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Nationwide: Fiduciary Role Confuse Small-Business Owners

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NU Online News Service, July 9, 2003, 4:51 p.m. EDT – Half of U.S. small business owners who sponsor retirement plans say fiduciary and legal responsibilities are a top concern, but only one-fifth of the owners have consulted with professionals, switched plan providers or taken other steps in the past year to increase fiduciary oversight, according to results of a survey released by Nationwide Financial Services Inc., Columbus, Ohio.

Researchers from TechnoMetrica, Oradell, N.J., conducted the survey by polling 501 owners and operators of small businesses that were at least two years old, produced more than $100,000 in annual revenue and had a maximum of 50 employees.

Many of the owners were unaware that they hold primary fiduciary responsibility for their companies’ retirement plans, and fewer than half of the owners with 401(k) plans in place said they had set up a formal process for evaluating investment selections on a regular basis.