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Fiduciary Governance

Some things are inexorable. Seasons. Tides. And, argues a recent blog entry, plan litigation. But as with natural phenomena whose effects can be mitigated, the analysis suggests that lessons from the litigation that has taken place can benefit 401(k) and 403(b) plan fiduciaries in 2019. Litigation... READ MORE
After a year-long investigation into MetLife for failing to make pension payments to retirees, Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin has announced terms of a settlement with the firm. According to Galvin, his office has entered into a consent order, requiring MetLife to pay a fine of $1... READ MORE
A plan sponsor who had been sued for allegedly breaching its ERISA fiduciary duties in shifting allocations in a plan’s custom target-date portfolios to “risky and high-cost” investments will have to go back to court. Suit ‘Able’ The original lawsuit, filed in November 2015 in the U.S. District... READ MORE
Bipartisan legislation to allow plan sponsors to use e-delivery as the default distribution method for ERISA required retirement plan documents was reintroduced in the Senate in the waning days of the 115th Congress. The Receiving Electronic Statements to Improve Retiree Earnings (RETIRE) Act (S.... READ MORE
After “more than two years of litigation, multiple motions and the review of more than 100,000 pages of documents exchanged in discovery,” the plaintiffs and defendants in an excessive fee suit have come to terms. The settlement (Schultz v. Edward D. Jones & Co., LP, E.D. Mo., No. 4:16-cv-01346... READ MORE
The participant-plaintiffs in a stock drop case have won a rare victory in federal court. The plaintiffs alleged that the IBM defendants (IBM itself, along with the Retirement Plans Committee of IBM; Richard Carroll, IBM’s Chief Accounting Officer; Martin Schroeter, IBM’s CFO; and Richard Weber,... READ MORE
There are many challenges facing plan sponsors, and in a recent blog entry Christopher Carosa has identified the top challenges of which they are not aware. Understanding the Extent of Legal Liability “The eye cannot be on two balls at once,” writes Carosa, noting that most plan sponsors “stay... READ MORE
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has made its Comprehensive Premium Filing Instructions for 2019 Plan Years available. The new instructions reflect the 2019 premium rates, as well as minor changes to reflect the PBGC’s streamlined disaster relief policy. They also provide information... READ MORE
The American Retirement Association (ARA), in a Dec. 12 letter to Joe Canary, Director of the Office of Regulations and Interpretations of the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, has suggested steps the agency can take to improve retirement security. The ARA sent the letter as part of... READ MORE
Employees increasingly are looking to their employers for help with managing their student loan debt, but there are several issues employers should consider in advance, according to industry experts. In a new Employee Benefit Research Institute issue brief summarizing a web briefing — “Student... READ MORE
It’s always unpleasant when a TPA gets a call or a letter from the Department of Labor (DOL) about an investigation of a client’s qualified plan. What should a TPA do? As a first step, a TPA should notify its client about the inquiry from the DOL, so that the client can, if desired, relay that... READ MORE
As the 401(k) commemorates its 40th anniversary, new research finds a record-setting pace for retirement plan savings. According to the 61stAnnual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plans from the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA), part of the American Retirement Association (ARA), employers... READ MORE
As you probably know, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fiduciary Rule. While the decision left no doubt, the consequences are not well understood. To grasp the full impact of the court’s decision, it’s important to distinguish between non-... READ MORE
The Auditing Standards Board of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has voted to issue a new auditing standard. It has taken this step to address auditor reporting on ERISA plan financial statements. The new auditing standard, “Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of... READ MORE
The parties in another proprietary fund suit have come to terms, both financially and with an agreement for “ongoing prospective relief.” Under the terms of the settlement, Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. will cause its fiduciary insurance carrier (RLI Insurance Company) to pay $4.875 million... READ MORE
There have been massive developments in the industry over the past year — the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017; the 2018 budget bill; the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018; the Taxpayer First Act of 2018; and so much more. Each of these has led to significant changes in 401(k)... READ MORE
The New Jersey Bureau of Securities on Nov. 19 held a public hearing on the proposed state rule that would implement a uniform fiduciary standard in the Garden State. It is the second public hearing on the proposal; American Retirement Association General Counsel Craig Hoffman offered testimony at... READ MORE
Both parties in a proprietary fund suit lost most of their attempts to make their case without going to trial. The ruling from Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California involved two separate suits brought by participants in Franklin Templeton’s 401(k)... READ MORE
“Best interest” is a very familiar term after the last decade plus of discussion of fiduciary rules and standards. But its meaning is still a bit fluid and certainly wide-ranging. In a recent blog post, Fred Reish discusses what “best interest” really means. “‘Best Interest’ has become part of the... READ MORE
Thanksgiving has been called a “uniquely American” holiday, and though that is perhaps something of an overstatement, it is unquestionably a special holiday, and one on which it seems appropriate to reflect on all for which we should be thankful. And so… I’m thankful that participants, by and... READ MORE

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