A House subcommittee this morning approved two separate defined contribution-related bills aimed at enhancing fee disclosure requirements and barring plans from offering participants investment advice that might be subject to conflicts of interest.
The fee disclosure measure approved by the House Health, Employment, Pensions and Labor Subcommittee retained a controversial provision that effectively requires DC plans to include at least one index fund as an investment option.
The investment advice legislation was revised to make clear its provisions wouldn't pre-empt existing advice arrangements that rely on the Department of Labor's SunAmerica advisory opinion — or other DOL advice exemptions. (The 2001 SunAmerica advisory opinion cleared the way for service providers to offer advice to DC plan participants through an affiliated adviser using an independently developed computer model. When Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J.—the subcommittee's chairman--introduced the measure April 21, he said it was intended to ensure that plan participants received untainted advice. But at the time, lobbyists expressed concern that Mr. Andrews' bill would undermine existing advice arrangements)
Each bill was approved by a 13-8 party-line vote, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.
Aaron Albright, a spokesman for Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said the bills now go to the full committee. He didn't know when they would be scheduled for votes.