Department of Labor ERISA Advisory Council voted Wednesday to spend 2014 investigating outsourcing best practices for plan sponsors and the shift from retirement plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to what council members called a “non-ERISA world.”
The exact title and scope of working groups for those issues will be announced at the council's next meeting in June.
Meeting in Washington, the 15-member council, which provides advice on policies and regulations to the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration, will also look at pharmacy plan fee disclosure.
On outsourcing, council members want to explore how well plan sponsors understand their fiduciary responsibilities when it comes to outsourcing investment management and other services, including outsourced fiduciary functions, and to identify best practices. “It's an emerging trend that will only get bigger,” said Kevin Hanney, director of pension investments for United Technologies Corp., Hartford, Conn., overseeing $20 billion in defined contribution plan assets. Mr. Hanney joined the council this year as a representative for employers.
As council members examine the shift they referred to as moving from an ERISA to a “non-ERISA world,” they will analyze trends and identify concerns, including plan sponsors' interest in retaining assets, leakage and participant protections.