Federal regulations (1 - 10 of 36 items)
Retirement Security: Improved Guidance Could Help Account Owners Understand the Risks of Investing in Unconventional Assets
GAO-17-102: Published: Dec 8, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 9, 2017.
Federal data collection efforts to date have captured little information on retirement accounts holding unconventional assets—such as real estate, precious metals, private equity, and virtual currency—making the prevalence of such accounts unknown. In tax year 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began requiring that custodians or trustees of individual retirement accounts (IRA)—includin...
401(K) Plans: Clearer Regulations Could Help Plan Sponsors Choose Investments for Participants
GAO-15-578: Published: Aug 25, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 4, 2015.
Employers who sponsor 401(k) plans report using a range of default investment types to automatically enroll employees in their plans based on each type's design and other attributes. From 2009 through 2013, the majority of employers who sponsored 401(k) plans reported using a target-date fund as their default, according to data from three annual industry surveys that GAO reviewed. A target-date fu...
Private Pensions: Participants Need Better Information When Offered Lump Sums That Replace Their Lifetime Benefits
GAO-15-74: Published: Jan 27, 2015. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 2015.
Little public data are available to assess the extent to which sponsors of defined benefit plans are offering participants immediate lump sums to replace their lifetime annuities, but certain laws and regulations provide incentives for use of this practice. Although the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has primary responsibility for overseeing pension sponsors' reporting requirements, it does not re...
SSA Disability Benefits: Enhanced Policies and Management Focus Needed to Address Potential Physician-Assisted Fraud
GAO-15-19: Published: Nov 10, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 10, 2014.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has policies and procedures in place for detecting and preventing fraud with regard to disability benefit claims. However, GAO identified a number of areas that could leave the agency vulnerable to physician-assisted fraud and other fraudulent claims:SSA relies heavily on front-line staff in the offices of its disability determination services (DDS)—which...
Pension Plan Valuation: Views on Using Multiple Measures to Offer a More Complete Financial Picture
GAO-14-264: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 2014.
Public and private sector defined benefit pension plans are subject to different rules and guidance regarding discount rates—interest rates used to determine the current value of estimated future benefit payments. These differences can result in significant implications:Sponsors of public sector plans generally use discount rates using a long-term assumed average rate of return on plan assets. T...
401(k) Plans: Other Countries' Experiences Offer Lessons in Policies and Oversight of Spend-down Options
GAO-14-9: Published: Nov 20, 2013. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 2013.
The six countries GAO reviewed can offer U.S. regulators lessons on how to expand access to a mix of spend-down options for 401(k) participants that meet various retirement needs. Five of the six countries generally ensure that participants can choose among three main plan options: a lump sum payment, a programmed withdrawal of participants' savings, or an annuity. In the last several decades, all...
Private Pensions: Revised Electronic Disclosure Rules Could Clarify Use and Better Protect Participant Choice
GAO-13-594: Published: Sep 13, 2013. Publicly Released: Nov 5, 2013.
Federal statutes and regulations under the purview of the Department of Labor (Labor) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) allow employers who sponsor private pension plans to furnish all pension disclosures to participants electronically:as the default delivery method if participants meet specific criteria regarding access, orif affirmative consent is obtained.When neither of these condi...
Private Pensions: Multiemployer Plans and PBGC Face Urgent Challenges
GAO-13-428T: Published: Mar 5, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 2013.
The most severely distressed multiemployer plans have taken significant steps to address their funding problems and, while most plans expected improved financial health, some did not. A survey conducted by a large actuarial and consulting firm serving multiemployer plans suggests that the majority of the most severely underfunded plans--those designated as being in critical status--developed plans...
Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance: Retirement Benefit and Retained Asset Account Disclosures Could Be Improved
GAO-12-94: Published: Nov 10, 2011. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2011.
The Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance program (FEGLI), administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), insures over 4 million federal employees and annuitants in the event of an enrollee's death. As a result, it is important that the program is clearly explained and properly overseen. However, some aspects of FEGLI, such as program disclosures and the use of retained asset accounts...
401(K) Plans: Improved Regulation Could Better Protect Participants from Conflicts of Interest
GAO-11-119: Published: Jan 28, 2011. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 2011.
Recent volatility in financial markets highlights the need for prudent investment decisions if 401(k) plans are to provide an adequate source of retirement income. While plan sponsors and participants may receive help in assessing their investment choices, concerns have been raised about the impartiality of the advice provided. GAO was asked to describe circumstances where service providers may ha...