News & Analysis as of

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

Advisors Advantage - January 2014

Things They Never Tell You as a Retirement Plan Provider. Stuff plan providers should avoid. I always say that whatever I learned as an ERISA attorney and the retirement plan business; I couldn't have learned...more

CalSTRS Extends Time to Elect to have Service Count Toward CalSTRS Retirement

CalSTRS recently issued new guidance that applies when a CalSTRS member changes to a new position that may not be eligible for participation in the retirement system. The guidance, found in Employer Information Circular,...more

Improve Compliance Of Retirement And Group Health Plans In 2014

Retirement plan fiduciaries should consider the following best practices to improve their plan’s governance in 2014: (i) if fiduciary duties have been delegated, make certain that the delegations are in writing and are being...more

Things They Never Tell You as a Retirement Plan Provider

I always say that whatever I learned as an ERISA attorney and the retirement plan business; I couldn’t have learned it in class or in a textbook. So if you’re a retirement plan provider, this article will have some short...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

The Law Firm Review - January 2014

Future Threats That a 401(k) Plan Sponsor Should Be Aware Of. What might be good today, may not be good tomorrow. What was good yesterday might not be a good today. Asbestos was a great fireproof building...more

Future Threats That a 401(k) Plan Sponsor Should Be Aware Of

What was good yesterday might not be a good today. Asbestos was a great fireproof building material until it was found to cause asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma Thalidomide was a great drug for morning sickness until it...more

Protection From Creditors for Retirement Plan Assets

• The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 clarified the rights of debtors and creditors to retirement assets in federal bankruptcy proceedings, but state attachment and garnishment of such assets...more

Year-End Health and Retirement Plan Guidance Grab Bag

Following Hawaii’s enactment of legislation recognizing same-sex marriage as of and after December 2, 2013 a number of additional pieces of guidance were also issued. Internal Revenue Service’s Frequently Asked Questions...more

Supreme Court to Address Presumption of Prudence for ERISA “Stock Drop” Cases

The Supreme Court agreed on December 13, 2013 to review an issue critical to ERISA “stock drop” cases and important more generally for ERISA individual-account plans that invest in employer stock....more

Things They Never Tell You as a 401(k) Plan Sponsor

When my wife and I bought our house, there were quite a few things that the previous owner forgot to tell us such as the fact they never bothered to pull the pipes from the dental office run by a previous owner 20 years...more

Plan sponsors should take stock of all plan amendments

I didn’t have such a wonderful time at law school because I felt the administration and much of the faculty weren’t honest when it came to the study of law and more importantly, our job opportunities. There was one law...more

Solicitor General Urges Supreme Court to Address Plan Investment in Company Stock

The U.S. government, through a brief submitted by the Solicitor General, is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to consider clarifying when a plaintiff may state a claim against plan fiduciaries for the continued holding of...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

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders: Little-Known Issues Involving Dividend Pass-Through Elections And Same-Sex Spouses

As most family law practitioners are aware, ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) do not permit a participant in a retirement plan to assign or alienate his/her interest in that plan to another person. These rules are...more

End of Year Tips For Retirement Plan Sponsors

With the Holiday season about to start, we know that the end of the year will soon follow. While plan participants maybe more concerned about holiday shopping or the firm’s annual holiday party, it’s a great and necessary...more

The Great Bundled vs. Unbundled 401(k) Provider Debate

In our lives, there are times when we have two important choices. It’s Coke vs. Pepsi, Mac vs. PC, Xbox vs. PlayStation (sorry Nintendo), Star Wars vs. Star Trek, and Marvel vs. DC. In the 401(k) space, it’s always bundled...more

The Cardinal Rules for Retirement Plan Providers

I have been an ERISA attorney for 14 years and while I took two retirement plan law courses while I was getting my tax LLM degree at Boston University School of Law, it never prepared me for my career as an ERISA attorney....more

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