Executive Compensation Planning Ideas in an Economic Downturn

Any time the economy is growing, it’s important to consider and plan for the next economic slowdown. When exactly this will occur is something that experts debate, and opinions vary from industry to industry, but planning for lean years during the good years is always wise, especially in the area of executive compensation. Planning creates a smooth path and ensures that executives and management team members are Read More

District Court Opines on Successor Fiduciary Liability

A recent case highlights the importance of paying attention to successor fiduciary liability when taking on a benefits plan. This case provides important color to the ERISA provision that prevents plan fiduciaries from facing liability for breaches that occurred before and after their tenure as a fiduciary responsible for the benefit plan. Fuller v. SunTrust Banks, Inc. The defendants in this case include Read More

Failure to Provide ERISA-Required Plan Document to Participant Costs Plan Sponsor $41,000

ERISA plan failures often result in corrective actions and monetary penalties. ERISA penalties apply to all types of benefit plans, so while the case at hand is a medical benefits plan, monetary fines for failure to provide plan documents could and do apply to retirement plans, disability plans, executive compensation, and other employer-provided benefit plans. Kinsinger v. Smartcore, LLC In the case at hand, Read More

DOL Provides Updated Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) Template, Effective for 2021 Plan Year

In compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to help businesses comply with regulations, the Department of Labor (DOL) has updated its template for the important Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) document as well as the instructions and other related materials. This recent round of updates, the first since 2016, reflects changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). These updated documents are for Read More

DOL Offers MEP Form 5500 Transition Relief

The Field Assistance Bulletin from the Department of Labor (DOL) released in June 2019 discusses transition relief for MEP plans in conjunction with the MEP Final Rules. This temporary relief is for retirement plans that failed to comply with ERISA Form 5500 reporting requirements. Form 5500 Reporting Requirements Under ERISA Section 103(g) a MEP must file an annual report (Form 5500) that includes a list of Read More

IRS Deems Transfer of Surplus Assets of Terminated Plan to Replacement Plan Permissible

A recent private letter ruling from the IRS discussed transferring assets from a terminated defined benefit plan to two 401(k) “qualified replacement plans” under Code Section 4980. The two replacement plans are employer-sponsored retirement plans that qualify for special tax treatment. Without this transfer approval, the IRS Code would require a 20% excise tax on funds transferred after a plan Read More

DOL Clarifies Retirement Plan Electronic Disclosure in New Proposed Regulations

New proposed regulations from the Department of Labor (DOL) will give employers additional flexibility to deliver required retirement plan disclosure documents electronically. Released in October 2019, these rules would allow plan administrators to satisfy notice delivery requirements by posting notices to a website, so long as they meet certain conditions. This helps both businesses and individuals cut down on paper Read More

New Publication Provides Comprehensive Analysis of DOL’s ESOP Investigations

The National Center for Employee Ownership recently released a guide that includes a comprehensive analysis of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) investigations of Employee Stock Ownership Programs. The report’s data comes from the DOL and covers the years 2007 through 2017. DOL investigations are further broken down by issues and results. While the report is comprehensive and very quantitative, there are some high Read More

Four Compensation Committee Best Practices

Executive compensation and compensation programs will always be under review as management and ownership aim to align compensation, especially at the highest levels, with performance. While the goals and metrics may differ by company, best practices for compensation committees can be applied across the board to increase compensation effectiveness (and, as a byproduct, company growth) and improve Read More

Disclosure of PHI on Yelp Results in $10,000 HIPAA Settlement

This past October, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the entity responsible for policing HIPAA violations, announced a settlement with a Texas dental practice. The dental practice disclosed protected health information (PHI) on Yelp and was subject to a $10,000 fine. This information was disclosed in response to online reviews posted by the patient. In addition to the Read More