ABA Requests Significant Extension to Comment Period on Form 5500 Proposal

ABA wrote to the Department of Labor today requesting a 105-day extension on the comment period for the DOL’s proposed revisions to Form 5500 (Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan) that must be filed by all private-sector employers under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code.

The association expressed concern that DOL’s 75-day timeframe would not provide sufficient time for banks to review and respond to the complex 900-page rule, especially since many are already maximizing their resources to prepare to comply with the Department’s Fiduciary Rule, which was finalized earlier this year. ABA recommended that the DOL extend its comment period to 180 days, with a due date of Jan. 17, 2017.

“Given the volume, detail and complexity of the proposed changes, it is our hope and expectation that DOL will follow a measured, inclusive, and deliberative rulemaking process that will encourage interested parties to participate and engage the DOL on issues and challenges raised by the proposal, as well as on concerns not raised in the proposal,” ABA wrote. The association noted that the additional time would allow for more thorough and informed analysis of the proposal’s effect on the retirement services community and bank customers, as well as an opportunity to consider additional improvements and proposed alternative approaches.

The DOL’s proposed rule represents a far-reaching overhaul of Form 5500 — which is used to report information about the funding, assets and investments of pensions and other employee benefit plans — to reflect changes in applicable law and accommodate the evolving data needs of the federal regulatory agencies. Proposed changes to the form include an expanded compliance reporting section with new questions about plan operations and management and service provider relationships; and updated questions about benefit plan investments and financial transactions, particularly those related to alternative investments, hard-to-value assets and investments through collective investment vehicles. In addition, the rule would update the requirements for certifications for limited scope audits that would make the certifications more detailed and informative, and enhance the DOL’s ability to review limited scope audits.


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