Last week’s BVWire reported on the Department of Labor’s apparent dropping of the “appraiser as fiduciary” rule with respect to valuations of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). However, this issue is not completely put to rest. According to the AICPA, “the DOL has expressed interest in working with the appraiser community to improve guidance for ESOP appraisers.”
Uproar: The AICPA, among other groups, sprang into action in 2010 when the DOL proposed the rule that would have included valuation providers in the definition of a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). In response to the valuation community’s concerns, the DOL withdrew the proposed rule in 2011. A new definition of “fiduciary”—absent the inclusion of appraisers—is expected to be released soon.
“The AICPA believes the removal of valuation providers from the proposed rule is a positive outcome,” it says in a report. The organization feels that a better solution is to implement rules similar to those developed by the IRS where individuals performing valuations for qualified plans would be required to have credentials and follow valuation standards. The AICPA “looks forward to working with the Department to craft a solution that protects plan participants while not imposing an undue burden on plans or valuation providers.”
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