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Proposed Extension of Information Collection; Comment Request; Regulation Regarding Participant Directed Individual Account Plans Under ERISA 404(c)

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The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed.

Currently, the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration is soliciting comments concerning the extension of the information collection request (ICR) incorporated in a regulation pertaining to participant directed individual account plans under section 404(c) of the Employee Retirement security Act of 1974 (ERISA). A copy of the ICR may be obtained by contacting the office listed in the addresses section of this notice.


Written comments must be submitted to the office shown in the addresses section below on or before October 15, 2002.


Gerald B. Lindrew, Office of Policy and Research, U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N-5647, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 693-8410; Fax: (202) 219-4745. These are not toll-free numbers.

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I. Background

Section 404(c) of ERISA provides that if an individual account pension plan permits a participant or beneficiary to exercise control over assets in his account and the participant or beneficiary in fact exercises such control, that participant or beneficiary shall not be deemed to be a fiduciary by such exercise of control, and that no person otherwise a fiduciary shall be liable for any loss or breach that results from this exercise of control.

The opportunity to exercise control includes the opportunity to obtain sufficient information to make informed decisions with respect to investment alternatives. This regulation describes the type and extent of information required to be made available to participants and beneficiaries for this purpose. In the absence of such disclosures, participants might not be able to make informed decisions about investing their individual accounts, and persons who are otherwise fiduciaries with respect to these plans would not be afforded relief from the fiduciary responsibility provisions of Title I of ERISA with respect to these transactions.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

The Department is particularly interested in comments which:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

III. Current Action

This notice requests comments on the extension of the ICR included in the regulation pertaining to participant directed individual account plans under section 404(c) of ERISA. The Department is not proposing or implementing changes to the existing ICR at this time.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection of information.

Agency: Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, Department of Labor.

Title: Regulation Regarding Participant Directed Individual Account Plans (ERISA section 404(c) Plans).

OMB Number: 1210-0090.

Affected Public: Individuals or households; Business or other for-profit; Not-for-profit institutions.

Respondents: 324,000.

Frequency of Response: On occasion.

Responses: 324,000.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 37,000.

Total Burden Cost (Operating and Maintenance): $17,755,000.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated: August 6, 2002.

Gerald B. Lindrew,

Deputy Director, Office of Policy and Research, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration.

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[FR Doc. 02-20462 Filed 8-12-02; 8:45 am]