EBSA to Hold Advice Computer Model Public Hearing

June 19, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) will hold a public hearing on July 31 to assess the feasibility of using computer models to provide advice to participants with individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and similar plans.

The Pension Protection Act (PPA) a mended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by adding a new prohibited transaction exemption that allows greater flexibility for investment advisers to give advice to participants of 401(k) plans and IRAs. One of the ways in which investment advice may be provided under the exemption is through the use of an unbiased computer model (See  Rules/Regs: An Advice Road Map ).

The department is required to determine the feasibility of such models in providing investment advice to IRA participants and report its finding to Congress by the end of the year.    On December 4, 2006, the department published a request for information regarding the use of computer model investment advice programs for IRAs (See EBSA Asks for a Hand in Developing 401(k), IRA Advice Regs ).  

According to an EBSA news release, those wanting to address the hearing should submit a request to present oral comments by July 19 online to e-OED@dol.gov or the federal eRulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov .   Information on the hearing agenda will be published on the eRulemaking portal.

The hearing will take place at the DoL in Room N4437B-D, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W. in Washington, D.C.