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DOL Provides Relief for 2013 Annual Participant Fee Disclosures

Joshua P. Itzoe, CFP®, AIF®

The DOL recently issued Field Assistance Bulletin (2013-02) regarding the date for furnishing the required annual fee disclosure  notices under the 404a-5 participant disclosure rules.  Under 404a-5, the 2013 notice must be furnished no later than 12 months after the first notice was furnished (the deadline was August 30, 2012).  The Bulletin permits the 2013 annual notice to be furnished no later than 18 months after the prior notice was furnished.  For example, if the first notice was furnished on August 25, 2012, plan administrators have until February 25, 2014 to furnish the 2013 annual notice.  To take advantage of this extended deadline, plan administrators must comply with the conditions in the Bulletin and otherwise reasonably determine that doing so will benefit participants and beneficiaries.  EBSA is aware that some plan administrators, in order to comply with the regulation, have already furnished their 2013 annual notice.  These plan administrators, if they wish, may furnish the 2014 notice no later than 18 months after furnishing the prior comparative chart in compliance with the regulation (i.e. February 25, 2015).

EBSA is also aware that the one-time “re-set” permitted by this Bulletin does not address additional concerns that the current timing requirement may result in a fixed annual deadline for comparative charts. Accordingly, EBSA is considering whether to revise the regulation’s timing requirement to provide reasonable flexibility to plan administrators on a permanent basis (e.g. a 30-day or 45-day window during which a subsequent annual comparative chart would have to be furnished).  Parties interested in expressing their views on this issue or who have questions about this Bulletin can contact EBSA’s Office of Regulations and Interpretations at 202-693-8510.

The link to the Bulletin is below:

DOL Field Assistance Bulletin (2013-02)