Employee Retirement Income Security Act Benefit Plan Sponsors

Employee Retirement Income Security Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1974 to set minimum standards for pension and health plans in the private sector and to protect participants in those plans.... more +
Employee Retirement Income Security Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1974 to set minimum standards for pension and health plans in the private sector and to protect participants in those plans.  ERISA requires plans to provide information to participants, establishes a grievance process,  and allows participants to sue for benefits or breach of fiduciary duties.  less -
News & Analysis as of

In Tussey, Eighth Circuit Weighs in on Excessive Fee Claims

The Eighth Circuit issued a highly anticipated decision yesterday in the appeal of the first ERISA excessive fee class action to proceed to a trial on substantially all of the pleaded claims. In Tussey v. ABB, the court...more

The $550 TPA is no Advantage

When I was a kid, I remember my parents were shopping for a car and the sticker price had a base fee for the car with so many add-ons that I seriously wondered whether they would charge you for the steering wheel. As with...more

A Retirement Plan Sponsor’s Guide for Selecting Their Financial Advisor

When it comes to your role as a retirement plan sponsor, outside of hiring a TPA (third party administrator), the most important plan provider that you need to hire is a financial advisor. Unfortunately, like my favorite...more

Is There An Elephant In The Room?

401(k) Plan documents can read like Russian novels. They are often long and difficult to understand, so it’s no surprise that administrative errors in operating such plans happen frequently. Common errors include omitting or...more

A Simple Q&A for Retirement Plan Providers

When I was an associate at a semi-prestigious Long Island law firm, the goal was that I would start a national single employer retirement plan practice. I couldn’t have my articles published because the marketing department...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

Benefits Litigation Update - January 2014

In this issue: - Will Section 510 of ERISA Restrict Workforce Structuring under the Affordable Care Act? - A New Threat to Sponsors and Fiduciaries: Equitable Remedies After Amara - First ERISA Decision...more

Make sure your Plan Service is more than just a typical gimmick

A year or so ago, a good friend of mine who is an ERISA §3(38) fiduciary won a case from a disgruntled broker who claimed that all 3(38) services was just marketing. A 3(38) fiduciary that does a competent job and assumes...more

The Plan Checklist That Every Retirement Plan Sponsor Needs

While they don’t have a book called Retirement Plan Sponsorship for Dummies, they should. So in the interim, here is a checklist that plan sponsors should review that can help them develop good practices and avoid unnecessary...more

Dumb Things Retirement Plan Sponsors Should Avoid Doing

Whoever said that there is no such thing as a dumb question obviously wasn’t in attendance at my Global History class in high school when someone asked whether it was true that if you take a picture of an Amish person, the...more

Complete Versus Conflict Preemption In ERISA Cases

Both state and federal courts have original jurisdiction over ERISA benefits actions. See29 U.S.C. § 1132(e)(1), ERISA § 502(e)(1). But litigants (and defendants in particular) have historically preferred the federal courts,...more

Supreme Court Allows Employers to Limit Time Periods for Bringing Employee Benefit Plan Suits

In a recently-issued decision, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that employee benefit plans may include a contractual limitations period for filing suit under ERISA §502(a)(1)(B) so long as that period is not...more

The Law Firm Review - January 2014

Future Threats That a 401(k) Plan Sponsor Should Be Aware Of. What might be good today, may not be good tomorrow. What was good yesterday might not be a good today. Asbestos was a great fireproof building...more

Future Threats That a 401(k) Plan Sponsor Should Be Aware Of

What was good yesterday might not be a good today. Asbestos was a great fireproof building material until it was found to cause asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma Thalidomide was a great drug for morning sickness until it...more

Supreme Court Unanimously Upholds ERISA Plan Limitation Periods

On December 16, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life Insurance (U.S., No. 12-729, 12/16/13), that a contractual limitation period for challenging a denial of benefits under an ERISA-governed plan may...more

Don’t let Plan Sponsors get you out of your level of comfort

The law firm I started a few years back is actually more than 13 years old as it was a shell where I could offer legal services on the side while I did my normal day job. It was an experiment on whether I could go out on my...more

Things They Never Tell You as a 401(k) Plan Sponsor

When my wife and I bought our house, there were quite a few things that the previous owner forgot to tell us such as the fact they never bothered to pull the pipes from the dental office run by a previous owner 20 years...more

Plan sponsors should take stock of all plan amendments

I didn’t have such a wonderful time at law school because I felt the administration and much of the faculty weren’t honest when it came to the study of law and more importantly, our job opportunities. There was one law...more

End of Year Tips For Retirement Plan Sponsors

With the Holiday season about to start, we know that the end of the year will soon follow. While plan participants maybe more concerned about holiday shopping or the firm’s annual holiday party, it’s a great and necessary...more

For the Plan Sponsor, Communication is Key

I get along with people for the most part because I make the effort. It’s also a lot easier to function in the retirement plan business when you have more friends than enemies. Unfortunately, there has been a number of...more

The PBGC Not Entitled to Administrative Deference for Involuntary Plan Termination

As we previously noted, the PBGC filed a complaint (E.D. Pa. Case No. 13-02069) to involuntarily terminate a defined benefit plan prior to a corporate transaction that would change the plan sponsor’s controlled group. The...more

The Smaller Stuff Creates the Biggest Liability Pitfalls for 401(k) Plan Sponsors

When I was a kid, I had an Intellivision. For those people born after 1980, Intelliivision was video game console that had better graphics than an Atari 2600 but people didn’t buy. One of my favorite games on Intellivision...more

10 Concepts That Every Retirement Plan Sponsor Should Know

Unless they are involved in the retirement plan industry a plan sponsor must delegate much of their duties to retirement plan providers that may include third party administrators (TPAs), financial advisors, and ERISA...more

Another Participant Challenge to Defined Benefit Plan Investments: Could Your Plan Defend its Investment Program?

The focus of U.S. litigation challenging plan investments has been 401(k) plans, but that may be changing. Defined benefit plan sponsors may have felt that they were immune to these types of claims because the funding rules...more

Court Says ERISA Plan Custodian Had to Comply with State Order Attaching Plan Assets

A recent decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals serves as a reminder to plan custodians that they cannot assume that federal law will always trump state law when it comes to assignment of plan assets. In Johnson...more

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