News & Analysis as of

Department of Labor Opens the Door to Questioning Brokerage Windows Under 401(k) Plans

A request for information ("RFI") by the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") was published on August 21, 2014 regarding the use of so-called "brokerage windows" under retirement plans, such as many Section 401(k) plans, that...more

Prune those 401(k) Plan Investment Lineups

We are a nation of over abundance and we should be grateful for that. The problem is that over abundance can lead to a life of excess. We are often told that more is more and the problem is that there are many times where...more

A New Reality for ESOP Fiduciaries - Company Stock Investments for Employee Participants in Retirement Plans of Public and...

For the ESOP fiduciary of a publicly traded employer, the Supreme Court has made clear that non-public insider information is not required to be used in reaching a decision to buy, hold or sell employer securities....more

U.S. Supreme Court Abolishes the Presumption of Prudence in ERISA Stock Drop Cases

A recurring scenario in ERISA litigation involves claims against fiduciaries of 401(k) retirement plans who are alleged to have breached their fiduciary duty by failing to discontinue investment in employer stock following a...more

Recent Employee Benefits Developments

Amending Retirement Plans to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Plan sponsors need to review retirement plan documents and operations to determine whether changes are needed in response to last year's Supreme Court decision in U.S....more

Retirement Benefits: Missed Deferral Opportunities

The Issue: When an employer fails to take into consideration all forms of compensation (e.g., commissions, bonuses, etc.) for purposes of employee deferrals to its 401(k) Plan, is that a problem?...more

ERISA Fiduciary Guidance - Making a "Watch List" Work

For most professionals who sit on 401(k) or 403(b) plan administrative or investment committees, there is a fair amount of routine. The committee probably adopted an investment policy that dates back to the time the plan’s...more

The Headache of Plan Loans

They often say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t know who said it first (I heard it was originated with St. Bernard, the saint, not the dog), but perhaps they were a 401(k) plan sponsor that had a...more

Oops, I Forgot To Distribute A Safe Harbor Notice For My Company's 401(k) Plan, Now What?

The Internal Revenue Service often publishes correction methods for common errors involving qualified retirement plan administration issues. One of the most common errors is failing to notify eligible employees of their safe...more

The needs of the Plan outweigh the needs of the Plan Provider

A family member once said: “there are a lot of yous (sic) and only one me.” That may not be the nicest and most selfless thing to say, but that’s something retirement plan sponsors should think when it comes to the needs of...more

Retirement Benefits: Which Way Does the Whistle Blow?

The Issue: A terminated employee makes a claim against the employer for damages. The company says it fired him for stealing from the company. He says it was in retaliation for reporting law violations by the employer (that...more

New Developments Impact Retirement Plans and Other Employee Benefits

Year-End Amendments - The month of December is a bit different in 2013. Typically, we mark this time scrambling to amend 401(k), profit sharing, and money purchase plans in order to maintain their tax-qualified status....more

Employee Benefits Alert: New Developments Impact Retirement Plans & More

Year-End Amendments - The month of December is a bit different in 2013. Typically, we mark this time scrambling to amend 401(k), profit sharing, and money purchase plans in order to maintain their tax-qualified status....more

Offering Self Directed Brokerage Accounts in a 401(k) Plan is a Bad Bet

I love Las Vegas and I hate to gamble, which explains why I haven’t been to Atlantic City since 1995. I love the sights, sounds, the entertainment, the food, and everything but gambling. I hate gambling because I don’t like...more

2014 COLAs For Employee Benefit Plans

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2014 cost of living adjustments to various limits on employee benefit plans. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2014. ...more

IRS Announces Employee Benefit Plan Limits for 2014

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced cost-of-living adjustments to the applicable dollar limits on various employer-sponsored retirement and welfare plans for 2014. Although many dollar limits currently in...more

You Cannot Take The Embezzler’s 401(k) Plan Balance

Many employers know that with few exceptions a participant’s benefit in a tax qualified retirement plan is protected from the participant’s creditors. One exception is for court orders, known as qualified domestic relations...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

How to Handle Employee Benefits with Same-Sex Marriages: BB&K's John Wahlin Looks at What Changes Should be Made in Light of the...

With this summer’s Supreme Court rulings on DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, and Prop. 8 allowing same-sex marriages to be recognized in states that allow them, private sector and public agency employers in California...more

IRS Clarifies Some Same-Sex Marriage Issues, But Leaves Retroactive Employee Plan Relief Open

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the central provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage as between a man and a woman, employee benefit plan sponsors have been seeking guidance on how to...more

The Problem With Retirement Plans

Over the past 30 years, a dramatic change has taken place in the use of retirement plans to help people save for their later years....more

The Supreme Court’s DOMA Decision: What Does it Mean for Employee Benefit Plans?

On June 26, 2013, in U.S. v. Windsor, the United States Supreme Court struck down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) that defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. This decision will...more

Same-Sex Marriages and Benefit Plans After Windsor

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Windsor v. United States, No. 12-307. The Court ruled (in a 5-4 decision) that the section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that required federal...more

Supreme Court Finds DOMA to Be Unconstitutional -- Impact on Employers Explained

On June 26, 2013, a majority of the Supreme Court held in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as the union of a man and a woman, is...more

How Does The Supreme Court’s DOMA Decision Impact Employers?

The U. S. Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had established a federal definition of marriage as a legal union only between one man and one woman....more

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