ThinkAdvisor: Closed Courts, Missing 401(k) Participants Confront DOL Agency: GAO

June 15, 2021

O’Melveny partner Brian Boyle was quoted in this ThinkAdvisor article about ERISA enforcement challenges in the wake of the pandemic, including a backlog of cases and trouble tracking down missing participants in employer sponsored benefit plans.

The article references a new report by the Government Accountability Office indicating that the Employee Benefits Security Administration has refocused its enforcement efforts on “major cases.”

“The DOL’s more selective and targeted enforcement activity in recent years is in marked contrast to the explosion of private litigation that is engulfing pension and health plans over all manner of issues — fees, disclosures, conflicts, investment performance, benefits administration,” Boyle said “If one assumes that DOL has less institutional interest in targeting plans that the ERISA plaintiffs’ bar is already swarming, then the list of available investigation targets is going to continue to narrow.”

Boyle added that while Labor Department actions against registered investment advisors “have historically been less common than other DOL enforcement activity,” some of the DOLs recent actions “rest on increasingly audacious theories that put big numbers in play.”

ThinkAdvisor subscribers can read the full article here.