The U.S. Department of Labor released a final rule and proposed regulations providing guidance for plan sponsors on choosing an annuity provider. The DOL clarified in the final rule that only defined benefit plan fiduciaries are required to choose the "safest available annuity" and use six specific factors in evaluating an annuity provider's claims-paying ability and creditworthiness. With respect to individual account plans (such as 401(k) plans), the proposed regulations set forth other requirements which, if met, will satisfy a fiduciary’s burden to act prudently in selecting an annuity provider for distributions from such plans. The proposed regulations also provide guidance as to the manner in which fiduciaries may analyze the annuity provider's ability to make future payments. See DOL Reg. 2550.404a-4.