The reach of the Department of Labor will be even longer in a couple of years, according to Sherwin S. Kaplan, deputy associate solicitor of the department's Plan Benefits Security Division.
Mr. Kaplan said computer systems in the Labor Department have been upgraded in recent years, enabling it to better track defined contribution plan sponsors.
Gone are the days of relative anonymity for companies delinquent in filing required plan documents and 5500 forms. In the past, such companies could take their chances and count on the DOL's inability to effectively search its voluminous records to chase down recalcitrant filers. At $1,000 per day, retroactive fines would represent a fairly hefty club for the DOL.
"If your company has EVER filed a 5500 form, the DOL will soon be able to find you. And the DOL has become, and will continue to be, much more aggressive in going after plans with late or irregular plan records," he said.
Mr. Kaplan made his comments at the Mid-Sized Pension Management Conference in San Francisco earlier this month.