DOL’s New Fiduciary Rule & the SEC’s Best Interests Rule – Is No News Good News?

Neither the Department of Labor (DOL) nor the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has given any indication of how they are progressing with their new respective fiduciary rules. Last year, both agencies said they would publish their respective rules in September of this year. At this point, it seems unlikely either agency will meet this … Continue reading DOL’s New Fiduciary Rule & the SEC’s Best Interests Rule – Is No News Good News?

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 … Continue reading Department of Labor Issues Relief Guidance for Victims of California Wildfires

Members of Congress Call Out the Department of Labor on its Enforcement Activities Regarding ESOPs

Twenty-seven members of Congress sent a letter to the president which, in its essence, claims the DOL is engaging in enforcement activities against ESOPs without providing meaningful guidance. This letter states the DOL “has released very little guidance on substantive issues including, for example, valuations….” It goes on to state that “the Department has also … Continue reading Members of Congress Call Out the Department of Labor on its Enforcement Activities Regarding ESOPs

DOL’s New Fiduciary Rule & the SEC’s Best Interests Rule – Hopefully they will Intersect

This past March, almost 10 years after the “new” Fiduciary and Best Interest Contract (BIC) rules were first proposed, the Fifth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals vacated the rules in their entirety. The Department of Labor (DOL) elected not to appeal to the Supreme Court. Quickly following this, and to no one’s surprise, … Continue reading DOL’s New Fiduciary Rule & the SEC’s Best Interests Rule – Hopefully they will Intersect

Beware of the IRS and DOL: Four Red Flags They Seek on Form 5500

The Form 5500 is an ERISA requirement for retirement plans to report and disclose operating procedures. Advisors use this to confirm that plans are managed according to ERISA standards. The form also allows individuals access to information, protecting the rights and benefits of the plan participants and beneficiaries covered under the plan. Make sure you … Continue reading Beware of the IRS and DOL: Four Red Flags They Seek on Form 5500

Do You Send Participant Notices via Email? Should you?

The number of notices and disclosures required to retirement plan participants has increased while methods to access information changed drastically. Many people receive their news and information on electronic devices through apps and social media. What remains the same is the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) guidance about permissible methods to provide notices electronically. There is … Continue reading Do You Send Participant Notices via Email? Should you?

DOL Throws Stumbling Block In Way of Lifetime Income Options Serving as Default Investment Option

Because of a recent information letter issued by the DOL, it is unlikely many plan sponsors will adopt a lifetime income option as the default investment in their 401(k) plans. This letter, issued to TIAA, makes it clear lifetime income options cannot serve as a QDIA in 401(k) plans. In recent years, there has been … Continue reading DOL Throws Stumbling Block In Way of Lifetime Income Options Serving as Default Investment Option