Posts Categorized: Fiduciary Issues

Department of Labor Liberalizes Rules for Socially Responsible Investments

in Fiduciary Issues

On October 22, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued new guidance on socially responsible investments or economically targeted investments (ETIs), which are investments chosen, at least in part, for reasons other than their expected investment return to the plan. While ETIs are not defined by ERISA, they are commonly understood to cover a broad array of arrangements, such as union plans investing only in unionized companies or funds that invest only in “green” or “sustainable” investments. ETIs have long been controversial because they may be viewed as inconsistent with ERISA fiduciary standards. ERISA requires plan fiduciaries to act solely… Continue Reading

Plan Sponsor Forced to Restore Plan Benefits Due to Intentionally Misleading Communications to Employees

in Fiduciary Issues, Qualified Plans, Retirement Plans

On September 29, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a decision that emphasizes the importance of accurate communications to employees regarding changes in qualified retirement plan benefits. In Osberg v. Foot Locker, Inc., the plaintiffs in the class action consisted of nearly 16,000 participants in a defined benefit pension plan sponsored by Foot Locker. Prior to 1996, Foot Locker sponsored a traditional defined benefit pension plan in which benefits were defined as an annual life annuity commencing at age 65. Like most traditional defined benefit pension plans, the plan also provided early retirement… Continue Reading