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House bill calls for clear 401(k) disclosures


WASHINGTON--U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., has introduced legislation that would require plan administrators to disclose to plan participants all fees charged to 401(k)-type retirement savings plans in clear and simple language.

Other provisions in the 401(k) Fair Disclosure for Retirement Security Act of 2007 would require administrators to disclose to plan participants more detailed information on investment strategies, risks and returns.

H.R. 3185 also would require 401(k)-type plans to include at least one lower-cost, balanced index fund in its investment line-up; ensure that all fees and conflicts of interest are disclosed annually to employers who sponsor 401(k) plans; and enhance the Department of Labor's oversight of 401(k) plans.

Rep. Miller, who is chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said in a statement: "Hidden fees are eating into the retirement savings of millions of American workers without knowing it. Workers and employers need better information about fees in order to make well-informed decisions about basic things like which plans and investment options will give them the best deal."

Mark Ugoretz, president of the ERISA Industry Committee, said in a statement that the Department of Labor is preparing to draft regulations to improve participant disclosure, and that his organization has filed recommendations in this area.

"While we believe that the department has ample authority and experience to issue meaningful regulations without new legislation, ERIC will review Rep. Miller's proposal to see if it is consistent with the approach that will get the job done in a timely and effective manner," said Mr. Ugoretz.

"We are also concerned that the legislative process may in fact delay rather than ensure the issuance of new disclosure rules that employees and employers need."