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Showing 3 posts in Pension.

Supreme Court Confirms Standards for ERISA’s Church Plan Exception

In a clear win for religiously-affiliated employers, including hospital systems and educational institutions, a unanimous Supreme Court found that a statutory exception to ERISA’s requirements for “church plans” applies to plans that are maintained by tax-exempt entities affiliated with churches in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton. More ›

Seventh Circuit Upholds Arbitrator’s Reduction of Withdrawal Liability

An arbitrator's decision to significantly reduce the amount of withdrawal liability assessed against an employer that had withdrawn from a multiemployer pension plan was affirmed in a recent opinion from the Seventh Circuit. More ›

Pension Plan Administrators did not Breach Fiduciary Duty, Despite Allegation of Excessive Investment Fees

Participants in an employer-sponsored defined contribution pension plan sued their employer, alleging that the plan administrators violated their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by paying excessive fees to investment advisors and requiring plan participants to pay the cost of mutual fund fees instead of having the fees paid by the plan. The district court dismissed both ERISA claims. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed, holding that nothing under ERISA required the plan administrators to find and offer the cheapest possible funds. With regard to the second claim, the Seventh Circuit held that no fiduciary duty was breached by requiring the participants to pay for advisor fees instead of having them paid for by the plan. ERISA does not impose a duty on employers to contribute to employee benefit plans at a certain level and, in determining the contribution an employer chooses to make, the employer may act in its own interests. This case is another important decision in favor of qualified retirement plans and plan administrators. However, as other courts have found in favor of plan participants in similar cases, plan administrators should be mindful of the competitiveness of the fees charged and ultimately borne by plan participants.

Loomis v. Exelon Corp., No. 09-4081 & No. 10-1755 (7th Cir. Sep. 6, 2011)