Most of the fee disclosure deadlines have come and gone, but the discussion is not over. The U.S. Department of Labor is ramping up its enforcement efforts heading into 2013 to make sure service providers and plan sponsors have met the requirements of fee disclosure.
A recent webinar hosted by Thomas Loch, senior vice president of Castle Rock Innovations, discussed how firms can prepare for a DOL audit.
A DOL audit is not easy, Sohn said. Companies have to be prepared to produce detailed records on all of their ERISA clients and host on-site interviews. People are subpoenaed to make sure the DOL’s requests for document production are as complete as possible. They also will interview your personnel.
Once the DOL receives all of the information it needs it will send out a closing letter.
To best prepare for a DOL audit, Sohn recommends choosing one high-level person at your company to serve as a liaison with the DOL investigator. He also recommends that companies ask permission to bring in ERISA counsel to help them comply with the audit. Negotiate the scope of the document request. It is much easier to produce a sampling of documents than every document that pertains to the investigation.
Perform a legal review of anything you give to the DOL and if you discover discrepancies in your own internal investigation, be proactive and tell the DOL what you will do to remediate the prohibited transaction. Also, prepare personnel for on-site interviews, it is important to know what you are going to say to an investigator.