DOL Field Assistance Bulletin Permits One-Time “Reset” in Timing of Participant Disclosures
In 2010, the DOL published its final regulation on disclosure requirements for participant-directed individual account plans (such as 401(k) plans). A “comparative chart” is required to be furnished to participants, showing the plan’s designated investment alternatives and fees. The regulation requires plan administrators to disclose this information at least once in any 12-month period. The first disclosure was required by August 30, 2012 for calendar year plans. The requirement to provide this disclosure at least once in any 12-month period led to concern among plan administrators and service providers that the disclosure had no correlation to other annual participant disclosures. Pursuant to Field Assistance Bulletin 2013-02, the DOL will permit a one-time reset of the timing of 2013 disclosure to be made no later than 18 months after the 2012 disclosure. Plan administrators who have already furnished the 2013 comparative chart received the same relief with respect to furnishing their 2014 disclosure. This one-time relief is intended to allow plan administrators and service providers to align these disclosures with other annual participant notices and disclosures, so they can be distributed in a single mailing.