EBSA unveils online filing tool for plan sponsors to report service providers that fail to comply with fee disclosure rules

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has announced that plan sponsors seeking fiduciary relief for a service provider’s failure to comply with the fiduciary-level fee disclosure regulations will be able to use a new online filing system, replacing the option of electronically sending notices to a previously established email address.

EBSA said that the online filing tool will better assist plan sponsors who file electronically by ensuring that all required information is submitted, and providing immediate confirmation that notices have been received by the Labor Department.

“The revised submission procedures should provide plan sponsors a greater level of confidence that their requests for fiduciary relief have been received and will be efficiently processed and reviewed,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for EBSA Phyllis C. Borzi said in a news release. “The easy-to-use online filing system guides plan sponsors through the information that must be submitted, and allows us to more quickly process and respond to their requests. We’ve also retained flexibility for those plan sponsors who choose to submit paper notices,” she added.

The final fee disclosure rules became effective on July 1, 2012. The final regulations include a provision to protect plan sponsors, or other responsible plan fiduciaries, from liability for a breach of their fiduciary duties under ERISA when, without the plan sponsor’s knowledge, a service provider fails to comply with the comprehensive disclosure requirements. If a plan sponsor discovers that required information has not been furnished, and efforts to obtain the information are not successful, the sponsor must notify the DOL, by regular mail or electronically.

Electronic notices now can be filed online at: www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/feedisclosurefailurenotice.html. Plan sponsors who want to send paper notices can now submit them to a dedicated P.O. box address, rather than to the DOL’s general mailing address.

EBSA issued revised mailing address and web-based submission procedures on July 16, 2012 and invited public comment through August 15, 2012. EBSA reported that no comments were received. Accordingly, because no significant adverse comment was received, the revised procedures automatically became effective on September 14, 2012.

Source: EBSA news release, September 17, 2012.

For more information, visit http://www.wolterskluwerlb.com/rbcs.

For more information on this and related topics, consult the CCH Pension Plan Guide, CCH Employee Benefits Management, and Spencer’s Benefits Reports.

Visit our News Library to read more news stories.