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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

What Counts As A Prospectus?

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A retirement plan fiduciary can use a mutual fund summary prospectus to satisfy U.S. Labor Department prospectus delivery regulations, officials say.

Robert Doyle, a director with the Employee Benefits Security Administration, an arm of the Labor Department, writes about use of a fund summary prospectus as a plan investment option prospectus in EBSA Field Assistance Bulletin 2009-03.

The Labor Department beginning letting plan fiduciaries use mutual fund “profile” documents as prospectuses for retirement plan participant communications purposes in 2003.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission replaced the fund profiles with mutual fund summary prospectuses.

A summary prospectus must include information such as a mutual fund’s name, fees, objectives and risks, and the fund company must post a complete prospectus on the Internet.

“The summary prospectus is a short-form document, written in plain English in a clear and concise format,” Doyle writes in the field assistance bulletin. “Moreover, if a participant or beneficiary wishes additional information, the summary prospectus provides an Internet address that leads directly to the statutory prospectus as well as a toll free (or collect) telephone number and e-mail address for obtaining free of charge in paper or by email the statutory prospectus and other information.”

Because of the existence of those features, “we believe that the delivery of a summary prospectus, both automatically and upon request, by an identified plan fiduciary or designee to plan participants or beneficiaries satisfies the prospectus delivery requirements” spelled out in retirement plan regulations, Doyle writes.

A copy of the field assistance bulletin is available here.


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