A terrific paper on the application of ERISA and its fiduciary duty standards to 401(k) plans and to the people who run them is available free right now from the ABA. As employee benefit plans, these retirement plans are within ERISA’s ambit and the companies and individuals who operate them are subject to the fiduciary obligations imposed by ERISA. The paper provides a nice overview of the application of ERISA to these types of employee benefit plans. The fiduciary duties and the manners in which they can be breached that are detailed in the paper carry over to the operations of other employee benefit plans as well, and do not apply only to the operators of 401(k) plans. As a result, it is worthwhile reading for fiduciaries of other types of benefit plans as well.
A nod of thanks to BenefitsBlog for noting the availability of this paper. BenefitsBlog discusses tax and other issues related to benefits that are beyond the ambit of this blog, which focuses more on litigation under ERISA.