In September 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided interim guidance, in the form of a temporary enforcement policy, detailing how the newly required disclosures for participant-directed retirement plans could be delivered in electronic form. This guidance, Technical Release 2011-03, raised a number of questions. DOL has now provided some clarification by revising and restating its prior release as Technical Release 2011-03R. The revised release addresses two specific points relating to the use of continuous-access websites for disclosure purposes:
•Availability for investment-related information. The original release suggested a distinction in the ability to use website access between the two disclosure categories under the new rules: "plan-related information" and "investment-related information." It specifically indicated that "plan-related information" could be provided through a secure, continuous-access website, in accordance with DOL's prior guidance on using this approach to furnish participants with pension benefit statements, but it implied that the approach would not be available for "investment-related information." The revised technical release clarifies that the continuous-access website approach can in fact be used for "investment-related information" where such information is furnished as part of, or along with, pension benefit statement information.
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