Advisory Opinions

Requests for interpretations and other rulings under Title 1 of ERISA are handled by the Office of Regulations and Interpretations under the provisions established by ERISA Procedure 76-1.  The office answers inquiries from individuals and organizations in the form of advisory opinions, which apply the law to a specific set of facts, or information letters, which merely call attention to well established principles or interpretations.

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2019
AO/ Date/ Reference Recipient Description of Request
07/08/2019
3(40)
3(5)

Alden J. Bianchi
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
One Financial Center
Boston, MA 02111

Whether the Ace Hardware Ace Hardware Corporation Cooperative Group Health Plan is an "employee welfare benefit plan" within the meaning of section 3(1) of ERISA that is maintained by a "group or association of employers" within the meaning of section 3(5) of ERISA and whether it is a MEWA that is fully insured within the meaning of sections 3(40) and 514(b)(6)(A) of ERISA.

2018
AO/ Date/ Reference Recipient Description of Request
11/05/2018
3(21)(A)
4975

J. Spencer Williams
Founder, President and CEO
Retirement Clearinghouse, LLC
3545 Whitehall Park Drive, Suite 400
Charlotte, NC 28273

This advisory opinion concerns the status of certain parties as fiduciaries within the meaning of section 3(21)(A) of ERISA and section 4975(e)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as a result of actions undertaken as part of a Retirement Clearinghouse Auto Portability Program designed to help employees consolidate certain small accounts in plans and IRAs when they change jobs.

2017
AO/ Date/ Reference Recipient Description of Request
05/16/2017
3(40)
3(5)

Darcy L. Hitesman
Hitesman & Wold
12900 – 63rd  Avenue North
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Whether a sub-group of employer members of a trade association could constitute a “group or association of employers” within the meaning of section 3(5) of ERISA capable of sponsoring a multiple employer plan, and whether a group health plan proposed by the sub-group would constitute a multiple employer welfare arrangement within the meaning of section 3(40) of ERISA.

01/13/2017
3(1)
3(40)

Vanessa A. Scott, Esq.
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP
700 Sixth Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20001-3980

This advisory opinion concerns how the definition of employee welfare benefit plan and the definition of multiple employer welfare arrangement might apply to a program of administrative services.

2015
AO/ Date/ Reference Recipient Description of Request
10/19/2015
401(b)

Nancy S. Gerrie
McDermott Will & Emery
227 West Monroe Street
Chicago, Illinois 60606-5096

 

Whether stop-loss insurance policies purchased by a plan sponsor to manage risk associated with a self-insured contributory welfare plan would constitute plan assets.