During the past couple of years, many of us who counsel investment advisers, broker dealers, and other financial services companies regarding compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA) have seen a marked increase in Department of Labor (Department or DOL) Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) enforcement activity targeting these firms. While the compliance departments of these firms are very familiar with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) examination process, they are not familiar with the examination process undertaken by EBSA’s Office of Enforcement (OE). In fact, some compliance officers may not even realize that service providers to ERISA-covered employee benefit plans are in fact subject to OE’s examination authority.
The purpose of this article is to raise awareness of EBSA’s examination authority and update readers regarding recent trends in DOL enforcement activity including joint enforcement efforts by the EBSA and the SEC. Please see the attached article for further information.