DOL Official Backs Full Fee Disclosure for 401(k)s in Senate Testimony

The assistant secretary of labor for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration testified before a Senate Committee Wednesday about proposing initiatives that would require 401(k)-type plans to become more transparent.

Bradford P. Campbell spoke before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about initiatives to make it easier for an estimated 65 million workers, employee benefit plan fiduciaries and the government to get full disclosure about the fees and expenses that plans charge. His testimony focused on three regulatory initiatives to improve fee disclosure and transparency in a manner that is appropriate and cost-effective for workers and plan fiduciaries.

"Together these rules will ensure that millions of American workers and plan officials get the information they need to make informed decisions about plan services and investments. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that plans and workers pay only fair, competitive and transparent prices for services to their plans," Campbell said.

In his testimony, one of Campbell’s key points was a proposed rule that would make it easier for workers covered by 401(k)-type plans to make informed retirement decisions by providing them with fee and expense information for investment options available under their plans. A proposal released on July 23, suggested a model chart that would provide this information in an easy-to-read, comparative format. Campbell’s proposal also included a provision that would require 401(k) providers to disclose in writing the services they would provide to the plan and all of the compensation they would receive.

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