Tag: Retirement plans

Are your retirement plan’s fees excessive? Failed participant suits may inform plan sponsors

Federal courts on numerous occasions in the last two years have dismissed plan participant allegations that their employers charged excessive retirement plan fees. The rulings taken together say: If a plan is not enriching itself at participants’ expense — or operating with a conflict of interest in relation to its investment company — then it’s […]

DOL Clarifies E-Delivery of Participant Fee Disclosures

It’s important to disclose information through ERISA-required documents properly: it can be a plan administrator’s last line of defense if participants allege that they suffered losses because they didn’t know their rights or important plan terms. That obligation has  grown in response to the financial scandals of the last decade (Enron, WorldCom, mortgage-leveraged bonds, etc.). […]

Despite Phony Divorces, Pension Plan Must Pay Spousal Benefits

Retirement plan administrators do not have the authority to conclude that a domestic relations order (DRO) is not qualified because it is based on a “sham” divorce, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided July 18, 2011. The 5th Circuit stated that a key ERISA section “does not authorize an administrator to consider or […]

Beware the Undead: ERISA Equitable Relief Ruling Brings Cases Back from the Grave

A landmark Supreme Court ruling on relief available under ERISA in employee benefit cases is bringing cases back to life that we thought were dead and gone. In CIGNA v. Amara, the U.S. Supreme Court on May 16 ruled that ERISA’s enforcement provision allowing for “appropriate equitable relief” — ERISA Section 1132(a)(3) — aka Section […]

Converting to a cash balance plan is risky business

Companies that move from pensions to a cash balance plan can benefit by avoiding the risk of market volatility, but they should explain all aspects of the switch to employees and be careful not to violate the prohibition against age discrimination. When cash balance accounts replace retirement pensions, employees can be highly sensitive to the […]

DOL Issues Final Rule Extending Fee Disclosure Timetable

It’s now official: The effective dates regarding fiduciary and participant fee disclosure regulations for retirement plans have been extended. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule (which becomes effective July 15) providing that: Fiduciary-level Fee Disclosure Regulation: The effective date for the interim final rule is extended from July 16, 2011, […]

DOL to Free Up Fee Disclosure Timetable

It seems the voice of the retirement plan community has been heard — the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing extending the applicability dates of two controversial fee disclosure regulations. “Extending these dates will more closely align the application of the two rules and ensure that parties have sufficient time to comply with the […]

401(k) Fee Cases: Hot Area for Litigation

In the past year, litigation filed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) has exploded, and it’s quickly becoming an ever-present reality for employers. One of the most recent and fastest-growing areas of this litigation involves 401(k) fee cases. Because the lawsuits are very new and still not well publicized, they catch many employers […]