SGR maintains a Fiduciary Institute within its Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and ERISA Litigation Practice. This institute combines multiple disciplines within the practice group to focus more intently on and to showcase industry leadership on some of the most significant issues that companies face in the benefits area.
The focus of the SGR Fiduciary Institute is to:
Fiduciary Structure – help clients set up their committee, subcommittee and advisor structure to ensure the fiduciaries are in the strongest position to carry out their fiduciary duties.
Fiduciary Training – provide fiduciary training and ongoing fiduciary updates.
Fiduciary Protections – help the fiduciaries use and take advantage of the fiduciary protections offered under ERISA (e.g., investment selection under ERISA Section 404(c), fund mapping, participant fee disclosures, vendor fee disclosures, and prohibited transaction exemptions).
Disclosure Obligations –assist fiduciaries to ensure compliance with ERISA disclosure obligations and distribution of plan documents.
Retirement Plan Vendor Selection – perform RFPs and RFIs for recordkeepers, TPAs, actuaries, investment advisors and plan auditors to help ensure highest levels of services at a reasonable price.
Retirement Plan Vendor Implementation – assist clients in all aspects of transitioning to new vendors.
Retirement Plan Vendor Agreements – revise and negotiate all aspects of vendor agreements.
Health and Welfare Vendor Agreements – revise and negotiate all aspects of vendor agreements, including private exchange agreements.
Plan Policies – draft policies to ensure they are legally sound and protect fiduciaries (e.g., investment policy statements, loan policies, and administrative manuals).
Plan Administration and Operations – give advice on day-to-day administration and operational matters.
Plan Corrections – assist clients with correcting plan document, operational, and fiduciary defects.
Benefit Claims Administration – assist clients with the administration of benefits claims by setting up the claims process, preparing the administrative record, and preparing participant claims determinations.
Government Audits – assist clients throughout the audit process by helping organize the materials before they go to the auditor, serving as the primary contact for the auditor, resolving any disputed defects the auditor may find, and helping close the audit.
Discrimination Testing – perform testing for retirement plans (e.g., coverage, benefits and contributions, ADP/ACP and QSLOB) and health and welfare plans (e.g., coverage, cafeteria plans, and dependent care flexible spending account contributions).
HIPAA Privacy and Security – develop policies, perform training, assist with breach notification and mitigation, and negotiate business associate agreements.
ACA Reporting – assist with ACA reporting forms (Forms 1094-C and 1095-C) filed with the IRS and furnished to employees, including identifying and resolving reporting errors and responding to related IRS penalty notices.
Participant Communications – draft, review and revise employee communications with a focus on clear communications written in non-legalese.
De-Risking Pension Plans – advise clients on, and help clients implement, de-risking mechanisms, such as liability-driven investments, lump-sum cash outs, and plan terminations.
Retiree Medical Plan Curtailments – assist with curtailing (reducing or terminating coverage) with the goal of minimizing litigation risks.
Plan Investments in Company Stock – advise on ways to minimize liability and inform fiduciaries of the most recent legal developments.
Lost Participant and Beneficiary Searches – perform searches for lost participants and beneficiaries, a significant focus in IRS and DOL audits.
QDRO Administration – perform all aspects of determining whether a domestic relations order is qualified and communicate with the parties and recordkeeper.
Power of Attorney Administration – review powers of attorney and determine whether they satisfy the requirements for benefit plans.
ERISA Litigation Avoidance – structure actions and benefit plan provisions to avoid ERISA litigation and to place fiduciaries in optimal position if litigation is filed.
ERISA Litigation – defend complaints filed against benefit plans, employers and fiduciaries with respect to benefits, fiduciary breaches, prohibited transactions, ESOPs, withdrawal liability, life insurance conversion issues, disclosure obligations, claim denials, stop loss insurance, subrogation issues, and procedural violations.