Employee Benefit Plans and Other Compensation Arrangements Group
The Employee Benefit Plans and Other Compensation Arrangements Group and its Committees are having an active and successful year. Building on its tradition of Group conference calls on current benefit topics of interest, the Group has expanded its regular calls from quarterly to every other month (typically at 1 p.m. Eastern on the first Monday of every odd-numbered month). In addition, these calls have been supplemented by special “study group” calls to address topics of immediate concern. Responsibility for the regular calls rotates among the Committees. To flag several calls of note:
- The Plan Transactions and Terminations Committee led a special study group call in December to discuss the impact of recent PBGC regulatory activity, including proposed changes to the reportable event rules. The proposed changes, which would significantly increase the number and breadth of events subject to the reporting requirements, could also impact the application of loan agreements and other financing documents, under which the occurrence of a reportable event may often trigger a default.
- The Qualified Plans Committee has held two well-received conference calls (one in March and the other in July) to discuss required annual qualified plan amendments and determination letter issues with IRS officials. These calls were joint projects with the Tax Section's Self Correction, Determination Letters and Other Administrative Practices Subcommittee, and the calls averaged over 135 participants.
- The Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Committee led a conference call in May on audit and compliance issues for deferred compensation arrangements under Code Section 409A.
- The Welfare Benefit Plans Committee will host a special group study call in August to discuss practical aspects of the initial regulatory guidance provided under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The enactment of health care reform legislation has posed significant challenges for employers sponsoring medical plans.
In other projects, the Fiduciary Responsibility, Administration and Litigation Committee is developing a fiduciary education program to help employers and service providers alike better understand their ERISA fiduciary duties with respect to plan administration and investments. Harold Ashner, Chair of the Plan Transactions and Terminations Committee, has acted as scrivener for the annual question and answer session with the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. In addition, the Qualified Plan Committee participated in the RPTE Roth Program in May, as well as a joint program with the Tax Section regarding Qualified Retirement Plan, Prototype and Trust Issues on May 8, and is also in the process of drafting articles based on that program.