Comprehensive Compliance Services For The Nation’s Fiduciaries
The fiduciary standards and prohibited transaction rules of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) have become extraordinarily complicated for both plan sponsors and all service providers. The Wagner Law Group’s fiduciary compliance practice group works with clients across the United States to maintain compliance with ERISA fiduciary standards as well as the prohibited transaction rules. Our clients include retirement plan sponsors and trustees, financial institutions, registered investment advisers, broker-dealers, collective investment funds, mutual fund complexes, and private funds.
Addressing ERISA fiduciary and transactional issues often requires our lawyers to coordinate with other practice groups within the firm, such as investment management law and litigation, to provide integrated, complete, and effective legal advice and solutions. Recent successes of our fiduciary compliance team include the negotiation of a settlement agreement with the regional solicitor of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), in a Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA) case involving misuse of plan assets and other significant fiduciary violations.
Protecting Fiduciaries Who Handle Plans
Our attorneys work with plan sponsors and other plan fiduciaries to address matters of corporate governance, plan administration, reporting and disclosure, plan investments, and specialized issues involving employer securities or employer real property. Specific matters may include:
- Plan committees, formal plan charters, and policies
- DOL or Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits
- Prohibited transactions, voluntary fiduciary corrections, and other DOL fiduciary resolution matters
- Prohibited transaction exemptions
- Investment offerings or transactions involving employer securities and employer real property
- ERISA fiduciary insurance matters
- Investment advice, investment management, and investment education issues
- Investment transactions of all types, including derivatives and commodities, futures, swaps, affiliated products or services, alternative products, and securities lending
- Fiduciary training and internal ERISA fiduciary manual
- ERISA Section 404(c) compliance
- In-house asset manager (INHAM) and qualified professional asset manager (QPAM) compliance
- The negotiation of settlement agreements with the DOL in cases involving misuse of plan assets and other fiduciary violations
Advising The Fiduciaries At Financial Companies
The fiduciary compliance practice group has a national client base of registered investment advisers, broker-dealers, insurance companies, banks, private funds, and other financial service providers that offer a complex suite of investment products and services to both ERISA and non-ERISA retirement plans, as well as governmental plans and IRAs, at both the retail and institutional level. Specific areas that may often trigger ERISA fiduciary concerns include:
- Preparing investment advisory agreements, investment management agreements, product distribution agreements, and account-opening documentation
- Counseling on self-directed accounts and brokerage windows
- Handling affiliated investment products or services
- Managing ERISA Title 1 compliance, ERISA Title 1 fiduciary standards compliance and ERISA Title 1 violations
- Preparing principal trades, cross trades, and QPAM or INHAM status
- Handling plan asset issues or real estate operating company (REOC) or venture capital operating company (VCOC) status
- Providing ERISA and tax pension guidance on fiduciary duties and prohibited transaction rules regarding infrastructure and renewable energy investments
- Structuring qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) qualification, share class selection, soft dollars, incentive compensation, and collective investment trusts
- Coordinating wrap programs and revenue sharing arrangements
- Providing alternative investment products
- Establishing offerings and advising on collective investment funds
- Offering fiduciary training
- Providing ERISA compliance manuals
- Handling ERISA cybersecurity issues
The bundling of these various service and investment product offerings may also require appropriate interaction with our investment management law practice group and our civil litigation group.
What Is Considered A Prohibited Transaction?
It is a fiduciary responsibility not to participate in certain transactions prohibited by law. Because our attorneys are well versed in compliance matters, they can make sure you are avoiding prohibited transactions. ERISA Section 406 addresses the restrictions that plan fiduciaries must obey. Under this section, prohibited transactions include:
- Sales, exchanges, and leases between a plan and a party in interest
- Loans and credit extended from a plan to a party in interest
- Furnishing goods and services between the plan and party in interest
- Transfers of assets of a plan to a party in interest
- Acquisition of employer securities or employer real property in violation of ERISA Section 407
As strict as these limitations are, our lawyers can also help you explore exceptions to prohibited transactions that may be available to you. If needed, they will defend you during an audit, investigation, or disciplinary proceeding regarding prohibited transactions.
Seek Our Assistance With Fiduciary Duties And Compliance
To receive outstanding service backed by extensive knowledge, please get in touch with us at The Wagner Law Group. You can contact us by calling 617-357-5200 or by using our online contact form.