As discussed in a prior CCLS blog posting, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") recently proposed significant amendments to the definition of "fiduciary" under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"). Due to the considerable attention and comments the proposed rule has generated, the DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration ("EBSA") has extended the comment period by an additional two weeks and has announced a public hearing to consider the issues surrounding the proposal and its impact on the employee benefits and financial communities. The extended comment period closes on February 3, 2011 and the hearing is scheduled for March 1, 2011 at 9 a.m., EST and March 2, 2011, if necessary. The proposed rule would significantly expand the definition of when a person is considered to be an ERISA "fiduciary" by reason of giving investment advice to an employee benefit plan or to a plan's participants and beneficiaries, most notably by eliminating the requirements that the advice be provided on a "regular basis" and that the advice serve as a "primary basis" for investment decisions.
Comments may be submitted electronically by e-mail to e-ORI@dol.gov, subject line: Definition of Fiduciary Proposed Rule or by visiting the following website: http://www.regulations.gov. For additional information regarding the proposed rule or the public hearing, please contact us at (619) 278-0020.