10 Basic Rules for an ERISA Fiduciary

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - 11:30am to 1:00pm
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HR Newswatch

An ERISA plan fiduciary is subject to many rules and regulations that are complex and which carry heavy penalties for noncompliance. Join experienced ERISA fiduciary lawyer Anthony A. Dreyspool as he discusses the 10 basic rules that must be observed by a plan fiduciary, including knowing whether a person or an entity is a fiduciary, how ERISA expects a fiduciary to act and what happens if he or she fails to meet applicable legal standards. This presentation will give you a thorough review of how ERISA and the US Department of Labor (DOL) regulate plan fiduciary conduct.

In 2016 DOL issued its long-awaited regulation on investment advisers that changed and broadened the definition of who is an ERISA fiduciary.   The rule was struck down by a federal court, and Mr. Dreyspool will describe the regulation, review its demise and explain what will happen next.  Mr. Dreyspool will also review the holdings of ground-breaking legal decisions that directly affect a plan fiduciary’s risk of personal liability.


  • Know when you become an ERISA plan fiduciary; learn about the DOL’s attempt to expand the definition of a fiduciary and what happens now.
  • Allocate and delegate your fiduciary responsibility to the extent prudent and feasible.
  • Make sure your 401(k) plan qualifies as a Section 404(c) plan.
  • Know about the plan assets regulation and whether your plan is deemed to own assets of entities in which it invests.
  • Obey the ERISA standard of conduct for fiduciaries.
  • Act with “procedural prudence.”
  • Avoid prohibited transactions and breaches of fiduciary duty.
  • Remit employee contributions to your plans on a timely basis.
  • Meet your reporting and disclosure requirements.


Anthony A. Dreyspool, Esq. has extensive experience regarding ERISA matters and substantial knowledge in structuring and forming private real estate and equity funds for the institutional investment market. He has counseled plan sponsors regarding fiduciary matters and many of the largest real estate fund managers on ERISA and fund formation matters.

Before forming his own firm, he was a partner with DLA Piper, and prior to that, Of Counsel at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in New York. Before that, he was the chief ERISA attorney for AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. In that role, he advised Equitable and its investment management subsidiaries on all legal requirements involved in the investment of ERISA plan assets. Currently, Mr. Dreyspool is also an independent senior fiduciary consultant with Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC.

Mr. Dreyspool is the author of ERISA Fiduciary Law for Non-Lawyers, Second Edition.

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