New York, NY—July 21, 2016 — ALM’s Judy Diamond Associates, the leading provider of Form 5500 data to both the insurance and financial industries, today announced its reaction to the recently proposed changes to the Form 5500. The proposed changes, published last week by the Employee Benefits Security Administration, call for significant modifications to the disclosure of employee benefits packages. Among the most prominent changes is a provision that will require small employers to file a 5500 for their health & welfare plans.
“Currently, there is a huge gap in ERISA disclosure” says Eric Ryles, Managing Director of Judy Diamond Associates. “Right now, information on the small group health market is essentially nonexistent. By requiring companies with fewer than 100 participants to file a 5500, the DOL has opened the door to increased competition resulting in better, cheaper plans for the covered employees.” Continues Ryles; “transparency of fees and coverage is always a good thing, and we will be ready to incorporate each and every proposed change as soon as they are incorporated into the form.”
The proposed changes are slated to take effect in 2019, and mark the first major revision to the 5500 since 2009. Published with over 1,000 pages of supporting documentation, the proposal covers five broad areas:
1) Modernize Financial Reporting
What it means: This proposal will improve financial reporting around hard-to-value assets and alternative investments like hedge funds and collective trusts.
2) Provide Greater Information Regarding Group Health Plans
What it means: Small employers will now file disclosures for their health/life/dental etc… plans. This is expected to impact between 700,000 to 800,000 additional employers. This provision also introduces a new Schedule, Schedule J (Group Health Information) and adds data required by the Affordable Care Act.
3) Enhance Data Mineability
What it means: Several sections of the 5500 are not currently able to be processed and analyzed by a computer, due to the way the form is structured. This proposal would make those fields machine-readable which will allow for a more complex level of analysis and the development of more powerful tools for employers and participants to manage their retirement savings.
4) Improve Service Provider Fee Information
What it means: Recent changes in disclosure regulation surrounding plan fees and expenses have not yet made their way to the Form 5500 itself. This provision adds them to the form.
5) Enhance Compliance with ERISA and the Code
What it means: This provision adds additional compliance questions to the 5500 that examines issues of plan operations, service provider relationships, and the financial management of plans.
Judy Diamond Associates, which was part of a GAO task force to evaluate the 5500, will provide continued updates and suggestions on the proposed changes as they progress through the public comment period.
Learn more about how Judy Diamond Associates is the Leading Provider of Lead Generation & Recruitment Tools at www.judydiamond.com
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