Fiduciary Issues and Plan Governance

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Our team regularly represents committees, boards and other fiduciaries and governing bodies that are responsible for safekeeping the assets in retirement, health and welfare plans.

Most of the fiduciaries responsible for the prudent oversight of employee benefit plan assets are also employees of the companies sponsoring such plans. This “two hat” dilemma exposes fiduciaries to a unique set of risks and issues. As a result, fiduciaries of employee benefit plans are often held to a much higher standard than traditional governing bodies.

We routinely advise clients and fiduciaries concerning governance practices that limit risks associated with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plans. We help employers establish and maintain diligence fiduciary committees. To this end, we assist with the design and review of investment policies, fiduciary charters, governance documents, ethics policies, standard operating procedures manuals, conflicts-of-interest manuals and Sarbanes-Oxley policies and procedures.

In this ever-changing business world, the standards for fiduciary conduct continue to evolve and change alongside industry developments. We regularly attend committee meetings to train and update fiduciaries and assist in managing and documenting the diligence process.

We commonly consult with clients regarding ERISA fiduciary duties, plan assets, investment selection, prohibited transactions, reporting and disclosure obligations, service provider fees, default investments and other ERISA matters, including the United States Department of Labor (DOL) audits, ERISA fiduciary assessments, fiduciary training, and filings under the DOL’s Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program.