DOL Proposes To Expand Investment Related Services Giving Rise to ERISA Fiduciary Status As Investment Fiduciary

The U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) today published a Proposed Regulation that would expand the circumstances when individuals giving investment advice to an employee benefit or employee benefit plan or individual retirement account participant for purposes of the fiduciary definition of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) § 3(21) and the prohibited transaction provisions of Internal Revenue Code (Code) § 4975(e)(3)(B).  

If adopted as proposed, the Proposed Regulation would broaden the persons considered fiduciaries based on their provision of investment related advice or services to plans, participants or beneficiaries.  Additionally, the restatement of these standards also likely will necessitate that both plan fiduciaries and providers of these services tighten agreements and other practices and procedures governing the engagement and delivery of services in order to maintain or protect desired allocations of fiduciary responsibility over these activities.  

The deadline for individuals and organizations to comment on the proposed rule is January 19, 2011. Plan sponsors, fiduciaries, service providers and others concerned about the potential impact of the proposed changes should assess the potential implications of the rule and timely submit any comments or concern to the EBSA by this date.

To learn more about the Proposed Rule and its implications, see the more detailed article here.

If your organization needs assistance to evaluate or respond to the Proposed Regulation or reviewing, updating, administering or defending your employee benefit, human resources, compensation or internal control and risk management procedures, documentation, or policies or procedures, please contact the author of this update, Board Certified Labor & Employment attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

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About Ms. Stamer

Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefit & Other Compensation Group, a Council Member of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits and Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer is nationally recognized for her extensive work helping clients develop, implement and defend innovative, practical, legally defensible solutions to their particular health and other employee benefit, employment and insurance needs.  Ms. Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising and representing employer, association and other plan sponsors, health and other employee benefit plans, their fiduciaries, plan administrators, consultants, vendors, outsourcers, insurers, governments and others about health plan and product design; administration, legal and operational risk management, vendor and fiduciary credentialing, managed care and vendor contracting, cost-containment, documentation, public policy, enforcement, privacy, technology, litigation and other concerns.  Ms. Stamer also publishes, conducts client and other training, speaks and consults extensively on these and other health and managed care program concerns and practices for the ABA, American Health Lawyers Association, Institute of Internal Auditors, Society for Professional Benefits Administrators, HCCA, Southwest Benefits Association and many other organizations.  Her insights on these and related topics have appeared in Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, various ABA publications and a many other national and local publications. To learn more about Ms. Stamer, her experience, involvements, programs and publications, see here or contact Ms. Stamer. 

About Solutions Law Press

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