Heather Abrigo authored an article for 401(k) Advisor titled, “The New “Norm of DOL Investigations: What Has Changed and What Is Coming?” Heather discusses the recent changes over the last 18 months in Department of Labor (DOL) investigations and how the shift in focus is affecting plan fiduciaries.
Previous DOL investigations focused on timely deposits of deferrals and ascertaining who the fiduciaries were and whether or not they had fulfilled their duties. Recently there have been increased investigations into plan investments, the share classes of such investments, how plan fees and expenses are paid and ERISA disclosures notices. This change is particularly evident on the west coast.
Heather encourages plan fiduciaries to make sure that they are provided with and understand adequate disclosures, and conduct an internal review before turning over documents in preparation for a DOL investigation. Such internal reviews can uncover problems that can be corrected and explained to the DOL, and determine whether expert assistance is needed.