148 pages. "The final rule makes five major amendments to the investment duties regulation under Title I of ERISA ... First, the final rule adds provisions to confirm that ERISA fiduciaries must evaluate investments and investment courses of action based solely on pecuniary factors -- financial considerations that have a material effect on the risk and/or return of an investment based on appropriate investment horizons consistent with the plan's investment objectives and funding policy....
"Second, the final rule includes an express regulatory provision stating that compliance with the exclusive purpose (loyalty) duty in ERISA section 404(a)(1)(A) prohibits fiduciaries from subordinating the interests of participants to unrelated objectives, and bars them from sacrificing
investment return or taking on additional investment risk to promote non-pecuniary goals.
"Third, the final rule includes a provision that requires fiduciaries to consider reasonably available alternatives to meet their prudence and loyalty duties under ERISA.
"Fourth, new regulatory text sets forth required investment analysis and documentation requirements for those circumstances in which plan fiduciaries use non-pecuniary factors when choosing between or among investments that the fiduciary is unable to distinguish on the basis of pecuniary factors alone. The final rule includes a related documentation requirement for such decisions intended to prevent fiduciaries from improperly finding economic equivalence or making investment decisions based on non-pecuniary benefits without appropriately careful analysis and evaluation.
the final rule states that the prudence and loyalty standards set forth in ERISA apply to a fiduciary's selection of designated investment alternatives to be offered to plan participants and beneficiaries in a participant-directed individual account plan.
"The final rule expressly provides that, in the case of selecting investment alternatives for an individual account plan that allows plan participants and beneficiaries to choose from a broad range of investment alternatives ... a fiduciary is not prohibited from considering or including an investment fund, product, or model portfolio merely because the fund, product, or model portfolio promotes, seeks, or supports one or more non-pecuniary goals, provided that the fiduciary satisfies the prudence and loyalty provisions in ERISA and the final rule, including the requirement to evaluate solely on pecuniary
factors, in selecting any such investment fund, product, or model portfolio. However, the provision prohibits plans from adding any investment fund, product, or model portfolio as a qualified default investment alternative ... or as a component of such an investment alternative, if the fund, product, or model portfolio's investment objectives or goals or its principal investment strategies include, consider, or indicate the use of one or more non-pecuniary factors."
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]