News & Analysis as of

Plan Document Mistakes a Retirement Plan Sponsor Should Avoid

One of the major things that plan sponsors forget about their retire- ment plans is the plan document. ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 for those scoring at home) requires all retirement plans to...more

When Silence Isn't Silence: What is the Silence of Your ERISA Summary Plan Description Actually Saying?

It is well known that in enacting the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et. seq., Congress set forth a requirement that a Summary Plan Description ("SPD") be furnished to participants...more

Death, Taxes and …ERISA Disclosure Regulations?

There are few sure things in life, and although it is probably safe to say that ERISA disclosure regulations would not be considered one of them, there has certainly been a steady stream of new ERISA-related disclosure and...more

Florida District Court Rejects ERISA Claims Premised on Alleged FLSA Violations

Plaintiffs in most class and collective actions try to plead their claims in such a way as to exert the maximum pressure against the employer. In some instances, that raises the issue of whether the plaintiff should assert...more

Advisors Advantage

Do you have it? It will determine whether you'll be a big hit or not. When it comes to being a retirement plan provider and selling your services, you have to have it. Those who have it, succeed. Those who don't,...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

Do you have it?

When it comes to being a retirement plan provider and selling your services, you have to have it. Those who have it, succeed. Those who don’t, don’t. You can’t get it from a bottle, a book, or course....more

How a Plan Sponsor Can Avoid Being a Deer Caught in the Headlights

The term “deer in the headlights” explains the mental state of a person who shows behavioral signs that remind us of a deer subjected to a car’s headlights where the deer is in such panic that they show no motor reaction to...more

Old Days – Remembering When Small Business Had Pension Plans

We lived in politically charged times. Congress seems unable to reach any consensus on anything including where to have the annual Congressional Christmas Ball! Years of political crossfire over the Affordable Care Act have...more

Seeing the Retirement Plan Dentist to avoid a Plan Root Canal

About a dozen or so year ago, there was a medical report that dental plaque could cause heart disease. The cynic in me tells me that this was some sort of dental conspiracy to increase revenue as fluoridated water and other...more

IRS Issues Guidance on Plan Amendments for Same-Sex Marriage

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued additional guidance on amendments to qualified retirement plans required by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, in which the Court held certain...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

Another Way To Become Personally Liable To A Multiemployer Plan

I have blogged in the past about individuals and businesses that are not signatories to a collective bargaining agreement being found liable for withdrawal liability imposed by multiemployer pension plans (plans jointly...more

In Fuller, Eleventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claims Challenging Financial Services Company’s Use of Proprietary Products in...

In a recent Eleventh Circuit case challenging, under ERISA, the use of proprietary funds in a financial services company’s own retirement plan, the court affirmed dismissal of the claims. It held, in Fuller v. SunTrust...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

Your 401(k) Plan and the Shape of the Earth

I used to work with a very smart lawyer who said that he could give a legal opinion that the world was flat if his qualifying language was not limited. In that case, he would have stated something on the order of: this...more

View From McDermott: Conflicting Review Standards in Executive Retirement Plan Benefit Claims—Is There Really a Difference?

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, retirement plans generally come in two flavors – (i) retirement plans qualified under Section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) and (ii) executive retirement plans,...more

CalPERS May Calculate Retirement Benefits for a City Council Member Separately From His Benefits as a City Employee

A city administrator-turned-elected city council member believed his retirement benefits would be based on his highest salary multiplied by all his years of service, including his years on the city council; however CalPERS...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

Appellate Court Denies Retirement Benefits To Former Employee After Finding The Employee Violated The Employer's Retirement Plan

In Wall v. Alcon Laboratories, Plaintiff, an employee at Alcon Laboratories, was offered a job with Otonomy, a bio-pharmaceutical company and, in Alcon's view, one of its competitors. Plaintiff accepted the job offer from...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

SEC National Examination Program Outlines 2014 Priorities

On January 9, the SEC National Examination Program (NEP) published its examination priorities for 2014. The NEP’s market-wide priorities include (i) fraud detection and prevention; (ii) corporate governance and enterprise...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

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