ERISA-DOL Will Extend And Align Effective Dates For Retirement Plan Fee Disclosure Rules

According to a News Release (May 31, 2011) from the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”), the DOL will publish a notice (presumably on June 1) (the “Notice”) which proposes to extend and align the applicability dates for its retirement plan fee disclosure rules.

The News Release explained that, on July 16, 2010, the DOL had published an interim final regulation under section 408(b)(2) of ERISA. This regulation requires retirement plan service providers to disclose comprehensive information about their fees and potential conflicts of interest to plan fiduciaries. Although the regulation was scheduled to apply to plan contracts or arrangements for services in existence on or after July 16, 2011, the DOL earlier announced its intention to extend the effective date to Jan. 1, 2012. The proposal in the Notice, when finalized, would make the extension official.

The News Release continued by noting that the DOL also published a final participant-level regulation on Oct. 20, 2010. This regulation requires that employers disclose information about plan and investment costs to workers who direct their own investments in retirement plans. It applies for plan years beginning on or after Nov. 1, 2011, with a 60-day transition provision. The Notice proposes to amend the regulation’s transitional rule, so that employers would have up to 120 days to furnish initial disclosures to workers.

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