Tuesday, January 4, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) hosted a live Q&A Web chat to discuss its regulatory priorities for the next several months and to answer questions. Phyllis Borzi, assistant secretary for EBSA, started the session by stating that the focus of the chat would be on EBSA’s pension initiatives that appear in the agency’s recent Semiannual Regulatory Agenda instead of on the regulations implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
Borzi indicated that EBSA is planning to focus on initiatives related to fee transparency, welfare plans, and “lifetime income.” More specifically, she noted that EBSA would work on:
- finalizing the interim final rule relating to reasonable contracts and arrangements under Section 408(b)(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA);
- determining “whether, and to what extent, service relationships in the welfare plan context should be subject to similar fee and compensation disclosure requirements”;
- its proposal to amend the definition of “fiduciary” under current regulations; and
- coming up with ways to encourage the offering of lifetime income options and the education of participants and beneficiaries regarding such options.
During the Q&A portion of the chat, EBSA also revealed new guidance it has in the works and tentatively estimated when it may be issued. More specifically, EBSA noted that it:
- hopes the interim final rule on ERISA Section 408(b)(2) will be finalized by April 2011;
- is completing work on a Request for Information (RFI) for Automatic Enrollment in Health Plans of Employees of Large Employers under the PPACA;
- plans to release an RFI on electronic delivery soon;
- expects to issue a proposed regulation on the benefits statement provision in the Pension Protection Act by June 2011; and
- hopes to publish the final investment advice regulation by May 2011.
Keep up with the latest changes in employment laws and regulations affecting employee benefits with Benefits Complete Compliance – a comprehensive online management reference service and reference manual