EBSA highlights results of enforcement and compliance activity in 2014

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued the results of its enforcement and compliance activity for employee benefit plans and participants in 2014. EBSA’s oversight authority extends to nearly 684,000 retirement plans, approximately 2.4 million health plans, and a similar number of other welfare benefit plans, such as those providing life or disability insurance. As of October 29, 2014, these plans covered about 141 million workers and their dependents and included assets of over $7.6 trillion.

In fiscal year (FY) 2014, EBSA recovered $599.7 million for direct payment to plans, participants and beneficiaries. These recoveries include plan assets restored/participant benefits recovered, disgorgement of profits, and voluntary fiduciary corrections, as well as amounts recovered through the abandoned plan program and informal complaint resolution. The Agency’s total monetary results
for the year (including prohibited transactions corrected) were $823.2 million.

In FY 2014, EBSA closed 3,928 civil investigations with 2,541 of those cases (64.7%) resulting in monetary results for plans or other corrective action, which EBSA claims exhibits its ability to effectively target ERISA violators in the employee benefit plan universe. In addition, EBSA closed 365 criminal investigations. EBSA’s criminal investigations, as well as its participation in criminal investigations with other law enforcement agencies, led to the indictment of 106 individuals – including plan officials, corporate officers, and service providers – for offenses related to employee benefit plans. In FY 2014, EBSA’s Benefits Advisors closed more than 213,000 inquiries and recovered $356.2 million in benefits on behalf of workers and their families through informal resolution of individual complaints. These inquiries are also a major source of enforcement leads. In FY 2014, 687 new investigations were opened as a result of referrals from the Benefits Advisors.

During FY 2014, EBSA received 457 applications from Qualified Termination Administrators and closed 538 applications, with 456 plans making distributions of $18.4 million directly to participants. In FY 2014, EBSA received 1,643 applications for the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program and more than 24,000 annual reports were received through Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program.

Source: EBSA Fact Sheet, January 2015.

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