Alert January 10, 2012

DOL Clarifies Interim Policy on Providing Information via Electronic Media under Participant –Level Fee Disclosure Regulation

The Department of Labor issued Technical Release 2011-03R (the “Revised Release”), clarifying two aspects of Technical Release 2011-03 (the “Release”), which set forth DOL’s interim policy regarding the use of electronic media to provide information required to be furnished to participants of ERISA-covered defined contribution plans under the participant-level fee disclosure regulation, 29 C.F.R. §2550.404a-5 (the “Regulation”).  (The Release is discussed in the October 11, 2011 Financial Services Alert .)

The Revised Release clarifies that certain investment-related information required by the Regulation (including comparative information regarding the plan’s designated investment alternatives) may be furnished as part of, or along with, pension benefit statement information, either electronically in accordance with interim rules described in the Release, or in paper form consistent with the DOL regulation that generally governs the furnishing of required information under ERISA, 29 C.F.R. §2520.104b-1(b).  The Revised Release also clarifies that the furnishing of information electronically under the interim rules of the Release may be made through a continuous access website, so long as the applicable conditions of the Release’s interim rules are satisfied.