ERISA & Employee Benefits

DOL Reinstates Five-Part Fiduciary Status Test and Proposes Class Exemption

By Livia Quan Aber, Barry Salkin and Stephen Wilkes

Multiple Employer Plans and Participating Employers Given the Opportunity to Contribute to Guidance Development on Pooled Employer Plans under the SECURE Act

On June 18, 2020, the Department of Labor took the next step toward providing guidance for multiple employer plans (MEPs) by issuing a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public comment on whether the DOL should issue a class exemption to provide a safe harbor for fiduciaries of MEPS, including a new type of “open” MEP known as a pooled employer plan (PEP), which was created by the Setting ...

DOL Offers Guidance to Fiduciaries Considering Private Equity Investments in Defined Contribution Plans

By Barry Salkin, Ivelisse Berio LeBeau, Livia Quan Aber and Stephen Wilkes

IRS Temporarily Eases Witness and Notarization Requirements for Certain Retirement Plan Participant Elections

On June 3, the Internal Revenue Service provided temporary relief from the requirement in IRS regulations that certain participant elections must be witnessed in the physical presence of a plan representative or notary.  While primarily intended to facilitate CARES Act coronavirus-related distributions and loans, this relief, which is retroactive to the beginning of the year and will be in effect ...

Court Decision Highlights the Dangers of Cybersecurity Breaches for Both Plan Sponsors and Plan Service Providers

On May 27, 2020, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in Leventhal v. MandMarblestone Group, LLC, handed down a decision that highlights the dangers facing both plan sponsors and plan service providers when a cybersecurity breach results in money stolen from a participant’s account. The court ruled that the TPA service provider, after being sued by the plan sponsor for the cybersecurity breach, ...

Supreme Court Concludes Defined Benefit Pension Plan Participants Do Not Have Standing To Bring Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim

The Supreme Court has long recognized that one of ERISA's principal purposes was to make “sure that if a worker has been promised a defined pension benefit upon retirement - and if he has fulfilled whatever conditions are required to obtain a vested benefit - he actually will receive it.” See e.g., Nachman Corp. v. Pension Ben. Guar. Corp., 446 U.S. 359, 375 (1980). On June 1, 2020, the Supreme ...

Retirement Plan Provisions of CARES Act Updated to Reflect IRS Guidance Issued May 4, 2020

The third COVID-19 Stimulus package has provisions regarding retirement plans, including expanded and penalty-free withdrawal rights, expanded loan rights, extended rights to repay loans and withdrawals, and the deferral of mandatory distributions.  New guidance released on May 4, 2020, states that the IRS will be issuing more detailed guidance in the near future.  To the extent that the ...

Cybersecurity and Retirement Plans: What Plan Sponsors Should Do

Cybersecurity breaches of retirement plan participant accounts have occurred with increasing frequency in recent years.  Just this past April, a plan participant filed a complaint alleging ERISA breaches of fiduciary duty and violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act against Abbott Laboratories, the plan sponsor, and Alight Solutions, the plan’s third party administrator and record keeper, ...

The Impact of the Economic Downturn on Retirement Plans

The current volatility in the economy due to the coronavirus pandemic has created various issues for retirement plans that need to be addressed in an expedited and efficient manner.  The significant impacts on defined contribution and single employer defined benefit pension plans have been summarized in outlines prepared by Jon C. Schultze, Esq., available by clicking on the respective links ...

ERISA Litigation – Lessons for Today from the Great Recession

Many of us older hands lived through the financial collapse of 2008 and, with any luck, learned a lesson or two from the experience that may come in handy now. When 2008 began, my legal practice was basically one half IP litigation, one half ERISA litigation and one half insurance coverage and bad faith counseling and litigation (yes, I know that adds up to one and a half, but that’s how it felt ...