Benefit plan administrators have a long list of legal duties to satisfy. The key to avoiding liability is understanding those duties and implementing procedures to ensrue that they are satisfied.
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) September 06, 2012
Corporate officers, employees and others responsible for administering an employee benefit plan must be aware of their status as fiduciaries, must understand the many duties and responsibilities conferred upon them by ERISA, the federal law that governs most employee benefit plans, and should take action to implement best practices and reduce the risk of fiduciary liability. Some of these duties, such as the duty to prudently select investments and monitor investment performance, can be delegated to employee benefit plan committees. During an exclusive interview, host Eric M. Dye of EPN radio explores employee benefit plan governance and fiduciary responsibility with attorney Matthew Gouaux of San Francisco law firm Trucker Huss, APC. EPodcast Network released the 21 minute interview which is now available for immediate download at http://epodcastnetwork.com/basics-of-employee-benefit-plan-governance-and-fiduciary-responsibility-with-matthew-gouaux/
"Benefit plan administrators have a long list of legal duties to satisfy. The key to avoiding liability is understanding those duties and implementing procedures to ensrue that they are satisfied," says Gouaux. The U.S. Department of Labor has specific laws that define and govern employee benefit plans. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for pension plans in private industry. Throughout Dye's interview, Gouaux thoughtfully answers specific questions on the obligations of fiduciaries of employee benefit plans and describes examples of the potential consequences of unfulfilled fiduciary obligations, explains ways both employers and fiduciaries can minimize their risk, and provides ways to find and resolve a breach of fiduciary duty.
When asked what obligations a fiduciary has, Gouaux explains, "There are a number of obligations a plan fiduciary has. The fiduciary role involves providing benefits to participants and beneficiaries. They're responsible for managing expenses of plan, and that can be a complicated role because there are so many different types of plan expenses. There are investment management fees, there are all sorts of different types of investment-related fees, that may or may not be obvious to the fiduciary."
Matthew Gouaux is an attorney at Trucker Huss, APC, a law firm based in San Francisco, California. Gouaux is the President of the San Francisco Chapter of the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA), a member of the Board of Directors of the Barristers Club of the Bar Association of San Francisco, and a committee member of the Western Pension & Benefits Conference. He is a native of California, and a graduate of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge Law School. More information about fiduciary responsibility and compliance can be found at http://www.truckerhuss.com and http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.