NU Online News Service, May 15, 2003, 5:32 p.m. EDT – The U.S. House voted 271 to 157 Wednesday to pass H.R. 1000, The Pension Security Act.
The bill, which was introduced by Rep. John Boehner, R-Hamilton, Ohio, would make changes in the laws governing 401(k) plans to protect workers from the kinds of problems that wiped out the retirement savings of many workers at Enron Corp., Houston.
The bill, which attracted 49 votes from Democrats as well as 222 votes from Republicans, would set disclosure requirements and other requirements for 401(k) plan sponsors that want to avoid exposing themselves to lawsuits as a result of participant investment losses occurring during plan blackout periods.
The bill would also give participants that hold publicly traded employer stock the ability to sell the stock, exclude the cost of financial planning obtained through employers from taxable income, and simplify tax filing requirements for some very small retirement plans.
The provision that has been getting the most attention from financial services companies would let 401(k) providers give workers specific investment advice.
The American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, released a statement Wednesday that singles out the investor advice provision for praise.
“The Enron debacle illustrated all too clearly the need for plan participants to diversify their retirement savings investments,” ACLI President Frank Keating says in the statement. “Diversification is a message that must be stressed to all plan participants, and the investment advice legislation would help get that done.”
The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over pension-reform legislation in the Senate.