Retirement Plan Fiduciary Duty

News & Analysis as of

Advisors Advantage - February 2016

Avoiding The “Bumps” Of Being A Retirement Plan Provider - I’m a big fan of business history and every successful company that has ever been founded has had a few bumps along the way. For example, Apple almost went out...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

New Great West case and Revenue Sharing

Add Great West under their Empower Retirement brand name as the latest bundled provider being sued. Great West is being sued for revenue sharing fees from mutual funds as part of their program....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

A 401(k) with Vanguard funds is sued, read beyond the headline

Headlines are great, but you need to read the entire article to get the full picture. There is a new class-action lawsuit that is pitting participants in the Anthem Inc. 401(k) plan, with more than $5 billion in assets,...more

Don’t make yourself a target

Sometimes if you don’t want to be a target, don’t make yourself to be a target. Insperity Inc. a provider of outsourced human resource and business management services to small and midsized businesses has been sued by...more

The Force Awakens on 2016

The ball dropped on 2016, but don’t drop the ball on your benefit plan compliance. As part of our annual tradition, we’re pleased to present this year’s Top Ten New Year’s Countdown for the reading pleasure of our fellow...more

DOL's Fiduciary Duty Rule Survives Year-End Appropriations Process

The insurance industry’s short-term strategy to oppose the Department of Labor’s proposed investment advisor fiduciary duty rule centered on a defunding initiative as part of the year-end appropriations process. That...more

Don’t Leave Your Level of Comfort

The law firm I started a few years back is actually more than 15 years old as it was a shell where I could offer legal services on the side while I did my normal day job. It was an experiment on whether I could go out on my...more

Communication is everything

I get along with people for the most part because I make the effort. It’s also a lot easier to function in the retirement plan business when you have more friends than enemies. Unfortunately, there has been a number of...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

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

Investment Management Update - October 2015

Below is a summary of recent investment management developments that affect registered investment companies, private equity funds, hedge funds, investment advisers, and others in the investment management industry. Schwab...more

California’s New “Thermal Coal” Divestment Law Forces Fiduciary Duty Question

Public pension funds exist to provide retirement benefits to public employees.  Cal. Const. Art. XVI, § 17(a).  In 1992, the voters of California tried to eliminate political interference with the state’s retirement funds by...more

Are You My Fiduciary? The DOL Takes Aim At A Fiduciary Standard For All Giving Retirement Investment Advice

The Department of Labor is pressing forward in its efforts to impose a fiduciary standard on anyone giving retirement investment advice. A fiduciary standard would require every retirement investment adviser to put the...more

Perspectives - September/October 2015

In a decision in which no opinion commanded a majority, the Ohio Supreme Court sided with a private entity — a charter school operator — in a dispute over the ownership of personal property purchased by the operator with...more

Supreme Court Emphasizes Requirements About Selecting and Monitoring Plan Investments

Plan administrators, investment committees and any other plan fiduciary responsible for selectingthe investment options of an employee benefit plan subject to ERISA should take note of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in...more

Changes In The Money Market Fund Rules: The Fiduciary Response

The SEC’s modifications to the money market fund rules won’t become effective for approximately a year, but plan fiduciaries should already be considering what to do about them.2 Almost certainly, they’ll need to make changes...more

A Summary Plan Description Can be a Plan Document

In a decision issued a couple of years ago, the United States Supreme Court held that a summary plan description that differed from the plan document could not be enforced as the plan document. The Court said that the summary...more

Investing Wisely: Employers Need to Monitor 401(k) Plan Fees

Costly lawsuits filed by employees against their employers come in several varieties, including lawsuits alleging liability because of an employer’s handling of its employee benefit plans. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme...more

DOL Provides Guidance Regarding Monitoring Annuity Providers

The DOL issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2015-02, which provides clarity regarding selection and monitoring of annuity providers for fiduciaries of defined contribution retirement plans. There is a safe harbor regulation...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

Advisors Advantage - August 2015

How Retirement Plan Providers Can Avoid Communication Problems. It's all about relationships and communication. Life is all about relationships, whether it's family, friends, or business. Whether it's starting a...more

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