More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Use and Misuse of Social Media Social media is an inexpensive and effective way to communicate with established and prospective clients. Nevertheless, when RIAs utilize social media to promote their advisory practices, they risk compliance problems for their firms.
- Client Commission Practices and Soft Dollars RIAs should always evaluate whether the products and services they receive from broker-dealers are appropriate. The SEC suggested that an RIAs failure to stay within the scope of the Section 28(e) safe harbor may violate the advisors fiduciary duty to clients, so RIAs must evaluate their soft dollar relationships on a regular basis to ensure they are disclosed properly and that they do not negatively impact the best execution of clients transactions.
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) announced Friday that it has set up a new online filing system for plan sponsors seeking fiduciary relief for a service provider’s failure to comply with the department’s plan-level fee disclosure rule, 408(b)(2).
The new online tool, which replaces the option of e-mailing notices, “will better assist plan sponsors who file electronically by ensuring that all required information is submitted, and providing immediate confirmation that notices have been received by the department,” EBSA says.
Phyllis Borzi, Assistant Secretary of Labor for EBSA, said in a statement that the revised submission procedures “should provide plan sponsors a greater level of confidence that their requests for fiduciary relief have been received and will be efficiently processed and reviewed.” The easy-to-use online filing system “guides plan sponsors through the information that must be submitted, and allows us to more quickly process and respond to their requests,” she said. “We’ve also retained flexibility for those plan sponsors who choose to submit paper notices.”
The final service provider-to-plan sponsor fee disclosure rule, referred to as the 408(b)(2) regulation for the relevant section in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), became effective on July 1. It includes a provision to protect plan sponsors, or other responsible plan fiduciaries, from liability for a breach of their fiduciary duties under ERISA when, without the plan sponsor’s knowledge, a service provider fails to comply with the rule’s comprehensive disclosure requirements.
As EBSA explains, “if a plan sponsor discovers that required information has not been furnished, and efforts to obtain the information are not successful, the sponsor must notify the department, by regular mail or electronically.
Plan sponsors who want to send paper notices can now submit them to a dedicated P.O. box address, rather than to the department’s general mailing address. Notices can be addressed to: U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Office of Enforcement, P.O. Box 75296, Washington, D.C. 20013.