On October 20, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) finalized new regulations addressing disclosure to participants in 401(k) and similar participant-directed individual account plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). 75 Fed. Reg. 64910 (October 20, 2010). The final regulations, which mostly follow a 2008 proposal, require the plan “administrator” — usually the employer or other plan sponsor of an ERISA-covered plan — to provide certain information to plan participants and beneficiaries, including general plan information, information about plan administration expenses, and investment-related information (including fees and performance).  Some of the required information must be delivered to participants automatically before they are first eligible to invest, some information must be provided on request, and some of the investment-related information must be made available to participants by posting to an internet Web site.

The final regulation will be effective December 20, 2010, but does not apply to plans until the first plan year that begins on or after November 1, 2011. The specific information that must be delivered – and requirements governing format and means of providing information – are discussed in the attached article.


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