2010 in Review: ERISA Individual Prohibited Transaction Exemptions

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In 2010, the Department of Labor (DOL) continued an active program of issuing individual exemptions from the prohibited transaction rules of ERISA. These rules generally prohibit, among other things:

Sale and lending transactions between: (1) certain retirement and other plans specified in ERISA and/or the Internal Revenue Code; and (2) a “party in interest” or “disqualified person” to that plan; and Self-dealing or conflicted interests on the part of a plan “fiduciary.”

DOL is, however, authorized to grant a conditional or unconditional exemption for an otherwise prohibited transaction if DOL determines that the exemption is: (1) administratively feasible; (2) in the interests of the plan and of its participants and beneficiaries; and (3) protective of the rights of plan participants and beneficiaries.

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