SPARK Institute Opposes Fee Disclosure Legislation

The SPARK Institute has expressed its opposition to the defined contribution plan fee disclosure provision in the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (H.R. 4213).

The trade group expressed the viewpoint on the bill, already passed in the U.S. House, in a letter to the Senate (see “House Passes Fee Disclosure and Pension Funding Relief Bill”).

“With the Department of Labor (DoL) ready to release regulations addressing the same issues, we believe that enacting legislation at this time that is at best duplicative of, and at worst in conflict with, the pending regulations will be disruptive and costly for everyone affected by them, including regulators,” said Larry H. Goldbrum, general counsel, in a news release. “We are very concerned that the proposed fee disclosure provisions will delay progress on enhancing disclosure, create confusion in the regulated community, and not serve the best interests of employers and plan participants.”

He noted that the DoL has spent more than two years of information-gathering and analysis in the form of public comments and testimony from plan participants, plan sponsors, and providers in an attempt to balance issues raised by these constituencies in establishing appropriate disclosure requirements.

The letter pointed out that the fee disclosure provisions in the proposed legislation will require employers to provide extensive details to plan participants that they neither want nor will be meaningful to them.  “Excessive and complex fee disclosure will ultimately confuse rather than enlighten the vast majority of plan participants about their retirement plans,” Goldbrum said.