Benefits Notes |

Employee benefits are an important part of every employees' total compensation package. The continuously evolving landscape in the areas of health care reform, retirement plan design, and executive compensation makes it difficult for employee benefits professionals to keep up with relevant developments. The employee benefits attorneys at Stinson Leonard Street provide human resources professionals, plan fiduciaries, actuaries, accountants, and others in the industry with practical and cost-effective assistance as they navigate through the complex laws, regulations and guidance that govern employee benefits plans. This blog highlights key developments in the employee benefits field and items of interest to our clients. Our Bloggers →

Latest Fiduciary Guidance Posts

IRS and Treasury Department Seek Input on How Plan Sponsors Can Avoid Plan Document Problems

By Abigail Clark | September 21, 2016

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On September 16, 2016, the IRS and the Department of the Treasury requested public comment on ways the IRS and Treasury "can improve compliance…by making it easier for plan sponsors to satisfy requirements for qualified plan documents" in the wake of the determination letter program changes (Announcement 2016-32)....

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Inside Trustees for Small Minnesota 401(k) Plan Face Class Action Over Excessive Fees

By Jeffrey Cairns | June 1, 2016

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans A Minneapolis law firm recently filed a class action complaint against Lamettry’s Collision, Inc. and the Trustees of its 401(k) Plan, CFO Stephen Daniel and President Joan Lamettry for various breaches of fiduciary duty with respect to fees charged to Plan participants’ accounts in the Company’s 401(k) Plan....

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Federal Court Determines that Employer Use of Employee Health Insurance Premium Payments Breach of ERISA Fiduciary Duties

By Jeffrey Cairns | November 17, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Payroll, Welfare Plans On November 9, 2015, Minnesota Federal District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled that the president and CEO of Faribault Woolen Mills Company breached his fiduciary duties under ERISA by diverting Employee health insurance premiums toward corporate and personal use. The lawsuit was brought by the U.S. Department of...

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What Does the Trust Requirement of ERISA Mean?

By Angela Bohmann | October 29, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Welfare Plans 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 trust. For welfare benefit plans, such as health plans, the situation is more complicated....

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Can an LLC Adopt an ESOP? IRS Says Yes

By Jeffrey Cairns | October 20, 2015

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans In a private letter ruling released on September 18, 2015 (PLR 201538021),  the Internal Revenue Service concluded that an employer organized as a limited liability company (LLC) under a state statute, upon making a federal tax election to be taxed as a corporation, can adopt an employee stock ownership plan under...

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A Summary Plan Description Can be a Plan Document

By Angela Bohmann | September 21, 2015

Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Welfare Plans 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 plan description was supposed to describe the plan and it was the plan that should be...

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Ameriprise Avoids Trial On Class Action Suit By Current and Former Employees With $27.5 Million Payment

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 31, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans In 2011, a group of current and former employees filed a class action lawsuit in the District Court of Minnesota claiming that Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and members of its 401(k) Plan fiduciary committee had breached their fiduciary duty to the Plan participants and engaged in self-dealing. The specific actions...

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DOL Gives Retirement Plan Sponsors of Participant Directed Retirement Plans Additional Time to Provide Employee Fee Disclosures

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 19, 2015

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations require 401(k) plan fiduciaries to provide plan participants with a detailed disclosure statement about the plan’s designated investment alternatives, prior to initial enrollment and at least annually thereafter. The DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)...

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND AICPA COMMENT ON DEFICIENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN AUDITS

By Jeffrey Cairns | December 9, 2014

Fiduciary Guidance, Form 5500s, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans At a recent American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (”AICPA”) conference, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration reportedly commented that the ERISA benefit plan audits are deficient in over 1/3 of the audits they receive according to their...

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Lost Participant? Did you Try Google?

By Jeffrey Cairns | August 21, 2014

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the U.S. Department of Labor recently updated its guidance to retirement plan fiduciaries on due diligence and efforts to locate missing participants in the case of terminated defined contribution plans. Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2014-01...

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