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401k Prospectus or Summary Plan Description?
Old 11-04-2009, 09:26 PM   #1
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401k Prospectus or Summary Plan Description?

I have been waiting patiently for over two years for my employer to publish a Prospectus or Summary Plan Description (SPD) for our 401k.

Before we were orphaned off by Mega-corp, we could access this document on the trustee's website (Fidelity). Fido also manages the new 401k, but no prospectus is offered and they say I must contact HR. HR says "what are you trying to do (which is none of thier business, IMO).

Does anyone know if it is mandatory for an employer to make the Prospectus or SPD available to participants?

If the "Prospectus" is the correct term for this document, what is an SPD?

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Old 11-04-2009, 11:01 PM   #2
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SPD is the Summary Plan Description and also applies to the Health Insurance, Pension Plans of an employeer

Prospectus is what defines a Stock, Mutual Fund, Security offered for sale to investors

AFAIK the SPD is req'd by IRS/ERISA where the Prospectus is req'd by the SEC by the Mutual Fund, Stock issuer.

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Old 11-05-2009, 03:48 AM   #3
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I didn't see the time requirements. You'll have to read more. I was gonna say company has up to one year after the close of a year to provide material. Could be shorter, though. Here is a good place to start. Hopefully your company has filed all of the paperwork, because the fines are substantial.

Since Fidelity is taking care of the fund, that is one good sign.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:52 AM   #4
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For new plans, the SPD must be provided withing 120 days after the effective date. Updated SPDs must be furnished within 210 days of every fifth year for plans that have been amended; otherwise the SPD must be redistributed every 10 years. New participants: within 90 days after becoming a participant or benefits commence (in the case of beneficiaries). HR should furnish you with a copy on request but may charge a nominal fee to cover costs. You are also entitled to an "Individual Benefit Statement" within 30 days on request, as well as a Summary Annual Report within nine months after end of the plan year or within two months after close of the extension period (for plans filing that form).

From the Dept of Labor:

As a participant in (name of plan) you are entitled to certain
rights and protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act
of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA provides that all plan participants shall be
entitled to:

Receive Information About Your Plan and Benefits

Examine, without charge, at the plan administrator's office and at
other specified locations, such as worksites and union halls, all
documents governing the plan
, including insurance contracts and
collective bargaining agreements, and a copy of the latest annual report
(Form 5500 Series) filed by the plan with the U.S. Department of Labor
and available at the Public Disclosure Room of the Pension and Welfare
Benefit Administration.
Obtain, upon written request to the plan administrator, copies of
documents governing the operation of the plan,
including insurance
contracts and collective bargaining agreements, and copies of the latest
annual report (Form 5500 Series) and updated summary plan description.
The administrator may make a reasonable charge for the copies.
Receive a summary of the plan's annual financial report. The plan
administrator is required by law to furnish each participant with a copy
of this summary annual report.

[emphasis in bold added]
We are, as I have said, one equation short. Keynes
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:33 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. There is still some confusion with the term "Prospectus" since it usually refers to a mutual fund or similar instrument, but the document I have from former employer is titled Prospectus and it has details such as whether the plan permits rollovers, details of loan provisions, or other details.
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
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