Hey Joel! – My client wants to conduct an RFP for an ERISA attorney, what are important questions they should include?

Dear Questioning, While it is a somewhat unusual step to formally RFP for an ERISA counsel search, it can be a good exercise to ensure your client finds the best fit for their organization. Note, ERISA counsel typically does act in a fiduciary capacity in providing legal advice, so selection of ERISA counsel would likely not … More Hey Joel! – My client wants to conduct an RFP for an ERISA attorney, what are important questions they should include?

Visualize Retirement – What Are Your Participants Saving For?

All too often, retirement planning success is measured purely by financial metrics: savings amounts (15 percent per year), income replacement ratios (75 percent of preretirement income), or withdrawal strategies (4 percent per year). And the most critical part of planning for retirement is forgotten: the plan itself. Put another way: how can an employee know … More Visualize Retirement – What Are Your Participants Saving For?

Department of Labor Issues Relief Guidance for Victims of California Wildfires

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued benefit plan guidance and relief for plans and participants affected by the 2018 California Wildfires.  The DOL recognizes that plan sponsors and participants may be affected in their ability to achieve compliance with various regulatory requirements.  The guidance generally applies to all parties involved in employee benefit … More Department of Labor Issues Relief Guidance for Victims of California Wildfires

Ongoing Litigation Against Colleges and Universities – Duke Settles But It’s Hardly a Windfall for Participants

Since 2016, more than 20 lawsuits have been filed against fiduciaries of university retirement plans. The defendants are among the largest and most prestigious schools in the country, as they present very visible targets. Many of these suits were filed by the same law firm, Schlichter, Bogard & Denton of St. Louis, one of the … More Ongoing Litigation Against Colleges and Universities – Duke Settles But It’s Hardly a Windfall for Participants

The PBGC Assumes Responsibility for Sears Pension Plans

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (the PBGC) is a government insurance program that guarantees all private defined benefit pensions. There is no comparable insurance for defined contribution plans. The PBGC pays benefits to almost a million participants covered by 4,800 failed pension plans and is responsible for future payments to another half a million individuals. … More The PBGC Assumes Responsibility for Sears Pension Plans

As They Always Say, Things Never Matter Until They Matter

Municipal bond holders may not appreciate the risks they are undertaking. Municipal bonds have always been viewed as an ultra-safe investment. However, in recent years a number of pundits have predicted widespread defaults on these bonds precipitated by growing unfunded state and local pension liabilities. With some exceptions (Detroit, Puerto Rice and Stockton, CA), these … More As They Always Say, Things Never Matter Until They Matter

Hardship Withdrawals – The Internal Revenue Service Issues Proposed Regulation Reflecting Statutory Changes

This past November, the IRS issued proposed regulations to effectuate changes made for hardship withdrawals in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. Comments were due by Jan. 14, 2019. Although the statutory changes are effective beginning in 2019, the proposed regulations do not require any changes in how hardships are administered until 2020. Plan documents … More Hardship Withdrawals – The Internal Revenue Service Issues Proposed Regulation Reflecting Statutory Changes

Hey Joel! – What are the risks for late 5500 filings?

Welcome to Hey Joel! This forum answers plan sponsor questions from all over the country by our in-house former practicing ERISA attorney. Hey Joel, What are the risks for late 5500 filings? ~ Tardy in Tallahassee Dear Tardy, The main risk is the daily penalties that accrue from the IRS and DOL for each day … More Hey Joel! – What are the risks for late 5500 filings?

Effective Employee Education

Fiduciary duty requires you to provide your employees and participants with educational opportunities so they can make informed investment decisions.  It’s not always easy to know what your participants need, want or will take advantage of.  Using a simple framework for your educational program may increase the effectiveness of your program. 1.    Provide a consistent, … More Effective Employee Education

Repay Student Loans or Save in a Retirement Plan? Why Not Both?

Many employees feel squeezed to both pay off their debt and save for their future. A recent Private Letter Ruling (PLR) opens the door for employers to help them. The average student graduating in 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt.¹ According to the New York Federal Reserve, more than two million student loan borrowers … More Repay Student Loans or Save in a Retirement Plan? Why Not Both?