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ERISA attorney Carol Buckmann will be participating in the PLANSPONSOR webinar, “Distribution Options for Employees,” on August 20, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Carol will be joined by a panel of editors from PLANSPONSOR magazine and other leading industry professionals to discuss issues related to retirement plan distribution options for employees, including: Changes made to hardship withdrawal and required minimum distribution (RMD) rules under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act How to determine whether to offer hardship withdrawals and loans in your plan, including whether to…
Can a foreign owner of a U.S. business be liable for a subsidiary’s unpaid pension liabilities? A recent decision by the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, GCIU Employees’ Retirement Fund v. Coleridge Fine Arts/Jelinki Ltd., (No. 19-3161, 4/6/2020) indicates that collecting from an entity located outside the United States may be an uphill battle. ERISA’s Rules. Title IV of ERISA provides that both multiemployer plan withdrawal liability and PBGC’s claims when underfunded single employer plans are terminated can be assessed against all members of a controlled group, generally determined by looking at whether there is at least 80%…
Many investment advisers and broker dealers recently filed the now-required Form Client Relationship Summary (CRS) with the SEC and began delivering the form to their clients and prospects.  The Form CRS is required by the SEC as part of new conduct rules and interpretations for broker dealers and investment advisers set forth in Reg BI, which requires investment advisers and broker dealers to distribute the Form CRS to their “retail investors.”  The form provides information about the financial service provider and is meant to be a guide in “plain English” that helps “Main Street” investors evaluate their financial service providers…
Who’s Who Legal has recognized Sandra Cohen as a thought leader in the Labour, Employment & Benefits practice. The Thought Leaders guides include individuals who score highly in Who’s Who Legal’s research. Only a fraction of practitioners selected for inclusion in a guide are selected as Thought Leaders. Sandra is one of only 59 U.S. attorneys who has earned this honor in her practice area. According to Who’s Who Legal: [Thought leaders] are worthy of special mention owing not only to their expertise and experience advising on some of the world’s most significant and cutting-edge matters, but also their ability…
My latest COVID-19 Compliance Corner columns for PLANSPONSOR focus on the impact of the CARES Act and COVID-19 on deferred compensation plans and defined benefit plans. Recent guidance hasn’t focused much on these plans, but they also have compliance issues. https://www.plansponsor.com/covid-19-compliance-corner-impact-defined-benefit-plans/ https://www.plansponsor.com/covid-19-compliance-corner-impact-nonqualified-deferred-compensation-plans/…
The purpose of this article is to focus on restricted stock units (RSUs) as “deferred compensation” for purposes of social security taxes (FICA).  Whether the compensation is deferred compensation is particularly important for amounts that vest at the end of a calendar year but are paid shortly after.  The IRS has recently commented on this topic in the form of a generic legal advice memorandum (GLAM), dated May 18, 2020, which covered the timing of income inclusion and of tax deposit obligations for a stock-settled option, stock appreciation right (SAR) and restricted stock unit (RSU). We covered those aspects of…
ERISA was enacted before the computer age, so it has no specific provisions on cybersecurity. The IRS and the Department of Labor haven’t issued any formal guidance that discusses ERISA cybersecurity responsibilities either. This means that the courts may eventually have to define the ERISA responsibilities of the parties who administer a plan when a cybersecurity breach results in theft of a participant’s account.  Based on long-standing ERISA law, it seems likely that plan sponsors will be held accountable for failing to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities of prudence and loyalty when the vendors they hire allow a breach to occur. …
After more than 40 years since Rule 13f-1 and Form 13F were adopted, the SEC is proposing new 13F requirements that, among other changes, will increase the 13F reporting threshold from $100 million to $3.5 billion.  Form 13F reporting requires investment advisers that exercise discretion over more than $100 million in 13(f) securities to report their 13(f) securities holdings on a quarterly basis.[1]  The proposal would potentially eliminate the 13F reporting requirement for approximately 4,500 investment advisers.  The new SEC Release no. 34-89290 (July 20, 2020) proposes updates to Rule 13(f), including a major change in reporting threshold…
Carol Buckmann, co-founding partner of Cohen & Buckmann and leading ERISA lawyer, was quoted in the PLANSPONSOR article, “Risk for Cyberattacks Heightened as Remote Work Continues.” The article highlights recent cases involving plans sponsors that experienced breaches in security, heightened cyber risks for plans sponsors and suggested steps plan sponsors can take to improve security. Carol weighed in on the recent cases, including Abbott Laboratories v. Alight Solutions about which she wrote in April, and explained that implementing controls such as two-factor authentication and voice authentication can diminish cyberattacks. Read the Article.
Question: I have a new employment offer from a young private company or PE firm’s portfolio company. How do I evaluate the stock options that are part of the offer? As Executive Compensation attorneys, our clients ask this question frequently. So I have a lot of tips on how to evaluate your offer. Some of these answers are found in the option award agreement, the equity plan or shareholder/operating agreement, but some can only be answered by discussion with the principal investors, such as the company founder or the private equity (PE) or Venture Capital (VC) investor. 1. How much…
Every week, Cohen & Buckmann co-founding partner, Carol Buckmann, writes a column for Plan Sponsor magazine about benefits matters and legal changes relating to Covid-19 situation, explaining what plan sponsors and participants need to know about the new law and guidance. We’ve compiled her most popular entries here (through July 6, 2020): Who Qualifies for Coronavirus-Related Distributions? New Loan Provisions Under the CARES Act How Are Coronavirus-Related Distributions Taxed? Deadline Extensions Provide Relief to Retirement Plan Sponsors New Requirements and Options for Health/Cafeteria Plans The Waiver of 2020 Required Minimum Distributions IRS Eases Spousal Consent Rules for 2020 IRS
COVID-19 has made it difficult for some participants to get plan distributions and loans. My latest COVID-19 Compliance Corner column for PLANSPONSOR discusses new IRS relief. https://www.plansponsor.com/covid-19-compliance-corner-irs-eases-spousal-consent-rules-2020/ Each Monday, I will analyze the latest guidance and changes affecting employee benefit plans in the COVID-19 Compliance Corner.…
Equity Compensation: Employer Tax Deposits The IRS recently released a generic legal advice memorandum (GLAM), dated May 18, 2020, that reviews the timing of income inclusion and of tax deposit obligations for a stock-settled option, stock appreciation right (SAR) and restricted stock unit (RSU). The GLAM addresses which date in the process of stock settlement is important for the employment tax deposit rules when the settlement transaction uses a stock transfer agent. Under the general rules, an employer with $100,000 or more to deposit must do so by the next business day. But to simplify this “next day” rule for…