Vanderbilt Law Review

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Congress enacted the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in 19741 to address problems in the area of employee pensions and benefits, with which prior federal enactments and complementary state regulation had been unable to cope. ERISA established a comprehensive scheme that placed the regulation of qualified employee benefit plans exclusively in federal hands.' The drafters of ERISA also sought to reserve to the states the power to regulate areas in which they traditionally had primacy--most notably, insurance, banking, and securities. The drafters of ERISA thus attempted to carve out an area of "exclusive federal concern," while preserving state regulation of tangential areas, so as not to create a regulatory void, nor to infringe onstate police powers.

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