On May 7, the Department
issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2012-02, which provides guidance to
its field enforcement personnel in question and answer format on the
obligations of plan administrators under a final regulation to improve
transparency of fees and expenses to workers with 401(k)–type retirement
plans (see “DOL Issues Additional Guidance for Participant Fee Disclosures”).
Some plan sponsors and service providers asked questions about
statements in Question 30 regarding brokerage windows and other
arrangements that enable plan participants and beneficiaries to select
investments beyond those designated by the plan (see “DOL’s Answer in Fee Disclosure Guidance ‘Surprising’”).
Department decided to issue Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2012-02R to
further clarify its position and to give interested parties more time to
engage in discussions with the Department on practical and cost
effective ways to ensure participants and beneficiaries receive all the
fiduciary protections afforded to them under the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act (ERISA) when they use brokerage windows and other
similar arrangements, including, if appropriate, through amendment of
relevant regulatory provisions.