Washington, DC – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) is urging the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to allow for additional flexibility and guidance in its Interim Final Rule on Pension Benefits Statements—Lifetime Income Illustrations.
“Each plan participant’s situation is unique, and therefore they must be allowed to plan for their own specific needs,” said Aliya Robinson, Senior Vice President of Retirement and Compensation Policy, ERIC. “For the rule to provide meaningful guidance to participants, the Department must allow for real-world situations, both expected and unexpected.”
In comments submitted to the DOL, ERIC called for the rule to provide flexible disclosure options that provide useful and meaningful information to plan participants and for lifetime income stream illustrations to reflect the diversity of experience large employers see within their participant populations.
Additionally, ERIC highlighted that the guidance should allow flexibility in plan education and communication, rather than stifling innovation in these areas. One tool that could help– and one ERIC has repeatedly urged to be included – is the use of online retirement calculators. Retirement calculators allow plan participants to be active in planning and forecasting their future retirement saving needs.
ERIC also asked the DOL to amend the model disclosures included in the rule to reflect that the disclosures are estimates that are required by the DOL to be disclosed. ERIC also highlighted for the DOL that disclosures made under the interim rule could increase litigation risks.
“This rule has the opportunity to serve as an important financial planning tool for all plan participants, but the DOL must ensure that participants can plan for their individual circumstances, and it must be done in a way that is easy to use and understand,” said Robinson.