DoL Set to Issue Annuity Project RFI

In implementing its newly announced initiative to see how it can best facilitate the use of lifetime income investment vehicles in retirement plans, the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) plans to release a formal request for information document in January.

A fact sheet posted on the agency’s Web site said the RFI will have “37 specific questions designed to obtain focused commentary to help EBSA (Employee Benefits Security Administration) make its determinations” about guaranteed income annuities or similar investment products. The RFI will be co-sponsored by the Treasury Department.

The DoL document points out that the trend away from defined benefit, which pay out via annuities, to defined contribution plans, which pay out in lump sums, means “employees rather than employers are increasingly responsible for the adequacy of their retirement savings.”

Labor officials first unveiled the annuity initiative yesterday during the beginning of a series of Web chat sessions to discuss the agency’s regulatory agenda. Secretary Hilda L. Solis kicked the sessions off with an overview and also answered live questions submitted by e-mail or via the DoL site (see “DoL Discusses Lifetime Annuity Income Project”).

A similar session by Assistant Secretary of Labor Phyllis C. Borzi, the head of EBSA, is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. (see “EBSA to Unveil Regulatory Agenda”).

A DoL document summarizing its major regulatory goals is available here.