Law, College of


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Published by Medill in Missouri Law Review (1996) 61. Copyright 1996, University of Missouri School of Law. Used by permission.


Situations where the direction to the trustee is made by a plan participant must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis, bearing in mind ERISA's underlying purposes and the safeguards created through the statute and its implementing regulations. The analytical approach adopted in the FirsTier Bank court decision, a literal incorporation of the common law of trusts rules into the context of ERISA, is inappropriate because in some situations more protection is needed for the plan participants than was afforded by the common law of trusts. When the direction to the trustee is made by a non-participant plan fiduciary, however, ERISA appears to reject the common law duty of independent inquiry for directed trustees.

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