Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory Compliance covers compliance with ethical codes of conduct as well as those promulgated by FINRA and the SEC. Much of the interaction a plan advisor has with plan sponsors and participants is governed by ERISA and agencies like the Department of Labor. But as registered reps or investment advisory reps, their conduct and activity are also regulated by FINRA and the SEC. In turn, broker dealers and registered investment advisors must also adhere to the rules relating to retirement plans, as well as their representatives’ interaction with the investing public. 

Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory Compliance

By Fred Barstein3/3/2014 • 1 Comments

According to a report in CFO Daily News, the average fine resulting from a DOL audit has risen fourfold in just four years, and now tops $600,000. In addition, 88 people including corporate officers and providers were criminally indicted last year. Three out of four DOL audits resulted in a fine, penalty or reimbursement. The most common errors included: READ MORE

By John Iekel2/19/2014 • 0 Comments

If they have not already, small businesses with retirement plans must report on them to the IRS soon. To help, the IRS has updated its Publication 560, “Retirement Plans for Small Business Plans” for 2013 returns. New this year: READ MORE

By Fred Barstein1/28/2014 • 0 Comments

The DOL announced a settlement Jan. 27 with Western Asset Management, resolving a case in which the firm was alleged to have purchased securities for ERISA plans that were prohibited. The firm was also alleged to have engaged in prohibited cross-trading on other accounts. WAMCo will restore $17.4 million and pay a $3.6 million fine. READ MORE

By John Iekel1/25/2014 • 0 Comments

The Form 5500 provides much more than simple data about a plan’s assets and number of participants — it also shows what a plan is not doing. Or doing erroneously. The IRS examined 50 Forms 5500 filed by DC plans with less than $250,000 in assets and identified issues that the forms brought to light. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein1/10/2014 • 1 Comments

Never been examined by the SEC? Get ready. In a recent announcement of its 2014 priorities, the 4,000 or so advisors who have never been examined by the agency are in its crosshairs. READ MORE

By John Ortman1/2/2014 • 1 Comments

Labor Secretary Tom Perez has been lobbying Democrats in Congress lately, advocating for the redefinition of fiduciary rule (now referred to as the “conflict of interest rule” by DOL officials) promulgated by his department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, InvestmentNews reports. READ MORE

By John Ortman12/23/2013 • 0 Comments

As everyone in the retirement industry knows, retirement plan participants are inundated by a deluge of disclosures required by multiple reporting requirements set by a variety of government agencies. Posting recently about a Nov. 21, 2013, Government Accountability Office report on pension reporting and disclosure requirements, two attorneys at Bryan Cave summarized some of the things the GAO found. READ MORE

By John Iekel12/18/2013 • 0 Comments

A week after the IRS issued new rules for in-plan Roth rollovers in IRS Notice 2013-74, commentary on what that guidance means for advisors and their clients is beginning to appear. READ MORE

12/13/2013 • 0 Comments

According to the recently released fall 2013 Statement of Regulatory Priorities, the Department of Labor intends to reissue its definition of fiduciary regulation in August 2014. READ MORE

By John Iekel12/12/2013 • 0 Comments

Conducting in-plan Roth rollovers may be smoother thanks to IRS guidance issued Dec. 11. Under IRS Notice 2013-74, these contributions and earnings on them can be rolled over into a designated Roth account in the same plan: READ MORE

By Jennifer McKibben11/26/2013 • 0 Comments

Drinker Biddle’s Oct. 1 webcast, “Surviving DOL Investigations of Plans,” raised so many questions that the firm’s employee benefits group will present a follow-up webcast, “Surviving DOL Investigations of Plans: Part II,” to address those questions and build upon the content from the original webcast. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein11/14/2013 • 0 Comments

As the end of the year approaches, there are important notices, deadlines and some changes that plan sponsors need to be aware of to keep their plans in compliance. As an advisor, you can rely solely on your record keeper and TPA to make sure all everything is being taken care of, but you should be aware of what’s coming too. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein11/13/2013 • 0 Comments

Speaking at SIFMA’s annual conference in New York City this week, SEC Chair Mary Jo White indicated that her agency is looking to increase exams of RIAs as much as possible, budget permitting. Currently, the SEC is only able to examine 8% of its 11,000 members, or fewer than than 1,000 firms. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein11/7/2013 • 0 Comments

Among the many issues facing DC plans, Groom Law Group attorney Steve Saxon cites alternative and proprietary funds as possibly being on the menu for federal regulators. Though much of the DOL’s attention has been on the redefinition of fiduciary and lifetime income illustrations, Saxon believes that the interest in alternative funds, which include higher, more complex fee structures, could draw the attention of regulators. READ MORE

By Ray Harmon11/6/2013 • 0 Comments

A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends that the Labor and Treasury Departments collaborate on default electronic delivery rules for pension-related disclosures. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein10/28/2013 • 2 Comments

In a letter to the SEC, the lawmaker who helped create broker-check called for tightening of rules on expunging broker records and payment of arbitration awards. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) asked SEC Chair Mary Jo White to look at strengthening rules promulgated 20 years ago to make it more difficult for brokers to expunge their records and to ensure that arbitration awards are paid. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein10/15/2013 • 1 Comments

The DOL usually releases the annual 401(k) and other plan limits right about now, but this year delays are expected due to the government shutdown. Citing “credible sources,” 401kHelpcenter suggests that the limits will remain virtually unchanged in 2014. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein9/23/2013 • 0 Comments

ERISA expert Fred Reish raises the question of who at the plan sponsor should be receiving disclosure documents. In a rush to get mass disclosure documents out last year, service providers may have inadvertently sent some of them to the wrong person. According to Reish, the right person is the so-called “Responsible Plan Fiduciary,” or the person with the power to hire and fire the provider. READ MORE

By John Ortman9/11/2013 • 0 Comments

The IRS is focusing on top hat plans at nonprofit 501(c) organizations, a recent “compliance check” questionnaire from the agency’s Employee Plans Compliance Unit reveals. Plans include sending letters and questionnaires to nonprofits seeking a range of information, according to Linda Segal Blinn of ING’s Tax-Exempt Markets group. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein9/11/2013 • 1 Comments

As IRA assets have grown larger than those in 401(k)s, it seems only natural that the same debates about fees, oversight and the roles of fiduciaries that have arisen for ERISA plans will emerge for IRAs as well, claims a story by CNBC. Investors are likely to pay higher fees in IRAs without the oversight of a fiduciary in the form of a plan sponsor. The recent GAO study about possible misstatements about costs, FINRA’s concerns about claims of no- or low-fee IRAs and the DOL’s redefinition-of-fiduciary rule encompassing IRAs all make the likelihood of more government scrutiny and oversight likely. READ MORE

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