The long-running litigation appears to be heading for a mediated conclusion, after a contentious discovery process that produced over 260,000 pages of documents and more than 20 depositions.
Jana Steele, senior vice president and researcher for Callan, says auto-portability is the next natural extension of highly successful plan design innovations from the past decade.
It has only been about a year and a half since large U.S. universities became the target of ERISA lawsuits, making for a fresh crop of claims and defense strategies that matter for all types of DC plans.
In a mixed ruling, the court again leaves room for re-pleading of the plaintiffs’ failed arguments, making the filing of a third amended complaint likely before any allegations can advance to trail.
The plan’s sole fiduciary and trustee has agreed to restore pension assets that, according to an EBSA investigation, were improperly directed to operating expenses and illegal personal loans.
The court holds that bundling services or revenue sharing are common and acceptable investment industry practices that frequently inure to the benefit of ERISA plans.
The court granted the Principal defendants’ motion for summary judgment on all counts in a case questioning guaranteed investment contract arrangements.
A DOL investigation found the business owner used benefit plan contributions for corporate and personal expenses.
Voya successfully moved to dismiss the amended claims under Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that the claims should be dismissed because they fail to plausibly allege the firm actually took a spread on certain separate account assets in question.
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.