This week, the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) announced that plan sponsors seeking fiduciary relief for a service provider’s failure to comply with the DOL’s plan-level fee disclosure rule will be able to use a new online filing system, replacing the option of electronically sending notices to a previously established email address.
“The revised submission procedures should provide plan sponsors a greater level of confidence that their requests for fiduciary relief have been received and will be efficiently processed and reviewed,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for EBSA Phyllis C. Borzi. “The easy-to-use online filing system guides plan sponsors through the information that must be submitted, and allows us to more quickly process and respond to their requests. We’ve also retained flexibility for those plan sponsors who choose to submit paper notices.”
The final service provider-to-plan sponsor fee disclosure rule, referred to as the 408(b)(2) regulation for the relevant section in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), became effective on July 1, 2012. For more information on the rule, read 401(k) Fee Disclosure Rules: Effective Now.
The rule includes a provision to protect plan sponsors, or other responsible plan fiduciaries, from liability for a breach of their fiduciary duties under ERISA when, without the plan sponsor’s knowledge, a service provider fails to comply with the rule’s comprehensive disclosure requirements. If a plan sponsor discovers that required information has not been furnished, and efforts to obtain the information are not successful, the sponsor must notify the department, by regular mail or electronically.
Electronic notices now can be filed online. Plan sponsors who want to send paper notices can now submit them to a dedicated P.O. box address, rather than to the department’s general mailing address. Notices can be addressed to: U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Office of Enforcement, P.O. Box 75296, Washington, D.C. 20013.
New Website for Consumers
The EBSA also launched a new 401(k) fee disclosure website as a resource for consumers. The new site offers information on disclosures that will help workers with 401(k)-type retirement plans see what they are paying to invest their savings. It also includes new tips and tools on making smart retirement investment decisions.
As a result of a rule published by EBSA, workers investing in 401(k)-type plans began receiving fee disclosures from their employers this summer, marking the first time that employers have been required to provide this information.
More 401(k) Fee Disclosure Rule Resources
Are you aware of your responsibilities as a plan sponsor under the new rules? We have resources to help.
BLR's 2012 New 401(k) Fee Disclosure Compliance provides you with explanations, checklists, samples, charts, fact sheets and the actual DOL regulation from Federal Register. It will guide you through the maze of establishing the framework for disclosure and help you develop the communications for compliance.
In addition, BLR has created a series of videos that provide details on the new 401(k) fee disclosure requirements. We have also put together a comprehensive resource for compliance.
Here are links to videos: