DOL Releases Updated VFCP
The Department of Labor (DOL) has released a proposed amendment to its Voluntary Fiduciary Protection Program (VFCP), along with a proposed amendment to Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) 2002-51, to permit certain transactions identified in the VFCP transaction exemption.
The VFCP allows plan officials to avoid potential civil enforcement actions and civil penalties under ERISA if eligible transactions are voluntarily corrected in a manner that meets the program’s requirements. Correction of these transactions under the current Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program requires plan officials to submit an application to EBSA for review and approval. According to a DOL press release, EBSA’s proposed changes will do the following:
- Clarify some existing transactions that are eligible for correction under the program.
- Expand the scope of other transactions currently eligible for correction and simplify administrative or procedural requirements under the program.
- Amend the associated prohibited transaction class exemption, known as PTE 2002-51.
Most notable among the proposed changes is the addition of a self-correction component. This feature will enable employers and other plan officials to notify EBSA electronically that they have self-corrected certain failures to send participant contributions and loan repayments to pension plans on time. The proposed self-correction component can be used only if the following conditions are met:
- Participant contributions or loan repayments to the plan must be remitted no more than 180 calendar days from the date of withholding or receipt.
- Lost earnings must not exceed $1,000 calculated from date of withholding or receipt.
- The plan or self-corrector must not be under investigation as defined in the program.
- Self-correctors must use the program’s online calculator to calculate lost earnings and an online web tool to complete and file the self-correction component notice. Self-correctors must also complete and retain the self-correction retention record checklist.
Comments on the proposed changes can be made within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register. The proposals will be reviewed, and additional details provided.