Department of Labor Issues New Rules on 401(K) Fee Disclosure to Participants

By on December 10, 2010

by Paul J. Compernolle, Lisa K. Loesel and Karen A. Simonsen

On October 14, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued final regulations that require enhanced fee disclosures to participants in 401(k) plans and other defined contribution plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) with participant-directed investments. The DOL believes that participants previously did not have sufficient information to make informed investment decisions, and believes these new requirements provide enhanced and necessary investment information to participants. The new regulations are effective on January 1, 2012, for plans with a calendar year plan year.  

The new regulations require disclosure of two major categories of information: “plan-related information” and “investment-related information. Some of these mandatory disclosures were previously included in ERISA 404(c) regulations. However, compliance with ERISA 404(c) regulations is voluntary, and thus, not all participants have previously received the information required under this new guidance.

Implementation of these new disclosure rules will require significant effort from plan administrators and plan service providers. Plan administrators should familiarize themselves with these new disclosure regulations and start working with service providers and investment issuers to ensure a smooth transition.

For more information on the timing of the new disclosures and the types of information that are considered plan-related information and investment-related information click here.

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