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Dalbar: 401(k) Web Sites Weak On Fiduciary Guidance

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NU Online News Service, Jan. 27, 2004, 1:21 p.m. EST – Retirement services Web sites should do more to help 401(k) plan sponsors manage fiduciary obligations.[@@]

Dalbar Inc., Boston, a company that evaluates financial services company Web sites, says all of the 150 sites it visited could help plan sponsors of defined contribution retirement plans monitor plan participants’ investments and transactions: 100% of the sites let sponsors view each participant’s account balance by contribution source and investment type, and 100% let sponsors run reports based on plan and participant data and activity.

Another 92% of the sites let plan sponsors view a history of each participant’s account activity and requests, Dalbar says.

But the firm found that only 17% of the provider sites presented both a complete overview of the plan sponsor’s duties, responsibilities and fiduciary obligations and a concrete compliance guide written in plain English.

Only one-third of the sites let sponsors conduct compliance tests online, Dalbar reports.