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 Ray Harmon8/30/2013 • 0 Comments

Qualified plans must treat a same-gender spouse as a spouse for purposes of federal tax laws if the marriage took place in one of the 13 states and the District of Columbia where same-gender marriage is currently legally recognized, under the terms of an IRS Revenue Ruling issued Aug. 29. A couple’s “state of celebration,” rather than the state of residence, will be the determining factor in the federal recognition of same-gender marriages. READ MORE

By John Ortman8/8/2013 • 0 Comments

Weighing in on the separate regulatory efforts underway at the SEC to establish a uniform fiduciary standard and at the DOL to redefine a fiduciary, 10 Senate Democrats urged the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to ensure that the two agencies coordinate their work. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein8/5/2013 • 0 Comments

The SEC and DOL recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) designed to share information and coordinate efforts on matters of mutual interest. The MOU requires regular meetings of DOL and SEC officials, cross-training initiatives and mutual access to non-public information. The obvious area that the MOU could cover is the fiduciary issue. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein7/26/2013 • 1 Comments

As NAPA’s 1st Annual DC Fly-in Forum approaches on Sept. 17-18, many top DC Congressional leaders and policymakers have agreed to speak, with more expected. READ MORE

By Andrew Remo7/25/2013 • 0 Comments

On Tuesday, July 24, the Aspen Institute’s Initiative on Financial Security organized a briefing for congressional staff to discuss how reforming the tax code could affect the retirement security of Americans. READ MORE

By Fred Reish7/24/2013 • 1 Comments

The Office of Management and Budget has posted that it received a proposed regulation from the Department of Labor. Unfortunately, it is not the much-anticipated proposed regulation on fiduciary advice. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein7/19/2013 • 0 Comments

As part of the deal struck by Senate Democrats with Senate Republicans to fast-track a handful of the president’s nominations, Thomas Perez was confirmed July 18 as the new Secretary of Labor. READ MORE

7/18/2013 • 1 Comments

During the 2013 ASPPA Mid-Atlantic Benefits Conference held in Philadelphia May 16-17, Marc I. Machiz, Director of the Philadelphia Region of the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, indicated that his region is now making a concerted effort to focus on “excessive fee cases,” where it appears to the EBSA that participants in the retirement plans being investigated are paying higher aggregate fees than participants in other plans. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein7/17/2013 • 3 Comments

Time flies when you’re having fun (or perhaps when focused on other things) — the 2013 annual requirement for fee disclosure under 408(b)(2) and 404(a)(5) is fast approaching. The law firm of Howley Troxell provides some simple guidance for plan sponsors, including: READ MORE

By John Ortman7/16/2013 • 0 Comments

On July 9, the DOL issued an amendment to DOL Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) 2007-5 (a.k.a. the underwriters exemptions) that replaces the current definition of "rating agency" with a definition referencing generic rating agency requirements. A legal analysis from the Practical Law Company provides a good explanation. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein7/11/2013 • 12 Comments

Is revenue sharing a plan asset? This issue and others were addressed in a recent DOL opinion letter (Advisory Opinion 2013-03A) addressed to the Groom Law Group concerning a plan administered by Principal. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein7/11/2013 • 0 Comments

According to the DOL’s semiannual regulatory agenda indicating which rules the department plans to issue, the redefinition-of-fiduciary rule, which DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration calls “Conflict of Interest Rule—Investment Advice,” will be re-proposed in October. Apparently, October will be a busy month on Constitution Ave., with two other rules also slated for release. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein7/5/2013 • 0 Comments

When a former employee returns to the company, should that person be treated as a new employee and be forced to satisfy eligibility requirements? When should they be allowed into the plan? The answer is not as clear as it seems — as detailed in a recent briefing by Relius. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein7/3/2013 • 0 Comments

In the 12 months ending Oct. 1, 2012, more than 300 EBSA investigators in 10 regional offices closed 3,566 investigations, 72.1% of which resulted in a total of $1.27 billion in fines. Understanding the process that investigators follow in conducting an audit can take the fear out of it and produce better results. Jennifer E. Eller of the Groom Law Group reviews that process and provides insights on what to expect and how to best respond. READ MORE

By John Ortman7/3/2013 • 0 Comments

An ASPPA webcast on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision overturning part of DOMA — and its impact on benefit plans — has been scheduled for Wednesday, July 17, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:40 ET. The speaker will be Ronald J. Triche, Esq., APM, Assistant General Counsel of ASPPA. Triche will discuss the case, its impact on employee benefits, and the many questions left unanswered by the Court. READ MORE

By John Ortman6/28/2013 • 0 Comments

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration has announced a one-month extension of the comment period on its advance notice of proposed rulemaking focusing on lifetime income illustrations given to DC plan participants, to Aug. 7. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein6/24/2013 • 0 Comments

The Schlichter law firm strikes again in a $35 million settlement involving Cigna. Participants in Cigna’s own 401(k) plan filed suit against both the company and Prudential, which bought Cigna’s retirement business in 2004 for more than $2 billion. Cigna’s own plan was the largest plan in the book. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein6/20/2013 • 0 Comments

Speaking at the Insured Retirement Institute’s annual Government, Legal and Regulatory Conference in Washington this week, EBSA’s Phyllis Borzi argued for her proposed redefinition of fiduciary rule expected out this fall. The proposed rule would eliminate the current five-part requirement, thus including many advisors who are not currently considered to be fiduciaries. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein6/17/2013 • 0 Comments

Most plans want revenue sharing to pay all applicable plan expenses, which seems to be fine according to court decisions and the DOL, but they could get in trouble if funds are chosen with an eye toward the revenue sharing they produce. As fiduciaries, plan sponsors must design the plan for the sole benefit of participants, so selecting funds that generate more revenue for third parties would be a violation. And what if the revenue exceeds the cost? How should those funds be allocated? READ MORE

By John Ortman6/13/2013 • 0 Comments

Quick: Can you list the types of expenses that can and cannot be paid from the assets of a retirement plan? How about the requirements that must be met before expenses can be paid from plan assets? The methods for allocating expenses between plans and among participants? The consequences of paying improper expenses from plan assets? READ MORE

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