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Final 401(k) Fee Disclosure Regulations

Final 401(k) Fee Disclosure Regulations
Date Published: 
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On October 20, 2010, the Department of Labor issued final regulations that require private retirement savings plans, such as 401(k)s, to tell employees how much they are being charged in record-keeping, investment management and other fees. The regulations also include rules for disclosing information about the plan’s investment options. These rules apply only to plans where employees are able to choose their own investments.  The rules were effective December 20, 2010 and will apply to participant directed individual account plans no later than August 30, 2012 for required disclosures other than quarterly disclosures.  Quarterly disclosures must comply with the new rules no later than November 14, 2012.

The regulations are divided into two categories:

  1. disclosure of plan-related information
  2. disclosure of investment-related information

General plan information can initially be disclosed in the Summary Plan Description.  It must be provided on or before the date on which a participant can first direct investments and annually thereafter.  Individual fees actually charged to participants must be disclosed in dollars and reported quarterly.  They may be provided as part of the individual benefit statement.

The regulation includes a statement that the plan fiduciaries are responsible for prudently selecting and monitoring any record-keeping, investment management, or other firms that provide services to the plan.  The plan administrator is responsible for compliance with these disclosure rules.  

Read the Pension Rights Center’s comments on the proposed regulations.

Read the Consumer Federation of America’s comments.

Read a letter sent by Rep. Miller, Rep. Andrews, Sen. Kennedy, Sen Kohl and Sen Harkin.

Read the Pension Rights Center's comments in response to the Department of Labor's 2007 Request for Information on the issue of 401(k) fee disclosure to plans and participants.