Cohen & Buckmann

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…
Cohen & Buckmann, PC, a boutique New York-based law firm, has garnered upgraded national and regional New York rankings in the 2021 U.S. News – Best Lawyers ® “Best Law Firm” lists in the area of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law. The firm is honored with a Tier 1 ranking in the New York Metro area, and Tier 2 National ranking.   Sandra Cohen and Carol Buckmann, the firm’s co-founding partners, also have been recognized by Best…
A new report in Pensions and Investments should be an eyeopener for sponsors of 401(k) and 403(b) plans who haven’t yet gotten the message that even responsible fiduciaries can be sued. I previously wrote that 2020 promises to be a banner year for 401(k) plan litigation. Now P&I reports that fiduciary liability insurance premiums are up 35% as a result of costly awards and settlements. Plan sponsors are also being required to pay more-P&I gives…
Do private equity funds engage in a trade or business?  If so, and if those trades and businesses are part of a controlled group as defined in ERISA, they could be liable for unfunded pension liabilities of their portfolio companies.  These issues have been litigated in four separate decisions by federal courts in the First Circuit. The courts were ruling on a multiemployer plan’s attempt to collect withdrawal liability from two Sun Capital Partners funds.…
I previously wrote about a lawsuit filed against Abbott and recordkeeper Alight by a participant whose account was reduced by $245,000 when a hacker assumed her identity and requested distributions. (Bartnett v. Abbott Laboratories, 1:20-cv-02127)  According to the complaint, the hacker was assisted by an Alight employee when the account password couldn’t be changed online. Many were hoping that this lawsuit would clarify the law in this area, and particularly the responsibilities of plan sponsors…