Washington, D.C., counsel Brad Campbell was quoted in an Ignites article titled, “Trade Groups Seek Delay Of DOL Fee-guide Proposal.”  The article discussed the financial service industry’s reaction to the Department of Labor’s proposal to add table-of-contents-style guides to 401(k) fee-disclosure documents. Some are questioning the regulator for a lack of data to support the need for the change, as well as the unusual process of issuing the proposed amendment simultaneously with a request for information that would support the proposal itself.

“They’ve gotten the regulatory cart in front of the horse by going forward with an idea and then seeking to justify it,” said Brad. “The regulatory process is supposed to have the underlying information to support the agency’s conclusions as a proposal.”

The DOL’s two fee-disclosure rules, 408(b)(2) and 404(a)(5), require 401(k) fees to be disclosed to retirement plan sponsors and participants, respectively. Trade groups are concerned that the DOL has not issued any supporting evidence to suggest the proposed amendment to its 408(b)(2) fee-disclosure rule would benefit plan sponsors.

Brad went on to say that he finds the simultaneous issuance of the proposed amendment and focus group study curious. “I have a lot of concerns about the process that is embodied in this 408(b)(2) guide proposal,” he said. “One of the mysteries is why the department isn’t referencing its own enforcement data.”