Cohen & Buckmann Insights

Latest from Cohen & Buckmann Insights

Carol Buckmann was quoted in the Law360 article, “New ERISA Suits Could Clarify Plans’ Cybersecurity Duties,” which discusses recent lawsuits that raise new questions for the courts regarding ERISA and its applicability to employers’ cybersecurity measures and data privacy obligations. Carol weighed in on a lawsuit filed in April against Abbott Laboratories and its record-keeper, Alright Solutions, which was also the topic of a recent Insights post, which she explains “could chart a path forward for workers seeking to hold companies accountable for benefit plan security breaches.” Read the Law360 article.
Co-founding partner Carol Buckmann has been tapped by PLANSPONSOR magazine to author a weekly column titled, COVID-19 Compliance Corner, which debuted on Monday, May 11, 2020. The first column, “Who Qualifies for Coronavirus-Related Distributions?” which quickly became one of the most well-read articles on the PLANSPONSOR website, explains who qualifies for coronavirus-related retirement plan distributions, as prescribed in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The article outlines: Who is eligible for these distributions How these distributions are taxed What the alternatives are to CARES Act-related plan distributions. The second article, “New Loan Provisions Under the CARES Act,”
Carol Buckmann, co-founding partner of Cohen & Buckmann, was quoted in a Forbes article titled, “Why Target-Date Funds Still Make Sense for Retirement Investors.” The article discusses why target date funds still may be the right retirement investment strategy, and how and when investors should evaluate their fund’s performance to determine if changes should be made. Carol was quoted saying: “A Morningstar article reports that through March 20, 2020, target date funds lost on average 17% to 33% of their value, depending on projected retirement age.” It continued with, “[t]hough target date fund managers may have learned lessons from 2008…
NEW YORK (May 12, 2020) – Elizabeth Drigotas, a former principal in the Washington National Tax of Deloitte Tax LLP and Attorney-Advisor in the Office of Benefits Tax Counsel of the United State Treasury Department, has joined New York-based executive compensation and employee benefits law firm Cohen & Buckmann, P.C., as senior counsel. Drigotas’s practice focuses on executive compensation and benefits plan design. She has more than 25 years of experience working with compensation and benefits plan design and implementation, with an emphasis on related tax issues. Her clients encompass private and public employers, including multinational and Fortune 100 companies,…
It is obvious that people are experiencing a lot of anxiety right now. People are anxious to get back to some form of normalcy – whether that means getting back to work, to school, and/or to their social lives – but people also are anxious about how to do these things safely, protecting their health and the health of those around them. For employers, these anxieties include financial worries about their business’s lost revenue, retaining employees, making payroll and staying in business through and after this crisis. Adding to these anxieties is the threat of possible lawsuits if employees or…
Layoffs and furloughs as a result of COVID-19 can trigger vesting obligations that may surprise plan sponsors unfamiliar with the IRS rules on partial plan terminations. Failure to treat participants correctly can jeopardize the plan’s qualified status and, if the employer has been using forfeitures to reduce its contributions, may also have a financial impact. Partial terminations can technically affect both defined contribution and defined benefit plans, but in the event of a partial termination of a defined benefit plan, benefits must be vested only “to the extent funded,” which limits the impact of the rule. What the IRS Looks…
A lawsuit I wrote about in the article, Cybertheft of 401(k) Plan Assets-New Case Highlights Fiduciary Exposure, that was brought by a participant in the Estee Lauder plan whose account was stolen by an imposter was recently settled. The settlement means there will be no court decision in that case defining the responsibilities of plan sponsors and vendors to keep plan assets secure. However, another lawsuit has been filed by a participant whose plan account also was stolen by an imposter. This time, the plan sponsor defendant is Abbott Laboratories, but the recordkeeper, Alight (formerly Aon) is the same.…
Lauri London, counsel with Cohen & Buckmann, was quoted in the article, “Certain advisers can take advantage of payroll help,” in the April 13, 2020, Regulatory Compliance Watch newsletter. The article discusses what the federal SBA Paycheck Protection loan is, which investment advisers qualify for it, and whether advisers are required to disclose the loan in their Form ADV Brochure. In the article, Lauri opines that while an adviser could argue that applying for and/or receiving a PP loan may not indicate “a financial condition that is reasonably likely to impair an adviser’s ability to meet its contractual commitments,” the…
No one knows how long COVID-19 will impact the economy, but we can predict that lawsuits, including fiduciary breach lawsuits, will increase as a result of it. In the 2008 financial crisis, target date funds (TDF) lost an average of 67% of their value, and today Bloomberg Law says that defined contribution plan investment in target date funds totals $1.4 trillion. Others put the amount of investment at $2 trillion and up. A Morningstar article reports that through March 20, 2020, target date funds lost on average 17% to 33% of their value, depending on projected retirement age. Though target…
Despite the SEC’s willingness to extend filing deadlines for Form ADV as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton stated last week that the SEC will not grant an extension of the compliance date (June 30, 2020) for Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) and the related filing of Form CRS. In fact, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) issued a Risk Alert today, April 7, 2020, to SEC-registered broker-dealers and investment advisers regarding the scope and content of examinations for Form CRS, almost three months before it needs to be filed. The Risk Alert…
Co-founding partner Carol Buckman was quoted in the BenefitsPro article, “Coronavirus may prove to be a ‘time-limited’ problem for plan sponsors.” The BenefitsPro article, which covers the topic of Carol’s article, “Employer Responses to COVID-19: Suspending Employer 401(k) Contributions,” suggests that the financial crisis of 2008 could inform how plan sponsors will react to the financial crisis we are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the BenefitsPro article, Carol expresses her view that this could be a time-limited problem and agrees with the author that plan “[s]ponsors should be thinking about that [it’s easier to strip retirement…