Retirement Security

The Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans (often called the “ERISA Advisory Council”) has released a report urging the Department of Labor (“DOL”) to streamline retirement plan disclosure requirements. The report reiterates concerns the Council expressed in 2005 and 2009, echoed by the U.S. Government and Accountability Office (the “GAO”) in 2013, that the number and complexity of mandatory disclosures confuses participants and burdens plan administrators. The Council’s latest report goes further than previous reports have done, outlining four recommendations for specific rule changes and proposing new model notices to simplify the current disclosure scheme.
Continue Reading ERISA Advisory Council Urges DOL to Streamline Retirement Plan Disclosures

The ERISA Advisory Council held a hearing last week on “Model Notices and Disclosures for Pension Risk Transfers.”  The Council, which advises the Secretary of Labor on the Labor Department’s administration of ERISA, is working to develop model disclosures to participants who receive lump sum offers in connection with de-risking transactions.  While the Council is focused on lump sums offered in connection with limited election windows, the model disclosures might apply any time an individual is offered a lump sum distribution in lieu of an annuity benefit.

The Council heard testimony from several witnesses, many of whom proposed text or offered suggestions to be included in model disclosures—including testimony by our own Robert Newman of Covington & Burling LLP.  While the Council deliberates, employers conducting lump sum windows might wish to consider some of the disclosures suggested at the hearing.
Continue Reading ERISA Advisory Council Considers Model Lump Sum Window Disclosures