On November 16, the US Department of Labor (DOL) announced both a notice of proposed rulemaking and an interpretative bulletin aimed at providing more clarity to states attempting to solve (in the words of Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez) “a potential financial crisis [and] a critical economic issue for the nation.” The crisis, as reflected in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from September of this year, is that about half of private sector workers in the United States don’t have access to a retirement plan at work.
Over the past year or so, the Department of Labor (DOL) has made a number of announcements expressing concerns about the quality of plan auditors and audits.
It's not hard to find stories in the business and popular press these days about the impending "retirement crisis" in the United States created by the demise of the defined benefit plan, the increased reliance by employees on 401(k) plans as their primary source of retirement income (other than Social Security), and the inadequate level of retirement readiness of most Americans.
On August 17, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an action brought by a company’s pension plan participants against the company and the plan's fiduciaries.
The US Supreme Court issued its decision in Tibble v. Edison on May 18. The participants who brought the suit in Tibble alleged that the Edison fiduciaries breached their duties by offering as investment options classes of mutual funds with higher fees than other classes.
The Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) recently reproposed rule “Definition of the Term ‘Fiduciary’; Conflict of Interest Rule – Investment Advice” deals with the part of the definition of “fiduciary” under ERISA that causes a person or entity to be a fiduciary as a result of providing investment advice for a fee.