May 15, 2019

DOL Secretary Acosta Expresses Support for ESOPs, Notes Decline in Enforcement

Executive Director

On May 1, in response to a question noting the benefit of ESOPs for retirement security from Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) at a House oversight hearing on the DOL, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said, "I strongly support ESOPs I think ESOPs are of benefit to employees." Acosta went on to say that "The industry is conforming much more closely to the law and so, I think enforcement actions peaked sometime around 2013 and have been declining since as industry becomes integrated with...what pension laws require."

NCEO data on DOL enforcement actions confirm that there has in fact been a sharp decline in enforcement activity, although others have pointed to a decline in staff budgets as the cause. Acosta also said he agreed with Rep. Guthrie that more guidance from the DOL on compliance would be useful.