Friday, February 5, 2010

DOL and Treasury Publish Request for Information and Comment Regarding Lifetime Income Options for Plan Participants

The Department of Labor ("DOL") and the Department of the Treasury ("DOT") (collectively, the "Agencies") are currently reviewing the rules under ERISA and the plan qualification rules under the IRC to determine whether the Agencies could or should enhance, by regulation or otherwise, the retirement security of participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans and in individual retirement arrangements by facilitating access to, and use of, lifetime income or other arrangements designed to provide a lifetime stream of income after retirement. On February 2, 2010, the Agencies published a request for information in the Federal Register to solicit views, suggestions and comments from plan participants, employers and other plan sponsors, plan service providers, and members of the financial community, as well as the general public, on this issue. [For more information, see the DOL's website -] The request for information contains an interesting - albeit brief - discussion of the trend away from traditional defined benefit plans towards defined contribution plans, as well as the "longevity" risks associated with lump-sum payouts upon retirement.