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News Release

Pension And Welfare Benefits Administration Announces New Compliance Assistance Tool

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (EBSA) today unveiled its first “Field Assistance Bulletin” to publicize technical guidance provided to its field enforcement staff.

In the course of audits and investigations by EBSA field enforcement staff, difficult legal issues often arise. In an effort to provide the regional office staff with prompt guidance, EBSA has developed a new vehicle for communicating technical guidance from the national office. Field Assistance Bulletins will ensure that the law is applied consistently across the various regions. They also will provide the regulated community with an important source of information about the agency’s views on technical applications of ERISA. All FABs will be posted on EBSA’s website and be available to the public.

“The vast majority of plan sponsors and service providers want to satisfy their ERISA obligations, and we want to provide compliance assistance to make it easy,” said Ann L. Combs, Assistant Secretary for Pension and Welfare Benefits. “Our enforcement program will be enhanced if employers, unions and service providers understand the rules.”

Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao has made compliance assistance a top Department priority. The FABs are the next step in EBSA’s continuing compliance assistance program to educate and assist employers, plan officials, service providers and others in achieving and maintaining compliance with ERISA. These efforts include working to foster self-regulation and oversight by offering programs that encourage voluntary compliance, such as the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program and the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program. EBSA’s compliance assistance program also includes outreach, new educational materials and a dedicated web page.

The first FAB, Field Assistance Bulletin 2002-1, addresses the fiduciary considerations involved with the refinancing of an ESOP loan under section 408(b)(3) of ERISA. Field Assistance Bulletin 2002-1, as well as future bulletins, will be available at under Compliance Assistance and Laws and Regulations.

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Internet. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the Central Office for Assistive Services and Technology. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202.693.7773 or TTY 202.693.7755.

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

Employee Benefits Security Administration
October 16, 2002
Release Number