September 3, 2014
Authored by: benefitsbclp
Forty years ago yesterday, September 2, 1974, Congress passed the Employees Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Most, maybe all, of the people reading this blog owe their careers to a single piece of legislation that has spawned growth industries and cottage industries. The acronym “ERISA” has special meaning to all who work in the employee benefits industry.
ERISA exists in no small measure due to three factors: (1) the ineptitude and greed of those running the automobile manufacturer, Studebaker–Packard Corporation back in the early 1960s; (2) the mismanagement and abuse (likely theft with no federal recourse to protect participants) of the world’s then largest pension fund by the executives of the Teamsters Union; and (3) the legislative tenacity of Senators Jacob Javits and Harrison Williams. These factors forged together over a decade to get ERISA passed. The legislative debate was one of the most significant management versus