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

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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What Should the Trustee of a Private ESOP Do?

By Angela Bohmann | July 16, 2014

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans The Department of Labor (DOL) recently entered into an agreement with GreatBanc Trust Company settling claims relating to its service as trustee of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) holding stock of a private company. The DOL had claimed that the stock of the company had been overvalued in a sale transaction....

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Another Way to Become Personally Liable to a Multiemployer Plan

By Angela Bohmann | March 26, 2014

Fiduciary Guidance, Multi-employer Plans 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 trusteed by union and management trustees for the benefit of a number of unionized employers)....

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Despite upholding a $13.4 million judgment against plan fiduciaries, the Eighth Circuit gives plan sponsors a lot to like in Tussey decision.

By Sam Butler | March 24, 2014

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On March 19, 2014, a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued its decision in Tussey v. ABB, Inc., No. 12-2056 (8th Cir. Mar. 19, 2014).  The case came to the Eighth Circuit on an appeal of a decision by the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri...

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“Having Trouble Understanding Your Fiduciary Fee Disclosures?” DOL Proposes Regulations Requiring New Disclosure “Guide”.

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 13, 2014

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans As noted in my previous Blog entries regarding the ERISA Section 408(b)(2) fee disclosures from covered service providers to plan fiduciaries, the original disclosures were required by July 1, 2012. Since that time, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has been requesting copies of the required disclosures from plan...

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Another Reason to be Careful if ROBS is Your Business Financing Strategy

By Angela Bohmann | November 20, 2013

Fiduciary Guidance, IRAs, Retirement Plans I blogged earlier this year about a tax court decision in which taxpayers used assets in their IRA to finance a new business in a structure sometimes known as ROBS or Rollover for Business Startups. Unfortunately, because of personal guarantees provided by the taxpayers at the time that the business owned by the IRA...

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