Retirement Plan Investment Changes: Meeting Strict ERISA Requirements Amid Increasing DOL Audits and Lawsuits

Complying With Procedural Requirements for Investment Selection, Documentation and Notice

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Thursday, February 19, 2015

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will provide ERISA counsel and plan fiduciaries with a plan of action for selecting investments and making investment changes within retirement plans in an environment of increased DOL audits and lawsuits. Our experienced panelists will discuss the requirements governing selection, documentation, notice and more.


Retirement plans operate within an increasingly unstable environment. DOL audits and lawsuits are on the rise. ERISA counsel must be prepared to advise fiduciary committees on the complex and still-developing rules governing plan investments, including investment selection and changes.

Plan fiduciaries and sponsors face liability when they fail to operate prudently in reviewing and selecting new investments. They must engage in a process that passes muster under a stringent standard of care keeping in mind that ERISA §404(c) may not provide expected liability protections.

In addition to operating prudently, fiduciaries must document their processes appropriately to prepare for the increased likelihood of being audited by the DOL or being sued. Counsel must be knowledgeable of ERISA notice regulations, including  complex Sarbanes-Oxley blackout period rules.

Listen as our authoritative panel reviews the specific requirements involving the choice of investments and alternatives, documentation requirements, and notice rules to include the strict blackout period regulations pursuant to Sarbanes-Oxley. The panelists will provide best practices to avoid liability pitfalls when reviewing and selecting new investment choices.



  1. Procedural requirements for investment selection
    1. Prudence standards
    2. ERISA 404(c) protections
    3. Meeting requirements
    4. Monitoring
  2. Documentation requirements
  3. Notice requirements
    1. Blackout period rules


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • The latest developments and trends in the area of fiduciary compliance.
  • What to do about difficult fiduciary issues, such as employer stock and revenue sharing?
  • How to deal with brokerage windows and socially responsible funds.
  • What are the ERISA requirements regarding investment selection? How is the prudent standard applied to plan sponsors and fiduciaries?
  • How must fiduciaries best utilize the protections afforded to them by §404(c)? What are its limitations?
  • What best documentation practices should be implemented and how will they operate to protect fiduciaries during a DOL audit?
  • How must fiduciaries notify all of those affected by investment asset changes? How do the Sarbanes-Oxley blackout period rules apply?


Mark E. Bokert
Mark E. Bokert

Davis & Gilbert

Mr. Bokert is Chair of the firm’s Benefits & Compensation Practice Group. His practice encompasses nearly all...  |  Read More

Jeffrey M. Holdvogt
Jeffrey M. Holdvogt

McDermott Will & Emery

Mr. Holdvogt advises clients regarding a variety of employee benefits matters. His practice focuses primarily on the...  |  Read More

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