Current Events

Monitoring advice providers under the new Conflict of Interest regulation

May 16, 2016

In this article we review that issue in detail, but let’s begin with our bottom line: While the new rule doesn’t change the plan fiduciary’s legal obligation under ERISA to monitor the prudence of the appointment of a (fiduciary or non-fiduciary) service provider, the new requirements applicable to the provider will be stricter and more complicated. And reviewing the provider’s compliance with those requirements will make the plan fiduciary’s obligation more burdensome. Read More

Treasury's Ruling Raises Question Of Multiemployer Rescue Petition Process

May 12, 2016

(Reprinted from Bloomberg BNA) Prior to Treasury’s ruling on Central States’ petition, only four other funds were known to have filed a rescue plan petition. ‘‘The department’s rejection of Central States’ petition isn’t likely to stop other multiemployer plans from filing their own rescue plan applications,’’ John Lowell, pension consultant for October Three in Atlanta, told Bloomberg BNA May 10. Download

Participant communications and the Conflict of Interest regulation

May 09, 2016

For plan sponsors, one of the most important questions raised by the new conflict of interest regulation is: how will it affect participant communications? In this article we sketch out some provisional answers to that question. Read More

Investment education under the Conflict of Interest regulation

April 18, 2016

The Department of Labor’s Conflict of Interest regulation, re-defining who is an ERISA “fiduciary,” supersedes current rules (under Interpretive Bulletin 96-1) on investment education. Under the new regulation, activities that come within the definition of “investment education” are not “recommendations” within the meaning of the new rule and thus do not trigger fiduciary status. The new rule tracks IB 96-1 in many respects, but there are some key differences. In this article we begin with background on why the education vs. advice distinction matters. We then provide a brief summary of the changes made by the new rules. Finally, we discuss the new rules in detail. Read More

DOL’s new Conflict of Interest regulation in brief

April 11, 2016

The new DOL regulation (and related rules): (1) re-defines who is an “investment advice fiduciary” under ERISA, expanding those situations in which giving investment advice to an employee benefit plan, plan fiduciary, participant, or IRA owner makes the advice-giver an ERISA fiduciary; and (2) significantly changes what sorts of advice may be given, to whom and in what circumstances. The new rules will probably have their greatest effect on brokers, mutual funds, and certain other financial services providers and on consultants and third party administrators. Read More

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