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<< Older News  |  April 12, 2021

News

All News > Retirement Plan Policy

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Editor's Pick Can Mandatory Arbitration Rein in ERISA Litigation? Appellate Courts Weigh In
Cohen & Buckmann, P.C. Link to more items from this source
Apr. 12, 2021

"ERISA is silent on arbitration, but the Federal Arbitration Act encourages arbitration of disputes. Two relatively recent Supreme Court decisions upheld arbitration clauses in the employment context, although the Supreme Court has not specifically addressed the permissibility of mandatory arbitration under ERISA. In the meantime, federal courts are grappling with these issues in inconsistent decisions."

Tags: Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Policy

District Court Holds Montana's Slayer Statute Is Not Preempted by ERISA
Roberts Disability Law Link to more items from this source
Apr. 9, 2021

"The court noted that this issue has not been addressed by Montana's Supreme Court nor the 9th Circuit. It also noted, however, that the U.S. Supreme Court ... explained that the underlying principle of slayer statutes and their uniformity across jurisdictions, leaned toward a finding that ERISA does not preempt such laws." [Hartford Life Ins. Co. v. LeCou, No. 19-017 (D. Mont. Apr. 8, 2021)]

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Policy

ERISA's Fee-Shifting Provision Does Not Support a Fee Award Against Counsel
Roberts Disability Law Link to more items from this source
Apr. 8, 2021

"The Eleventh Circuit agreed with Peer's attorney that ERISA's fee-shifting provision is not to sanction attorney misconduct and cannot be used as a basis to assess fees against Peer's attorney." [Peer v. Liberty Life Assurance Co. of Boston, No. 19-13974 (11th Cir. Apr. 6, 2021)]

Tags: Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Editor's Pick The Massive Influence of Retirement Plans on Capital Markets: The Days of ERISA as a 'Backwater' Are Long Gone
Business of Benefits Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Apr. 6, 2021

"If you are wondering why the DOL's rules regarding Economic, Social and Governance Investing (ESG) garnered a lot of attention, or why its proxy voting rules actually generated excitement, it is because of the practical influence those rules have on the operation of the U.S. capital markets.... This influence seems to be rarely discussed[.]"

Tags: Retirement Plan Policy

Multiemployer Pensions: Will the Recent Bailout Destroy Pensions (in the Long Run)?
STUMP Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Apr. 6, 2021

"There may eventually be [multiemployer plan] reforms, but with a big cash injection into Central States Teamsters, the reckoning day has been pushed off. The real crisis was Central States Teamsters going under. It would have taken down the PBGC.... Unfunded liability of Central States Teamsters: ... $43.6 billion dollars ... a little over 50% of the estimated $86 billion cost of the MEP bailout."

Tags: ARPA  •  Funding of DB Plans  •  Multiemployer Plans  •  Retirement Plan Policy

No, Rescuing Multiemployer Pensions Won't Destroy Them
Joshua Gotbaum, for The Brookings Institution Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Apr. 5, 2021

"Even for pension experts, the possibility that plans might get into trouble decades from now isn't much of a crisis, so opponents are getting creative, coming up with catastrophic scenarios they claim are both real and more immediate. These claims don't hold up very well (though explaining why gets a bit nerdy)."

Tags: Funding of DB Plans  •  Multiemployer Plans  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Editor's Pick Arbitration of ERISA Claims: Courts Grapple with Competing Considerations (PDF)
Jenner & Block, via Employee Relations Law Journal Link to more items from this source
Apr. 5, 2021

"[Two federal circuits] have reached opposite conclusions regarding whether ERISA claims may be subject to arbitration where the arbitration clause is contained in the governing plan document. This column [reviews those decisions and] the respective arguments that may determine whether or not arbitration of ERISA disputes remains a viable avenue for plans sponsors."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Rep. Neal Reintroduces Legislation to Modify Social Security WEP Provision, Improve Public Employees' Retirement Security
Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives Link to more items from this source
Apr. 2, 2021

"The legislation establishes a ... formula that will pay Social Security benefits in proportion to the share of a worker's earnings that were covered for Social Security purposes. This provision is coupled with a benefit guarantee ensuring no benefit cuts relative to current law for all current and future retirees."

Tags: Federal Government Plans  •  Retirement Plan Policy  •  Social Security  •  State and Local Government Plans

Top Employee Benefits Issues to Watch in 2021 (PDF)
DLA Piper Link to more items from this source
Apr. 1, 2021

24 pages. "[1] Changes to fiduciary rules; [2] ACA pivot; [3] Transparency for health plans; [4] Benefits go remote; [5] Increased focus on data security risks; [6] Changes to retirement policy; [7] Increasing ERISA litigation; [8] Momentum on multiemployer pension plan reform; [9] Employee mental health and well-being."

Tags: Health Plan Design  •  Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Investments  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Courts Split on Class Action Waivers, Arbitration Provisions in ERISA Litigation
Holland & Knight Link to more items from this source
Apr. 1, 2021

"Courts have struggled over the years when considering the enforceability of mandatory class action waivers and arbitration provisions contained within [ERISA] plans and other employment-related agreements.... This alert discusses recent application of these different approaches by several courts."

Tags: Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Troubled Multiemployer Pensions Receive $86 Billion in Newest Stimulus Bill
Institute for Pension Fund Integrity [IPFI] Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Mar. 30, 2021

"Without the government relief, many of these pension funds would have become insolvent within five years. At least in the short term, the relief will provide direct benefits to 1.5 million people."

Tags: ARPA  •  Funding of DB Plans  •  Multiemployer Plans  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Evaluation of Four Decades of Pension Privatization in Latin America, 1980-2020: Promises and Reality
Carmelo Mesa-Lago, via SSRN Link to more items from this source
Mar. 25, 2021

"The [204-page PDF] thoroughly documents the effects of the privatization of pensions in nine countries in Latin America from 1980 until the present: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay."

Tags: International, Expatriate Issues  •  Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Stimulus Wrongly Bails Out Underfunded Multiemployer and Public Employee Plans
Orange County Register Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Mar. 24, 2021

"Not only is this uncharted territory, but the bailout plan will result in what economists refer to as 'moral hazard.' ... By having taxpayers protect unions from the results of poor management, it discourages them from embracing reforms."

Tags: ARPA  •  Multiemployer Plans  •  Retirement Plan Policy  •  State and Local Government Plans

Money — But No Lasting Fixes — for Multiemployer Pension Plans
Pensions & Investments Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Mar. 24, 2021

"[T]he package sidesteps action on needed structural reforms that, to date, have been impossible to enact through a bipartisan approach. In essence, the money contained in the latest stimulus bill is a fix -- some call it a bailout -- for troubled plans, and provides only a temporary reprieve for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp."

Tags: ARPA  •  Funding of DB Plans  •  Multiemployer Plans  •  PBGC  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Jury Trials in ERISA Cases in the Eleventh Circuit?
Kantor & Kantor Link to more items from this source
Mar. 24, 2021

"[T]he court denied John Hancock's motion [to strike the jury trial demand]. The court stated at the outset that the issue had not yet been decided by the Eleventh Circuit ... and further found that there were district court decisions on both sides of the issue within the circuit." [Romano v. John Hancock Life Ins. Co., No. 19-21147 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 12, 2021) ]

Tags: Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Senate Confirms Marty Walsh as Labor Secretary
planadviser Link to more items from this source
Mar. 23, 2021

"The U.S. Senate voted [on March 22] to approve the nomination of Marty Walsh to the role of Labor Secretary, nearly two months after his confirmation hearing.... Relatively little of the hearing's airtime, either on the part of Walsh or the questioning senators, was dedicated to retirement security issues."

Tags: Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Policy

It's Time to Revisit Social Security's Early and Delayed Claiming Formulas
Morningstar Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Mar. 19, 2021

"The current formula traces its roots to the mid-1950s, with tweaks along the way. Over the years, the underlying actuarial factors have changed. Interest rates have fallen and life expectancy has risen -- the latter, much more so for high earners."

Tags: Retirement Plan Policy  •  Social Security

ERISA Advisory Council to Meet April 26
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Mar. 16, 2021

"[T]he 205th open meeting of [the ERISA Advisory Council] will be held via a teleconference on Monday, April 26, 2021 ... from 1:00 p.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m. (ET).... The purpose of the open meeting is to set the topics to be addressed by the Council in 2021 ... [and to] receive an update from leadership of [EBSA]."

Tags: Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Policy

GAO Report: Defined Contribution Plans: Federal Guidance Could Help Mitigate Cybersecurity Risks in 401(k) and Other Retirement Plans
U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO] Link to more items from this source
Mar. 15, 2021

"This report examines [1] the data that sponsors and providers exchange during the administration of DC plans and their associated cybersecurity risks, and [2] efforts to assist sponsors and providers to mitigate cybersecurity risks during the administration of DC plans.... GAO [recommends that DOL] formally state whether it is a fiduciary's responsibility to mitigate cybersecurity risks in DC plans [and] establish minimum expectations for addressing cybersecurity risks in DC plans." [GAO-21-25, pub. Feb. 11, 2021, released Mar. 15, 2021]

Tags: Cybersecurity  •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Fiduciary Litigation Involving Defined Benefit Plans: What to Make of Thole v. US Bank (PDF)
Epstein Becker Green, via Benefits Law Journal Link to more items from this source
Mar. 15, 2021

10 pages. "An obvious lesson from Thole is that, however compelling a statutory claim might be, its application may not survive an interpretation of a constitutional doctrine deemed to be more restrictive than previously thought.... Thole has largely positioned defined benefit plan sponsors and fiduciaries with an immunity from fiduciary claims." [Thole v. U.S. Bank N.A., No. 17-1712 (S. Ct. Jun. 1, 2020)]

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Policy

DOL Will Not Enforce Recently Issued Final Rules on ESG Investments and Proxy Voting
Thomson Reuters Practical Law Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Mar. 12, 2021

"The DOL's enforcement policy statement applies to two final rules: [1] Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments, [which addresses] when retirement plan fiduciaries may consider non-pecuniary factors, such as ESG factors, in selecting plan investments without violating their fiduciary duties ... [2] Fiduciary Duties Regarding Proxy Voting and Shareholder Rights[.]"

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Senate Throws a Curveball to Multiemployer Pension Plan Employers
Pension Research Council, The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Mar. 12, 2021

"If employers terminate plans after the bailout, the assistance would be based on phantom accruals, possibly leaving plans with more taxpayer funds than liabilities. The complexity, uncertainty and immense amounts at stake will likely result in years of litigation."

Tags: ARPA  •  Funding of DB Plans  •  Multiemployer Plans  •  Retirement Plan Policy

ERISA Regulation of ESG Investment: A Counter-Theory
Michael P. Barry, via American Retirement Association [ARA] Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Mar. 9, 2021

"The DOL's effort to set limits on ESG investing implicates three ERISA duties -- prudence, diversification and loyalty.... [T]he headline issue is prudence and the question of value.... [In] the end, this isn't an ERISA problem. It's a problem of the socio-economic-political situation we are living through. And we're not going to solve that problem with an ERISA regulation."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments - ESG  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Are State-Run Auto-IRAs for Private Sector Workers Enough?
Data 'Points' Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Mar. 8, 2021

"As for whether these programs are 'enough' to close the gap, while the ultimate answer to the question still depends on 'who' is retiring and their 'when' -- based on the data here the answer seems to be, 'No. Not nearly 'enough.' "

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy

COLA Freeze Not Included in Senate Version of COVID Relief Bill
American Retirement Association [ARA] Link to more items from this source
Mar. 5, 2021

"[A] substitute amendment offered by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) removes the COLA freeze limit from the underlying bill (HR 1319).... After presumed Senate passage, the bill will need to go back to the House in order for the chamber to approve the amended Senate version."

Tags: ARPA  •  Retirement Plan Policy


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