Industry & Regulatory News
Additional ACA FAQs Released

The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Treasury issued a joint FAQ related to the coverage of contraceptive products as preventive services by group health plans or issuers. The FAQ provides the following:

  • Group health plans and issuers are required to cover items or services that are integral to the furnishing of a recommended preventive service. The FAQ clarifies that coverage of anesthesia for a tubal litigation procedure or pregnancy tests required prior to the provision of an intrauterine device would be considered preventive services.
August 01 2022
Industry & Regulatory News
Federal Prime Interest Rate Increased to 5.50 Percent

Effective July 27, 2022, the Federal prime interest rate increased from 4.75 percent to 5.50 percent. The prime interest rate is largely determined by the federal funds rate, as set by the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). As Department of Labor regulations require a retirement plan loan interest rate to be comparable to interest rates charged by entities that are in the business of lending money in similar circumstances, plan sponsors typically use a benchmark such as the prime rate to set the interest rate on plan loans. The next FOMC meeting is scheduled for September 20 and 21, 2022.

July 28 2022
Industry & Regulatory News
DOL Guidance on Employee Benefit Plan Audit Independence at OMB

The Office of Management and Budget has received a final rule from the Department of Labor (DOL) titled, “Interpretive Bulletin Relating to the Independence of Employee Benefit Plan Accounts.”

The DOL has long had in place a 1975 interpretive bulletin, acknowledging that further guidance may be issued concerning the question of independency of an accountant retained by an employee benefit plan. In 2019, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) issued a new Statement of Auditing Standards (SAS) 136 which updated audit requirements for employee benefit plans. Required implementation of these new requirements was delayed until plan years ending after December 15, 2021.   

July 27 2022
Industry & Regulatory News
DOL Releases Proposed Amendment to QPAM Exemption

July 26, 2022 — The Department of Labor has announced a proposed amendment to the Class Prohibited Transaction Exemption 84-14, also known as the Qualified Professional Asset Manager (QPAM) Exemption. According to a DOL news release, the proposed amendment expands the types of misconduct that disqualify plan asset managers from using the exemption by

July 27 2022
Industry & Regulatory News
DOL Proposed Amendment for QPAM Exemptions Has Left OMB

A Proposed Rule titled “Proposed Amendment to PTE 84-14 for Plan Asset Transactions Determined by an Independent Qualified Plan Asset Manager” (QPAM) has left the Office of Management and Budget—suggesting that official release may come soon.

ERISA generally prohibits a number of transactions between a plan and a “party in interest”—including fiduciaries and those providing services to the plan—unless an exemption is granted. PTE 84-14 is a class exemption regarding certain transactions between a party in interest with respect to an employee benefit plan and an investment fund that is managed by a QPAM. An employee benefit plan includes an employee welfare benefit or pension benefit plan, a trust defined under IRC. Secs. 401(a) or 403(a), IRAs, HSAs, MSAs, and ESAs. QPAMs are independent fiduciaries that are a bank, savings and loan, insurance company, or registered investment advisor meeting certain asset/net worth thresholds. 

July 18 2022
Industry & Regulatory News
DOL Releases Spring 2022 Regulatory Agenda

The Department of Labor has posted online its upcoming guidance priorities. A number of the guidance items deal with retirement savings arrangements, including the following.

  • Two items in the “prerule” stage include improving the effectiveness of retirement plan disclosures and guidance on pooled employer plans
  • A former initiative to modernize the Form 5500 appears in the proposed rule stage
  • A rulemaking to amend the definition of fiduciary to include persons who render investment advice for a fee to employee benefit plans and IRAs
  • Revised procedures for granting prohibited transaction exemptions
  • A final rule regarding pension benefit statement lifetime income illustrations as required under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019
  • Updates to the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program
  • A third final rule concerning Form 5500 changes related to the SECURE Act
  • A final rule regarding prudence and loyalty in selecting plan investments and exercising shareholder rights
  • Amendments to the abandoned plan program


June 22 2022
Industry & Regulatory News
Washington Pulse: Some Big Changes May be in Store for the Davis-Bacon Act

The Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) has played a major role in the construction industry for over 90 years. Passed in 1931, it has been described by the Supreme Court as a “minimum wage law designed for the benefit of construction workers.” The DBA generally requires payment of locally prevailing wages under direct federal contracts and for covered contractors and their subcontractors. The employer’s obligation can be met by paying the applicable prevailing wage entirely as cash wages or by a combination of cash wages and employer-provided, bona fide fringe benefits—including pension and health benefits.

June 21 2022
Industry & Regulatory News
Financial Freedom Act Proposed in House

Representative Byron Donalds (R-FL) and several Republican co-sponsors have introduced HR 7860, the Financial Freedom Act of 2022. This is companion legislation to S 4147 introduced earlier this month by Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL). The proposal would prohibit the Department of Labor (DOL) from restricting the types of investments that plan participants can choose through participant directed accounts and self-directed brokerage accounts. The bills are in response to regulatory guidance released by the DOL and announced in March.

May 27 2022
Industry & Regulatory News
Senate HELP Committee Releases Retirement Bill Discussion Draft

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC)—chair and ranking members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee respectively—have released a discussion draft of compiled retirement provisions from several bills into the Senate’s latest version of what has been coined SECURE Act 2.0. The RISE & SHINE Act shares some similarities to, and builds upon the Securing a Strong Retirement Act bill that passed the House in March.


May 27 2022
Industry & Regulatory News
Final Form 5500 Revisions Guidance Issued

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), IRS, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) have released final forms revisions to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan and Form 5500-SF Short Form Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, and related instructions, that apply to plan year reports beginning on or after January 1, 2022. A proposed rule was issued last September.

May 20 2022