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    Subject Term: Accounts

    15 publications with a total of 51 open recommendations including 4 priority recommendations
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should update the plans of action and milestones to reflect expected completion dates for implementing the recommendations made by US-CERT.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with the recommendation. The agency plans to update the plans of action and milestones with the current status, including expected completion dates.
    Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should improve the timeliness of validating evidence associated with actions taken to address the US-CERT recommendations.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM partially concurred with the recommendation. The agency is working on making improvements to its automated system to further support its remedial action management processes, including timely closure.
    Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should update policy to reflect deployment of Department of Homeland Security threat indicators and the specific 24-hour scanning requirement.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with the recommendation. The agency is in the process of updating security policies.
    Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should develop and implement role-based training requirements for staff using Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation tools.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with the recommendation. The agency is in the process of defining role-based training requirements for its continuous monitoring program.
    Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should provide detailed guidance on the quality assurance process that includes evaluating security control assessments.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with the recommendation. The agency is in the process of developing additional standards for evaluating security controls testing and asserts it will use these standards for evaluating security control assessments.
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) to provide guidance in the DOD Financial Management Regulation on the timing of when DOD managers should use available tools to help ensure that monthly cash balances are within the upper and lower cash requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation and stated that it plans to update the DOD Financial Management Regulation as we recommended to provide additional guidance on the timing of when DOD managers should use available tools to help ensure that monthly cash balances are within the upper and lower cash requirements. DOD also stated that this change will be incorporated for the fiscal year 2019 President's Budget submission and subsequent budgets.
    Director: Nick Marinos
    Phone: (202) 512-9342

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve the corporation's implementation of its information security program, the Chairman of FDIC should direct the Chief Information Officer to update the procedure for granting access to the key financial application, to include responsibilities and steps for ensuring that the access privileges granted have been approved by the users' supervisor.

    Agency: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Lawrance Evans
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In the event that Congress again requires an agency to provide affected individuals with identity theft insurance in response to a breach of sensitive personal data, Congress should consider permitting the agency to determine the appropriate level of that insurance.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we determine what steps the Congress has taken, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should, to the extent feasible, conduct an analysis of the effectiveness of the various identity theft services relative to alternatives, and revise OMB's guidance to federal agencies in light of this analysis.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should explore options to address the risk of duplication in federal agencies' provision of identity theft services in response to data breaches, and take action if viable options are identified.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Personnel Management should incorporate criteria and procedures for determining whether to offer identity theft services into the agency's data-breach-response policy.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Personnel Management should implement procedures that provide reasonable assurance that significant decisions on the use of identity theft services are appropriately documented.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Charles Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that current vesting policies appropriately balance plans' needs and interests with the needs of workers to have employment mobility while also saving for retirement, Treasury should evaluate the appropriateness of existing maximum vesting policies for account-based plans, considering today's mobile labor force, and seek legislative action to revise vesting schedules, if deemed necessary. The Department of Labor could provide assistance with such an evaluation.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury did not provide formal comments for this recommendation. The Department of Labor's comments noted that Treasury and IRS will consult with them on subjects of joint interest and Labor will provide assistance as requested. We will monitor the agency's progress.
    Recommendation: To help participants better understand eligibility and vesting policies, the Department of Labor (DOL) should develop guidance for plan sponsors that identifies best practices for communicating information about eligibility and vesting policies in a clear manner in summary plan descriptions. For example, DOL could discourage plans from including in documents information about employer contributions or other provisions that are not actually being used by the plan sponsor.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor disagreed with this recommendation stating that it would not be appropriate at this time to reallocate resources from its existing priority projects to a new project to identify "best practices" for communicating information about eligibility and vesting policies in a clear manner in the summary plan descriptions. The agency noted that in FY17, it will review its existing outreach material on plan administration and compliance for opportunities to highlight the issues and recommendations in our report. It will also consider this recommendation in its ongoing development and prioritization of EBSA's agenda for regulations and sub-regulatory guidance.
    Recommendation: To help increase plan participation and individuals' retirement savings, Congress should consider updating ERISA's 401(k) plan eligibility provisions to extend plan eligibility to otherwise eligible workers at an age earlier than 21.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, Congress has not yet taken action on this matter.
    Recommendation: To help increase plan participation and individuals' retirement savings, Congress should consider updating ERISA's 401(k) plan eligibility provisions to amend the definition of "year of service," given the prevalence of part-time workers in today's workforce.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we obtain information on actions taken by the Congress, we will a update.
    Recommendation: Congress should consider whether ERISA's provisions related to the timing of employer matching contributions need to be adjusted to reflect today's mobile workforce and workplace plans, which are predominantly 401(k) plans offering matching employer contributions.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we obtain information on actions taken by the Congress, we will a update.
    Recommendation: Congress should consider whether ERISA's provisions related to last day policies need to be adjusted to reflect today's mobile workforce and workplace plans, which are predominantly 401(k) plans offering matching employer contributions.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we obtain information on actions taken by the Congress, we will a update.
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the Navy's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund FBWT FIP and facilitate efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Secretary of the Navy should direct the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Financial Management and Comptroller, to prepare a level I quantitative drilldown in accordance with the FIAR Guidance.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Navy concurred with this recommendation and stated that it has actions planned, taken, or under way to prepare a quantitative drilldown. In August 2017 we contacted the Navy POC and requested an update on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Navy's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund FBWT FIP and facilitate efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Secretary of the Navy should direct the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Financial Management and Comptroller, to prioritize audit readiness efforts for the key FBWT systems, prepare an audit strategy that identifies for each system (1) the Navy's plan for assessing the system to gain assurance that the system can be relied on; (2) the assessment types, including prioritizing the assessments based on qualitative and quantitative factors for each system; and (3) planned start and completion dates of these assessments for each system.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Navy concurred with this recommendation and stated that it has actions planned, taken, or under way to prioritize audit readiness efforts for key FBWT systems. In August 2017 we contacted the Navy POC and requested an update on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Navy's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund FBWT FIP and facilitate efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Secretary of the Navy should direct the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Financial Management and Comptroller, to prepare, in accordance with FIAR Guidance, the documentation of control activities and information technology general computer controls for significant systems; system certifications or accreditations; system, end user, and systems documentation locations; and hardware, software, and interfaces.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Navy concurred with this recommendation and stated that it has actions planned, taken, or under way to document control activities, information technology general computer controls for significant systems, systems documentation locations, and hardware, software, and interfaces. In August 2017 we contacted the Navy POC and requested an update on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Navy's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund FBWT FIP and facilitate efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Secretary of the Navy should direct the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Financial Management and Comptroller, to prepare an internal control assessment document for each assessable unit, summarizing control activities that are appropriately designed and in place.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Navy concurred with this recommendation and stated that it has actions planned, taken, or under way to prepare an internal control assessment document. In August 2017 we contacted the Navy POC and requested an update on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Navy's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund FBWT FIP and facilitate efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Secretary of the Navy should direct the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Financial Management and Comptroller, to perform sufficient testing for supporting documentation to reasonably determine whether such documentation, including that for key reconciliations, is available in a sustainable manner for future audit efforts.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Navy concurred with this recommendation and stated that it has actions planned, taken, or under way to test the effectiveness of Fund Balance with Treasury controls, which includes assessing the availability of supporting documentation. In August 2017 we contacted the Navy POC and requested an update on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Navy's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund FBWT FIP and facilitate efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Secretary of the Navy should direct the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Financial Management and Comptroller, to, for each fiscal year expected to be under audit, identify and address unusual and invalid transactions, abnormal balances, and missing data fields in the universe of collection and disbursement transactions.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Navy concurred with this recommendation and stated that it has actions planned, taken, or under way to obtain monthly data from Defense Finance and Accounting Service on invalid Fund Balance with Treasury transactions. In August 2017 we contacted the Navy POC and requested an update on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Navy's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund FBWT FIP and facilitate efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Secretary of the Navy should direct the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Financial Management and Comptroller, to update FBWT data flowcharts and narratives to fully describe the flow of data from the Navy's receipt of collection and disbursement transaction information through the financial statement line items, including the reversal of general ledger trial balance data generated by the automated system and other entries made within Defense Departmental Reporting System - Budgetary.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Navy concurred with this recommendations and stated that it has actions planned, taken, or under way to develop procedures and documentation that describe the processes associated with the flow of data. In August 2017 we contacted the Navy POC and requested an update on the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Andrew Von Ah
    Phone: (213) 830-1011

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that Congress will have more complete information on DOD's full funding needs for its O&M base budget and to conduct oversight of DOD's use of OCO funds to support base programs and activities, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller to revise its guidance on preparing budget justification materials and execution reports for Congress to require the addition of O&M obligations used for base programs and activities at the level of information presented for each account.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD continues to non-concur with our recommendation; however, we continue to believe that the recommendation is valid and will follow up annually on the status of the recommendation.
    Director: Michelle Sager
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase the transparency to Congress about the total amount of funds agencies have available in a given year, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should identify and publicly report the total amount of actual budget authority government-wide that is temporarily sequestered and "pops up," or becomes available again to agencies for obligation in the subsequent fiscal year.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2017, OMB staff told us they will consider additional options for reporting a government-wide total amount of actual budget authority that is temporarily sequestered during preparation of the full 2018 President's Budget.
    Recommendation: To promote further transparency in measuring the federal government's progress against deficit reduction targets required under current law, the Director of the Office of Management of Budget should identify and publicly report the total amount of actual reductions in budget authority government-wide each year as a result of sequestration or the reduction of discretionary spending limits under BBEDCA.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2017, OMB staff maintained their position of disagreement with this recommendation as summarized in our April 2016 report.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve taxpayer service amid declining budgets and increased responsibilities, Congress should consider requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to develop a comprehensive customer service strategy in consultation with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue that (1) determines appropriate telephone and correspondence levels of service, based on service provided by the best in business and customer expectations; and (2) thoroughly assesses which services IRS can shift to self-service options.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, no legislative action had been taken.
    Recommendation: To improve performance management of taxpayer services, the Secretary of the Treasury should update the Department's performance plan to include overage rates for handling taxpayer correspondence as a part of Treasury's performance goals.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Treasury officials told us that they plan to include correspondence data as part of Treasury's fiscal year 2018 annual performance plan and fiscal year 2016 annual performance report. They expect it to be available online before Summer 2017.
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of DOD's financial statement audits and ensure that corrective actions to address audit recommendations are fully and effectively implemented prior to their closure, the Department of Defense Inspector General should ensure that Marine Corps corrective actions fully address audit recommendations and document auditor review of the actions taken before closing the related recommendations.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: Our follow up in fiscal year 2015 was limited to a request for a documented process the DOD-IG may have developed and implemented to ensure all control issues detailed in the NFRs have been fully resolved; related corrective action plans were relevant and reviewed consistently and adequately; and the IPA/DOD-IG reviews were documented as part of the NFR review process. DOD-IG was not able to provide such documentation to support the statement provided in its response to our recommendation at the time the report was issued. Consequently, there was no documentation for us to review. In August 2017, we contacted the DOD-IG and requested an update on the status of efforts to address this recommendation. Also, per the contract with an IPA for the USMC's fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit, the IPA is to follow up on status of efforts to address prior year recommendations.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: Given the significant unobligated balances of about $260 million in the ESF account for Egypt previously allocated for a cash transfer that the administration has stated it no longer intends to carry out, the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator should work to develop plans for an alternate use of these funds, in consultation with the appropriate committees of Congress. As part of planning for these funds, State should also consider ways that this funding could potentially be used to offset future budget requests.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In written comments on our draft report, State and USAID generally concurred with our recommendation. State and USAID reported in May 2016 that the agencies had reprogrammed $230 million of the $260 million previously allocated for the cash transfer to the Egyptian government for programs in Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, and Egypt, among other countries. As of May 2017, State and USAID had not yet made a decision on how to best utilize the remaining $30 million. GAO will continue to monitor agency efforts to fully implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the significant unobligated balances of about $260 million in the ESF account for Egypt previously allocated for a cash transfer that the administration has stated it no longer intends to carry out, the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator should work to develop plans for an alternate use of these funds, in consultation with the appropriate committees of Congress. As part of planning for these funds, State should also consider ways that this funding could potentially be used to offset future budget requests.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In written comments on our draft report, State and USAID generally concurred with our recommendation. State and USAID reported in May 2016 that the agencies had reprogrammed $230 million of the $260 million previously allocated for the cash transfer to the Egyptian government for programs in Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, and Egypt, among other countries. As of May 2017, State and USAID had not yet made a decision on how to best utilize the remaining $30 million. GAO will continue to monitor agency efforts to fully implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the timely completion of an evaluation of security assistance to Egypt that is required by State policy, the Secretary of State should establish specific time frames for completing such an evaluation.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State agreed with this recommendation. State noted that while evaluation of security assistance to Egypt poses challenges, it views evaluation as a critical tool for accountability and program improvement and will continue to pursue a formal evaluation of security assistance to Egypt. As of August 2017, State had not established specific time frames for such an evaluation. However, according to State officials, the department had begun preliminary data collection in anticipation of an evaluation at some point in the future. GAO will continue to monitor agency efforts to fully implement this recommendation.
    Director: Charlie Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    5 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To better protect the retirement savings of individuals who change jobs, while retaining policies that provide 401(k) plans relief from maintaining small, inactive accounts, Congress should consider amending current law to permit the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of the Treasury to identify and designate alternative default destinations for forced transfers greater than $1,000, should they deem them more advantageous for participants.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: There has been no congressional action as of 2017.
    Recommendation: To better protect the retirement savings of individuals who change jobs, while retaining policies that provide 401(k) plans relief from maintaining small, inactive accounts, Congress should consider amending current law to repeal the provision that allows plans to disregard amounts attributable to rollovers when determining if a participant's plan balance is small enough to forcibly transfer it.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: There has been no congressional action as of 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that individuals have access to consolidated online information about their multiple 401(k) plan accounts, the Secretary of Labor should convene a taskforce to consider establishing a national pension registry. The taskforce could include industry professionals, plan sponsor representatives, consumer representatives, and relevant federal government stakeholders, such as representatives from Social Security Administration, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and Internal Revenue Service, who could identify areas to be addressed through the regulatory process, as well as those that may require legislative action.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2017, The Department of Labor (DOL) reported that it has not allocated any resources to this recommendation and, as previously stated, that it continues to believe that the Department should not undertake to convene a taskforce at this time, in light of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's (PBGC) initiative, the Department's limited authority, and resource constraints. In October 2016, DOL stated that it does not have regulatory authority to establish a pension registry and could not provide sufficient funding to operate a registry. GAO's recommendation is to convene a taskforce to look at what would be needed to create such a registry. Indeed, DOL's stated constraints are exactly the constructive input that would need to be first addressed by such a taskforce for a registry to be created. The agency further noted that the PBGC is in the process of looking at expanding its own registry of accounts left in closed defined benefit plans to include accounts in 401(k) plans. However, PBGC is only looking at expanding its program, as instructed by the Pension Protection Act, to include accounts left in terminated 401(k) plans. However, in June 2016, Congress proposed that a new national, online, lost and found for Americans' retirement accounts be created, in cooperation with the Commissioner of Social Security and the Secretary of the Treasury, using data that employers are already required to report. Until Congress' proposal becomes law, we continue to recommend that DOL facilitate a taskforce to discuss legal and other logistical questions that would need to be worked out to create a pension registry.
    Recommendation: To ensure that 401(k) plan participants have timely and adequate information to keep track of all their workplace retirement accounts, the Social Security Administration's Acting Commissioner should make information on potential vested plan benefits more accessible to individuals before retirement. For example, the agency could consolidate information on potential vested benefits, currently sent in the Potential Private Retirement Benefit Information notice, with the information provided in the Social Security earnings and benefits statement.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA disagreed with this recommendation, but did seek legal guidance to determine if it is permissible to include a general statement encouraging potential beneficiaries to pursue any external pension benefits in its benefit Statement. SSA's Office of the General Counsel determined that it would be permissible as long as it includes information required by law and the information is accurate. However, SSA continues to believe that adding such information would place SSA in a position to respond to issues or questions about ERISA and private pension plans, which SSA considers to be outside its mission and about which the agency has no firsthand legal or operational knowledge. Also, SSA believes that the current benefit Statement adequately covers the fact that people need other savings, pensions, and investments. Also, SSA sends notices to people who it believes quality for other pensions. In FY17, SSA reported no change in status to this recommendation. We continue to agree with SSA's view about providing information or advice about private pension plans generally. However, SSA's Notice of Potential Private Retirement Benefit Information already directs recipients to contact DOL with any questions, and we would expect that any changes made to make information on potential vested plan benefits more accessible to individuals before retirement - such as including the information in Social Security earnings and benefit statements - would continue to direct recipients to contact DOL with questions about ERISA policy. Furthermore, we continue to believe that individuals should receive information on any potential vested plan benefits prior to retirement.
    Recommendation: To prevent forced-transfer IRA balances from decreasing due to the low returns of the investment options currently permitted under the Department of Labor's safe harbor regulation, the Secretary of Labor should expand the investment alternatives available. For example, the forced-transfer IRA safe harbor regulations could be revised to include investment options currently under the qualified default investment alternatives regulation applicable to automatic enrollment, and permit forced-transfer IRA providers to change the investments for IRAs already established.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOL declines to adopt this recommendation. DOL noted if GAO?s comments are interpreted to mean that the recommended safe harbor revisions would free plan fiduciaries from an obligation to make a prudent selection among such a broader range of investment alternatives, then it raises significant policy issues regarding the administration of ERISA?s fiduciary duty provisions. DOL also noted that if, on the other hand, GAO's recommendation would have the safe harbor require the responsible plan fiduciary be responsible for prudently deciding whether to use a higher risk investment alternative, employers and other plan sponsors may oppose such a change. Our recommendation does not comment on or suggest changes to the obligations of plan fiduciaries as part of a change to the safe harbor. Further, GAO has made prior recommendations that DOL clarify the definition of fiduciary for purposes of investment, including a requirement that plan service providers, when assisting participants with distribution options, disclose any financial interests they may have in the outcome of those decisions in a clear, consistent, and prominent manner; the conditions under which they are subject to any regulatory standards (such as ERISA fiduciary standards, SEC standards, or others); and what those standards mean for the participant. Our recommendation is to "expand the investment options available" and we have noted that qualified default investment alternatives could be one option. Previously, DOL has stated that the limited investments under the safe harbor are appropriate because Congress' intent for the safe harbor was to preserve principal transferred out of plans. DOL noted that given the small balances and the inability of absent participants to monitor investments, the current conservative investment options are a more appropriate way to preserve principal. However, the current forced-transfer IRA investment options like money market funds can protect principal from investment risk, but not from the risk that fees (no matter how reasonable) and inflation can result in decreased account balances due to returns on these small balance accounts not keeping pace with fees. The reality has been that many forced-transfer IRAs have experienced very large and even complete declines in principal. Our recommendation did not aim to eliminate any investment alternatives covered by the safe harbor, rather it aims to expand the alternatives available so that plans and providers that want to operate under the safe harbor have the opportunity to choose the most suitable investment. We continue to encourage DOL to expand the safe harbor to include investment alternatives more likely to preserve principal and even increase it over time.
    Director: Charles Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To better protect plan sponsors and participants who use managed account services, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) to review provider practices related to additional managed account services offered to participants in or near retirement, with the aim of determining whether conflicts of interest exist and, if it determines it is necessary, taking the appropriate action to remedy the issue.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2014, DOL agreed to include these practices in its current review of investment advice conflicts of interest, noting that such conflicts continue to be a concern. In April 2015, a proposed regulation was published in the Federal Register on the definition of a "fiduciary" of an employee benefit plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) as a result of giving investment advice to a plan or its participants or beneficiaries. The proposal would widen the array of advice relationships under which someone would be considered a fiduciary under ERISA more broadly than existing regulations. This would increase consumer protection for plan sponsors, fiduciaries, participants, beneficiaries and IRA owners. An initial comment period closed on July 21, 2015. DOL held a public hearing on August 10-13, 2015, and reopened the comment period until September 24. GAO will monitor the progress of this proposed rule.
    Recommendation: To better protect plan sponsors and participants who use managed account services, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for the EBSA to consider the fiduciary status of managed account providers when they offer services on an opt-in basis and, if necessary, make regulatory changes or provide guidance to address any issues.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOL concurred with this recommendation and agreed to review existing guidance and consider whether additional guidance is needed in light of the various business models we described. As of May 2017, DOL is continuing these efforts. To implement this recommendation, DOL should complete its efforts to consider managed account service provider practices and fiduciary roles and take any necessary action to address potential issues to ensure that sponsors and participants receive unconflicted managed account services from qualified managers.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors who offer managed account services or who are considering doing so better protect their 401(k) plan participants, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to require plan sponsors to request from record keepers more than one managed account provider option, and notify the Department of Labor if record keepers fail to do so.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with its current regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant-directed individual account plans. The project has been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda. DOL will also consider the extent of its legal authority to effectively require that plans have more than one managed account service provider or to require that record keepers offer more than one managed account provider as part of their service agreements. GAO believes requiring plan sponsors to ask for more than one choice of a provider -- which is slightly different than how DOL has characterized it--may be an effective method of broadening plan sponsors' choices of managed account providers. However, GAO also agrees that DOL should examine the scope of its existing authority in considering how it might implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors and participants more effectively assess the performance of managed accounts, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to amend participant disclosure regulations to require that sponsors furnish standardized performance and benchmarking information to participants. To accomplish this, EBSA could promulgate regulations that would require sponsors who offer managed account services to provide their participants with standardized performance and benchmarking information on managed accounts. For example, sponsors could periodically furnish each managed account participant with the aggregate performance of participants' managed account portfolios and returns for broad-based securities market indexes and applicable customized benchmarks, based on those benchmarks provided for the plan's designated investment alternatives.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with (1) its regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant directed individual account plans and (2) open proposed rulemaking project involving the qualified default investment alternative and participant-level fee disclosure regulations. These projects have been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors and participants more effectively assess the performance of managed accounts, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to amend service provider disclosure regulations to require that providers furnish standardized performance and benchmarking information to sponsors. To accomplish this, EBSA could promulgate regulations that would require service providers to disclose to sponsors standardized performance and benchmarking information on managed accounts. For example, providers could, prior to selection and periodically thereafter, as applicable, furnish sponsors with aggregated returns for generalized conservative, moderate, and aggressive portfolios, actual managed account portfolio returns for each of the sponsor's participants, and returns for broad-based securities market indexes and applicable customized benchmarks, based on those benchmarks provided for the plan's designated investment alternatives.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with (1) its regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant directed individual account plans and (2) open proposed rulemaking project involving the qualified default investment alternative and participant-level fee disclosure regulations. These projects have been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors who offer managed account services or who are considering doing so better protect their 401(k) plan participants, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to provide guidance to plan sponsors for selecting and overseeing managed account providers that addresses: (1) the importance of considering multiple providers when choosing a managed account provider, (2) factors to consider when offering managed accounts as a Qualified Default Investment Alternative or on an opt-in basis, and (3) approaches for evaluating the services of managed account providers.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with its current regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant-directed individual account plans. DOL intends for this project to address whether potential regulatory or other guidance for such arrangements may be appropriate. The project has been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda.
    Director: Malenich, J Lawrence
    Phone: (202) 512-3406

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The CFPB should direct the Chief Financial Officer to design and implement control procedures that require coordination between the Office of Procurement and other program offices at the time of capitalization to ensure that property and equipment costs, including costs associated with internal-use software, are properly capitalized or expensed as appropriate.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although CFPB took actions to attempt to address this recommendation, as of September 30, 2016, it was still in the process of implementing additional corrective actions. In addition, our fiscal year 2016 audit continued to identify deficiencies over the recording of property, equipment, and software costs. We will continue to evaluate CFPB's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Recommendation: The CFPB should direct the Chief Financial Officer to strengthen the design and implementation of control procedures to require, as part of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer's quarterly review procedures, review of underlying supporting documents, including tracking schedules, invoices, and obligating documents, to ensure that property and equipment transactions are properly identified and capitalized or expensed as appropriate.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 30, 2016, we continued to find that the Office of the Chief Financial Officer's review was not always effective in timely detecting and correcting classification errors between costs that should be capitalized and costs that should be expensed. We will continue to evaluate CFPB's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Director: King, Kathleen M
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to ensure an equitable allocation of CHS program funds, the Congress should consider requiring IHS to develop and use a new method to allocate all CHS program funds to account for variations across areas that would replace the existing base funding, annual adjustment, and program increase methodologies, notwithstanding any restrictions currently in federal law.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, Congress has not acted on this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation if Congress takes action.
    Recommendation: To make IHS's allocation of CHS program funds more equitable, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of the Indian Health Service to require IHS to use actual counts of CHS users, rather than all IHS users, in any formula for allocating CHS funds that relies on the number of active users.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, we are awaiting an update from HHS on the status of this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To make IHS's allocation of CHS program funds more equitable, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of the Indian Health Service to require IHS to use variations in levels of available hospital services, rather than just the existence of a qualifying hospital, in any formula for allocating CHS funds that contains a hospital access component.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, we are awaiting an update from HHS on the status of this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To make IHS's allocation of CHS program funds more equitable, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of the Indian Health Service to develop written policies and procedures to require area offices to notify IHS when changes are made to the allocations of funds to CHS programs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, we are awaiting an update from HHS on the status of this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.