News & Analysis as of

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

Retirement Plan Professionals That Plan Sponsors Should Avoid

In the Nelson Algren novel, A Walk on The Wild Side, there are 3 important rules of life to follow: “Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse...more

Proactive Steps Retirement Plan Sponsors Should Take

Retirement plan sponsors have a lot of headaches and liability because of their role as plan fiduciaries. They can sit back and do nothing, thereby increasing their potential liability. They can also be proactive and take...more

New Guidance on Locating Missing Participants for Terminated Defined Contribution Plans

On August 14, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided new guidance to plan fiduciaries of terminated defined contribution plans for locating missing and unresponsive participants in order to distribute their...more

The Reckless Fiduciary: When Are Imprudent U.S. Fiduciaries Liable For Plan Losses?

“A pure heart and an empty head are not enough.” This is a quote from an early case defining the scope of ERISA fiduciary liability. However, ERISA has always made fiduciaries responsible only for losses caused by their...more

Fiduciary Notice Obligations Associated with Change of Carriers

This case discusses the fiduciary obligation of plan administrators to inform participants in advance of ERISA’s statutory notice periods regarding the potential impact caused by a change of life insurance carrier under a...more

Advisors Advantage - August 2014

Dealing with adversity. It's about how you deal with it. I'm a huge Aerosmith fan since high school and it's because the music resonates with me because it reminds me of the experiences that I have gone through...more

Plan Sponsor Should Avoid These Retirement Plan Provider “Con Games”

The George Clooney-Brad Pitt trilogy of heist films known as Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, and Ocean’s Thirteen were remembered for their twist endings, stylish pacing, and lightheartedness. Since the Ocean gang were...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

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

Advisors Advantage - July 2014

If they made the poor Plan decisions, they may take offense on your criticism. They will take offense. Two years ago, I had the worst call with a prospective client in the 14 years I have been an ERISA attorney...more

Yeah, I know, Everyone does it

I was never part of the in crowd. Look at my picture, could I ever be in the “in crowd”? I’m always the odd one out, that’s why I dressed up as the Rodney Dangerfield character, Al Czervik from Caddyshack on Halloween. While...more

The Law Firm Review

Plan Sponsors' Misconceptions About Retirement Plan Fee Disclosure. There are many. To me, there is no greater television show than Seinfeld because it's timeless and there is something about each episode that...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

Fees are only part of a 401(k) Plan’s problem

10 years before I went on my own and started my own practice, I started The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. It was a side venture, kind of an attempt to see if I can start my own practice without actually having to leave my day job....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

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

IRS Releases Additional Rulings on Lump-Sum Windows

The practice of offering lump-sum distributions has become increasingly popular among defined benefit plan sponsors looking to decrease volatility or other defined benefit plan risks. In some situations, plan sponsors offer...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

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

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