Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Blog

The View from Proskauer on Developments in the World of Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation & ERISA Litigation

Tag Archives: 401(k) Plans

Treasury and IRS Issue Eagerly-Awaited Guidance on Hardship Distributions – with a Few Surprises

Last Friday, the IRS issued eagerly-awaited proposed regulations regarding hardship distributions under section 401(k) and 403(b) plans (the “Proposed Regulations”). The Proposed Regulations primarily address hardship distribution issues raised by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (the “Budget Act”). (For our earlier blog entry summarizing these issues, click here.) At the same time, the Proposed … Continue Reading

Record-Keeper Defeats Second Round of Robo-Adviser Fee Litigation

As we reported here, record-keepers for large 401(k) plans have thus far been successful in defending ERISA fiduciary-breach litigation over investment advice powered by Financial Engines.  These lawsuits generally claim that fees collected by record-keepers for investment advice were unreasonably high because the fees exceeded the amount actually paid to Financial Engines.  Plaintiffs in Chendes v. … Continue Reading

The Budget Act Relaxes Hardship Withdrawal Rules, But Some Changes May Not Apply to 403(b) Plans

On Feb. 9, 2018, Congress passed, and the president signed, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (the “Budget Act”). As we previously discussed here, the Budget Act contains a number of provisions that affect qualified retirement plans.  These changes include expanding the type of funds that can be distributed under Code Section 401(k) in the … Continue Reading

First Round of Robo-Advisor Fee Litigation Goes to Record-Keepers

Since 2016, record keepers for large 401(k) plans have been defending litigation over investment advice provided by the Financial Engines investment advice algorithm.  (This kind of arrangement is commonly referred to as “robo-advice.”) The lawsuits claim, in essence, that fees collected by record keepers for investment advice were unreasonably high, because the fees exceeded the … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Analyzes Standing for ERISA Plan Management Claims

A recent Third Circuit decision reinforced the need for ERISA plaintiffs to plead injury-in-fact to establish Article III standing.  In Krauter v. Siemens Corp., No. 17-1662, 2018 WL 921542 (3d Cir. Feb. 16, 2018), the plaintiff was a beneficiary of four pension plans that had been sponsored by Siemens.  After the Plaintiff’s retirement, Siemens sold … Continue Reading

The Bipartisan Budget Act’s Impact on Retirement Plans

On Friday, February 9, 2018, Congress passed, and the President signed, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (the “Budget Act”). The Budget Act contains a number of provisions that affect qualified retirement plans.  Plan sponsors should consider the impact of the Budget Act on their retirement programs. Hardship Withdrawals. The Budget Act relaxes the rules … Continue Reading

Annual IRS Revenue Procedure Includes Surprising Change to User Fees

On January 2, 2018, the IRS published its annual bulletin that updates procedures for requesting rulings, determinations, and other guidance from the IRS. As in past years, the bulletin includes new user fees for determination requests and submissions under the Voluntary Correction Program (“VCP”). But this year’s update includes a significant surprise for the VCP … Continue Reading

White House Budget Recommends Elimination of in-Plan Roth Rollovers of After-Tax Contributions

As reported here, the Internal Revenue Code currently permits a plan design that allows plan participants to convert non-Roth after-tax contributions to Roth contributions through in-plan Roth rollovers.  This design would allow a participant to maximize deferrals to a defined contribution plan while limiting future tax liability.  However, among the White House’s Fiscal Year 2016 … Continue Reading

In-Plan Roth Rollovers and After-Tax Contributions: Maximizing Deferrals with Limited Future Tax Liability

Please refer to our February 26, 2015 blog post for potential legislative developments regarding the ability to convert after-tax contributions to Roth contributions. Plan sponsors seeking to provide employees with the ability to make after-tax contributions to a 401(k) plan may be interested in adding, along with the common Roth contribution feature, non-Roth after-tax contribution and … Continue Reading

401(k) Plan Participant Waived ERISA Stock-Drop Claim

The D.C. Circuit affirmed the decision of a district court that Plaintiff Patrick Russell, a 401(k) plan participant, had knowingly waived his right to assert an ERISA stock-drop claim based on, among other things, the alleged imprudence of maintaining an employer stock fund as an investment option.  Russell argued that the district court erred by … Continue Reading

PBGC Issues Final Regulations Regarding Rollovers from Defined Contribution Plans to Pension Plans

The PBGC has recently initiated efforts to enhance retirement security for Americans by promoting lifetime income options (i.e., annuitized benefits).  As part of these efforts, as well as those of the IRS and U.S. Department of Labor, the PBGC issued final regulations regarding the treatment of rollovers from defined contribution plans to defined benefit plans … Continue Reading

SunTrust Plan Participants’ Stock-Drop Claims Tossed A Second Time

A federal district court in Georgia recently dismissed a suit brought by participants in the SunTrust Bank 401(k) savings plan alleging fiduciary breaches based on defendants’ decision to continue permitting investment in SunTrust stock while its value declined during the subprime mortgage crisis. The court had previously granted in part and denied in part SunTrust’s … Continue Reading

Electronic Self-Certification for Hardship Distributions May Be Insufficient, IRS Says

The IRS recently has reminded plan sponsors to verify and document that hardship distributions comply with their plan document and the law, according to a recent posting by IRS Director of Employee Plans Examinations Monika Templeman on the IRS website, “Examination Tips for Hardship Distributions.” In some cases, allowing participants to apply for loans or … Continue Reading

No Fiduciary Status For 401(k) Plan Service Provider

John Hancock Life Insurance Company is the most recent 401(k) plan service provider to prevail in a case by the plaintiffs’ bar asserting ERISA fiduciary breach claims based on allegations that it charged excessive 401(k) plan fees and received excessive revenue sharing payments.  Santomenno v. John Hancock Life Ins. Co., No. 2:10-cv-01655 (WJM), 2013 WL … Continue Reading
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