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Fiduciary Governance

Plan fees often elicit complaint and sometimes serious action, as lawsuits and court rulings attest. A recent article discusses the Department of Labor (DOL) rules for controlling fees and what they require, as well as how to protect employees from excessive fees. There is a range of reasons for... READ MORE
We really hadn’t been focused on making a change, though the subject had come up from time to time.  In fact, considering how long we had been thinking about making a change without actually doing anything about it, the change itself felt almost accidental in its suddenness. So sudden, in fact,... READ MORE
A missed deferral has ripple effects and is not an isolated event. The sooner it is addressed the better, argued an industry expert in an Aug. 7 ASPPA webcast. “It is important to get it right and ger the participant where he/she would have been if the error had not happened,” said Mike Smith, a... READ MORE
Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Physics says that, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” That also apparently applies to ERISA litigation. On August 5, the law firm of Schlichter Bogard & Denton, LLP filed papers opposing a motion by fiduciary defendants of the MIT... READ MORE
A recent federal court decision should remind us all of the importance of plan committee education. The case involved a suit by participants in the SunTrust 401(k) plan that challenged the initial selection of, and subsequent acquiescence with, an ostensibly imprudent plan investment menu. The... READ MORE
A senior Labor Department official suggests keeping an eye out for proposed guidance addressing electronic disclosure of retirement plan information.  Jeanne Wilson, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary with the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), said the... READ MORE
Missing participants, and the problems they occasion, are becoming a more prominent problem for plan administrators, argues ERISA attorney Heather B. Abrigo, Esq. “It’s really come to the forefront,” said Abrigo, a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, in a July 16 ASPPA webcast. “Plan... READ MORE
There are many important topics to cover when educating plan participants about a 401(k) plan and saving for retirement. In the process, it’s not hard to miss some matters that should be covered. A recent blog entry argues that five important topics often are omitted. In “5 Top Education Topics... READ MORE
  Patrick Pizzella, the current Deputy Secretary of the Department of Labor, will take over as the Acting Labor Secretary in the wake of Alexander Acosta’s July 12 resignation.   Pizzella, who has served as the Deputy Secretary since April 2018, will likely serve as the Acting Secretary until a... READ MORE
American Retirement Association Chief Government Affairs Officer Will Hansen and past ASPPA President Stephen Dobrow offered testimony concerning benefit plan audits and how they may be improved at the June 25 meeting of the Department of Labor’s Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension... READ MORE
A recent decision by the nation’s highest court could have implications for the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule. The case itself (Kisor v. Wilkie) didn’t have anything to do with the fiduciary rule, or even the Labor Department. The plaintiff here was James Kisor, a Vietnam War veteran who... READ MORE
The Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has issued two new statements on auditing standards: one concerning auditor reporting on financial statements by plans covered by ERISA, and the other concerning transparency in annual reports. Statement on Auditing... READ MORE
Having been named in at least three separate suits regarding its FundsNetwork platform structure, Fidelity has filed a response. The suits have been brought by participants in various 401(k) plans served by Fidelity (including the Publicis Benefits Connection 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan, the... READ MORE
Pension plans managed by religious organizations in Rhode Island now must provide regular updates to participants on the financial health of the plans. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed a measure on July 2 setting that requirement into law. House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick)... READ MORE
A majority of pension plan sponsors in a recent study are seeking to reduce their roles and responsibilities with their plans. Almost two-thirds plan to outsource some or all of their plan-related investment responsibilities and more than 60% plan to terminate their plans in the next five years,... READ MORE
Our industry has long disparaged the apparent “overindulgence”1 of participants in the stock of their employer as a retirement investment. However, for plan fiduciaries – and those who advise them – there may be a more pressing concern. Anyone who has been paying attention to 401(k) plan... READ MORE
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take on yet another ERISA case this term. This case – Thole v. U.S. Bank, N.A., U.S., No. 17-1712, certiorari granted 6/28/19 – involves a suit by participants in U.S. Bank’s pension plan who, after the plan fiduciaries alleged mismanagement resulted in $750... READ MORE
A plan sponsor fiduciary won their case in court, refuting allegations that they should have removed a fund from the plan’s investment menu. The plaintiff in this case was Marc J. Muri, an employee of National Indemnity, an insurance provider located in Omaha, Nebraska, and a participant in... READ MORE
Compliance is serious business and audits of an employee benefit program are no joke. But the mere fact that one is scheduled need not spell imminent doom. As a recent blog entry points out, there are steps one can take to be ready — and, in the process, better ensure that the plan is in compliance... READ MORE
Not wasting any time, the Garden State has announced that it will hold a July 17 hearing in connection with its proposed new fiduciary standards. According to an announcement in the New Jersey Register, the Bureau of Securities also simultaneously announced that it is extending the comment period... READ MORE

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