Editor’s Note: The following post by Los Angeles Of Counsel Joe Faucher appears in the latest issue of the California HR Newsletter.To view the entire newsletter click here. To sign-up to receive the California HR Newsletter click here.
The Scoop on Revenue Sharing
By: Joseph C. Faucher
The Issue: What do plan fiduciaries need to know about revenue sharing?
The Solution: Fiduciaries need to understand that revenue sharing is a common practice in the investment industry. They must be aware if revenue sharing payments are being made and the amount of those payments, determine how those payments are used, and evaluate whether the overall compensation of the party that receives them is reasonable.
Analysis: “Revenue sharing” occurs when an investment company, like a mutual fund company, issues compensation to another service provider – a recordkeeper or a third party administrator. The payments are typically made in exchange for services that the mutual fund company might otherwise have to provide itself. Service providers who expect to receive them are obligated to disclose the anticipated payments and how they are calculated to the responsible plan fiduciary. Fiduciaries need to understand what the service providers who receive revenue sharing do with the money they receive. In some cases, service providers “offset” or reduce their fees by these payments, or credit the payments back to the accounts of the participants. Others simply retain the payments. Since fiduciaries are obligated to know how much compensation their service providers receive, and to determine whether that compensation is reasonable, it is imperative that they understand who is paying revenue sharing, who is receiving it, how much it is being paid and how it is being used.
Editor’s Note: The following post by San Francisco Partner Cheryl Orr appears in the latest issue of the California HR Newsletter. To view the entire newsletter click here. To sign-up to receive the California HR Newsletter click here.
Practical Tips for “Bring Your Own Devices” (BYOD) Policies and Practices
By: Cheryl D. Orr
The Issue: What do employers need to do to minimize risks (privacy, security, safety and wage and hour) caused by use of personal smart phones and tablets in the workplace?
The Solution: Employers can minimize their risks by:
- Drafting clear and consistent policies that cover all technologies and servers used;
- Having employees sign requests granting them access to the company’s systems and acknowledging when they can be wiped;
- Confirming in writing that all information accessed through the company’s systems is confidential and company property and can be wiped if lost or stolen;
- Ensuring compliance with the company’s codes of legal and ethical business conduct; and
- Addressing when employees can use their devices for work and how they will be paid for this time and any associated reimbursable expenses.
Analysis: Employees can inadvertently expose their employers to loss of confidential or trade secret information, create liabilities when inappropriate material on their devices is shared and blur the lines between work and personal time in a way that could be compensable. By following the above practical tips, employers can protect both themselves and their employees. Our team regularly assists with developing BYOD policies and/or training personnel on how to implement should you need further guidance.
Please join us for the Inside the Beltway Audiocast on Thursday, December 5, 2013.
On Thursday, December 5 at noon eastern our colleagues Fred Reish, partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office, and Bradford Campbell, Counsel in the firm’s Washington, DC office, will give a free audiocast discussing developments in Washington that directly impact the retirement income industry. Topics to be discussed during the audiocast include:
- End of the year review of what happened, and what it means
- Budget negotiations and impact on plans
- DOL proposal for 408(b)(2) guide
- DOL Target date fund disclosure final regulation
- Update on the fiduciary advice proposal
- Update on projections of retirement income
- The latest developments in retirement plan litigation
- Other recent developments
Date: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Time: Noon to 1:00 PM (ET)
How: Click the above “RSVP Online” button to register for Inside the Beltway
Lynne Anderson, partner in the firm’s Florham Park office, was quoted in a story that appeared in the Miami Herald regarding the recent incidents of bullying on the Miami Dolphins football team and the potential for the victim of the bullying, Jonathan Martin, to bring legal action against the team and its coaching staff.
Lynne addressed the possiblity of Martin bringing a suit against the team based on Martin belonging to a protected class. “If Martin can prove he was harassed because of his race – and Incognito’s vile voice messages might be the proof he needs…” But, being a member of a protected class is only the first step for bringing a claim against the team as Lynne added, “he also has to show that it [the bullying] was unwelcome behavior”.
Lynne also addressed the chance that even if the team was not aware of the bullying that legal action could be brought against the team’s coaching staff itself. “If the coaches were aware that this kind of conduct was going on among the team, that by itself would be enough to give rise to a complaint.” Lynne went on to further explain, “The law does not recognize a stick-your-head-in-the-sand defense for unlawful harassment”.
Cheryl Orr, partner in the San Francisco office, will be speaking on two panels at Drinker Biddle’s upcoming 2013 ERISA Insurance Symposium. This complimentary symposium, which will be held in the firm’s Chicago office on November 12 & 13, 2013, is intended for in-house counsel and those with ERISA compliance responsibility. It will feature panel discussions and breakout groups with a practical focus on developments and challenges for the recordkeeping divisions and affiliated broker-dealers of insurance companies operating in the qualified retirement plan market. Topics to be discussed include:
- Regulatory developments at the DOL and IRS
- Retirement income guarantees
- ERISA litigation and DOL investigations of service providers
Cheryl’s first panel, Technology Issues for Insurance Companies, will discuss data security issues, cyber risks, FINRA privacy concerns and the impact of the ADA on websites. Her second panel, Odds and Ends: Breakout Discussion of Issues and Problems, will include discussion for Broker-Dealers/RIAs on several topics, including: (i) Conflicts of interest issues; (ii) Ongoing challenges for broker-dealers arising under previously-sold variable annuity contracts; (iii) Employee vs. independent contractor challenges and mitigating risk; and (iv) Pension factoring.
To register for the symposium please visit the registration page here.