by Edward I. Leeds and Clifford J. Schoner
The Department of Labor has published an interim policy
describing how fiduciaries may use electronic media to meet new DOL
requirements, which will take effect this spring. The policy, set forth in
Technical Release 2011-03, describes when and how fiduciaries may
electronically disclose fees and expenses under retirement plans offering
participant-directed investment. For more information about these new fiduciary
requirements, click here.
The policy retains existing rules governing the
disclosure of information provided through a pension benefit statement.
Beginning this spring, pension benefit statements will need to include
additional information because of the fiduciary disclosure rules, but may
continue to be provided electronically in accordance with current safe harbor guidelines or made available through
continuous access to a Web site, provided the plan meets the relatively simple
requirements described in Field Assistance Bulletin 2006-3.
With respect to the electronic disclosure of information
furnished outside of the pension benefit statement, the policy provides a new
alternative to existing safe harbor guidance. Plan administrators may
electronically disclose this information to participants and beneficiaries who
voluntarily provide an e-mail address for the purpose of receiving disclosures
if the plan administrator:
The policy includes a transition rule for e-mail
addresses that have already been provided to the plan administrator.
The new interim policy on electronic disclosures
expressly states that it applies only to the new fiduciary disclosure rules.
Plan administrators should not rely on it for other purposes, but additional
guidance is forthcoming. The DOL is conducting a review of its regulations on
the use of electronic media for employee benefit plan disclosures, and changes
to those regulations are widely anticipated. The interim policy will apply only
until the DOL completes its review and revises those regulations.
Ballard Spahr's Employee Benefits and Executive
Compensation Group will continue to follow these changes affecting fiduciaries
of retirement plans as well as other ERISA developments. If you have questions
or concerns, contact Edward I. Leeds, at 215.864.8419 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Clifford J.
Schoner, at 215.864.8626 or email@example.com.
Copyright © 2011 by Ballard Spahr LLP
(No claim to original U.S. government material.)
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This alert is a periodic publication
of Ballard Spahr LLP and is intended to notify recipients of new developments
in the law. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any
specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general
informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own attorney
concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have.
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