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Browsing Defined Contribution

Multiemployer Plan Withdrawal Liability: DC Circuit Says Discount Rate Used for Withdrawal Liability Must be Similar to Discount Rate Used for Funding

On July 8, 2022, a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision of a lower court in United Mine Workers of America 1974 Pension Plan v. Energy West Mining Company, ordering that the discount rate used to calculate multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability must be similar to the discount rate the Enrolled Actuary uses in performing funding calculations for the plan. In doing so, the DC Circuit joins the Sixth Circuit (see our article Multiemployer plan withdrawal liability: Sixth Circuit strikes down “Segal Blend”) in coming to this conclusion. This is welcome news for contributing employers that withdraw from multiemployer pension plans.

July 2022 legislative update – review of key bipartisan retirement policy reform proposals

On March 29, 2022, the House of Representatives, by a 414-5 vote, approved the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 (SECURE 2.0), a synthesis of the Ways and Means Committee’s Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 and the Education and Labor Committee’s RISE Act. On June 14, 2022, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, by a voice vote, passed the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement to Supplement Healthy Investments for the Nest Egg Act (the RISE & SHINE Act). And, on June 22, 2022, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved the Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act. In what follows we provide a brief summary of certain key provisions of these three bills.

Which participants can sue?

A number of recent cases have addressed the issue of which participants have “standing” to bring an ERISA fiduciary action against plan fiduciaries. The cases generally focus on the issue of whether the participant-plaintiffs have a “concrete stake” in the dispute. In what follows, we discuss two recent cases involving participant-plaintiffs in defined contribution plans…Read More

IRS proposes new regulations/mortality tables for DB valuations

On April 28, 2022, the IRS published proposed regulations/mortality tables for determining the present value of benefits under defined benefit plans for purposes of determining the plan’s ERISA minimum funding requirements, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation variable-rate premiums, and lump-sum valuations.

Senator Tuberville introduces Financial Freedom Act

On May 5, 2022, Senator Tuberville (R-AL) introduced the “Financial Freedom Act of 2022.” The bill would push back on recent positions the Department of Labor has taken with respect to, e.g., “climate related financial risk,” private equity, and cryptocurrency investments, particularly in participant directed defined contribution plans.

April 2022 Pension Finance Update

Stock markets tumbled in April, but sharply higher interest rates offset most or all of the impact for pension sponsors. Our two model plans1 saw mixed experience on the month, with Plan A treading water, remaining up almost 5% for the year, while the more conservative Plan B lost 1% last month and is now even through the first four months of 2022:

Post-Hughes v. Northwestern – plaintiffs win in three motion-to-dismiss decisions

On January 24, 2022, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court vacated the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Hughes v. Northwestern – an ERISA prudence case implicating a number of issues that have been raised in 401(k) fee litigation. The Court rejected the Seventh Circuit’s reliance on the availability of lower cost alternatives as a defense to claims that the cost of certain funds and of plan recordkeeping was unreasonably high, remanding the case for consideration under the rule in Tibble v. Edison, that a fiduciary has an obligation to remove imprudent investments.