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ERISA requires retirement plan fiduciaries to do what a like fiduciary would do under the circumstances then prevailing. There is no debate that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a particularly unique set of circumstances in this country. The stock market took the largest downturn since the 2008 financial crisis. That downturn – coupled with the rapid change in societal behavior and stay-at-home orders – has caused a ripple effect resulting in an unprecedented number of company shutdowns and bankruptcies, mass layoffs and furloughs nationwide.

While there is nothing inherent in the health crisis itself that affects retirement plans, fiduciaries might nevertheless be wondering what they should be doing – in the wake of, or in spite of – the unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the market.

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