Sheet metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

Trustee Advisor Blog

This blog educates industry trustees to aid them in better fund operations in order to control costs and provide quality benefits to fund participants.

  • Actuary’s “Best Estimate” Needed for Withdrawal Liability Calculation
    A federal judge in New York ruled that using the “Segal Blend” interest assumption to calculate a withdrawing company’s multiemployer pension liability was a “mistake” and unsupported by the record.
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  • PBGC Issues Policy on Alternative Withdrawal Liability Payment Rules
    In April, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation issued guidance to assist multiemployer pension plans seeking to have the PBGC review their alternative plan rules for satisfying employer withdrawal liability. The guidance, via a policy statement, explains PBGC’s review process, the information needed, and factors PBGC considers in reviewing plan proposals.
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  • Cadillac Tax Delayed Again… And Other Legislative Developments You Need to Know About
    There are a lot of changes taking place in Washington, D.C. that may impact your benefit fund. In addition to the Cadillac Tax, trustees should be following issues surrounding retirement plans, multiemployer pension plan solvency, and a disability rule change—all covered in this issue of the Trustee Advisor Blog.
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  • Lower Fees on Your Trust Investment Possible
    ​Index funds with reduced fees and no minimum investment requirement are available, thanks to the collaboration of SMART and Legal & General Investment Management America (Legal & General).
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  • Wake Up Call: You May Be Failing as a Trustee
    If you, as a management trustee, are not actively taking on the role of overseeing the operations of your trust fund, you are failing in your job as a trustee. ERISA Taft-Hartley funds are expressly set up by law to be jointly administered funds. Whether we are talking about a pension, health and welfare, or training fund, it is not the union’s responsibility to run it. It is both yours and theirs. Don’t ever act otherwise.
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  • Unintended Consequences May Be Coming Your Way
    The nationally recognized body for setting accounting rules and standards, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), issued a proposed change to the accounting standards for auditing of employee benefit funds.
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  • SMART’s New Prescription Benefit Manager: Can It Save You Money?
    As we all know, prescription drug benefits are one of the leading cost drivers for health plans. The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) negotiated a contract with a national prescription benefit manager (PBM) whose goal is to offer a prescription drug benefit plan that provides cost-effective prescription benefit services and cost-effective dispensing of prescription drugs as well as other covered products to local health funds.
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  • Who is Paying that Bill???
    It is sometimes in a trustee’s best interest to retain an attorney at the outset of an investigation by the Department of Labor (DOL) for possible violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). If you find yourself in that situation, you’ll want to know that someone other than you is paying for your legal representation. You may mistakenly believe that the plan’s fiduciary insurer will pay for an attorney to represent you during a DOL investigation but that may not be the case.
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  • Apprenticeship EEO Regulations First Deadline Approaching – July 18th
    On Dec. 19, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a final rule updating the guidelines on how joint apprentice training committees (JATCs) must ensure equal employment opportunities in your apprenticeship programs.
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  • A Well-Run Benefit Fund Is Clear, Concise, and Careful
    Effective communication with plan participants is key to having a well-run benefit fund. Guidance on effective communication is abundant. In short, be clear, be concise, and be careful. Keep the following points in mind the next time your fund is putting together a participant mailing.
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  • Waiver of Recourse: Don’t Get Caught Holding the Bill
    ERISA trust funds are required by law to purchase a fidelity bond covering breaches of honesty by covered individuals. Fiduciary liability coverage on the other hand is not required by ERISA. Nonetheless, it is prudent, and considered a “must,” for trust funds to have this coverage. The article, “Insurance Protection for ERISA Funds: What New (and Even Veteran) Trustees Need to Know” is a good refresher on the types of insurance coverage needed by ERISA funds.
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  • Navigating the Slippery Slope: Testing Apprentices
    Recruiting and selecting an apprentice can be a challenging process and not just because of the difficulty in finding qualified candidates. When a local JATC selects apprentices for its program, it is treated as an employer. Its actions are therefore subject to numerous federal and state law limitations.
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  • Navigating the Slippery Slope: The Application and the Interview
    Recruitment and selection of an apprentice can be a challenging process and not just because of the difficulty in finding qualified candidates. When a local JATC selects apprentices for its program, it is treated as an employer. Its actions are therefore subject to numerous federal and state law limitations.
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  • Navigating the Slippery Slope to Selecting an Apprentice for Training
    Under the law, for all intents and purposes, when a local Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) selects apprentices for its program, it is treated as an employer. Its actions are therefore subject to numerous federal and state law limitations.
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  • Compliance with Mental Health Parity Law Under Investigation
    For the last year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has been letting people know they will be investigating their health fund’s compliance with the mental health parity laws.
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  • Fail to Scrutinize and be Personally Liable to the Tune of $240,000???
    In February of 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) filed a suit against the International Order of Machinists National Pension Fund (IAMNPF) and its board of trustees. They were charged with multiple violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
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  • Proposed Revisions to Form 5500
    The government is seeking comments on proposed changes to the Form 5500 – a very important form your trust fund completes annually. The Department of Labor (DOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) are specifically looking for comments on how to turn Form 5500 into a “21st Century” information collection tool while minimizing administrative burdens with respect to the operation of benefit plans.
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  • Recent Developments in Withdrawal Liability
    Several court decisions on withdrawal liability have surfaced over the last year. For pension fund trustees it is important to have a general understanding of what the courts have decided so that they can talk with fund counsel to determine if it merits a change in the pension plan’s withdrawal liability policies and procedures. Following is a short recap of each decision.
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  • The Search Is On: Finding Lost Participants
    Participants have gone missing. Are you doing enough to find them? If you are not asking that question of your fund, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) may soon be asking it for you. The DOL has announced that it is investigating retirement plans to specifically determine whether the plan has paid benefits to participants as required.
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  • Is Cyber-Liability Insurance Really Necessary?
    If your trust fund is the keeper of personal identity or sensitive information on participants and their beneficiaries, the answer is likely, yes. However, when the fund’s service providers are maintaining that information, the question is a bit more complex.
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