When a defined contribution plan terminates, the plan administrator must distribute participants’ accounts as soon as administratively feasible. However, participants do not always update the plan administrator when their contact information changes, and some participants may not be responsive when the plan administrator requests directions on how to distribute their accounts.
On August 14, 2014, the DOL published guidance describing the plan administrator’s fiduciary obligations in such a situation. The guidance focuses on two questions. First, what steps must a plan administrator take to try to locate a missing participant? Second, if a plan administrator fails to locate a participant after taking any required search steps, what must the plan administrator do with the balance of the participant’s account? The DOL guidance does not directly address analogous situations under defined benefit plans or health and welfare plans, but is likely to have relevance to them as well.
Continue Reading What to Do with Missing Participants: Department of Labor Provides Guidance