The new ruling in Barrett vs. Pioneer does little to resolve the fundamental issues at hand, offering some points of victory to both sides and implying a new amended version of the complaint is welcome and likely.
In an open letter asking for more detailed guidance, the ERISA Industry Committee spells out what it says are “examples of missteps” by the DOL, including “issuing letters asserting breaches of fiduciary duty when there is no applicable legal guidance.”
While they won the day, defendants unsuccessfully argued that the Dudenhoeffer pleading standards should be applied not only to prudence claims, but to loyalty claims as well.
The court’s decision, which leaves room for an amended complaint, is based on questions of timeliness and a lack of standing, rather than on the facts of the relevant compensatory arrangements in place between the defendants.
The dispositive question is not whether the claimants were employees but whether, considering them as employees, they were eligible to participate in an ERISA plan according to the specific terms of the plan under consideration.
The text of the decision includes lengthy discussion of all 14 counts of ERISA fiduciary breaches, and why each is capable of surviving the defendant’s motions to dismiss.
Plans which permit non-safe harbor hardship distributions could theoretically approve a participant’s hardship distribution request for the repayment of student loans, but those relying on the safe harbor cannot.
Industry stakeholders immediately offered their thoughts on the complex regulatory saga that has surrounded the now-defeated DOL fiduciary rule; depending on their position in the industry and their particular client service philosophy, some providers are hailing this step as a victory, while others are bemoaning it.
Understanding the opportunities associated with 3(21) and 3(38) fiduciary services—and the key differences between them—can help ensure the best use of the retirement plan committee’s time and resources.
The mixed ruling grapples with binding circuit court guidance and reaches quite different conclusions regarding various allegations of prohibited transactions and fiduciary breaches.
According to the text of the complaint, the act that created the California Secure Choice program “violates the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution because it is expressly preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.”
Underscoring the victory for Northwestern University and potentially giving some hope to other similarly positioned defendants, all pending motions were denied and the case has been terminated.
The DOL found the company's president and CEO did not process any distribution requests submitted by 401(k) plan participants, among other ERISA violations.
The district court’s new decision comes after its previous move denying defendants’ motion for summary judgment against plaintiffs’ claims, which cover a variety of fiduciary breach allegations; a new ruling is now forthcoming.
Participants in the Lowe’s 401(k) plan have filed an ERISA complaint against their employer and Aon Hewitt Investment Consultants over alleged imprudent investment decisions.
The decision puts another layer of finality on the fate of the now-defunct Department of Labor fiduciary rule expansion, meaning the compliance landscape has shifted yet again for plan sponsors.
The Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities announced a partnership with Transamerica to create a 403(b) multiple employer retirement plan specifically for its educational institution members.
According to the DOL and FBI, two former executives of First Farmers Financial produced false documents and sent them to a Milwaukee investment firm to support “sham loans,” causing the firm’s clients, including ERISA retirement plans, to suffer nearly $180 million in losses.
A TDF may invest its assets into index-based securities that do not make tactical adjustments as the markets change—but the act of managing even an index-based portfolio according to a glide path that ramps down equity risk over time will always be at least in part fundamentally “active.”
The mixed decision comes after DOL moved for summary judgement; the defendants responded by moving to exclude key testimony from a DOL expert on the doctrine of “adequate consideration.”