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The Wagner Law Group

The Wagner Law Group is a nationally recognized practice in the areas of ERISA and employee benefits, estate planning, employment, labor and human resources and  investment management.



Established in 1996, The Wagner Law Group is dedicated to the highest standards of integrity, excellence and thought leadership and is considered to be amongst the nation's premier ERISA and employee benefits law firms. The firm has six offices across the country, providing unparalleled legal advice to its clients, including large, small and nonprofit corporations as well as individuals and government entities worldwide. The Wagner Law Group's 28 attorneys, senior benefits consultant and three paralegals combine many years of experience in their fields of practice with a variety of backgrounds. Seven of the attorneys are AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell and six are Fellows of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, an invitation-only organization of nationally recognized employee benefits lawyers.  Seven of the firm's attorneys have been named to the prestigious Super Lawyers list for 2016, which highlights outstanding lawyers based on a rigorous selection process.




Contact Info

The Wagner Law Group


  Integrity | Excellence



Tel: (617) 357-5200 

Fax: (617) 357-5250 

99 Summer Street 

13th Floor

Boston, MA 02110


Washington, D.C.

Tel: (202) 969-2800

  Fax: (202) 969-2568

800 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

Suite 810

Washington, D.C. 20006


Palm Beach Gardens 

Tel: (561) 293-3590
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7108 Fairway Drive
Suite 125
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418



Tel: (813) 603-2959

Fax: (813) 603-2961

101 East Kennedy Boulevard

Suite 2140
Tampa, FL  33602 


San Francisco

Tel: (415) 625-0002

Fax: (415) 358-8300

300 Montgomery Street

Suite 600

San Francisco, CA 94104


St. Louis

Tel: (314) 236-0065

Fax: (314) 236-5743
25 W. Moody Avenue
St. Louis, MO  63119







July 13, 2017


 Health and Welfare Law Alert




  New Fiduciary Rule Applies to HSAs




The Department of Labor ("DOL") has clarified that individuals who provide advice on health savings accounts ("HSAs") may be considered fiduciaries under its recently-released Fiduciary Rule if their communications rise to the level of investment recommendations.

Background.  The DOL's Fiduciary Rule, which was released in 2016, expands the definition of who is considered a fiduciary as a result of providing investment advice for a direct or indirect fee.  Fiduciary status means that the individual or entity must act in their client's best interest and may be held personally liable for breaches of fiduciary duties.  In addition, fiduciaries are prohibited from engaging in certain transactions where they may be in a position to exercise improper influence.

Fiduciary Rule.  The Fiduciary Rule generally defines "investment advice" to include the following:


  • recommendation to buy, sell hold or exchange investments or how to invest assets rolled over, transferred or distributed from a retirement plan or IRA.
  • recommendations concerning the management of retirement plan or IRA assets or rollovers, transfers, or distributions from a retirement plan or IRA. 


Under the final rule, DOL defines "IRA" to includes HSAs.  DOL explained that it determined that HSA account holders are entitled to receive the same protection as IRA owners, and that HSAs have associated investment accounts that can be used as long-term savings accounts for retiree health care expenses. 

Impact of Fiduciary Rule on Employers that offer HSAs.  The Fiduciary Rule does not necessarily increase the risk of liability for employers that offer HSAs to their employees.  However, employers may be impacted by the final rule if they: (i) provide investment advice to their employees concerning HSAs, or (ii) benefit from such advice being given to their employees (i.e., revenue sharing in connection with a specific HSA investment, or compensation for directing employees towards a particular HSA vendor).

Finally, employers should review their arrangements with HSA vendors to determine whether they qualify as fiduciaries under the Fiduciary Rule.  






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This Newsletter is provided for information purposes by The Wagner Law Group to clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter, and may not be relied upon as specific legal advice.  This material is not to be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. Under the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered advertising.