Executive Compensation & Benefits

Foundation Publication Search Results

These summaries were compiled from Foundation Publications Search, a database of articles, research reports and books published by the International Foundation and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists.


Plan Administrator Must Comply With Terms of Top-Hat Plan.
Benefits Magazine; v54 no4 p 55 Apr 2017; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire finds that the defendant administrator of a top-hat plan arbitrarily and capriciously interpreted the terms of the plan with respect to the timing and distribution of benefits to the plaintiff former employee and remands the case for further proceedings.
[0200535]

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Factual Disputes Over Executive Benefit Claims to Be Resolved at Trial.
Benefits Magazine; v54 no3 p 59 Mar 2017; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California finds that neither the plaintiff former bank executive nor the defendant bank and compensation committee resolved all issues of fact with regard to a dispute over pension benefits and denies summary judgment to both parties.
[0200501]

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Former Company Executives May Proceed With Challenges to Top-Hat Plan Amendments.
Benefits Magazine; v54 no2 p 49 Feb 2017; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denies the defendant company's motion to dismiss and allows plaintiffs to proceed with challenges to the defendant top-hat plans, but the court grants the defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of standing on behalf of plaintiff former spouses.
[0200458]

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Nonprofit Prohibited From Withholding Payment of SERP Benefits.
Benefits Magazine; v54 no2 pp 56-57 Feb 2017; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York holds that the defendant nonprofit organization could not simply stop paying the plantiff former executive his retirement benefits under a top-hat plan but allows the case to more forward to resolve the issue of an agreement between the parties and certain plan amendments that reduced the plaintiffs' benefits.
[0200465]

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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v53 no11 pp 73-75 Nov 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Summarizes cases on severance, withdrawal liability, benefit denials and retirement benefits.
[0200348]

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Top-Hat Plan May Grant Discretion.
Benefits Quarterly; v32 no4 p 69 4th Qtr 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Plan participant did not show that severance benefit plan administrator abused its discretion in denying him benefits under the plan. The court held that the distinction between "top-hat" plans and other plans was irrelevant because, even under basic contract law, a plan can provide discretion regarding benefits eligibility determinations.
[0200393]

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Severance Benefits Properly Denied to Executives Involved in Bid-Rigging Scheme.
Benefits Magazine; v53 no10 p 56 Oct 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirms a district court decision that the defendant insurance broker company properly fired the plaintiff executives for cause and properly denied unvested deferred compensation and severance benefits.
[0200313]

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Benefit Trends: Innovative Offerings Reflect Employee Demographics.
Held, Justin; Benefits Magazine; v53 no8 pp 8-9 Aug 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Beyond staples such as health care and retirement benefits, employers are offering a wider variety of innovative benefits that reflect their diverse workforces, according to "Employee Benefits Survey 2016."
[0200248]

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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v53 no8 pp 63-65 Aug 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Summarizes cases on beneficiary designation, preemption, benefit denials and contributions.
[0200268]

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Recoupment Limited to Identifiable Funds in Defendant's Possession and Control.
Benefits Magazine; v53 no1 pp 49, 51 Jan 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri finds that the plaintiff company and supplemental pension plan may proceed with claims against the defendant former executive for more than $1.3 million in overpayments, but only to the extent the funds could be identified as belonging to the plaintiffs and traceable to particular funds or property in the defendant's possession.
[0200016]

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Employee Benefits Survey: 2016 Results
Held, Justin; Mrkvicka, Neil; Stich, Julie; 70 pp 2016; survey

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Results of the fifth comprehensive benchmarking survey conducted by the International Foundation. Includes data on pension and retirement plans, health care benefits and other benefits, such as life insurance, work/life benefits and time off, for three distinct sectors in the U.S.—corporations (including professional service firms), public employers and multiemployer benefit plans. Responses were gathered from members of the Foundation and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists during 2016.
[0200225]

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Disability Insurer's Recoupment of Overpaid Benefits Limited to Traceable Funds.
Benefits Magazine; v52 no8 pp 63-64 Aug 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : A former company president and executive participated in the group long-term disability plan, resigned in 2013, was granted disability for back problems and took an advisory role with the company. In 2012 he earned $320,000 plus profit sharing and consulting income. Under plan terms, disability payments ceased if a participant earned over 80 percent of indexed total monthly earnings. The plan determined the individual's combined income exceeded the limit and retroactively stopped disability payments to the start of 2012. After losing appeals, the individual filed suit as Fine v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, with the defendant filing a counterclaim. The plaintiff asserted the generous bonus payment should not be included along with other objections to the definition and calculation of income, while the defendant claimed the bonus was for work performed as advisor. The court supported the defendant's interpretation recognizing overpayment but, since the plaintiff's funds were comingled or spent, the available overpayment was limited to $9,900.
[0167068]

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Looking Past Due Diligence for Benefit Plans in Mergers and Acquisitions.
Komornicka, Mary L.; Benefits Quarterly; v31 pp 8-14 3rd Qtr 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Employee benefit plans often get short shrift in the due diligence process for mergers and acquisitions. The buyer in a stock sale assumes responsibility and liability for the seller's benefit plans but, without a full understanding of the inherited plans, designs and features, is exposed to risk. For health and welfare plans, acquiring companies need to know about reserves for runoff claims, coverage availability, COBRA liability, retiree plans and Affordable Care Act issues, as well as vacation and sick pay obligations. Retirement plans may be delayed implementing actions for regulatory compliance. Defined contribution, defined benefit and executive benefit plans each have unique concerns and potential risks that demand careful evaluation. Ideally, benefit professionals are involved early in the transition process to review and identify issues.
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Plaintiff Is Not Entitled to Benefits From His SERP.
Benefits Magazine; v51 no5 pp 57-58 May 2014; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The plaintiff in Wall v. Alcon Labs. Inc., a former employee of the defendant company, a pharmaceutical firm, sued when denied benefits for violating a noncompete clause. The plaintiff switched jobs to work for a biopharma company but gave minimal details about his new position or employer as requested by the defendant. The plaintiff asserted he had good reason for leaving the defendant and sued for denied supplemental executive retirement plan (SERP) benefits and breach of contract over a restricted stock unit award. The Fifth Circuit Appeals Court upheld the district court's summary judgment for the defendant. The higher court noted the new employer's business interests compete with the defendant company and found a promise to pay legal costs for a possible suit over the noncompete clause to be curious if competition were not a concern. The court also dismissed the breach of contract claim since the plaintiff gave the defendant no opportunity to address employment concerns.
[0165231]

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Employee Benefits Survey 2014.
International Foundation; 63 pp; survey

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Results of the fourth comprehensive benchmarking survey conducted by the International Foundation. Includes data on pension and retirement plans, health care benefits and other benefits, such as life insurance, work/life benefits and time off, for three distinct sectors in the U.S.—corporations (including professional service firms), public employers and multiemployer benefit plans. Responses were gathered from members of the Foundation and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists during 2014.
[0168006]

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ACA Nondiscrimination Provision: Impacts on Small and Midsize Employers.
Starkman, Jay; Miraglia, Dorothy; Benefits Magazine; v50 no8 pp 26-31 Aug 2013; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits discrimination by insured, nongrandfathered group health plans favoring highly compensated employees and imposes costly penalties for violations. Without attractive health benefits, employers will have to take different approaches to lure executives. It is unclear whether nondiscrimination testing rules will be borrowed from those used for self-funded plans, including the definition of highly compensated individual. The type of safe harbor plan designs and the effects of an individual waiving coverage are unknown as of summer 2013. Different waiting periods for different employee classes, varying contribution amounts and plans available only to certain employees will not be allowed. Costs of noncompliance could be especially burdensome to smaller businesses.
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IRS Form 990: A Refresher on Plan Governance and Key Financial Disclosures.
Stines, Patrick C.; Benefits Magazine; v50 no8 pp 42-46 Aug 2013; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Collectively bargained health and welfare plans are exempt from taxes under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)9 and must file Form 990 annually. A 2008 revision expanded disclosure requirements regarding plan governance, executive compensation and transactions between related parties. Though not required, the IRS looks favorably on written descriptions of organizational structure and policies. It requires disclosure of trustee independence, family or business relationships, policies for authorization and documentation, document retention policies, any changes in governing documents and public disclosure methods. Executive compensation disclosure extends to fringe benefits and compensation methods and is more extensive for certain officers. Related organizations and partnerships must be fully detailed.
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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v50 no1 pp 63-64 Jan 2013; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The plaintiff in American International Group Inc. Amended and Restated Executive Severance Plan v. Guterman declined a different position offered when the company was reorganized and, as a result, was denied severance benefits. The Second Circuit Appeals Court confirmed that, under the plan terms, an individual who resigns is ineligible for severance. In Crane v. Sartain et al. the federal court for the Northern District of Illinois was unable to grant summary judgment for either party since multiple issues of fact were in dispute. After being terminated, the plaintiff sought $78,000 in vested employee stock benefits, but the company declined due to financial instability. In Trustees of the Iron Workers' Local No. 25 Pension Fund et al. v. Municipal & Industrial Storage Inc., the plaintiff plans issued writs of garnishment on the defendant's accounts receivable to make up for unpaid contributions. When a bank claimed interest and put a lien on the funds, the court placed the garnished funds in escrow. The federal court for Eastern Michigan determined the bank had priority and denied the plans' claims. In Doyle v. The Western Pennsylvania Teamsters and Employers Fund, the plan determined the retired plan participant's work as a part-time truck driver was suspendible employment and sought reimbursement for benefits paid. Though there was confusion over hours worked and hours paid, the court for the Western District of Pennsylvania relied on payroll records and granted summary judgment for the plan.
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