Department of Labor Requests Information Prior to Issuing Guidance

Department of Labor Requests Information Prior to Issuing Guidance

September 07, 2023

The Department of Labor (DOL) also has a few IOUs to Congress and the retirement plan industry following the passage of SECURE 2.0, particularly relating to plan notices and disclosures. To help inform its review of the issues assigned to it by SECURE 2.0, the DOL has published a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit public feedback on how certain requirements are currently being met, whether the existing notice content is understandable by the average participant, and specific guidance needed to implement some of the new plan features created by SECURE 2.0.

The RFI is 38 pages with 31 separate and detailed questions. Here is an example of some of the defined contribution plan topics and information requests:

  • Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs)
    • The DOL is charged with studying the usage of PEPs and reporting to Congress every five years with recommendations on how PEPs can be improved. The DOL is asking for input on how best to construct such a study and the types of information and examples the DOL should consider.
  • In-Plan Emergency Savings Accounts
    • Plan sponsors that adopt this new feature will need to furnish an initial and annual notice to participants about how these accounts will function, the tax treatment, and any fees or restrictions associated with these accounts. The DOL is asking what guidance plan sponsors need to implement these accounts, and whether a model notice would be helpful.
  • Benchmarking Mixed Asset Funds 
    • SECURE 2.0 directed the DOL to issue guidance to help plan fiduciaries benchmark a plan investment that contains a mix of assets classes, like Target Date Funds, using a blend of different broad-based securities market indices. The DOL wants to know whether there are additional factors that plan sponsors should consider when selecting and monitoring these funds and whether participants can effectively understand and use blended performance benchmarks for these types of funds.
  • Participant Fee Disclosures
    • The DOL is also charged with evaluating how the plan fee disclosures could be improved to enhance participants’ understanding of plan fees and expenses. The DOL wants to know what information is currently being provided to participants and whether it’s adequate for helping participants make informed decisions about their plan investments.
  • Unenrolled Participants
    • SECURE 2.0 changes the plan notice and disclosure rules to so that only an annual reminder notice need be provided to participants who are eligible for the plan but choose not to participate, rather than sending these “unenrolled” participants every required plan notice and disclosure. The DOL wants to know if plan sponsors need additional information to implement this new provision and whether a model notice would be helpful.
  • Consolidated Notices
    • SECURE 2.0 requires the DOL and IRS to issue regulations allowing plan sponsors to consolidate two or more notices into a single notice. This includes the QDIA notice, automatic contribution arrangement notices, and the safe harbor 401(k) notice. The DOL wants to know what guidance, if any, is needed for plan sponsors to consolidate these notices, as well as if there are perceived impediments to consolidation, and the benefits and drawbacks to consolidation.

The DOL will consider comments and information received by October 10, 2023.


We are happy to help provide additional insight, feel free to reach out to me at joe@diversifiedfa.com´╗┐ or 800.307.0376.

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Disclosure: This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice. Investment Advice and 3(38) Investment Fiduciary services offered through Diversified Financial Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. 3(16) Administrative Fiduciary Services provided by PISTL Service Corporation. Discretionary Trustee services provided by Printing Industries 401k Trustees. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.

RP-869-0923 Tracking #1-05378664 (Exp. 09/25)