D. Prohibited transactions
Certain transactions are prohibited under the law to prevent dealings with parties who may be in a position to exercise improper influence over a retirement plan. Fiduciaries are prohibited from engaging in self-dealing and must avoid conflicts of interest that could harm the plan.
The following are prohibited transactions:
- A sale, exchange, or lease between the plan and party-in-interest;
- Lending money or other extension of credit between the plan and party- in-interest; and
- Furnishing goods, services, or facilities between the plan and party-in-interest.
Other prohibitions relate solely to fiduciaries who use the plan's assets in their own interest or who act on both sides of a transaction involving a plan. Fiduciaries cannot receive money or any other consideration for their personal account from any party doing business with the plan related to that business.
Prohibited parties (known as parties in interests) include:
- The employer,
- The union,
- Service providers,
- Statutorily defined owners, officers and relatives of parties in interest.
E. Reporting requirements
Disclosure and reporting
ERISA requires extensive reporting and disclosure requirements on employee benefit plans. They require various forms and information to be disclosed to participants and filed with either the Department of Labor or the IRS.
Major reporting and disclosure requirements:
- Summary Plan Description (SPD) - Primary vehicle for explaining a plan's provisions and how it operates to plan participants. Must be made distributed to participants within 120 days of plan and within 90 days to new participants being covered. Updated SPD must be furnished every five years if changes are made; otherwise, every 10 years.
- Form 5500 (Annual Report) - Annual reporting form filed with the IRS and the Department of Labor.
- Summary Annual Report (SAR) - Narrative summary of Form 5500. Must be distributed automatically to participants within 9 months after end of plan year or 2 months after due date for Form 5500.
- Individual benefit statements - Explanation of total accrued benefits and total nonforfeitable pension benefits, if any, which have accrued, or the earliest date on which benefits become nonforfeitable. Generally, must be furnished within 30 days of a written request from a plan participant, but not more than once a year.
- Plan documents - Plan administrator must furnish copies of certain documents within 30 days of a written request and must maintain copies available for inspection.
InvestingSome companies are making it harder for employees to sue over retirement fund problems. Here is what you need to know about the trend.
TaxesFollowing a checklist can make achieving compliance with Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requirements much less burdensome.
Managing WealthLearn the best practices plan sponsors can use to limit their fiduciary liabilities while improving their plan's overall effectiveness.
RetirementHere is a look at the role employers play in 401(k) plans.
Financial AdvisorUnder the new fiduciary rule small business owners may be subject to less risk for the plans that they sponsor. Here's why.
RetirementThese plans aren't widely used, but they fill a specific niche for employees in certain situations.
Financial AdvisorThese plans resemble 401(k) plans in many respects, but are specially designed for nonprofit entities.
RetirementHigh-cost, outdated plans can keep your retirement portfolio from thriving. Here's what to do – and the 2015 Supreme Court case that could help.
Financial AdvisorThe final version of the DOL’s fiduciary rule provides some relief for advisors who serve 401(k) plans.
Financial AdvisorAre cash balance pensions the right solution for your small business clients? Here's why they may or may not work for your firm.