Allen Steinberg : Perspectives

Employee benefit plans—especially retirement and health care—have become an increasingly important part of the employment relationship. For employers, these plans represent an important part of the total compensation package, a tool for retention and recruitment, and a growing financial and compliance burden. For employees, these plans represent a key part of their overall financial security and wellbeing, a financial burden, and a source of complexity and frustration. In effect, it’s complicated. Our firm is dedicated to helping employers manage these complexities and focus on the important things.

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24.06.2024 04.17 CDT

DOL narrows rules for employers to join together in offering benefit plans.

Birds of a Feather?

Birds of a Feather?

DOL Narrows Rules for Association Health Plans

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued new guidance narrowing when a group of unrelated employers can join together and form an association health plan (“AHP”)—a plan that is treated as a single employer plan under ERISA. The new guidance narrows the circumstances under which an AHP can be considered an employer-sponsored plan under ERISA. This ruling may also foretell changes to the rules governing multiple employer retirement plans (MEPs).

13.05.2024 01.08 CDT

DOL Tries (Again) to Replace 1975 Rules and Redefine ERISA Investment Fiduciaries.

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

DOL Tries to Redefine Who Is an Investment Fiduciary Under ERISA

The United States Department of Labor has finalized new rules defining who is an investment fiduciary under ERISA. These new final rules mark the latest effort (started in 2010) to update a fiduciary definition that was initially adopted in 1975. The DOL also issued a new exemption allowing these fiduciaries to engage in certain transactions (such as accepting commissions) that would otherwise be prohibited.

12.01.2024 02.55 CST

IRS Guidance on recent legislation helps employers start planning for next few years.

SECURE Act Provisions Start Taking Shape

SECURE Act Provisions Start Taking Shape

As we enter 2024, employers (and their providers) are starting to get more IRS guidance on recent pension legislation.

The IRS ended 2023 with new guidance on the SECURE Act and SECURE 2.0. These included proposed regulations on the new requirements for long-term part-time employees and a grab-bag of Q&As on miscellaneous provisions of SECURE 2.0. Overall, the IRS guidance does not contain dramatic surprises—but it does help employers and their providers start planning for the next few years.

11.12.2023 03.30 CST

Recent court decision reiterates that provider fees are reasonable only of fiduciaries understand all income received by a provider as the result of providing services to a plan.

Court of Appeals Focuses on Indirect Compensation

Court of Appeals Focuses on Indirect Compensation

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently clarified fiduciaries’ obligation to consider all revenue received by a provider—even indirect revenue from third parties. The ruling relies heavily on 2012 DOL regulations and could prompt fiduciaries to be more insistent in obtaining comprehensive disclosure from providers on all their sources of income.

10.11.2023 02.56 CST

DOL takes another swing at redefining investment fiduciaries

DOL Tries (Again) to Redefine ERISA Investment Fiduciary

DOL Tries (Again) to Redefine ERISA Investment Fiduciary

The DOL has proposed regulations updating the definition of investment fiduciary. The proposed regulation seeks to create a uniform standard applicable to all investment advice provided to ERISA plans and to IRAs