ASPPA, record keepers ask DOL for extension on plan fee disclosure

Implementing rules will take longer than April 1, May 31 deadlines

Dec 20, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

By Darla Mercado

The American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries and its sister organization The Council of Independent 401(k) Recordkeepers yesterday asked the Labor Department to cut advisers and plan service providers a little more slack on the effective date of the DOL's enhanced fee disclosure for plans and participants, effective April 1 and May 31, respectively.

Though the DOL had released a final version of the rule for participants, it has been sitting on an interim final rule for the plan fee disclosure for most of the year.

“The interim … regulation … was supposed to be effective this July,” said Craig Hoffman, director of regulatory affairs at ASPPA, in an interview with InvestmentNews.

“Now, as we sit here and get ready to roast our chestnuts over the fire for the holidays, we have less than three months to get ready,” he added.

Registered investment advisers and a number of retirement service providers, including Putnam Investments, have moved ahead an implemented disclosures, but ASPPA members are hesitant to bring on costly legal counsel and update their contracts with ERISA plans until a final version of the rule is out.

Another problem weighing on ASPPA members' minds is the question of whether the DOL will include a mandatory summary disclosure, Mr. Hoffman said. It would take more than three months to build the infrastructure necessary to support that summary disclosure, he said.

“As we come to the finish line, we believe that it is of critical importance that sufficient time be provided to make the necessary system changes to implement the final rules,” Mr. Hoffman wrote in a letter to the Labor Department.

“Although the vast majority of providers have been hard at work preparing for the new disclosure requirements, this work will nevertheless require additional time after the final regulation is issued,” he wrote.

Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis Borzi has told InvestmentNews that implementation of the final rule for plan fee disclosure will be a priority in the new year.

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