Understanding Employee Benefits

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

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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... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans

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

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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 workers will be relying... Read More

Topics: Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans

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

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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 participant in the... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Welfare Plans

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

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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 selecting retail mutual funds with 12(b)(1) fees when... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans

TPA is a Fiduciary Under ERISA

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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.... Read More

Topics: Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan

IRS Announces Suspension of the Lost Participant Letter Forwarding Program

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            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 of vested pension benefits.... Read More

Topics: Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans

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

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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/  http://benefitsnotes.com/2012/04/408b-2-disclosures-that-wasnt-so-bad-was-it/ A separate Labor Regulation now requires that plan administrators provide an initial fee disclosure to plan participants and beneficiaries by... Read More

Topics: Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans

Department of Labor Withdraws Controversial Guidance On Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts in 401(k) Plans

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On May 7, 2012 the Department of Labor issued a set of questions and answers via Field Assistance Bulletin FAB No. 2012-02 (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/fab2012-2.html) concerning the new fiduciary fee disclosures in Labor Regulations §2550.408(b)-2 and participant fee disclosure requirements outlined in Labor Regulations §2550.404(a)-5. Q&A 30 of the May 7th FAB... Read More

Topics: ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans