Retirement Plan Employee Benefits

News & Analysis as of

Ontario Pension Plan Members Will Soon Have Significant New Rights

Ontario is on the verge of implementing new rights for members of registered pension plans. Members will have the right to form committees that will have broad rights to review information about all aspects of plan...more

Treasury Announces 2016-2017 Regulatory Agenda for Employee Benefits

The principal regulators of U.S. employee benefits have recently published updates to their guidance plans for the coming months. ..On August 15, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service...more

Universities: Growing Concern With Explosion of Retirement Plan Fee-Related Lawsuits

In a concerning development for universities and other institutions of higher learning nationwide, a growing number of schools, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Yale University, Johns...more

Penalties Increased for Employee Benefit Plan Violations

Recently-enacted legislation has increased many penalty amounts for certain employee benefit plan violations. The new penalties – some of which are more than double previous amounts – were adjusted to catch up with inflation...more

Multiple Universities Sued Over 403(b) Retirement Plan Investment Fees

In the last several days, a number of large private universities have been sued regarding the investment fees in their 403(b) retirement plans. The lawsuits claim that these universities breached their fiduciary duties under...more

Under Attack: ERISA Class-Action Lawyers Target Colleges and Universities

Class-action lawyers have begun targeting retirement savings plans offered by a number of colleges and universities across the country. These lawsuits are founded in claims of ERISA breaches of fiduciary duty - alleging the...more

Update on the Apparent Demise of the Determination Letter Program

As we previously reported, the IRS had said last year that determination letter program for retirement plans would largely be going away. Rev. Proc. 2016-37 includes information with respect to the future of the determination...more

Higher ed braces for flood of lawsuits over retirement plans

Numerous colleges and universities sponsor retirement plans—both defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC)—to provide retirement income security for their employees. But recently a number of higher education...more

….And 403(b) Plans are next on the litigation hit parade

It should be no surprise that the rampant uptick in 401(k) litigation is also going to venture into the 403(b) world. Four class action lawsuits were filed against MIT, New York University, and Yale University. The cases...more

U.S. employers targeted by lawsuits claiming excessive fees in employee retirement and savings plans: Could it happen in Canada?

I recently wrote about the legal risks regarding plan fees that should be considered by Canadian employers who sponsor group registered retirement savings plans and defined contribution pension plans....more

ERISA Class Actions Filed Against Higher Education Institutions

Several ERISA breach of fiduciary duty class actions involving allegedly excessive retirement plan fees were filed this week against higher education institutions including colleges, universities, and medical schools. The...more

IRS Clarifies Instructions for Form 5500 Reporting of RMD Failures

Certain employee benefit plans, including qualified retirement plans, must file an annual return/report on Form 5500 with the Department of Labor, which is shared with the IRS. Each year discreet changes are typically made...more

IRS Issues Additional Guidance on Determination Letter Program

As was previously announced in 2015, effective as of January 1, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) is eliminating its five year staggered determination letter cycle for individually designed retirement plans. Plans in...more

Case Note: Court Rules In Favor Of Fidelity And Holds That Float Income Is Not A Plan Asset

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that float income is not a plan asset and therefore is not subject to fiduciary and prohibited transaction provisions of ERISA. The decision was written by former Justice Souter...more

IRS Lays Out Plan for Maintaining Tax Qualification for Individually-Designed Plans after Elimination of the Determination Letter...

On June 29, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Revenue Procedure 2016-37, which modifies the Determination Letter Program for tax-qualified plans and the requirements for when plan amendments must be adopted by...more

New Court Decisions Reinforce Need for Benefit Communications Policy

In my last post to this blog I extolled the virtues of a benefit communications policy for HR professionals who communicate pensions and benefits to fellow employees. I pointed out that years of benefit miscommunication has...more

Employee Benefits Advisory: New Proposed 457 Regulations May Impact Deferred Compensation Arrangements Maintained by Tax-Exempt...

On June 21, 2016, concurrent with its issuance of proposed regulations under Code section 409A, the IRS also issued proposed regulations under Code section 457, which address deferred compensation arrangements covering...more

Department of Labor Increases Penalties for Certain ERISA Violations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published on July 1, 2016, an interim final rule adjusting the civil monetary penalties that it can enforce. These adjustments are the result of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation...more

Proposed Section 409A Regulations Facilitate Common Pay Practices

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has proposed a number of updates to current regulations governing nonqualified deferred compensation under Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The proposed updates...more

Penalty Amounts Get Adjustment (Upward, of Course)

The Department of Labor (DOL), along with several other federal agencies, recently released adjusted penalty amounts for various violations. The amounts had not been adjusted since 2003, so there was some catching up to do,...more

DOL Rule Imposes Significant Increases in Penalties for Employee Benefit Plan Violations

On June 30, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an interim final rule that significantly increases various penalties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). The interim rule is the...more

Pension Plan Governance Policies: Have You Reviewed Yours Lately?

When was the last time you thought about pension plan governance? Or reviewed your pension governance policies? It would be great if your answer is “recently”. However, if you’re like many organizations whose answer is “I...more

Harvey Berman, R.I.P.

People often ask me how I got into ERISA/retirement plan law and I tell them the truth: it’s because it’s the first job I got. The person that gave me that first job was an ERISA attorney named Harvey Berman. I’m sad to...more

Maryland Enacts Mandatory Private-Sector Retirement Program That Impacts Most Maryland Employers

Maryland joins California, Connecticut, Illinois, and Oregon in leading state initiatives to set up state-sponsored retirement plans for employees. The Maryland Small Business Retirement Savings Program and Trust (“the...more

"New Rules Impact Compensation Arrangements of Governmental and Tax-Exempt Entities"

On June 22, 2016, the IRS published much-anticipated proposed regulations under Internal Revenue Code Section 457 impacting certain plans maintained by state or local governments or other tax-exempt organizations that provide...more

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