DOL Announces Temporary Reset of Disclosure Date
Caroline Kettering, CPA
In response to requests from plan administrators and financial service advisors, the Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a one-time reset of the annual due date for providing the investment alternatives comparative chart portion of the participant-level fee disclosure regulation. Here’s what this means for your plan:
One-Time Opportunity to Reset the Due Date
The timing reset applies specifically to the investment alternatives comparative chart, which contains details on historical returns and fee information for each of your plan’s available investment alternatives.
For calendar year plans, the original distribution due date was August 30, 2012 (60 days after the July 1, 2012 effective date). The regulations require that the chart be provided at least once in any 12 month period. However, Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2013-02allows administrators to reset the deadline one time, for either the 2013 or 2014 disclosure. The main impetus for the reset was in response to feedback and requests from plan sponsors who would like the option to mail the chart out with other required disclosures that fall later in the year, such as pension benefit statements.
Requirements for a Reset
As plan administrator, you may choose to reset the deadline either for the 2013 or the 2014 comparative chart if:
(i) No more than 18 months pass before participants receive their next comparative chart;
(ii) You determine that doing so will benefit the plan’s participants and beneficiaries.
If your last comparative chart disclosure was made in August of 2012, you have until February of 2014 to send the 2013 comparative chart disclosure. If you are able to provide the 2013 chart by the original due date of August 30, 2013, you have until February 25, 2015 to furnish the 2014 comparative chart.
It’s important to note that this reset does not remove the obligation to maintain timely updates of any investment information that is available via your plan’s website and you must still provide prompt notifications to participants about changes to investment information.
Potential Future Changes and Additional Information
While the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is considering whether to revise the regulations to provide timing flexibility on a more permanent basis, the DOL does specifically caution against inferring future changes based on this FAB.
For more information, contact your accountant and/or record-keeper to determine how your plan should proceed. The full text of FAB 2012-02 is available at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/fab2013-2.html.