ASPPA Requests Electronic Disclosure Default

| June 6, 2011 | 0 Comments

Participants & Plan Sponsors Welcome Electronic Delivery Options

ARLINGTON, VA, (June 6, 2011) – The following is a statement from Craig P. Hoffman, General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs of The American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) responding to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) request for information published in the Federal Register on April 7 about the use of electronic disclosure to deliver notices required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). DOL may streamline or improve the agency’s existing regulations pursuant to President Obama’s Executive Order 13563.

“ASPPA supports the DOL review of the use of electronic media to notify and inform participants and beneficiaries covered by retirement plans under ERISA. We believe this review is consistent with President’s recent Executive Order calling for a retrospective analysis of existing regulations and the DOL’s efforts in this regard to ‘promote economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation while using ‘the best, most innovative and least burdensome tools to achieve regulatory ends.’

We urge the Department to modify electronic disclosure regulations to facilitate electronic communication. Specifically, we suggest the consent and access requirements of the existing ‘safe harbor’ be revised to allow electronic disclosure as the default communication method. Support for this electronic delivery was confirmed by the overwhelming response DOL received on their website created to capture public input on these issues.

ASPPA hopes this current initiative will be the first step in setting standards that recognize the benefits of electronic communications and facilitate its wider use. Electronic disclosure offers participants flexibility and many user friendly benefits—including the ability to layer and scale the amount of data for review, remote access through cloud-based computing, improved access for the visually impaired and others with disabilities, in addition to multiple storage options.

Because electronic delivery may not work for all participants—ASPPA suggests an ‘opt out’ feature for those who wish to receive paper disclosures from their retirement plan.

For more detail on ASPPA’s recommendations to the DOL, read our comment letter or our Issue Brief on Electronic Disclosure.

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About ASPPA: The American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) is a national organization of more than 7,500 retirement plan and benefits professionals that serves as the educator, voice, and advocate for the employer-based retirement system. ASPPA members are administrators, actuaries, advisors, attorneys, accountants, and other financial services professionals who provide consulting and administrative services for qualified retirement plans.


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