Fiduciary issues for target date funds

One striking thing about the Department of Labor’s Target Date Fund (TDF) tip sheet was how much the ‘tips’ were simply a re-statement of general fiduciary rules applicable to choosing and monitoring any fund in a 401(k) plan fund menu. Even controversial ‘tips,’ such as “Inquire about whether a custom or non-proprietary target date fund… Read More

Senator Hatch introduces legislation reforming retirement savings rules

Senator Hatch (R-UT) has introduced legislation, the “Secure Annuities for Employee Retirement Act of 2013” (“SAFE”), that includes a number of changes to current retirement plan rules. Most of the changes would affect account based plans (such as 401(k) and other defined contribution plans) and IRAs. In this article we review some key provisions of… Read More

Senator Harkin’s USA Retirement Funds proposal

In 2012, Senator Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released his USA Retirement Funds proposal. The proposal addresses a number of issues that remain current, e.g., coverage, 401(k) participation by low wage employees and the efficiency of the current 401(k) system. Senator Harkin is retiring from the Senate in… Read More

Congressman Neal reintroduces retirment savings legislation

Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA) has introduced legislation — the “Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act of 2013” (H.R. 2117) — which would make a number of changes to the Tax Code and ERISA. The bill is similar to last year’s H.R. 4050, the “Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act of 2012,” which we wrote about… Read More

DC plan re-enrollment litigation

In this article we review litigation coming out of the 2008 global financial crisis that addresses re-enrollment programs. We begin with a brief discussion of what re-enrollment programs are and the authorization of them under the Department of Labor’s Qualified Default Investment Alternatives (QDIA) regulation. We then discuss two cases – Bidwell et al. v…. Read More

DOL mulls ‘lifetime income’ illustrations for DC benefit statements

DOL considers ‘lifetime income’ illustration for DC benefit statements July 2, 2013 The Department of Labor has released an “Advance notice of proposed rulemaking” (ANPR) describing changes to rules for defined contribution plan benefit statements that it is considering. The new rules would require that DC benefit statements include disclosure of an estimated lifetime stream… Read More

Tatum v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company: Plan Fiduciary Issues

In February, the United States District Court For The Middle District Of North Carolina handed down its decision in Tatum v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, holding that even though the plan fiduciaries violated “procedural prudence” in eliminating Nabisco stock from the R. J. Reynolds defined contribution plan, their decision to do so was “substantively prudent”… Read More

Recent study on rollovers identify emerging issues

Sometime later this year (it is said that the Department of Labor is targeting July, but many think that date will slip), DOL is expected to re-propose its re-definition of ‘fiduciary’ under ERISA. The original 2010 proposal was withdrawn in 2011 after a ‘storm of criticism’ by the investment industry, plan sponsors and Congress. A… Read More

What would a 28% deduction cap mean for 401(k) tax benefits?

In our recent article The Administration’s 2014 budget: provisions affecting retirement benefits we discussed the Administration’s proposal to “limit the tax rate at which upper-income taxpayers can use itemized deductions and other tax preferences to reduce tax liability to a maximum of 28%.” Among other things, this cap would apply to the exclusion for 401(k)/defined… Read More

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