Benefit Plan Sponsors

News & Analysis as of

September and October 2015 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. To avoid such...more

Recent IRS Guidance Prohibits Lump-Sum Windows for Pension Retirees, Updates Pension Mortality Tables for 2016

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued two significant notices for employers that sponsor defined benefit pension plans, particularly those considering lump-sum windows as a “de-risking” option for their plans....more

UPDATE: The U.S. Supreme Court Decides ERISA Statute of Limitations Case – Implications for Plan Fiduciaries

Last November, we reported that the Supreme Court had granted certiorari in Tibble v. Edison International, a Ninth Circuit decision holding that a claim that a plan fiduciary breached its duty of prudence in selecting plan...more

DOL Clarifies Fiduciary Duties for Defined Contribution Plan Sponsors Offering Annuity Contracts

The availability of annuity options under defined contribution plans has increased in recent years due to the shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans. Fiduciaries, however, are often concerned with potential...more

The Rosenbaum Law Firm Review - September 2015

The Essential Plan Providers For A 401(k) Plan. The Plan Providers you need. When people are sick, especially debilitating illnesses or diseases, it's natural for them to travel far and wide to get the best medical...more

Employee Benefits Law Alert

Third Circuit Clamps Down On ERISA Notice Requirements - Plan administrators beware. The Third Circuit Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Mirza v. Insurance Administrator of America, Inc. may change the way that you...more

Third Circuit Says ERISA Administrative Appeal Denial Letters Must State Plan-Imposed Time Limits

The Third Circuit recently held that ERISA administrative appeal denial letters must include plan-imposed time limits for commencing a lawsuit challenging the claim denial, and the failure to provide such notice warranted...more

ERISA Plan Can't Shrink Deadlines Without Providing Notice, Says 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that an ERISA plan can’t shorten the deadline for filing a legal action challenging a denial of benefits unless the participant receives written communication of the plan’s altered...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - August 2015

Editor's Overview - As the summer draws to a close, this month's Newsletter previews three cases that the U.S. Supreme Court already has agreed to hear that ought to be of particular interest to ERISA plan sponsors and...more

Approval Process Disapproved: IRS Curtails the Determination Letter Program

The Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) on July 21, 2015, issued Announcement 2015-19, describing important changes to the determination letter program for individually designed tax-qualified retirement plans. These changes...more

Eleventh Circuit Addresses Statutory Penalty Claims under ERISA

The ERISA statute authorizes a court to award a penalty of up to $110 per day based on the failure of an Administrator to respond to a participant’s or a beneficiary’s request for plan documents. The term “Administrator” is...more

Pension Investment Management Services - with or without VAT?

A significant cost of running a defined benefit pension scheme historically has been the VAT on investment management services. However, HMRC has recently confirmed that a European court case means employers may now recover...more

Updated employer covenant guidance from the Pensions Regulator August 2015

Background - The term employer covenant refers to the legal obligation, ability and willingness of a pension scheme's sponsoring employer (or a number of employers) to provide the requisite funds in order to meet the...more

Access to Employee Benefit Records - Take Action Now to Avoid Issues Later

Today, many records relating to employee benefits reside with vendors administering those benefit plans (including forms mandated by statute and regulations, participant phone call center recordings and notes, benefit...more

Commenters React to DOL’s Proposed Expansion of Fiduciary-Duty Rules

Four months after proposing a significantly expanded definition specifying when “investment advice” to employee plans and IRAs would give rise to fiduciary status under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, the...more

A Statistic is meaningless if you’re bad at it

There was a law school in Southern California that has a bar passage rate of 7%, which means 93% of their graduates failed the test. They sued the California Bar on free speech grounds because they didn’t want to be forced to...more

The IRS Takes Aim at De-Risking of Defined Benefit Plans

Many defined benefit plan sponsors are looking for ways to reduce the on-going liability and the volatility of the annually required contributions to their defined benefit plans, which is sometimes referred to as...more

ERISA: Clarity on When ERISA Applies to Working Owners of Small Companies

You probably already know that in small, wholly owned “mom and pop” businesses, benefits covering only the owners of the business may be exempt from ERISA....more

IRS Takes Aim at Pension Plans “De-Risking” Lump Sum Cash-outs

In recent years, many pension plan sponsors have sought to reduce pension liabilities by offering lump sum “window” programs. Such programs are one of several popular risk-reduction (or “de-risking”) strategies employed by...more

DOL Hearings Debate “Fiduciary Duty” not “Suitability” Standard for Retirement Accounts

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL“) recently heard public comment to its proposed regulatory changes implementing a fiduciary duty on any individual receiving compensation for advice tailored to a plan sponsor, participant...more

Ninth Circuit: Multiemployer Plan Calling Unpaid Contributions “Plan Assets” Does Not Make Persons Controlling Contribution...

The Ninth Circuit recently held that a multiemployer pension plan (MEP) cannot label unpaid contributions as “plan assets” so as to impose ERISA fiduciary status on persons controlling the payment of employer contributions to...more

Increased Penalties for Information Returns

On June 29, 2015 the penalties under Code section 6721 and 6722 for failures relating to the filing of information returns required by numerous sections of the Code, including the ACA's new reporting for health coverage...more

The End Of An Era? IRS Announces The End Of The 5-Year Determination Letter Remedial Amendment Cycles

On July 21, 2015 the IRS announced that the staggered 5-year determination letter remedial amendment cycles for individually designed qualified retirement plans will be eliminated as of January 1, 2017. Generally, this means...more

The ACA Is (Apparently) Here To Stay: What Employers Need To Know

Now that the Supreme Court has, for the second time, upheld a major portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it might be a good time to review your practices to ensure you are in compliance. The ACA’s new concept of what it...more

Plan Sponsors Should Get Their Own “Football”

When I was in college in the early 1990’s, I was heavily involved in student politics. I would go and buy things that made me look important even when I really wasn’t. I got the beeper that no one really called and I had one...more

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