ERIC, in addition to 10 other business trade associations, sent a letter to the Department of Labor recommending that the Department put the proposed ERISA section 408(b)(2) “guide” on hold until forthcoming focus group testing is completed and the results of the testing are made available for public comment.
The joint business trade group letter is in response to the DOL’s Information Collection Request on “Focus Groups for Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 408(b)(2) Disclosure Requirements.” The letter states that the Department should not move forward with proposed changes to the section 408(b)(2) regulation without substantive and compelling evidence of a need for changes.
The letter highlights the fact that because most participants are in large plans, significant input (through focus group testing) should be representative of the large plan experience. Finally, the letter raises the issue that the Department’s semi-regulatory agenda suggests that it has already decided it will promulgate a final rule regarding the use of a guide under section 408(b)(2). The groups suggest that the Department gather appropriate information from the focus groups, evaluate the results and then make a determination whether the guide is useful and/or appropriate.