The enactment of the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 has had a profound and far-reaching impact upon existing employee benefit plans and upon those which have since been created. ERISA, as the act is commonly designated, is a comprehen- sive federal statute with strong consumer protection overtones which sets up strict requirements for regulating most aspects of the operation and administration of private employee benefit plans. Its primary goals are: (1) to protect benefit rights and to provide retirement security for the participants of employee benefit plans by setting out minimum standards for nondiscriminatory participation, vesting, benefit accrual, and funding; (2) to regulate the fiduciary conduct of plan administrators and trustees; and (3) to create a government insurance program to protect the participants of certain benefit plans which terminate prematurely. Responsibility for implementation and enforcement of these goals is shared by a number of federal agencies including the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, the ERISA-created Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Louise C. Boggs,
Qualified Plans Under ERISA: Tax Shelter or Bureaucratic Paper Chase?,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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