April 24, 2009

Retirement org defends 401(k)s

Employer-sponsored retirement plans have been under lawmakers' radar recently, especially in regard to 401(k) fees, their ability to allow unbiased investment advice, and their strength in providing long-term financial security.

The SPARK Institute, an organization devoted to shaping national legislation on retirement, says "misperceptions and misunderstandings" have since been circulated through media and Congress, and it's time to "set the record straight with facts."

"The 401(k) plan system is successful, fundamentally sound, competitive and innovative," said Larry Goldbrum, general counsel of The SPARK Institute. "Since their inception, they have helped tens of millions of American workers save and increase their retirement savings for their post-work years."

The institute released a white paper, making the case for employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Most recently, Congress members have been pressing for better 401(k) fee disclosure, and how best to help workers receive fair and balanced, independent financial advice.

Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., chairman of a House Education and Labor subcommittee, introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at ensuring workers receive independent and unconflicted investment advice, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Andrews proposed amending the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or Erisa, "to restore a prohibition on self-interested investment advisers providing advice to employer-sponsored retirement accounts."

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