Tips for Document Requests in Service Provider Investigations

June 27, 2013 ( - It’s a situation dreaded by every service provider to a retirement plan: an investigation by the Department of Labor (DOL).

By PLANSPONSOR staff | June 27, 2013
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It’s not the greatest news, and according to law firm Drinker, Biddle & Reath, the DOL has been turning up the heat on service provider investigations. For a number of years it’s been targeting registered investment advisers, and has also begun to target broker/dealers and recordkeepers, the law firm said in a webinar presentation, “Surviving DOL Service Provider Investigations.” 

According to Drinker Biddle, the investigations seem to be part of the DOL’s ongoing Fiduciary Service Provider Compensation Project, which focuses on “the receipt of improper or undisclosed compensation by employee benefit plan consultants and investment advisers.” The main point is to make sure that plan fiduciaries and plan participants receive comprehensive disclosure about service provider compensation and conflicts of interest. The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) will also conduct criminal investigations of potential fraud, kickback and embezzlement involving advisers to plans and participants.  

One way investigations of service providers arise is when the DOL is looking into a retirement plan and finds an issue, and then moves over to the service provider, noted Fred Reish, chair of the Financial Services ERISA team, at Drinker, Biddle & Reath. “They found problems in conflicts of interest, self-serving or self-dealing areas,” Reish said.  

But there are ways to survive, which Drinker Biddle, detailed in its webinar.