ASPPA Offers Comments on DOL’s Proposed Summary Guide Regulations

By Craig Hoffman • June 12, 2014 • 0 Comments
ASPPA has suggested ways in which the Department of Labor could improve the proposed amendment to the Section 408(b)(2) fee disclosure regulations. Click here to view ASPPA’s letter to John Canary, director of the Office of Regulations and Interpretations at the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.
 
In its original comments regarding the proposed regulation, ASPPA specifically recommended that the final regulation include a summary mandate. ASPPA argues that “a summary would be more useful to a fiduciary than a guide that references a stack of prospectuses or other more technical materials,” and that it if a summary was not provided, it would be more burdensome than helpful to fiduciaries to instead have to “sift through the information provided by competing service providers.”

ASPPA notes in its comments that the DOL is conducting focus group sessions with fiduciaries of small pension plans concerning current disclosure practices and the effects of EBSA’s final regulation; however, the results of those sessions were not made public before the public comment period on the regulations ended. ASPPA recommends that the DOL reopen the comment period after the focus group results have been tabulated and share that information, as well as the results of any investigations the DOL conducts based on the focus group discussions, to allow comments on the data and results. 

ASPPA also recommends that a summary of the relevant disclosure information, particularly the investment information, would be a more useful tool for plan fiduciaries than a “roadmap” document. It adds that “if the final regulation were to require a guide or ‘roadmap,’ then a summary should be permitted as an acceptable alternative means of compliance.”

ASPPA contends that the proposed regulations do not make it clear what constitutes a “single” document and where page count begins and ends. Therefore, ASPPA recommends that the DOL provide more specific definitions and clarity; it also asks that the DOL reopen this issue for public comment. ASPPA also recommends that only fee information, and not separate attachments, be included in the page count.

Craig Hoffman is ASPPA's General Counsel.