Pension & Benefits News EBSA semiannual regulatory agenda addresses rules on abandoned plans, fiduciary relief
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

EBSA semiannual regulatory agenda addresses rules on abandoned plans, fiduciary relief

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has released its regulatory agenda for Spring 2019, which outlines regulations that have been selected for review or development during the next year.

Proposed rule stage. Among the items in EBSA’s proposed rule stage are:

  • regulations that amend the definition of “fiduciary” under ERISA Sec. 3(21)(A)(ii) in light of the 2018 Fifth Circuit decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Department of Labor vacating in toto the 2016 fiduciary conflict of interest rules, including the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE), the Principal Transaction Exemption, and revised PTE 84-24.
  • regulatory action in response to Executive Order 13847, Strengthening Retirement Security in America, that would explore ways to reduce the costs and burdens imposed on employers and other plan fiduciaries responsible for the production and distribution of retirement plan disclosures required under ERISA Title I, as well as ways to make these disclosures more understandable and useful for participants and beneficiaries.
  • regulations regarding grandfathered group health plans and grandfathered group health insurance coverage under section 1251 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Final rule stage. Among the items in EBSA’s final rule stage are:

  • rulemaking that would examine whether, and how, to amend the “abandoned plan” regulations by expanding the scope of individuals entitled to be a “qualified termination administrator” (QTA).
  • amendment of regulations concerning the filing of apprenticeship and training plan notices and top hat plan statements to substitute electronic filing for regular mail or hand delivery.
  • adoption of an amended and restated Voluntary Fiduciary Correction (VFC) Program that will expand the scope of some transactions currently eligible for correction and streamline correction procedures for certain other transactions.
  • regulatory action that would establish criteria for an “employer” within the meaning of ERISA Sec. 3(5) to establish and maintain an association retirement plan (that is, a multiple employer retirement savings plan (other than a multiemployer plan defined in section 3(37) of ERISA)).
  • regulatory action that will increase the usability of HRAs, expand employers’ ability to offer HRAs to their employees, and allow HRAs to be used in conjunction with nongroup coverage.

Long-term actions. EBSA provides one long-term action, which is an item that is under development but for which there is not expected to be a regulatory action within the 12 months after publication of the Unified Agenda. The item is a project with the IRS and PBGC that revises and modernizes the financial and other annual reporting requirements on the Form 5500 and implementing regulations. The project includes making the investment and other information on the Form 5500 more data mineable and enhancing the Agencies’ ability to collect employee benefit plan data that best meets the needs of changing compliance projects, programs, and activities.

SOURCE:  The Unified Agenda for Spring 2019 is available at 84 FR 29653.

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