On January 12, 2021, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) of the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced new guidance on a range of issues related to missing participants:
- In Missing Participants – Best Practices for Pension Plans, EBSA has provided examples of best practices that it has identified as being effective at minimizing and mitigating the problem of missing or nonresponsive participants.
- This new guidance also includes Compliance Assistance Release No. 2021-01, which provides a roadmap of investigative processes and case-closing practices of EBSA investigators who conduct Terminated Vested Participants Project (“TVPP”) audits of defined benefit pension plans. One purpose of these audits is to assess whether defined benefit plans have taken appropriate steps to locate missing participants and beneficiaries.
- EBSA also issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2021-01, which announced the DOL’s temporary enforcement policy on a terminated defined contribution plans’ use of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s expanded missing participants program.
This article focuses on the guidance for ongoing plans (and not Field Assistance Bulletin 2021-01 for terminated plans).