Proposed Extension of Information Collection; Comment Request; Final Rule Relating to Notice of Blackout Periods to Participants and Beneficiaries, 4978-4979 [E9-1785]

Download as PDF 4978 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 17 / Wednesday, January 28, 2009 / Notices Comments may also be submitted electronically to ebsa.opr@dol.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES I. Background Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 94–71, entitled Class Exemption to Permit Certain Transactions Authorized Pursuant to Settlement Agreements Between the U.S. Department of Labor and Plans, which was published in final form on October 7, 1994 (59 FR 60837), exempts from the prohibitions of sections 406 and 407(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) transactions that are specifically authorized by a settlement agreement resulting from an investigation of an employee benefit plan by the Department pursuant to the authority of section 504(a) of ERISA. The availability of the exemption is conditioned on providing certain notices and disclosures. Specifically, the person seeking to rely on the exemption must provide notice to the affected participants and beneficiaries, at least 30 days prior to entering into the settlement agreement with the Department, in a manner approved by the Department that is reasonably calculated to result in actual receipt. The notice must include an objective description of the transaction, the approximate date on which it will occur, the address of the office of the Department that negotiated the settlement, and a statement apprising participants and beneficiaries of their right to provide comments to that office. Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 03–39, entitled Class Exemption For Release of Claims and Extensions of Credit in Connection With Litigation, which was published in final form on December 31, 2003 (68 FR 75632), exempts from the prohibitions of sections 406 and 407(a) of ERISA certain transactions engaged in by a plan in connection with the settlement of litigation. Exempted transactions must involve either release by the plan or by a plan fiduciary of a legal or equitable claim against a party in interest in exchange for consideration given by, or on behalf of, a party in interest to the plan in partial or complete settlement of the plan’s or the fiduciary’s claim, or an extension of credit by the plan or by a plan fiduciary to a party in interest in connection with a settlement whereby the party in interest agrees to repay, over time, an amount owed to the plan in settlement of a legal or equitable claim by the plan or a plan fiduciary against the party in interest. Among other conditions, the VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:30 Jan 27, 2009 Jkt 217001 exemption requires that the terms of the settlement be specifically described in a written agreement or consent degree and that the fiduciary entering into the settlement on behalf of the plan acknowledge in writing its fiduciary status. The exemption also requires the plan to maintain, for a period of six years, the records necessary to enable specified interested person to determine whether the exemption’s conditions were met. Because of the similarity of these two exemptions, the Department submitted a combined ICR for the information collections in both exemptions to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance at the time that PTE 03–39 was published as a proposal in the Federal Register (February 11, 2003, 68 FR 6953). The ICR for the information collections in both class exemptions was approved under OMB control number 1210–0091. The approval for the ICRs included in the two exemptions will expire on May 31, 2009. II. Desired Focus of Comments The Department is particularly interested in comments that: • Evaluate whether the collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the collections of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., by permitting electronic submission of responses. III. Current Action The Department is requesting an extension of the currently approved ICR for Settlement Agreements Between a Plan and Party in Interest. The Department is not proposing or implementing changes to the two exemptions or to the existing ICR. A summary of the ICR and the current burden estimates follows: Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection of information. Agency: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor. PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Title: Settlement Agreements Between a Plan and Party in Interest. OMB Number: 1210–0091. Affected Public: Individuals or households; Business or other for-profit; Not-for-profit institutions. Respondents: 4. Frequency of Response: One-time. Responses: 1,080. Estimated Total Burden Hours: 28. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record. Dated: January 22, 2009. Joseph S. Piacentini, Director, Office of Policy and Research, Employee Benefits Security Administration. [FR Doc. E9–1784 Filed 1–27–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–29–P DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Employee Benefits Security Administration Proposed Extension of Information Collection; Comment Request; Final Rule Relating to Notice of Blackout Periods to Participants and Beneficiaries ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), the Department of Labor (the Department) conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information. This program helps to ensure that the data the Department gathers can be provided in the desired format, that the reporting burden on the public (time and financial resources) is minimized, that the public understands the Department’s collection instruments, and that the Department can accurately assess the impact of collection requirements on respondents. By this notice, the Department is soliciting comments concerning the information collection provisions of the regulation under section 101(i) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the SOA), which requires written notice to be provided to affected participants and beneficiaries of individual account plans of any ‘‘blackout period’’ during which their right to direct or diversify investments, obtain a loan, or obtain a distribution under the plan may be temporarily suspended. A copy of the E:\FR\FM\28JAN1.SGM 28JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 17 / Wednesday, January 28, 2009 / Notices ICR may be obtained by contacting the office listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. DATES: Written comments must be submitted to the office shown in the ADDRESSES section below on or before March 30, 2009. ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit written comments regarding the information collection request and burden estimates to: G. Christopher Cosby, Office of Policy and Research, U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N–5647, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 693–8410; Fax: (202) 219–4745. These are not toll-free numbers. Comments may also be submitted electronically to ebsa.opr@dol.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES Section 306(b)(1) of the SOA amended section 101 of ERISA to add a new subsection (i), requiring that administrators of individual account plans provide notice to affected participants and beneficiaries in advance of the commencement of any blackout period. For purposes of this notice requirement, a blackout period generally includes any period during which the ability of participants or beneficiaries to direct or diversify assets credited to their accounts, to obtain loans from the plan or to obtain distributions from the plan will be temporarily suspended, limited or restricted. As required by section 306(b)(2) of SOA, the Department of Labor (Department) issued rules necessary to implement the SOA amendments. The Department’s regulation at 29 CFR 2520.101–3 specifies when, how, and to whom a blackout notice must be provided and provides model notices to meet the requirements of the regulation. The Department submitted the information collection provisions of § 2520.101–3 in an ICR to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance at the time of publication of the interim final rule, which was published in the Federal Register on October 21, 2002 (67 FR 64766). OMB approved the ICR under OMB control number 1210–0122. This approval is scheduled to expire on May 31, 2009. II. Desired Focus of Comments The Department is particularly interested in comments that: • Evaluate whether the collections of information are necessary for the proper VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:30 Jan 27, 2009 Jkt 217001 performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the collections of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., by permitting electronic submission of responses. III. Current Action The Department is requesting an extension of the currently approved ICR for the Final Rule Relating to Notice of Blackout Periods to Participants and Beneficiaries. The Department is not proposing or implementing changes to the regulation or to the existing ICR. A summary of the ICR and the current burden estimates follows: Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection of information. Agency: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor. Title: Final Rule Relating to Blackout Notices to Participants and Beneficiaries. OMB Number: 1210–0122. Affected Public: Individuals or households; business or other for-profit; not-for-profit institutions. Respondents: 85,150. Frequency of Response: On occasion. Responses: 5,400,000. Estimated Total Burden Hours: 187,686. Total Annual Cost (Operating and Maintenance): $1,407,000. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record. Dated: January 22, 2009. Joseph S. Piacentini, Director, Office of Policy and Research, Employee Benefits Security Administration. [FR Doc. E9–1785 Filed 1–27–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–29–P PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4979 DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Employee Benefits Security Administration Proposed Extension of Information Collection; Comment Request; Voluntary Fiduciary Compliance Program ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY: The Department of Labor (the Department), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. Currently, the Employee Benefits Security Administration is soliciting comments concerning the information collection request (ICR) incorporated in the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (the VFC Program) and the Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption (the Exemption) that is used in connection with the VFC Program. The ICR is currently approved under OMB Number 1210–0118 and is scheduled to expire on May 31, 2009. A copy of the ICR may be obtained by contacting the office listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. DATES: Written comments must be submitted to the office shown in the ADDRESSES section below on or before March 30, 2009. ADDRESSES: G. Christopher Cosby, Office of Policy and Research, U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N– 5647, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 693–8410; Fax: (202) 219–5333. These are not toll-free numbers. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background The VFC Program is an enforcement program intended to encourage the full correction of certain breaches of fiduciary responsibility and the restoration of losses resulting from those breaches to participants and beneficiaries in employee benefit plans. For certain eligible breaches that have E:\FR\FM\28JAN1.SGM 28JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 17 (Wednesday, January 28, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4978-4979]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-1785]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employee Benefits Security Administration


Proposed Extension of Information Collection; Comment Request; 
Final Rule Relating to Notice of Blackout Periods to Participants and 
Beneficiaries

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 
95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), the Department of Labor (the Department) 
conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general 
public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed 
and continuing collections of information. This program helps to ensure 
that the data the Department gathers can be provided in the desired 
format, that the reporting burden on the public (time and financial 
resources) is minimized, that the public understands the Department's 
collection instruments, and that the Department can accurately assess 
the impact of collection requirements on respondents.
    By this notice, the Department is soliciting comments concerning 
the information collection provisions of the regulation under section 
101(i) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the SOA), which requires 
written notice to be provided to affected participants and 
beneficiaries of individual account plans of any ``blackout period'' 
during which their right to direct or diversify investments, obtain a 
loan, or obtain a distribution under the plan may be temporarily 
suspended. A copy of the

[[Page 4979]]

ICR may be obtained by contacting the office listed in the ADDRESSES 
section of this notice.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted to the office shown in the 
ADDRESSES section below on or before March 30, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit written comments 
regarding the information collection request and burden estimates to: 
G. Christopher Cosby, Office of Policy and Research, U.S. Department of 
Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, 200 Constitution 
Avenue, NW., Room N-5647, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 693-
8410; Fax: (202) 219-4745. These are not toll-free numbers. Comments 
may also be submitted electronically to ebsa.opr@dol.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Section 306(b)(1) of the SOA amended section 101 of ERISA to add a 
new subsection (i), requiring that administrators of individual account 
plans provide notice to affected participants and beneficiaries in 
advance of the commencement of any blackout period. For purposes of 
this notice requirement, a blackout period generally includes any 
period during which the ability of participants or beneficiaries to 
direct or diversify assets credited to their accounts, to obtain loans 
from the plan or to obtain distributions from the plan will be 
temporarily suspended, limited or restricted. As required by section 
306(b)(2) of SOA, the Department of Labor (Department) issued rules 
necessary to implement the SOA amendments. The Department's regulation 
at 29 CFR 2520.101-3 specifies when, how, and to whom a blackout notice 
must be provided and provides model notices to meet the requirements of 
the regulation.
    The Department submitted the information collection provisions of 
Sec.  2520.101-3 in an ICR to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
for review and clearance at the time of publication of the interim 
final rule, which was published in the Federal Register on October 21, 
2002 (67 FR 64766). OMB approved the ICR under OMB control number 1210-
0122. This approval is scheduled to expire on May 31, 2009.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

    The Department is particularly interested in comments that:
     Evaluate whether the collections of information are 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, 
including whether the information will have practical utility;
     Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the 
burden of the collections of information, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used;
     Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
     Minimize the burden of the collection of information on 
those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate 
automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., by 
permitting electronic submission of responses.

III. Current Action

    The Department is requesting an extension of the currently approved 
ICR for the Final Rule Relating to Notice of Blackout Periods to 
Participants and Beneficiaries. The Department is not proposing or 
implementing changes to the regulation or to the existing ICR. A 
summary of the ICR and the current burden estimates follows:
    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection of 
information.
    Agency: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of 
Labor.
    Title: Final Rule Relating to Blackout Notices to Participants and 
Beneficiaries.
    OMB Number: 1210-0122.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; business or other for-
profit; not-for-profit institutions.
    Respondents: 85,150.
    Frequency of Response: On occasion.
    Responses: 5,400,000.
    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 187,686.
    Total Annual Cost (Operating and Maintenance): $1,407,000.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized 
and/or included in the request for OMB approval of the information 
collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: January 22, 2009.
Joseph S. Piacentini,
Director, Office of Policy and Research, Employee Benefits Security 
Administration.
 [FR Doc. E9-1785 Filed 1-27-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-29-P