Patrick Ryan

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Effective January 1, 2016, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) altered the reportable event rules for defined benefit pension plans. Although new PBGC regulations make electronic filing of all reportable event notices mandatory, the regulations also substantially reduce the reporting requirements for pension plan administrators, sponsors and contributing employers. Read the full article.…
On March 5, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the finding of a prior Sixth Circuit panel that allowed successful plaintiffs to recover additional equitable relief in the form of disgorgement of profits under a return-on-equity analysis in addition to the recovery of the denied benefits. This decision realigns the Sixth Circuit with the other circuits by requiring that plaintiffs prove a separate injury in order to receive additional equitable…
On October 2, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States granted the plaintiffs’ petition for a writ of certiorari in Tibble v. Edison International to answer “Whether a claim that [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] ERISA plan fiduciaries breached their fiduciary obligation by offering higher-cost retail-class mutual funds to plan participants, even though identical lower-cost institutional-class mutual funds were available, is barred by 29 U.S.C. § 1113(1) when fiduciaries initially chose the higher-cost mutual funds as…
On September 16, 2014, the United States Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 2511, which would amend Section 4062(e) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), to clarify the definition of substantial cessation of operations.  ERISA Section 4062(e) enables the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to require that employers financially guarantee pension obligations based on a plan’s underfunded termination liability when an employer that maintains a pension plan shuts down operations at…
On July 8, 2014, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) issued a press release announcing a moratorium on its enforcement of Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974(ERISA) Section 4062(e) through the end of 2014.  In general, ERISA Section 4062(e) allows PBGC to require that employers financially guarantee pension obligations in the form of plan contributions or a bond or escrow amount based on a plan’s unfunded termination liability when an employer with a pension…
In March 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the final version of Form W-8BEN-E Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting.  This form allows certain non-U.S. retirement plans to claim exemption from the reporting and withholding requirement of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).  However, the final version of the Form W-8BEN-E did not include instructions.  On June 24, 2014, the IRS published the long-awaited instructions
The Internal Revenue Service recently established a one-year pilot program that provides plan administrators and plan sponsors of certain non-ERISA and foreign plans subject to the annual Form 5500 reporting requirements relief from penalties under the Internal Revenue Code.  The penalty relief is temporary and expires on June 2, 2015. Read the full article.…
A District Court in Eastern Michigan recently rejected a motion to dismiss a participant’s benefit claim, holding that an employer legally could be liable to a participant in a nonqualified deferred compensation plan when the employer did not properly withhold FICA tax in the manner most advantageous to the participant. As a best practice, plan administrators should scrutinize any participant communications or claim responses because they can open the door to estoppel claims under ERISA.…