August 7, 2013

Disclosure Deadline Delayed by DOL

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2013-02 on July 22, 2013, giving plan sponsors and administrators a little extra time to comply with the deadline for delivery of certain annual participant fee disclosures. The existing fee disclosure regulations required plans to supply participants and beneficiaries with a comparative chart of investment alternatives containing certain plan, expense, and investment-related information, due for the first time no later than August 30, 2012 and then “at least annually thereafter.”

According to the regulation, that would mean that if a plan provided their first comparative chart on August 20, 2012 to meet the rule, the next one would have to be distributed by August 20, 2013. This timing didn’t make much sense, being unrelated to the timing of other disclosures. Plan administrators noted that participants would be more likely to pay attention to this disclosure if it was provided along with other important disclosures or statements (as well as being a more cost-effective method of distribution).

For this reason, EBSA decided to provide plans with greater flexibility in terms of timing the release of their next comparative chart. Employers may “reset” the deadline one time for the 2013 or 2014 chart, provided no more than 18 months pass before participants receive it, and that it is then provided at least once every 12 months thereafter. This will allow administrators to align the timing of the comparative chart with other disclosures or statements.

To read the full field assistance bulletin, go to: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/fab2013-2.html.

To read the full field assistance bulletin, go to: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/2013/ebsa072213.html.