February 20, 2004
BB 04—20

In this issue:

  • Combs Provides Clarification of DOL Guidance

Combs Provides Clarification of DOL Guidance

As reported in the February 19 Benefits Byte, Assistant Secretary of Labor Ann Combs recently issued a statement providing guidance on the obligations of plan fiduciaries in light of alleged mutual fund abuses. Combs' statement also indicated that fiduciaries could take certain steps to protect against market timing abuses, including certain restrictions on trading, without losing the protections of ERISA Section 404(c), if the restrictions are allowed under the terms of the plan and clearly disclosed to participants and beneficiaries.

The Council contacted Combs who clarified that the plan document does not need to be amended unless it specifically precludes such restrictions. Combs indicated the restrictions could be communicated to participants through the SPD, the fund's prospectus, or other employee communications. For more information, contact Jan Jacobson, Council director, retirement policy, at (202) 289-6700.


The American Benefits Council is the national trade association for companies concerned about federal legislation and regulations affecting all aspects of the employee benefits system. The Council's members represent the entire spectrum of the private employee benefits community and either sponsor directly or administer retirement and health plans covering more than 100 million Americans.