The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued Technical Release 2011-03, which sets forth an interim policy regarding the use of electronic media to satisfy disclosure requirements under the previously published final participant-level fee disclosure regulation.
Requirements for Participant-Level Fee Disclosures
The participant fee disclosure regulation requires employers to disclose more information about plan and investment costs to workers who direct their own investments in ERISA-covered 401(k) and other individual account retirement plans. Under the final rule, plans generally have until at least May 31, 2012 to begin providing such information and disclosures regarding 401(k) and similar plan fees and expenses.
Interim Guidance Allows Electronic Disclosure of Required Participant Fee Disclosures Under Certain Conditions
Technical Release 2011-03 allows plan administrators to furnish information required under the final participant disclosure rule electronically provided that specific requirements are met. This includes the use of continuous access websites, if certain conditions and safeguards are satisfied.
The interim policy states that EBSA will not take enforcement action based solely on a plan administrator's use of electronic technologies to make the required disclosures under the participant fee disclosure regulation if the administrator complies with the conditions in the technical release. Note that the relief in the technical release is limited to the disclosures required under the final participant fee disclosure regulation.
To view the interim policy included in Technical Release 2011-03, please click here. You can read more about the required participant-level fee disclosures in the final rule. For more information on the responsibilities associated with administering a retirement plan, please visit the HR360 section on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.