ lawyers have brought numerous ERISA breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits against employers that offer employer stock funds in their 401(k) plans. These lawsuits are typically brought on behalf of...more

The Supreme Court Meant What It Said On Employer Stock Funds

On January 25, 2016, in Amgen, Inc. v. Harris, 2016 WL 280886, the Supreme Court sent a strong message to the lower courts, plaintiffs and ERISA fiduciaries that pleading standards for breach of fiduciary duty prudence claims...more

What Amgen and Tackett Tell Us About ERISA Litigation Trend Lines

Two recent Supreme Court decisions, and a recent Sixth Circuit analysis on remand from the Supreme Court, offer a roadmap of sorts on ERISA litigation. In both decisions, the Supreme Court did away with presumptions, and at...more

Be Careful What You Wish For – Dudenhoeffer May Do “More Harm Than Good” For ERISA “Stock Drop” Plaintiffs

In its June 2014 decision in Dudenhoeffer v. Fifth Third Bank, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declined to recognize a “presumption of prudence” that had favored retirement-plan fiduciaries faced with allegations of...more

Supreme Court’s Amgen Order Confirms That Fifth Third Bancorp’s ERISA Stock-Drop Pleading Standard Has Teeth

In a recent per curiam order granting the plan fiduciaries’ petition for certiorari and reversing the Ninth Circuit, the United States Supreme Court made clear that it expects lower courts to faithfully apply the pleading...more

New Great West case and Revenue Sharing

Add Great West under their Empower Retirement brand name as the latest bundled provider being sued. Great West is being sued for revenue sharing fees from mutual funds as part of their program....more

Fifth Circuit Upholds ERISA Disability and Life Benefit Denials

In two decisions issued last month, the Fifth Circuit upheld ERISA plan denials of disability and life benefits, confirming its deferential approach in most ERISA benefit cases....more

The Vanguard 401(k) lawsuit won’t spark a return to actively managed funds

The Anthem class action lawsuit concerning the use of Vanguard index funds has caused a hullabaloo in the industry. IT even got a writer to pen an article suggested that the lawsuit may trigger a return to the use of actively...more

A 401(k) with Vanguard funds is sued, read beyond the headline

Headlines are great, but you need to read the entire article to get the full picture. There is a new class-action lawsuit that is pitting participants in the Anthem Inc. 401(k) plan, with more than $5 billion in assets,...more

Don’t make yourself a target

Sometimes if you don’t want to be a target, don’t make yourself to be a target. Insperity Inc. a provider of outsourced human resource and business management services to small and midsized businesses has been sued by...more

Avoid Hiring Plan Providers Because They Were “Juiced In”

Novant Health, Inc. is a non-profit hospital system based in North Carolina and they agreed to pay $32 million in a settlement regarding a participant lawsuit against their 401(k) plan. What’s so odd about the case is that it...more

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Employers Must Periodically Review Investment Options In 401(k) Plans And Remove Imprudent Funds

An employer has fiduciary duties with respect to the 401(k) plan it provides its employees. Those duties include the obligation to choose prudent investment options and to consider the fees associated with service providers...more

Plan Sponsor Forced to Restore Plan Benefits Due to Intentionally Misleading Communications to Employees

On September 29, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a decision that emphasizes the importance of accurate communications to employees regarding changes in qualified retirement plan...more

Supreme Court Emphasizes Requirements About Selecting and Monitoring Plan Investments

Plan administrators, investment committees and any other plan fiduciary responsible for selectingthe investment options of an employee benefit plan subject to ERISA should take note of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in...more

Whistleblower Aims to Uncover Bank Fraud

Whistleblower Nicholas Wilson has alleged that HSBC, Great Britain’s largest bank, has committed fraud totaling in £1 billion throughout the last three decades. He also claims that despite his allegations being backed by...more

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