News & Analysis as of

Are Your Beneficiary Designations Heir Tight?

An often-neglected area in the world of benefit plan administration is the beneficiary designation form. Many participants complete their beneficiary designations incorrectly because they don’t read the instructions carefully...more

The Small Things that Create the Biggest Problems for 401(k) Plan Sponsors

“For Want of a Nail” is a proverbial rhyme that shows that the smallest of action can have huge consequences later down the line, just like a snowball effect “For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse...more

Watch out for Biased and Paid Opinions/Studies

I would say that if that if you ask a retirement plan expert for their opinion, 3,000 experts will yield 5,000 opinions. It’s great to be opinionated, but for the plan sponsor, it can be a bit confusing....more

The Rosenbaum Law Firm Review - July 2014

Plan Sponsor Should Avoid These Retirement Plan Provider "Con Games". Scams you should watch out for. The George Clooney-Brad Pitt trilogy of heist films known as Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve, and Ocean's...more

It’s always the Plan Sponsor’s fault

Seven years ago, I was asked to look at a $25 million 401(k) plan that was in complete disarray and I was flabbergasted because it belonged to a law firm that claimed to have an ERISA practice. There was no financial advisor...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

De Facto Plan Administrator Claims in the First Circuit

According to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c)(1)(B) of ERISA, it is within a court’s discretion to award a penalty of up to $110 per day based on an administrator’s failure to comply with a plan participant’s or beneficiary’s request for...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

Be Wary of Plan Providers with Gray Hats

One of my favorite genres is the Western. While I prefer the works of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood to those of John Ford and John Wayne, I have always been a big fan of these films. I always like the idea that the good...more

Welcome To The Jungle

What happens when a plan administrator relies on information received from a third party to make a denial of benefits decision under an ERISA plan? Does the plan administrator bear the burden of weighing the relative...more

In an Opinion with Far-Reaching Implications, the Second Circuit Finds Insurance Coverage for an ERISA Claim

When a general liability policy expressly provides coverage for employee benefits liability and the plaintiff in the underlying suit alleges a violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), does...more

What's New Under the Defense of Marriage Act?

A major reason that employee benefits, such as employer- provided healthcare and retirement plans, exist is that they provide a tax-advantaged way for an employer to provide additional compensation to an employee, her spouse,...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

Labor & Employment E-Note - June 12, 2014

In This Issue: - Unions Battle with Employers Over Covering ACA Costs - More Types of Companies Requiring Workers to Sign Non-Competes - Employers Cut Back on Benefits, Push Health Costs onto Workers - High...more

Discriminatory Defined Benefit Plans: Finding Retirement Gold in the Least Likely of Places

We live in politically charged times. Congress seems unable to reach a consensus on anything, including where to have the annual congressional Christmas ball! Years of political crossfire over the Affordable Care Act have...more

Good Faith And Employee Communications: Landmark ruling in IBM UK Holdings Ltd and IBM UK Ltd v Dalgleish and others

Employers undertaking pension scheme benefit change processes need to give careful consideration not only to the detail of member communications, but also to the overall impression they give and to member expectations which...more

Points & Authorities - Spring 2014

In this Issue: - AB 1000 and Corporate Practice in California: More than Meets the Eye—or Less? - Loose Lips Sink Ships and Careless E-mails Torpedo a Transaction - New Faces - Points from the...more

Plan Sponsors’ Misconceptions About Retirement Plan Fee Disclosure

To me, there is no greater television show than Seinfeld because it’s timeless and there is something about each episode that reminds you of normal day life. In the reverse chronology episode set in India called “The...more

More Plan Sponsors are asking for ERISA Fiduciary Services

I remember when I was in law school and we moved into a new building a few blocks away from the main campus. The computer sync site at the new building had a number of Apple Macs and the former law school Dean didn’t...more

Full disclosure: A practical guide for the HR professional when preparing the retirement plan portions of a proxy statement

In 2006, the SEC adopted rules which created the Pension Benefits Table and Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Table to supplement the Summary Compensation Table. The tables mandate certain specific disclosures with respect...more

Plan Sponsors’ Decision to Change Form of Employer Contributions Not A Fiduciary Function

The Second Circuit recently held that Morgan Stanley and others were not de facto ERISA fiduciaries by virtue of having authority and means to fund company contributions with stock rather than cash. In so ruling, the Court...more

I Can’t Get No SATISFACTION-- In the Eleventh Circuit, Is Discretionary Language Still "Satisfactory to Us"?

Ever since the United States Supreme Court addressed the question of whether a wholesale adoption of the "arbitrary and capricious" standard of review would be appropriate for judicial review of denial of benefit...more

Plan Fees: Hi-Lex Puts Welfare Plan Vendors on Notice

- A welfare plan administrative services only (ASO) vendor breached fiduciary duty under ERISA when it failed to properly disclose fees. - Lack of trust did not prohibit contributions from being characterized as plan...more

Employee Benefit Plan is Governmental Plan, Even Though Employees are Not, says District Court in 11th Circuit.

It is a deceptively simple statement: Governmental employee benefit plans are exempt from ERISA. 29 U.S.C. § 1003(b)(1). But what about an employee benefit plan of an entity affiliated with a governmental entity, but whose...more

Plan sponsors need to learn the art of delegation

I prepare my own income taxes because my tax LLM degree and years working on ProSeries gave me the experience to effectively do that. When it comes to treating my allergies, I delegate that role to the person with the medical...more

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