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U.S. Department of Labor Re-Proposes Rules Governing the Definition of “Fiduciary”—Part 2: The “Best Interest Contract” Exemption

In Part 1 of this series, we reported on recently proposed regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor amending the definition of the term “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) and the...more

More ERISA Complications

In passing the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), Congress sought to make it as easy and economical as possible for employers to provide benefits to their workers; for example, pensions, health insurance,...more

First Circuit’s RAA-Friendly Ruling Stands

The class plaintiffs’ challenge to a group life insurer’s use of so-called retained asset accounts (RAAs) in Merrimon v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America has come to an unsuccessful end. On January 26, the United...more

FCA Releases Discussion Paper Under MiFID II

The revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (“MiFID II”) came into force on 2 July 2014. It will have effect on 3 January 2017, reflecting the period required for European Union member states to transpose its...more

Ninth Circuit Rules That Harmless Procedural Violation Does Not Alter Standard of Review

The Ninth Circuit held that a plan administrator’s failure to render a decision on a long-term disability benefits claim within the period mandated by the plan and ERISA did not alter the standard of review that the court...more

2014 Pension Plan Regulatory Highlights

The start of the new year is as good a time as any to look back at some of the employee benefits regulatory developments of 2014 that were not previously covered in this column. Originally published in Employee Benefit...more

SEC Issues Rule 482 No-Action Relief to Non-ERISA 403(b), 457 Plans

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a no-action letter extending relief to certain investment-related information provided to participants in non-ERISA 403(b), 457(b), and other qualified participant-directed...more

NY Whistleblower Bounty Program On The Horizon?

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently announced his plans to propose legislation that would create a whistleblower incentive program at the state level. The proposal, titled the Financial Frauds Whistleblower Act,...more

New York AG Set to Propose Whistleblower Legislation

On February 26, New York AG Eric Schneiderman announced that he intends to propose state legislation to reward and protect employees who report information about misconduct in the banking, insurance, and financial services...more

The Directed Trustee in the Post-Dudenhoeffer World

Overview - Court cases challenging the actions of Employee Retirement Income Security Act fiduciaries have continued unabated since the scandal of Enron in 2002. Since then, a large number of cases are in the ‘‘stock...more

Divorce and Beneficiary Designations—Florida Law Changes

Introduction - This article discusses a significant change in Florida law regarding the effect of dissolution or annulment of marriage on designations of one former spouse as beneficiary upon death of the insured other...more

Expect Focus - Spot The Regulator, Volume IV, Fall 2014

In This Issue: - IN THE SPOTLIGHT ..Crisis Management: Five Steps to Take Before Providing That Comment - LIFE INSURANCE ..Third Circuit Limits ERISA Fiduciary Liability to those with Ultimate...more

Service Provider Not A Fiduciary In Negotiating Its Contract

A federal district court in Iowa dismissed a putative class action complaint brought by several 401(k) plan sponsors who alleged that Principal Life Insurance Company breached its fiduciary duties to the plans by charging...more

U.K. Court Approves Insurance Business Transfer Scheme

A court in the United Kingdom has approved the transfer of the entire long-term insurance business of Prudential Annuities Limited (PAL) to The Prudential Assurance Company Limited (PAC). The transfer’s purpose was to...more

Third Circuit Limits ERISA Fiduciary Liability

Former and current annuity holders sued John Hancock Life Insurance Company in New Jersey federal court several years ago, alleging that, as a service provider to their 401(k) plans, John Hancock was an ERISA fiduciary and...more

Second Circuit: Class-Wide Reformation Is Appropriate Equitable Relief

In the latest chapter of the Amara saga, the Second Circuit recently affirmed the district court’s class-wide order to reform CIGNA’s cash balance plan, as a means to remedy what the district court previously found to be...more

How to Settle an ERISA Breach of Fiduciary Duty Case and Sleep at Night: A Checklist for Plan Trustees to Consider

Plan trustees often look to settle ERISA fiduciary breach claims brought against them as a way to put the past behind them. Assuming there is enough fiduciary liability insurance coverage available to pay the proposed...more

Insurer Agrees to $140 Million Settlement in ERISA Case Challenging Revenue Sharing Practices

Nationwide Life Insurance Co. has agreed to settle ERISA fiduciary breach claims brought on behalf of a class of retirement plan trustees that purchased annuity contracts and/or services from Nationwide for their plans....more

EIOPA Consults on Second Set of Solvency II Implementing Technical Standards and Guidelines

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has, on December 2, published 16 consultations in respect of the second set of draft implementing technical standards (ITS) and guidelines required under the...more

View From McDermott: A New Type of ERISA-Based Hold-Up—The Rise of Out-of-Network Provider Suits Against Self-Funded Health Care...

Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of physicians who have dropped out of Preferred Provider Organization (‘‘PPO’’) and Health Maintenance Organization (‘‘HMO’’) networks and attempted to...more

Beware of Unintended Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary designations are commonly used to name the individuals or entities who are to receive the proceeds of life insurance policies or retirement plans after the death of the owner. An increasing number of financial...more

HRAs Under the Affordable Care Act

Analysis: HRAs are employer-funded accounts designed to reimburse employees for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Employees are not permitted to contribute their own funds, so they are unlike flexible spending accounts or...more

A Court’s Review of a Disability Benefit Claim May Hinge on the Meaning “Satisfactory to Us”

Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that courts should review an ERISA participant’s claim for benefits under a de novo standard of review unless the plan gives the plan fiduciary discretionary authority to...more

ERISA: 11th Circuit Says “Show Me The Money” In Equitable Recovery Of Medical Expenses Even After Disbursement Or Commingling Of...

Can the Plan get reimbursed even when the beneficiary’s settlement funds have been disbursed or commingled? Yes in the 11th Circuit. But watch out in the 9th Circuit....more

Missing Participants in Your Terminated Defined Contribution Retirement Plan? The DOL Has Issued Guidance to Help You

Background - The U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") recently issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2014-01 (the "FAB"), which provides guidance about how fiduciaries of terminated defined contribution retirement plans can...more

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