Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
On July 16, 2010, the Department published in the
Unless extended, the effective date for the interim final 408(b)(2) regulation will be on July 16, 2011 as to both new, and pre-existing, contracts or arrangements between covered plans and covered service providers. The Department has received many requests that this effective date be extended. A significant number of parties have argued that more time is essential to update systems and procedures for information collection and disclosure. Pointing out that the Department has not yet published a final rule, parties have explained that, if the Department modifies the current interim final rule, service providers will need additional time to make further changes. Based on these concerns, the Department believes that an extension of the rule's effective date would lead to fuller and timelier compliance by plans and service providers, and thus would be in the interests of participants and beneficiaries. Moreover, as discussed below, an extension will enable the Department to align the effective date for this regulation with the applicability date of the participant-level disclosure regulation. Accordingly, in February 2011, the Department announced its intention to extend the 408(b)(2) regulation's effective date until January 1, 2012.
Although the final participant-level disclosure regulation was effective on December 20, 2010, its requirements only begin to apply for plan years beginning on or after November 1, 2011. The regulation also includes a transitional rule, in paragraph (j)(3)(i), for furnishing disclosures required on or before the date on which a participant or beneficiary can first direct his or her investment. For participants or beneficiaries who, as of their plan's applicability date, had the right to direct the investment of their individual accounts, the plan must furnish these initial disclosures no later than 60 days after the applicability date. As with the 408(b)(2) regulation, the Department has continued to receive requests that additional time be provided in order for parties to comply. Further, because the Department announced its intention to extend the 408(b)(2) regulation's effective date to January 1, 2012, parties argue that it would be preferable to extend application of the participant-level disclosure regulation until after the effective date of the 408(b)(2) regulation. Specifically, these parties point to the provision in the 408(b)(2) interim final regulation which requires
The Department agrees that aligning the application of these two regulations would assist plan fiduciaries and plan administrators in obtaining information required to comply with the participant-level disclosure regulation. Further, the Department believes that, similar to the 408(b)(2) regulation, a limited extension is in the best interests of covered individual account plans and their participants and beneficiaries. Delayed application will better afford plans sufficient time to ensure an efficient and effective implementation of the participant-level disclosure regulation. To accomplish this end, the Department does not believe it is necessary to extend the regulation's effective date or its general application to plan years beginning on or after November 1, 2011. However, the Department proposes to extend the transition rule in paragraph (j)(3)(i), which specifies the date by which initial disclosures must actually be provided. Under this proposal, a plan would have 120 days (rather than 60) after its applicability date to furnish the initial disclosures that are otherwise required to be furnished before the date on which a participant or beneficiary can first direct his or her investments. Thus, a calendar year plan would have to furnish the initial disclosures no later than April 30, 2012, and the disclosures required by paragraphs (c)(2)(ii) and (c)(3)(ii) (
The Department has not been persuaded to extend the application of the participant-level disclosure regulation, or the 408(b)(2) regulation, beyond these dates. Although the Department believes it is appropriate to provide some relief to help ensure a timely, efficient, and coordinated implementation of the two rules, the Department also believes that it is critical for responsible plan fiduciaries, plan administrators, and plan participants and beneficiaries to benefit from the increased transparency provided by the rules as soon as possible.
At this time, the Department solicits comments on this proposal to formally extend the effective date of the 408(b)(2) regulation and the transitional rule for application of the participant-level disclosure regulation.
Employee benefit plans, Exemptions, Fiduciaries, Investments, Pensions, Prohibited transactions, Real estate, Securities, Surety bonds, Trusts and Trustees.
For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Department of Labor proposes to amend 29 CFR part 2550 as follows:
1. The authority citation for part 2550 continues to read as follows:
29 U.S.C. 1135, sec. 102, Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1978, 5 U.S.C. App. 1 and Secretary of Labor's Order No. 6-2009, 74 FR 21524 (May 7, 2009). Sec. 2550.401c-1 also issued under 29 U.S.C. 1101. Sec. 2550.404a-2 also issued under sec. 657, Pub. L. 107-16, 115 Stat. 38. Sections 2550.404c-1 and 2550.404c-5 also issued under 29 U.S.C. 1104. Sec. 2550.408b-1 also issued under 29 U.S.C. 1108(b)(1). Sec. 2550.408b-19 also issued under sec. 611, Pub. L. 109-280, 120 Stat. 780, 972. Sec. 2550.412-1 also issued under 29 U.S.C. 1112.
2. Section 2550.404a-5 is amended by revising paragraph (j)(3)(i) to read as follows:
(j) * * *
(i) Notwithstanding paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) of this section, the initial disclosures required on or before the date on which a participant or beneficiary can first direct his or her investments must be furnished no later than 120 days after such applicability date.
3. Section 2550.408b-2 is amended, in paragraph (c)(1)(xii), by removing the date “July 16, 2011” and adding in its place “January 1, 2012”.