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News Release

Labor Department Proposes Amendment Of Streamlined Exemption Process

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration today proposed an amendment to streamline the process for exempting transactions otherwise prohibited by federal employee benefit plan law.

“The department remains committed to expediting the exemption process as long as the assets and benefits of plans are protected,” said Ann L. Combs, Assistant Secretary of the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration.

The proposed exemption would amend Prohibited Transaction Exemption 96-62 (known as EXPRO) to expand the opportunity for using the expedited exemption process. The proposal would allow applicants to use the EXPRO by citing either two individual exemptions granted by the department within the previous 5 years that are substantially similar to the proposed transaction or one individual exemption granted within the past 10 years plus a transaction “authorized” under the EXPRO exemption within the previous five years.

PTE 96-62 currently allows plans to engage in the transactions normally prohibited by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Among other things, applicants must demonstrate to PWBA that the proposed transactions are substantially similar to at least two transactions previously considered by the department. The success of the EXPRO program has resulted in fewer individual exemptions being available to applicants to cite in order to use the program.

ERISA allows the department to grant a conditional or unconditional exemption from all or any part of the restrictions imposed by ERISA's prohibited transaction provisions.

Comments on the proposal or requests for a hearing should be submitted by May 5, 2002 to:

U.S. Department of Labor
Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration
Office of Exemption Determinations
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N-5649
Washington, DC 20210
(Attn: D-10936)

By email to padamsa@pwba.dol.gov
Or by fax to 202.219.0204

The proposal is scheduled to be published in the March 20, 2002 Federal Register.

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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Agency
Employee Benefits Security Administration
Date
March 19, 2002
Release Number
02-10