DOL Finalizes Rule Expanding Use of Electronic Delivery for Plan Documents

As the American Bankers Association has long advocated, the Department of Labor today issued its final rule to modernize retirement disclosures by facilitating the use of electronic delivery for participant notices and disclosures through the creation of a new safe harbor. As ABA recommended, DOL simplified and provided additional flexibility with regard to how electronic disclosure may be provided to retirement plan investors.

The new safe harbor will feature a “notice and access” structure under which disclosures would be posted to a public website and participants notified electronically about these documents. DOL also included in the final rule an option for administrators to furnish documents directly by email as an alternative to this approach. Participants would still be able to opt out of electronic delivery and receive paper documents.

Working closely with its ERISA Attorneys Group, which includes participants from banks of all sizes, ABA has expressed strong support for electronic delivery to be the default method of delivery, making retirement plan disclosures and notices more efficient and useful for retirement savers, and less burdensome and costly for banks and other retirement services industry providers. The final rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.