Friday, January 13, 2012

What!!! For a change, apparently No Delay on Fee Disclosure

In a shocking move by the DOL, they've actually held firm on the Fee Disclosure Deadline!

This is despite that fact that with approx. 3 months to go they still have not issued the final guidance needed for the variety of different service providers to all comply.

In this author's experience, this is typical. The Fee Disclosure rules, both 408(b)(2) and 404(a)(5) have been around for several years now and it would seem to me that all of the relevant issues have been discussed and vetted ad nauseum, so one would think that final guidance would have been here long before now. But, that is the problem with the regulating bodies. They claim to be sympathetic to industry concerns, but alas not so concerned that they would give industry enough time to implement changes to be in compliance.

Ethically/Morally, we've always been in favor of Fee Disclosure (see former blog posts on the subject) but we remain skeptical that the newly "informed" consumer, i.e. the Plan Sponsor and Participants will either be better off with this new information or outraged by it. Frankly, we believe it very possible that harm will be caused in the form of fewer participants saving money and more plans becoming out of compliance.

In fact, we think it is likely that a whole bunch of Plans that were previously in compliance with ERISA (teh heh....) will now be out of compliance and in many cases be engaging in Prohibited Transactions unknowingly. What remains to be seen is whether or not any of this will actually be enforced. In the meantime, as Samuel Jackson once said in the movie Jurassic Park.... "Hold onto your Butts!"

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