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EBSA Clarifies Obligations to Missing Retirement Plan Participants

January 20, 2021


The new guidance “reflects our ongoing commitment to help plan fiduciaries ensure that their plan participants and beneficiaries receive the retirement benefits that they worked so hard to earn,” said Jeanne Klinefelter Wilson, principal deputy assistant secretary of labor for EBSA. “In fiscal year 2020 alone, EBSA’s investigators helped missing and nonresponsive participants recover benefits with a present value in excess of $1.4 billion,” she noted.

Earlier efforts by EBSA “resulted in the opening of investigations against trustees, plan administrators and third-party administrators” over missing plan participants, Paul Friedman, an attorney in the White Plains, N.Y., office of law firm Jackson Lewis, noted in 2019. Investigations by EBSA have been cumbersome because of a lack of guidance, “thereby requiring an enormous amount of work by the plan and forcing the plan to incur professional fees.”

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