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Interpretation of Investment Policy Statements

ERISA requires plan sponsors to provide certain plan documents to participants upon request. A plan administrator must, upon written request of any participant or beneficiary, provide various documents, such as the latest SPD and any “contract or other instrument under which a plan is established or operated”. That said, it can be deduced that an investment policy statement fits the bill in that it is a document under which the plan is operated. There is some contention on this point however, and thus, conflict regarding whether a request for plan documents includes an obligation to provide a copy of the investment policy statement.

Cases have been brought forth by participants on this issue, with most courts favoring the participants, but not all, suggesting a preference to providing a copy of the investment policy statement whenever a participant makes a request for plan documentation. This points to plan sponsors and plan administrators responsiveness to such requests.

benefitsnews.com; December 26, 2014.