News & Analysis as of

U.S. Supreme Court Abolishes the Presumption of Prudence in ERISA Stock Drop Cases

A recurring scenario in ERISA litigation involves claims against fiduciaries of 401(k) retirement plans who are alleged to have breached their fiduciary duty by failing to discontinue investment in employer stock following a...more

Recent Employee Benefits Developments

Amending Retirement Plans to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Plan sponsors need to review retirement plan documents and operations to determine whether changes are needed in response to last year's Supreme Court decision in U.S....more

PBGC Supports Lifetime Income

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) recently issued a proposed regulation designed to encourage participants in defined contribution plans (e.g., 401(k) plans) to roll over their account balances to their...more

Plan Sponsors Should Avoid Using Their Payroll Provider as Their 401(k) TPA

I stick to what I know, so I venture very little outside the retirement plan space. I do that because I believe it is less likely to cause trouble. The two largest payroll providers don’t follow that philosophy -- they are...more

Employee Benefits: ERISA Fiduciary Guidance - Fairness for Defined Contribution Fees (6/14)

There has been a tremendous amount of focus on participant-assessed fees in 401(k) and 403(b) plans over the last couple of years. This has come about, in part, because of lawsuits and the Department of Labor (DOL)...more

If they made the poor Plan decisions, they may take offense on your criticism

Two years ago, I had the worst call with a prospective client in the 14 years I have been an ERISA attorney. Without divulging any information about this prospective client, this 401(k) plan sponsor was like many...more

Retirement Benefits: Missed Deferral Opportunities

The Issue: When an employer fails to take into consideration all forms of compensation (e.g., commissions, bonuses, etc.) for purposes of employee deferrals to its 401(k) Plan, is that a problem?...more

Federal Court Report - ERISA Case Survives Numerous Procedural Motions

In Longo v. Trojan Horse Ltd., No. 5:13-CV-418-BO (E.D.N.C. Jan. 15, 2014)(J., Boyle), the court for the Eastern District considered a motion to dismiss or transfer an ERISA action in which the plaintiffs claimed that the...more

ERISA Fiduciary Guidance - Making a "Watch List" Work

For most professionals who sit on 401(k) or 403(b) plan administrative or investment committees, there is a fair amount of routine. The committee probably adopted an investment policy that dates back to the time the plan’s...more

401(k) Compensation – be Audit Ready

Failure to follow the 401(k) Plan Compensation definition for determining contributions is one of the top ten plan qualification failures and an area of IRS scrutiny during plan audits. This time of year, as you are gathering...more

The Headache of Plan Loans

They often say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t know who said it first (I heard it was originated with St. Bernard, the saint, not the dog), but perhaps they were a 401(k) plan sponsor that had a...more

Oops, I Forgot To Distribute A Safe Harbor Notice For My Company's 401(k) Plan, Now What?

The Internal Revenue Service often publishes correction methods for common errors involving qualified retirement plan administration issues. One of the most common errors is failing to notify eligible employees of their safe...more

This is What a TPA Does and Why a Retirement Plan Sponsor Should Hire a Good One

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Deer Hunter. It’s a story about the Vietnam War and the post-traumatic stress disorder a group of friends from Western Pennsylvania who were drafted together and fought alongside...more

The needs of the Plan outweigh the needs of the Plan Provider

A family member once said: “there are a lot of yous (sic) and only one me.” That may not be the nicest and most selfless thing to say, but that’s something retirement plan sponsors should think when it comes to the needs of...more

Retirement Benefits: Which Way Does the Whistle Blow?

The Issue: A terminated employee makes a claim against the employer for damages. The company says it fired him for stealing from the company. He says it was in retaliation for reporting law violations by the employer (that...more

The Wild Wild West of non-ERISA 403(b) Plans

I always say that as bad as 401(k) plans may be, 403(b) plans are in much worse shape. It didn’t help that the Internal Revenue Service only issued regulations that governed them only 30 years too late, back in 2008. It also...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - February 2014

The employee benefits issues to be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court continue to be of great significance to plan sponsors and fiduciaries. This month we review the Court's employee benefit decisions from 2013 and also...more

Who's Checking The Person Who Checked The Boxes?

A Lesson In 401(k) Prototype Documents - Most small to mid-size employers sponsoring a 401(k) plan maintain their plan on a pre-approved prototype document. If you’re not familiar with the term pre-approved prototype...more

And still the #1 issue with 401(k) Plans

The fixation and discussion about plan expenses usually flares up when the stock market isn’t doing well. Two major corrections within a 10-year period (2000-2010) made fee disclosure regulations inevitable. With the way the...more

New Developments Impact Retirement Plans and Other Employee Benefits

Year-End Amendments - The month of December is a bit different in 2013. Typically, we mark this time scrambling to amend 401(k), profit sharing, and money purchase plans in order to maintain their tax-qualified status....more

Employee Benefits Alert: New Developments Impact Retirement Plans & More

Year-End Amendments - The month of December is a bit different in 2013. Typically, we mark this time scrambling to amend 401(k), profit sharing, and money purchase plans in order to maintain their tax-qualified status....more

Offering Self Directed Brokerage Accounts in a 401(k) Plan is a Bad Bet

I love Las Vegas and I hate to gamble, which explains why I haven’t been to Atlantic City since 1995. I love the sights, sounds, the entertainment, the food, and everything but gambling. I hate gambling because I don’t like...more

Law Firm Review - December 2013

Why a Plan Review Shouldn't Be Treated Like a Trip to the Dentist. Why it should and needs to be less painful than a trip to the dentist. When it comes to their health, people dread going to the dentist. I dread...more

Looking for Ways to Improve Your Business? A List of Things Every Business Owner Should Do At the End of the Year

As a business owner, all year you have likely been running around acting as manager, capital raiser, developer, business generator, marketer, human resource manager and administrative assistant. Given the numerous roles, it...more

Many Employee Retirement Plan Dollar Limits Adjusted For 2014

The Internal Revenue Code provides for various dollar limitations on benefits, contributions, and compensation for tax-qualified employee benefit plans. Recently, the Internal Revenue Service announced cost of living...more

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