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Fiduciary Rules for Investments


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Guest Inquiry

What are the fiduciary rules for investment of plan assets applicable to church plans? Where may such be found? Any input is appreciated.

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Guest Danny Miller

Because church plans are not subject to ERISA, the fiduciary rules governing investments are a matter of state law (no ERISA preemption is available for these plans). Now, which state law fiduciary rules apply? A typical retirement plan trust document will designate applicable law for purposes of construing a plan, but query as to whether this designation is sufficient for locking in that state's fiduciary rules. I would check Scott on Trusts re choice of law rules and see what conclusion you reach. Also, it is important to realize that both section 401(a) qualified church plans and 403(B)(9) church retirement income account programs have to satisfy an exclusive benefit requirement, and a church section 401(a) plan that has not elected to be subject to ERISA must also satisfy the old section 503(B) prohibited transaction requirements. While these are not fiuduciary rules per se, they do have that aspect to them.

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