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

Labor Advises on Fiduciary Treatment of Revenue Sharing Payments

By Jeffrey Cairns | August 9, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On July 3, 2013 the Employee Benefits Security Administration issued ERISA Advisory Opinion 2013-03A http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/AOs/ao2013-03a.html (the “AO”) to the Groom Law Group which had submitted a request on behalf of Principal Life Insurance Company (“Principal”). The primary question presented was...

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Courts Do Not Always Agree

By Angela Bohmann | August 5, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Welfare Plans I blogged recently about a decision from a federal district court in Virginia (Eastern Distrct) involving a widow who sought to recover life insurance benefits from her late husband’s employer-sponsored group term life insurance plan. The employer had improperly allowed the late husband to enroll in the plan.  The...

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Department of Labor Extends Deadline for Required Annual Fee Disclosures for Participants

By Jeffrey Cairns | July 26, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On July 22, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2013-02 (the “FAB”). In the FAB, the EBSA announced a temporary policy in which it would not take any enforcement action against a retirement plan sponsor which fails to provide the...

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Labor Proposes Required Lifetime Income Estimates on 401(k) Benefit Statements

By Jeffrey Cairns | May 23, 2013

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans Congressional hearings on the status of the Social Security system and studies on workers’ retirement readiness have sparked interest in lifetime income solutions from defined contribution plans. With 401(k) and other account based plans being the predominant form of retirement plan vehicle, the vast majority of...

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The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Plan Sponsor’s Recovery of Participant Damages Award

By Jeffrey Cairns | April 17, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Welfare Plans On April 16, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-1285_i4dk.pdf finding in favor of U.S. Airways in its quest to recover $66,866 in medical expenses incurred by its employee as a result of a traffic accident. McCutchen was a...

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Ninth Circuit Decides Selection of Retail Mutual Funds Was a Breach of Fiduciary Duty

By Jeffrey Cairns | April 1, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On March 21, 2013 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Tibble v. Edison International, http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2013/03/21/10-56406.pdf in which the Court ruled that the plan fiduciaries of the Edison 401(k) Savings Plan (the “Plan”) had breached their fiduciary duty by...

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Target Date Retirement Funds – Tips for Plan Fiduciaries

By Angela Bohmann | March 6, 2013

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans Many plan sponsors have selected so-called “target date” funds as the default investment under the plan sponsor’s 401(k) or other qualified plan. A target date fund is one that includes investments in different asset classes (e.g., stocks, bonds, money market) where the balance among the asset classes becomes...

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TPA is a Fiduciary Under ERISA

By Angela Bohmann | September 7, 2012

Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan A recent Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision considered whether a third party administrator of a self-funded medical plan was a fiduciary under ERISA. Under ERISA, fiduciaries owe strict duties of loyalty and prudence to plan participants and beneficiaries and can be personally liable for losses if they are not....

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IRS Announces Suspension of the Lost Participant Letter Forwarding Program

By Jeffrey Cairns | September 5, 2012

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans             On August 31, 2012, the IRS issued Rev. Proc. 2012-35 and a related press release announcing that effective immediately, the IRS will no longer forward letters on behalf of plan sponsors or administrators of qualified retirement plans to assist in locating missing participants and beneficiaries...

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Reminder: Retirement Plan Fee Disclosures Received? –Review and Pass it Along

By Jeffrey Cairns | August 13, 2012

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans Defined contribution plan fiduciaries were required to receive fee disclosures from covered service providers by July 1, 2012 pursuant to final regulations under ERISA §408(b)(2). See Blog Posts. http://benefitsnotes.com/2012/05/labor-issues-qas-on-required-fee-disclosures-to-participants/ ...

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