Cohen & Buckmann

Cohen & Buckmann Blogs

Latest from Cohen & Buckmann

One of the most important responsibilities of plan fiduciaries is hiring the right service providers. These providers must do competent-hopefully, superior- work for a fee that is reasonable in relation to the services provided. The best way to fulfill this responsibility is by doing an RFP (Request for Proposals). Engaging in RFPs can help fiduciaries demonstrate that they haven’t hired inappropriate or overly expensive plan providers if their choices are challenged. In contrast to considering…
ERISA fee litigation seems out of control. In fact, the number of lawsuits filed in 2020 was double the number filed in 2018. While some of the fiduciaries who were sued didn’t take their fiduciary responsibilities seriously, many others who tried to do a good job were caught in the sights of aggressive class action attorneys. There have been fewer decisions on the merits than you might expect in these cases, relative to the number…
This is the time of year when we see lots of articles on hot plan trends for 2021 and what benefits innovations plan sponsors are adopting. This is all well and good, but the beginning of the new year is also a good time for fiduciaries to review basic plan policies and operations to see how they can be improved. The better these are, the greater the chances your plan will survive an audit with…
The SECURE Act put in place important steps to close the retirement savings gap. These included many provisions encouraging plan adoption and retirement income accumulation. Building on the framework of the SECURE Act, Representatives Richard Neal and Kevin Brady have introduced the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2020, already being referred to as SECURE Act 2.0. SECURE Act 2.0 contains changes that would further encourage plan adoption and retirement savings, as well as solutions…
Investment Advisers: Are you ready for your next SEC Examination? A Recent OCIE Risk Alert points out  “Notable Compliance Issues” relating to the Compliance Rule.  Last week, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) issued a Risk Alert, the 9th Risk Alert issued this year.   Titled “OCIE Observations: Investment Adviser Compliance Programs”, the Risk Alert provides examples of deficiencies related to the Compliance Rule (206(4)-7), which OCIE finds are common among examined investment…
PLANSPONSOR Magazine interviewed Carol Buckmann for her take on records retention policies. ERISA requires U.S. plan sponsors to keep records, including plan and trust documents, annuity contracts, 5500 forms and more, for at least six years from the report filing date. Some records must be kept in paper format. Records needed to determine benefits must be kept longer. Read the article and Carol’s recommendations here.…
Earlier this year, the COBRA notice, election and premium payment deadlines were extended from March 1 until 60 days after the end of the ongoing COVID-19 national emergency. This extension has imposed an unfamiliar administrative burden, and the potential for significant coverage cost increases, on employers that sponsor group health plans. If they have not already done so, plan sponsors should start planning now for the tricky administrative issues that will arise during and after…
Plan litigation looks poised to set new records in 2020, and DOL enforcement recoveries are on the rise. A recent DOL enforcement report indicates that DOL recoveries increased by 310% from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2020.  Investment News just reported that fiduciary liability premiums are skyrocketing. Fiduciaries are personally liable for losses caused by their fiduciary breach, and advice from their plan vendors about investments is not fiduciary advice required to be in their best…