Employee Benefit Security Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210
Re: RIN 1210-AB88
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”)1 appreciates the opportunity to respond to the Department of Labor’s proposed regulation with regard to Association Retirement Plans and Other Multiple-Employer Plans. The Department proposes to expand access to affordable and quality retirement savings options by clarifying the circumstances under which an employer group or association may sponsor a workplace retirement plan.
We are encouraged to see the Administration and Department of Labor taking steps to improve retirement security for Americans. We support the initiative and hope that these comments enable to Department to expand its approach and use all of its authority under ERISA. Under the Department’s approach to multiple employer defined contribution plans (“MEPs”), sponsors must have either a geographic or industry bond, or must be a professional employee organization (“PEO”) registered with the Internal Revenue Service. Considering the importance of individuals preparing for retirement, we believe the Department should take a more robust approach to expanding the options for providing retirement coverage. In particular, we focus on two areas in this letter : (1) we believe the Department should expand its proposed rulemaking and use its authority to broadly interpret what it means to “be acting indirectly in the interest of the employer” to include pooled employer plans where the employers are unaffiliated and are not linked by either industry or geography, often referred to as “open MEPs”, and (2) with respect to MEPs that are not linked by either industry or geography, we believe the regulation should permit financial institutions, in addition to leasing organizations, to sponsor such arrangements. Such an expansion would go a long way to increasing access to retirement plans at work and improving the retirement security of millions of Americans.
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