Alert July 30, 2013

DOL Provides Flexibility on Timing of Disclosures for Participant-Directed Plans

The Department of Labor (the “DOL”) issued Field Assistance Bulletin (“FAB”) 2013-02A (July 22, 2013) under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”).  This FAB provides one-time transition relief that enables plan administrators to reset the timing of the annual participant disclosure requirements imposed by DOL regulations under Section 404(a) of ERISA.  Those regulations required administrators of 401(k) plans, and other plans under which participants can direct the investment of their account, to provide certain investment disclosures to plan participants no later than August 30, 2012, as discussed in the May 1, 2012 Financial Services Alert , and annually thereafter.  (See our May 1, 2012 FSA.)  The FAB states that the DOL will not take enforcement action if a plan administrator resets the timing of these annual disclosures, either by providing the 2013 disclosure by February 25, 2014, or by providing the 2014 disclosure by February 25, 2015.  Plan administrators may only reset the timing of their annual disclosure once, for either 2013 or 2014, and must also make the determination that doing so will benefit the plan’s participants and beneficiaries.  The FAB is designed to allow administrators to shift to a disclosure cycle that is based on the calendar year.