Benefit Plan Sponsors

News & Analysis as of

IRS Announces 2015 Cost-of-Living Increases to Benefit Plan Limits

On October 23, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service announced cost of living adjustments affecting the limitations applicable to pension and other retirement plans, in IR 2014-99. Some of the limitations remain unchanged...more

Retirement Plan Sponsors Should Know Their Role as Plan Fiduciaries

I love professional wrestling and I’m not afraid to admit. Yes, I know it’s not real just like I know the Ewings don’t live on Southfork Ranch. Maybe it’s in my blood since both of my grandfathers watch it, but I find the...more

Being a long term Plan Provider can be a bad thing too

Being a long time plan provider for a client can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing. While having a long time base of clients is great for business and indicative of client satisfaction, it can be a bad thing too....more

Plan sponsors should replace the bad Bad Plan Decision Makers

If your company’s retirement plan got into some trouble because the powers that be who run the plan (whether it’s the C.E.O., human resources director, or retirement plan committee) took their eye off the plan, it may be a...more

DC Decumulation Strategies and Plan Administrator/Sponsor Considerations (Part III)

In our last post in this series, we considered whether the development of decumulation strategies for defined contribution (DC) plans may be a matter of good DC governance. In this post, we review decumulation strategies in...more

Limiting Plan Sponsor Liability: The Board Game

After the downstairs play area was rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy, my wife went on a toy-buying spree to replace the board games we lost thanks to the five feet of water. My wife loves board games and the kids do too. Having...more

Reasonable Fee Issues for Fiduciaries on the Horizon

The Supreme Court is poised to address whether fiduciaries' decisions—especially in using fee sharing arrangements—are subject to deference when challenged. The Eighth and Ninth Circuit courts recently decided these issues,...more

Advisors Advantage - October 2014

Dumb Mistakes that 401(k) Financial Advisors Should Avoid - Stuff to think about. We all make mistakes, well except my mother. There are mistakes we make that we think are pretty good in hindsight, but end up...more

Health Plan ID Requirements and Other End-of-Year Considerations

Employers and other health plan sponsors may be focused on preparing for the commencement of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act on January 1, 2015, but a number of other deadlines and developments are emerging...more

Lies That Prospective Retirement Plan Providers May Tell You

When we were children, our mothers told us stories that we believed to be true because we always believed what our parents were telling us was the truth. Part of growing up is realizing that a good chunk of what your mom told...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

The First Step to Maximizing DC Plan Value is to Understand the Problem (Part I)

These days when people who work in the pension industry talk about the various options available to develop an effective pension risk management strategy, they are fond of pointing out that when it comes to looking at the...more

The Supreme Court’s 'Non-Decision' On Same-Sex Marriage: The Impact On Employee Benefits After 'Windsor'

This is a rally call for employers to evaluate employee benefit plan documents for compliance....more

Final and Proposed Regulations on Hybrid Pension Plans

Plan sponsors have been granted limited relief to bring cash balance interest crediting rates into compliance. On September 18, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published final and proposed regulations for cash...more

PBGC Intends to Monitor Lump-sum and Annuity Cashouts Under Defined Benefit Plans

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) stated in a filing published in the Federal Register on September 23, 2014, that it intends to require that plan sponsors report to the PBGC “certain undertakings” to cashout or...more

Senate Unanimously Approves Bill Modifying ERISA Section 4062(e)

On September 16, 2014, the United States Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 2511, which would amend Section 4062(e) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), to clarify the definition of...more

Keep those Plan documents and amendments

Plan sponsors aren’t the greatest keeper of plan records because as a plan fiduciary, they think they get too many reports, prospectuses, and plan documents. It’s a lot paper to keep, but in a world of mobile storage thanks...more

Retirement Plan Crazy Season

It’s now Fall and it’s one of my least favorite time of the year because I love Spring and Summer and Fall means Winter is around the corner. For a retirement plan professional, it’s one of the best times of the year...more

Tales of a Former TPA Attorney

I was very lucky that when I started as an ERISA attorney in 1998, I worked as a staff attorney for third party administrators (TPAs) because it gave me insight and experience that I could never have gotten as an attorney...more

What Employer Shared Responsibility Does Not Say

So much energy has been spent on what the final regulations on the employer shared responsibility tax and the related final reporting regulations (the “ESRR”), that some of the most significant considerations have been missed...more

The Ambushed Fiduciary: Does Authority over a Corporate Account Cross the Line?

Corporate officers can wear two hats under ERISA: the corporate officer hat or the ERISA fiduciary hat. Actions taken wearing the corporate officer hat are traditionally not fiduciary functions. The courts recognize...more

A Good Plan Sponsor is the key to a Good Retirement Plan

I was a fit at my old law firm sort of like how my son’s toddler clothes fit him at age 7. I wasn’t a good fit because I didn’t take myself too seriously, I tried to push for flat fee billing, and I tried to break down...more

September and October 2014 Filing and Notice Deadlines for Qualified Retirement and Health and Welfare Plans

Employers and plan sponsors must comply with numerous filing and notice deadlines for their retirement and health and welfare plans. Failure to comply with these deadlines can result in costly penalties and excise taxes. To...more

Contingent Workers . . . From An ERISA Perspective

The Issue: Companies often divide their workers into a variety of categories . . . agency employees, temporary employees, provisional employees, independent contractors, and so on. Unfortunately, many companies believe that...more

Alberta Pension Reform: Getting Started on Plan Compliance Amendments

Effective September 1, 2014, the new Alberta Employment Pension Plans Act (New EPPA) and Employment Pension Plans Regulation (New Regulation) came into force. Pension plans registered in Alberta, as well as plans registered...more

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