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As of April 18, 2018, there are 5,184 open recommendations, of which 465 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.

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Subject Term: "Employee retirement plans"

1 publication with a total of 1 priority recommendation
Director: Jeszeck, Charles A
Phone: (202) 512-7215

1 open priority recommendation
Recommendation: The Secretary of the DOL should help encourage plan sponsors to offer lifetime income options by considering providing legal relief for plan fiduciaries offering an appropriate mix of annuity and withdrawal options, upon adequately informing participants about the options, before participants choose to direct their investments into them.

Agency: Department of Labor
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: In 2016, DOL stated that it is open to considering alternative regulatory approaches. In 2017, the agency reported that it included in its 2017 regulatory agenda a long-term action to consider lifetime income products and features in the context of qualified default investment alternatives, an action which may begin with a Request for Information. DOL's initial 2016 comments also noted that the statutory structure explicitly provided by section 404(c) of ERISA pertaining to "investments" may not extend to annuities, although annuities are included as qualified default investment alternatives already. They also expressed concern that it might move the responsibility for the selection of the annuity provider to the participant, although DOL officials told us they believe plan fiduciaries maintain investment selection responsibility currently under 404(c). DOL suggested an alternative outsourcing solution to put the evaluation of the annuity provider in the hands of fiduciaries with financial expertise without the need of a regulation to reduce the obligations fiduciaries have to protect participants' interests. However, we believe this focuses solely on annuities and does not address the need for the same broad array of alternatives and information about them that 404(c) creates in the accumulation phase. In June 2018, DOL noted that the decision was made as part of the development and clearance of the Spring 2018 regulatory agenda to continue the project as a long-term action; there is no specific timeline for any next action. GAO will close this recommendation when DOL either determines internally that it lacks authority to expand 404(c) to the decumulation phase or shows an intent to solicit stakeholder views as to how a prudent mix of options might be incentivized while maintaining sufficient participant protections.