In the November 2011 edition of Employee Benefits Developments, we reported on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) interim enforcement policy (as set forth in Technical Release 2011-03) regarding the use of electronic media to satisfy required disclosures under the new participant fee disclosure regulations. The interim policy generally states that the DOL will not take enforcement action based solely on a plan administrator’s use of electronic media to make the required participant fee disclosures if the administrator complies with certain conditions described in the technical release. The technical release, however, triggered additional questions as to 1) whether the technical release is intended to apply to continuous-access websites, and 2) whether and under what circumstances certain investment-related information, including comparative chart information, may be furnished as part of a pension benefit statement.
In response, the DOL fully revised and restated Technical Release 2011-03 (published as Technical Release 2011-03R). The revised technical release is identical to the original, except that it has been modified to make clear that 1) continuous access websites are permissible if the administrator complies with the conditions in the technical release; and 2) investment-related information may be furnished as part of or along with a pension benefit statement, either electronically (under the conditions set forth in the technical release) or in paper form.