The ERISA Industry Committee is applauding EBSA’s willingness to consider new rules for electronic disclosure of plan information to participants.
While not everyone has Internet access and some might prefer paper notices, “we do not believe these facts justify the burdens of the existing consent requirements,” ERISA Industry Committee President Mark Ugoretz said in comments filed Monday to help EBSA decide whether and how to modify rules of electronic disclosure. EBSA closed the comment period Monday.
Plan sponsors and participants would welcome such a change, says Craig P. Hoffman, general counsel and director of regulatory affairs for the American Society of Pensions Professionals & Actuaries. He noted that the group supports the Obama administration’s agenda of using “the best, most innovative and least burdensome tools to achieve regulatory ends.”
ERIC and other industry groups want electronic delivery to be the default method of notification, from which participants could opt out.
When last changed in 2002, the rules allowed for electronic disclosure only if the employer’s system was integral to the employee’s duties or if the participant had consented to electronic delivery.
As Internet access has become widespread, “electronic disclosure may be just as effective as paper-based communications and could save employers and service providers money,” Phyllis C. Borzi, assistant secretary of labor for EBSA, said in an April news release.
Industry groups would like EBSA to act quickly for sponsors and providers facing a Nov. 1 effective date for participant disclosure rules changed in the 2006 Pension Protection Act.