In Pizzella v. Vinoskey, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129579, the US Department of Labor (DOL) brought a case against an independent transactional ESOP trustee (the trustee), but also named the seller of stock to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) as a defendant (the seller). The court found that the ESOP overpaid for Sentry Equipment Erectors, Inc. (the company) stock, in violation of ERISA, and that the trustee breached its duties of prudence and loyalty and engaged in a prohibited transaction by paying more than adequate consideration for shares in the ESOP transaction.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, which was signed March 15, again permits first-dollar coverage for telehealth services without jeopardizing health savings account (HSA) eligibility, effective April 1, 2022, through December 31, 2022.
Cryptocurrency investing has experienced a tidal wave of popularity since the fabled genesis of Bitcoin in 2009. This growth has been fueled by “extreme” investment returns (despite “extreme” volatility) and innovative means of investing in cryptocurrency. As the wave of interest in cryptocurrency investing reaches the shores of 401(k) plans, including interest in cryptocurrency as a plan investment option or through plan brokerage windows, the US Department of Labor (DOL) warns 401(k) plan fiduciaries to exercise “extreme care” before providing plan participants with the opportunity to expose their retirement savings to cryptocurrency.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is temporarily suspending the IRS Prototype Opinion Letter Program for individual retirement accounts and individual retirement annuities (IRAs) effective March 14, 2022. As noted in Announcement 2022-6, the IRS will not be accepting applications for opinion letters on prototype traditional, Roth, and SIMPLE IRAs or SEP (including SARSEP) and SIMPLE IRA plans until further notice.
In the case of Texas Medical Ass'n, et al. v. US Department of Health and Human Services, et al., the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on February 23 invalidated portions of the second interim final rule (IFR) issued by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury (the Departments) under the No Surprises Act.
The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced that it is seeking comment on the impact of climate change on retirement security and what actions, if any, the agency should take to protect retirement savings from such risks.
The US Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final regulation (Final Rule) on December 29, 2021, updating the 2021 Form 5500 to reflect certain statutory changes included in the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act). The Final Rule focuses primarily on changes to accommodate pooled employer plans (PEPs) and other defined contribution multiple employer plans (MEPs).
The Department of Labor (DOL) delivered a surprise holiday gift on December 21, 2021 to fiduciaries of participant-directed 401(k) plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), as amended—issuing a supplemental statement (Supplement) to a June 2020 Information Letter (Letter) regarding the use of private equity investments in investment options. The thrust of the Supplement is that fiduciaries should not read the Letter as endorsing or recommending private equity investments in such plans and should proceed with caution in the use of such investments in a participant-directed 401(k) plan.

The Department of Labor (Department) issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2021-03 (FAB) on December 30, 2021, announcing a temporary enforcement policy for group health plan service provider disclosures under ERISA Section 408(b)(2)(B).