Current Events

Final Best Interest Contract Exemption

April 11, 2016

The Department of Labor’s conflict of interest regulation package, re-defining who is an ERISA “investment advice fiduciary,” re-labels many relationships as “fiduciary” that, under current rules, aren’t. The new regulation includes a “sellers exception” for advice in connection with arm’s length transactions, generally available with respect to “institutional” advice recipients. With respect to “retail” advice, including advice to plan participants, as part of the package, DOL also finalized a Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE). The BICE allows Advisers receiving “conflicted payments,” and related Financial Institutions, to provide advice to plan participants (and to IRA holders and small plans), so long as certain conditions are met. Read More

De-risking in 2016

March 25, 2016

In this article we discuss how changes in interest rates, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums and mortality tables may affect sponsor decisions to de-risk (or not de-risk) defined benefit plan liabilities in 2016. For purposes of this article, by de-risking we mean paying out a participant’s benefit as a lump sum and thereby eliminating the related liability. Read More

401(k) fee litigation update

March 03, 2016

There has been a series of 401(k) fee lawsuits filed in recent months, following on the success of the plaintiffs in Tibble v. Edison and Tussey v. ABB. In this article we review the sorts of claims plaintiffs are bringing (in cases against the respective fiduciaries of the Anthem Inc., the Chevron Corp., and the Oracle Corp. 401(k) plans) and consider what lessons sponsor fiduciaries can draw from them. Read More

New in the 2017 budget: no single employer PBGC premium increase; open MEPs

February 18, 2016

On February 9, 2016, the Administration released its 2017 fiscal year budget. The new budget includes a number of proposals affecting retirement plans – most are carry-overs from prior years, but two are new: a change in the Administration’s position on Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation single employer premiums and an “open MEP” proposal. Read More

Candidates tax proposals and 401(k) “tax appeal” Part 3 – Democratic proposals

February 09, 2016

In our prior articles in this series we discussed current 401(k) tax benefits generally and how they would be affected by Republican Presidential candidates’ tax reform proposals. In this article we discuss how the tax reform proposals of the Democratic Presidential candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), would affect 401(k) tax benefits. Read More

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