News & Analysis as of

Department of Labor Issues Final Fiduciary Rules

On April 6, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-awaited final conflict of interest rule defining the term “fiduciary” for retirement investment advice purposes. The final regulations and accompanying...more

DOL Releases Final Fiduciary Investment Adviser Regulations

On April 6, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its long-awaited final regulations defining who is a fiduciary investment adviser (the Final Rule), along with related prohibited transaction class exemptions and...more

Department of Labor Releases Final Investment Advice Fiduciary Rules

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized regulations describing the circumstances in which a person who provides investment advice in connection with a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA) acts...more

Department of Labor Issues Final Fiduciary Rule

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule to re-define who is rendered a "fiduciary" of an employee benefit plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by providing investment advice to a plan...more

Employee Benefits Developments - March 2016

Previously, many advisors had been concerned that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations on safe harbor plan designs covering 401(k) and 403(b) plans may have severely limited the abilities of plan sponsors to adopt...more

Disclaimer in Top-Hat Plan Could Save Millions for Employer

Do you have a top-hat plan? That’s a plan which is unfunded and is maintained by an employer primarily for the purpose of providing deferred compensation for a select group of management or highly compensated employees...more

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That ERISA Preempts State Health Claims Reporting Law

Yesterday, in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, the United States Supreme Court held that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) preempts a Vermont state law that requires certain entities...more

Employee Benefits Developments - February 2016

IRS Issues Guidance Regarding Application of ACA Fee to Expatriate Health Plans. Section 9010 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes an annual fee on covered entities engaged in the business of providing health insurance...more

Montanile, Amgen, Tackett & Moen: Four Important Employee Benefits Cases to Kick Off 2016

The year 2016 has only just started, and we have already seen several important court decisions related to employee benefit plans and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA). This Client Alert...more

Be Careful What You Wish For – Dudenhoeffer May Do “More Harm Than Good” For ERISA “Stock Drop” Plaintiffs

In its June 2014 decision in Dudenhoeffer v. Fifth Third Bank, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declined to recognize a “presumption of prudence” that had favored retirement-plan fiduciaries faced with allegations of...more

ERISA Claim Knocked Off the Pedestal - Provider of 401(k) Investment Platform Held Not to Have Fiduciary Liability

Over the years, U.S. employers that sponsor “401(k)” and other retirement plans, and plan fiduciaries, have increasingly become the subject of significant and potentially expensive litigation under the Employee Retirement...more

Don’t skimp out on the retirement plan

As I have stated before, I am loath to hire employees because I was an employee once too. That pretty much means that I never met an employee whoever thought they were overpaid. For that matter, I never met an employer who...more

Going Green: What Procedures Should You Consider for 2016 Electronic ERISA Disclosures?

In the ever-increasing push to “go green,” many employers are opting to distribute required notices and disclosures to employees via e-mail or through website postings. Plan sponsors are asking: Can an employer rely on an...more

DOL Issues Guidance on the Application of ERISA to State-Sponsored Retirement Programs for Private Sector Employees

After a recent flurry of activity in state legislatures regarding state mandated automatic savings programs, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) has issued (1) a proposed regulation, and (2) interpretive guidance that addresses...more

Pension Plan Investments: ERISA Fiduciaries May Consider Environmental, Social, and Governance Factors Related to Economic Value

Over the past two decades, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a number of advisory opinions and interpretive bulletins on “economically targeted investments” (ETIs). These investments are generally defined as...more

What Does the Trust Requirement of ERISA Mean?

ERISA requires that plan assets be held in trust so that they are protected from claims of the employer. With pension plans, it is generally easy to determine when assets become plan assets and when they should be held in...more

Employee Benefits – Do Employers Owe a 401(k) Fiduciary Duty?

Back in July, we discussed how Jed Clampett of Mama’s Fried Pies caused his VP of marketing Elly May to suffer exorbitant taxes due to a deferred bonus that he offered.  This month, Jed finds himself again in the grease with...more

Not all Plans can Establish a Shortened Limitations Period for Filing Lawsuit

I recently blogged about a case in which a plan had established a shorter period of time (one year deadline) for filing a lawsuit, rather than relying on the state statute of limitation (six years) which would otherwise have...more

Is Your Severance Policy an ERISA Plan?

Severance plans are generally covered under ERISA, but it is not always easy to distinguish an ERISA-covered severance plan from a non-ERISA severance policy. There are advantages and disadvantages to being an ERISA-covered...more

Participants in Top Hat Plans Must Exhaust Administrative Remedies

So-called “Top Hat” plans are nonqualified deferred compensation plans for a select group of management or highly compensated employees. These executive compensation arrangements are exempt from many ERISA provisions, but are...more

Don’t Play Hide the Ball with Your Claims Procedure

ERISA does not have a statute of limitations for lawsuits brought by participants to check claim benefits under the plan. Instead, courts borrow from similar state statutes of limitations. In a decision two years ago, the US...more

DOL to Provide Guidance Regarding State-Based Retirement Programs

In recent years, several states, including Illinois, have passed laws that would require employers who do not offer retirement plans to automatically enroll employees into IRAs. However, there has been concern regarding...more

Employee Benefits Alert - August 2015

Retirement Plans - IRS Issues Guidance on Benefit Suspension Voting under MPRA - As we have written in prior alerts, the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA) permits trustees of financially troubled...more

Employee Benefits Developments August 2015

Certain Closely Held For-Profit Employers Need Not Provide Women’s Contraceptive Services. Under the ACA, non-grandfathered group health plans must cover specified preventive services, including certain women’s preventive...more

DOL Hearings Debate “Fiduciary Duty” not “Suitability” Standard for Retirement Accounts

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL“) recently heard public comment to its proposed regulatory changes implementing a fiduciary duty on any individual receiving compensation for advice tailored to a plan sponsor, participant...more

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