New DOL guidance on missing plan participants

May 21, 2021

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Plan sponsors know the challenges of keeping track of participants, especially those in retirement or who no longer work for the company.

In January 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued best practices for missing participants to help fiduciaries of defined benefit and defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, weigh which practices could help minimize the numbers of missing participants and uncashed checks.

Our commentary, Managing Missing Participants and Uncashed Checks, provides plan sponsors with an outline of the current guidance, including steps for mitigating risks that can lead to missing and unresponsive participants, such as:

  • How to spot "red flags" that may signal an individual has stopped receiving important information or benefits.
  • Tips for effective communication strategies to keep participants informed about plan benefits.
  • Best practices for resolving current missing participant cases.

Vanguard can help plan sponsors minimize missing participant and uncashed check scenarios. Sponsors should consider taking any additional steps that may protect participants so they receive their benefits when due.

Questions? Please contact your Vanguard relationship representative for further information or to learn how we can help your plan mitigate the risks of missing participants.

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