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Latest Published Articles, Papers, and Research From Across the Web

Rash of Recent Lawsuits Focus on BlackRock Indexed Target-Date Options: Even Low-Cost Funds Are Being Attacked

Over the past several weeks, a single law firm, Miller Shah, LLP, has filed nearly a dozen lawsuits against fiduciaries of defined contribution plans that offer the BlackRock LifePath Index target date funds. The cases represent a shift in approach relative to earlier waves of ERISA litigation.

Source:, September 2022

Limited Plan Audits Are History: What 401k Plan Sponsors Should Know

Two types of 401k plan audits exist, limited and full-scope audits. In a limited scope audit, an independent auditor does not have to audit any plan asset information if a bank, an insurance company, or a regulated trust company holds the 401k plan's assets. Limited scope audits are changing and plan sponsors should understand how these changes impact their 401k plans.

Source:, September 2022

ERISA Self-Dealing Lawsuit Targets Wells Fargo and Ex-CEO Sloan

Plaintiffs have brought an Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuit seeking class certification against Wells Fargo, former CEO Tim Sloan, GreatBanc Trust Company, and the employee benefits review committee for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty to participants saving for retirement in the Wells Fargo 401k and employee stock ownership plans. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, alleges that Wells Fargo 401k plan fiduciaries engaged in "corporate self-dealing at the expense of the retirement savings of company employees."

Source:, September 2022

Retirement Income Is Front and Center. Should Your Committee Consider the Pursuit?

Retirement income services and solutions have remained an overarching theme in the DC space for many years, yet to date, implementation and traction have remained limited. The need to help plan participants translate retirement savings into income is real and well understood. In equal form, the layers of complexity and variation in approaches have influenced the tepid pace of adoption thus far. This article offers a backdrop of complicating factors, summarizes key retirement service and solution concepts, and provides suggested activities for plan sponsor consideration.

Source:, September 2022

Do's and Don'ts of Hardship Distributions

Given the current economic climate, a greater number of participants may be requesting hardship distributions from their retirement plans. To avoid jeopardizing the qualified status of the plan, employers and plan administrators must follow both the plan document and legal requirements before making hardship distributions. Some retirement plans, such as 401k and 403b plans, may allow participants to withdraw from their retirement accounts because of a financial hardship, but these withdrawals must follow IRS guidelines.

Source:, September 2022

New Wave of ERISA Class Actions Accuse Fiduciaries Of 'Imprudently' Using Low-Fee, High-Rated Funds, Like Blackrock TDFs

Retirement plan sponsors are fake fiduciaries if they offer cheap, highly rated funds from premium brands in 401k plans without factoring in fund performance, according to a fresh wave of ERISA class action cases. Most of the 11 outstanding class actions allege that plan sponsors chose BlackRock LifePath target-date funds as their default 401k option simply because they had the superficial markings of a fiduciary process rather than engaging in an authentic one.

Source:, September 2022

Plan Sponsors Can Self-Audit Before an IRS Examination

Voluntary compliance tools are an important part of the IRS's retirement plan enforcement strategy. If a plan is out of compliance, the primary IRS goal is for the plan sponsor to make the necessary changes to bring the plan into compliance, although it also has the authority to assess penalties, taxes, interest, and even disqualify a plan. Recently, the IRS announced a new enforcement initiative that involves plan sponsors auditing their plans.

Source:, September 2022

The Headache of 401k Plan Notices

Being a 401k plan sponsor isn't easy and one of the biggest headaches is dealing with notices and required documents. One area that most plan sponsors fail to fulfill their duties is the dissemination of required notices and documents, especially to former employees who still have a participant account balance in their plan.

Source:, September 2022

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Our researchers look for what they think are some of the better resources available to assist you in administering your plan or helping your clients. We group these resources in our COLLECTED WISDOM™ topics to make it easy for you to locate the information you need. Each item in a category contains a summary and date of when it was placed in the group.

We also maintain some older material in these collections for perspective and context.

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