Hewitt Outlines Plan Expense Issues

June 21, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) ?Labor Department officials have "substantially liberalized" rules governing how much sponsors can charge back to their plan for participant communications, a consultant group says.

That was the primary conclusion of an hour-long nationwide teleconference Thursday — “Charging Plan Expenses Wisely: The Impact of Recent DOL Guidance” — hosted by a panel of Hewitt pension consultants.

But, other than telling conference participants that they should make sure proposed plan expenses are “prudent” and “reasonable,” the Hewitt consultants were able to offer few definitive specifics about expenses that federal regulators would green light.

The issue of plan sponsors overcharging expenses has long been a controversial topic with watchdog groups claiming that the Labor Department wasn’t doing enough to police the retirement plan industry.

Particularly in recent years, however, federal officials have vowed to crack down on sponsors who were overcharging their plans.

One outgrowth has been recent Labor Department advisory bulletins about the fee issue which the Hewitt consultants said had begun to make federal retirement plan fee regulation more “stable.”

– Fred Schneyer               editors@plansponsor.com