News & Analysis as of

Employee Benefits Developments - November 2014

Health Care Cost Consideration May Support Age Discrimination Claim. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned a lower court’s summary judgment ruling against a plaintiff’s age discrimination...more

Considerations for Employee Benefit Programs That Benefit Employers and Employees

Employers must compete in the marketplace for talented employees at every level—both in recruitment and retention. It is thus in employers’ best interests to provide employee benefit plans that are attractive to employees and...more

Reasonable Fee Issues for Fiduciaries on the Horizon

The Supreme Court is poised to address whether fiduciaries' decisions—especially in using fee sharing arrangements—are subject to deference when challenged. The Eighth and Ninth Circuit courts recently decided these issues,...more

ERISA Applied to Deferred Compensation Plan

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found in Tolbert v. RBC Capital Markets that a nonqualified deferred compensation plan was an "employee pension benefit plan" under the Employee Retirement Income...more

How Good the Advisor is often based on how well they play with other plan providers

What makes a good retirement plan financial advisor? Well it takes an attention to detail, an understanding of what the role to entails, and a dedication to the client. In addition, what I find is the way a good financial...more

Update For Retirement Plans Post-Windsor

Now that some of the dust has settled on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, employers who haven’t done so already should take immediate steps to review their retirement plan documents and administrative...more

Combination Bonus and Deferral Plan Subject to ERISA

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a deferred compensation plan through which key employees received annual bonuses and were able to defer both bonuses and other income was an “employee pension benefit plan”...more

PBGC Coverage May No Longer Apply to Puerto Rico-Only Qualified Retirement Plans

Employers that sponsor defined benefit qualified retirement plans benefiting only Puerto Rico employees should be aware that Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) coverage may no longer apply. Last year, the PBGC...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

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

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

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

ERISA 3(38) Fiduciaries, Big Tuna, and Buying Groceries

When the great Bill Parcells (go Big Blue!) was the head coach of the New England Patriots, he got into a tiff with owner Robert Kraft because Parcells wanted more of a say in the personnel decision-making process. Parcells...more

Legal Alert: DOL Proposes 408(b)(2) Disclosure Guide

On March 12, 2014, the Department of Labor (DOL) published in the Federal Register a proposed amendment to its disclosure requirements for “covered service providers” to retirement plans under ERISA § 408(b)(2) that would...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

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

Employee Stock Ownership Plans: Innovative and Tax-Efficient Tools to Meet Business Planning Needs

You may have heard of them, but may not fully appreciate or understand how an Employee Stock Ownership Plan or “ESOP” could help you meet your business planning goals. An ESOP is something to consider if you are...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

Seven Deadly Sins Every Retirement Plan Provider Should Avoid

The movie Seven taught me that the seven deadly sins are wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. It also taught me not to open up any boxes delivered by a truck in any desolate place. Seriously, there are many...more

IRS and DOL Guidance Clarifies Employee Benefits Impact of Supreme Court’s DOMA Ruling

Recent guidance issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides some initial...more

Private Equity Funds May Be on the Hook for the Pension Liabilities of Portfolio Companies

A recent decision of the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit makes it more likely that private equity funds could be liable for the pension obligations of the portfolio companies in which they invest. Key to the decision...more

PE Funds May Be Liable For Portfolio Company Pension Liabilities

Introduction - A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit increases the risk that a private equity fund could be liable for its portfolio company’s unfunded pension liabilities. Additionally,...more

Fiat North Am., LLC v. UAW Retiree Med. Benefits Trust, C.A. No. 7903-VCP (Del. Ch. Jul. 30, 2013) (Parsons, VC.)

This memorandum opinion from the Court of Chancery addresses cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings related to the redemption of an option to purchase shares of Chrysler Group LLC (“Chrysler”) after it had emerged from...more

PE Fund Deemed a 'Trade or Business'—May Be Liable for Portfolio Companies' Pensions

The First Circuit Court of Appeals recently became the first federal appellate court to hold that a private equity (“PE”) fund can be a “trade or business,” and thus potentially included in a “controlled group” with its...more

First Post-Windsor ERISA Decision

In the first reported ERISA decision post-Windsor, the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held (in Cozen O’Connor, P.C. v. Jennifer Tobits) that a same-sex spouse is to be treated as the decedent’s...more

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