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Cryptocurrency In 401(k)s: DOL Warns Retirement Plan Fiduciaries



Warning On Cryptocurrency in 401(k)s

DOL Releases Warning on Cryptocurrency in 401(k)s.  On April 11, 2022 William Byrnes Posted This Message Under Tax Notes Intelligence

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a compliance assistance release that warns retirement plan fiduciaries about allowing participants to invest in either cryptocurrencies or products that are related to cryptocurrency.  The guidance comes in response to President Biden’s executive order that directed agencies to study the risks and benefits of cryptocurrency.  The DOL release warned that in the eyes of the DOL, cryptocurrency poses significant risks and challenges for participants, including the risk of fraud, theft and loss.  The release is clear that plan fiduciaries who allow cryptocurrency investment options should expect to be questioned about how those decisions could comply with their duties of prudence and loyalty.  Plan fiduciaries should pay close attention and carefully evaluate whether allowing crypto-related products in their investment lineup is worth the risk, given the DOL’s sweeping statements and indication that it will presume that a fiduciary who offers cryptocurrency products has acted imprudently.

For more information on the current DOL fiduciary standard and new prohibited transaction exemption, Read More.

Have a question? Contact William Byrnes.

William H. Byrnes has achieved authoritative prominence with more than 20 books, treatise chapters and book supplements, 1,000 media articles, and the monthly subscriber Tax Facts Intelligence. Titles include: Lexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance, Foreign Tax and Trade Briefs, Practical Guide to U.S. Transfer Pricing, and Money Laundering, Asset Forfeiture; Recovery, and Compliance (a Global Guide). He is a principal author of the Tax Facts series. He was a Senior Manager, then Associate Director of international tax for Coopers and Lybrand, and practiced in Southern Africa, Western Europe, South East Asia, the Indian sub-continent, and the Caribbean. He has been commissioned by a number of governments on tax policy. Obtained the title of tenured law professor in 2005 at St. Thomas in Miami, and in 2008 the level of Associate Dean at Thomas Jefferson. William Byrnes pioneered online legal education in 1995, thereafter creating the first online LL.M. offered by an ABA accredited law school (International Taxation and Financial Services graduate program).

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