The new “retirement security rule” package, issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) on October 31, 2023, is the latest chapter in an almost 15-year effort by the DOL to amend the five-part test in its 1975 regulation for determining whether a person is a “fiduciary” by reason of providing “investment advice” for a fee (the “Five-Part Test”). (For more on the history, see here, here, and here.) The package includes a proposed new fiduciary “investment advice” rule (the “Proposed Rule”) and proposed amendments to certain prohibited transaction exemptions.

Very generally speaking, the Proposed Rule would significantly expand the circumstances under which a person could be treated as providing “investment advice” that is subject to ERISA’s fiduciary standards (including the self-dealing prohibited transaction rules). In particular, the Proposed Rule would replace the Five-Part Test’s requirements that advice be provided (1) on a “regular basis” pursuant to (2) a “mutual agreement, arrangement or understanding” that (3) it would serve as “a primary basis for investment decisions” with a much broader test that is based on the retirement investor’s reasonable expectations and context. The Proposed Rule would specifically cover a recommendation to roll over an account from an employer-sponsored plan (e.g., a 401(k) plan) into an individual retirement account (an “IRA”).

On November 1st, the IRS released a number of inflation adjustments for 2024, including to certain limits for qualified retirement plans. As expected, this year’s adjustments are more modest than last year’s significant increases. The table below provides an overview of the key adjustments for qualified retirement plans.

Qualified Defined Benefit Plans
20232024

The U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) proposed changes to its Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (the “VFCP”) in November for the first time since 2006.  The most significant change is the addition of a self-correction option for delinquent deposits of participant contributions and loan repayments.  The other changes clarify and expand certain existing aspects of

On October 21st, the IRS announced changes to its qualified plan determination letter program. Most notably, the program has been expanded to include section 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plans (“403(b) plans”). Although 403(b) plans are similar to tax-qualified defined contribution plans (“401(a) plans”), they are subject to unique rules, and, until now, the IRS

On October 21st, the IRS released a number of additional inflation adjustments for 2023, including to certain limits for qualified retirement plans.  Perhaps most notably, the annual limit for pre-tax and Roth contributions by employees to 401(k) plans has jumped from $20,500 to $22,500, and the annual limit for “catch-up” contributions to such

On September 26, 2022, the IRS released IRS Notice 2022-45, which corrected a potential oversight in IRS Notice 2022-33, discussed in detail hereNotice 2022-33 had extended the deadline to adopt certain retirement and savings plan amendments required by the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (“SECURE Act

Formally wading into the cybersecurity discussion for the first time, on April 14, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) posted on its website a suite of new guidance, including Tips for Hiring a Service Provider with Strong Cybersecurity Practices, Cybersecurity Program Best Practices, and Online Security Tips for Participants and Beneficiaries.

proskauer benefits brief podcast

In this episode of the Proskauer Benefits Brief, partner Robert Projansky and special guest Garrett Fenton, senior attorney at Microsoft Corporation, discuss cyber theft of 401(k) plan accounts.  Tune in as we discuss why 401(k) plans are vulnerable to cyber security breaches, what kinds of cyber security frauds we are seeing in 401(k) plans, evolving litigation on these issues and steps plan sponsors can take to mitigate risk.


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In late September, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (the “PBGC”) published Press Release 20-04 and issued Technical Update 20-2 providing flexibility in the calculation of variable-rate premiums for plan sponsors who take advantage of extended pension contribution deadlines for 2020—even in certain circumstances where the plan sponsor has already completed its PBGC premium filing.

The

On June 29, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) issued Notice 2020-52 that provides temporarily relief to plan sponsors that amend their safe harbor Section 401(k) or 401(m) plans (“Safe Harbor Plans”) mid-year to reduce or suspend employer safe harbor matching or nonelective contributions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  To qualify for the relief,