January 10, 2017

Colleges Can Build a Retirement Plan that Withstands Lawsuits

By Sarah Bassler Millar and Richard J. Pearl

Chicago attorneys Sarah Millar and Rick Pearl wrote an article for University Business titled, “Colleges can build a retirement plan that withstands lawsuits.” The article outlined the best practices for higher education fiduciaries and comes after a string of lawsuits against universities that allege retirement plan fiduciaries breached their duties under ERISA.

Sarah and Rick state that the best way for fiduciaries to demonstrate that they act solely in the interest of participants and beneficiaries is to develop and document a process for making fiduciary decisions. They further note that this process should begin with clearly-drafted policies and procedures, and should identify who is responsible for each particular fiduciary function.

They also advise fiduciary training by outside counsel, as well effective audits; retaining third-party experts for specialized knowledge and information; ensuring that prior fiduciary decisions remain prudent over time; and documenting all details so that a person with little knowledge of the plan would be able to understand the committee’s actions.

Full Article
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