As sponsors of retirement and welfare plans face a new requirement this year to file Form 5500 reports electronically, Principal Financial Group has rolled out online tools to help companies with the task.

Organizations with retirement and welfare plans governed by ERISA must file Form 5500s detailing the plans' finances and operations every year, and the Department of Labor is now requiring that all sponsors file electronically using a new system, ERISA Filing Acceptance System II (EFAST2).

Aaron Friedman, national practice leader for retirement and investor services at Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal, says that Principal already provided e-filing services to its clients, but it typically filled in available data first, then passed the form along to the plan's auditor or the company to add any missing information.

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