Jennifer Kiesewetter a seasoned attorney in the field of employee benefits will discuss how to navigate the investigation process, offer practice pointers on working with Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) investigators, and discuss strategies for determining and implementing corrective action and deciding whether to enter into a settlement agreement.
Objectives of the Presentation
Why Should you Attend
- What factors should plan sponsors and counsel consider when determining whether to seek settlement of an enforcement action?
- What are the challenges and pitfalls for negotiating settlements and penalties with EBSA?
- What are best practices for ensuring compliance and avoiding agency scrutiny?
- What are the DOL's enforcement initiatives focusing on in 2016?
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) grants the Secretary of Labor - and specifically, the Employee Benefits Security Administration - jurisdiction to investigate any benefit plan governed by ERISA. The agencies responsible for overseeing ERISA-regulated employee benefit plans continue to ramp up investigations and enforcement actions.
EBSA recovered $696.3 million on behalf of plans, participants and beneficiaries in FY 2015. The agency has announced its intention to continue to direct more investigative resources on fiduciaries and service providers responsible for large amounts of plan assets in 2016. EBSA conducts civil and criminal investigations and has authority to refer cases to other governmental agencies such as the IRS, SEC, PBGC or the U.S. Attorney's Office.
DOL investigations can be far-reaching, costly and time-consuming (months or even years). Once a plan sponsor or fiduciary is the target of an investigation, benefits counsel must closely examine the agency's claims, identify and collect extensive documentation and create an investigation strategy that will resolve the agency's allegations and foreclose further action. Counsel for the plan sponsor may also have to decide whether or not to enter into a settlement agreement, which is not always a straightforward decision when settlement can result in an automatic penalty in addition to the cost of remedial measures.
Who will Benefit
- Overview of DOL/EBSA regulatory scheme and enforcement initiatives
- Various types of DOL audits and what each entails
- Key DOL Audit Issues
- Retirement Plans vs. Welfare Plan DOL Audit issues
- How to prepare for a DOL audit
- Working with auditors and investigators
- Corrective action and settlements
- Steps to negotiate the minimum penalty or charge possible
- Best practices for responding to investigations and audits
- Executive human resources (directors, vice-presidents)
- Small business owners
- In-house corporate counsel
- Employee benefit lawyers