Current Events

Missing participants – part 2

July 27, 2017

“Missing participants” is becoming a target issue for regulators and policymakers. In our first article in this series we discussed DOL’s missing participant audit project and Field Assistance Bulletin 2014-01 – fiduciary obligations with respect to missing participants in terminated defined contribution plans. In this article we discuss the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s 2016 proposal to expand and modify its missing participant program. Read More

Missing participants – part 1

July 26, 2017

There are widespread reports of Department of Labor audits focusing on plan procedures with respect to “missing participants.” As we understand it, this audit/enforcement effort began in early 2016 and initially focused on large defined benefit plan procedures for missing participants in connection with the minimum distribution requirements. DOL is treating the failure to adopt and follow adequate missing participant search procedures as a fiduciary breach and (it is reported) a possible prohibited transaction. DOL is also, as we understand it, challenging certain plan policies that apply when a participant cannot be found, e.g., certain forfeiture practices. Read More

Fidelity wins stable value lawsuit

July 17, 2017

On June 19, 2017, the US District Court for Massachusetts handed down a decision for the defendant in Ellis v. Fidelity. Plaintiffs were two participants in the Barnes & Noble 401(k) plan, representing a class including all participants in defined contribution employee pension benefit plans investing in the Fidelity Group Employee Benefit Plan Managed Income Portfolio (“Portfolio”) (a stable value fund (SVF) managed by Fidelity), beginning January 1, 2010. Read More

State retirement plan initiatives – update July 2017

July 10, 2017

We have been following initiatives by several states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and Oregon, to implement mandatory, private employer payroll deduction auto-IRA programs. In this article we review developments since May, 2017, Congressional action repealing the Obama Administration’s regulatory “path forward” for these programs. Read More

DOL fiduciary rule update – July 2017

July 02, 2017

In this article we review recent developments with respect to the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, including DOL’s RFI, recent testimony by DOL Secretary Acosta, and comments by Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Clayton regarding the rule. Read More

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