The US Supreme Court recently decided a closely watched ERISA case against employers and fiduciaries. Under Section 413 of ERISA, the statute of limitations for a fiduciary breach claim is shortened from six years to three years if the plaintiff has “actual knowledge” of the breach.
Ever since defined contribution plans have come to dominate the retirement plan landscape, both plan sponsors and policymakers have grappled with how to help employees take a lifetime’s worth of savings and convert it into a sustainable source of retirement income. One way to help participants meet retirement income needs is to integrate guaranteed income products into defined contribution plan lineups. Fiduciaries have expressed concern, however, about potential liability they may face for the selection of annuity providers. The SECURE Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump on December 20, 2019, may help allay those concerns.
The outsourcing of retirement plan recordkeeping and other administrative responsibilities has increased in recent years for both defined contribution and defined benefit plans.
Enacted in 1974, ERISA celebrates its 45th birthday this year. A lot has changed in those 45 years. While ERISA has kept up with the changes at time, one area where ERISA has not stayed current is Section 404(b). Here we discuss this section in brief and offer a word of caution to ERISA fiduciaries pursuing global investment strategies.
Representations and warranties insurance (R&W Insurance) protects a party from financial losses resulting from inaccuracies in the representations and warranties made about a target company or business in connection with certain corporate transactions such as mergers and acquisitions. R&W Insurance policies are made up of both buy-side (most common) and sell-side policies.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has primary jurisdiction over the qualified status of retirement plans, and this jurisdiction includes examining plans. An IRS agent can notify a plan sponsor at any time that its plan has been selected for audit.
The US Department of Labor has been extremely active in recent years as the federal agency investigating compliance with and enforcing the fiduciary responsibility provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA).
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) at the US Department of Labor (DOL) compiles statistics every year to measure its activities as the agency responsible for investigating and enforcing the fiduciary duties under ERISA.

In June 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit officially ordered the US Department of Labor (DOL) to vacate the so-called DOL Fiduciary Rule—the name generally used to refer to the 2016 amendment to the definition of fiduciary “investment advice” under ERISA and Internal Revenue Code Section 4975—and its related exemptions. As a result of this order and the DOL’s decision not to appeal, the DOL Fiduciary Rule is regarded as effectively repealed, leaving just the formality of removing it from the Code of Federal Regulations. But the rule continues to influence developments not only in the retirement area, but also beyond.

There are two distinct types of insurance products that ERISA plan fiduciaries should be aware of. We get a lot of questions about these, so we thought a refresher may be in order.