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Treasury & Risk Management (05/03) Vol. 13, No. 5 p.38; Kelly, Susan

Rather than watch employees run their retirement plans into the ground, more companies are opting to provide 401(k) plan participants with investment advice. The move also helps companies avoid expensive litigation that can surface if employees feel their employer has not done enough to help them manage their retirement savings. Although most companies have traditionally shied away from offering 401(k) plan advice, the aging workforce is growing increasingly frustrated with recent stock market losses and is demanding more aid from employers. Enron and other corporate scandals, during which it was discovered that some employees had saturated their retirement plans with company stock, have highlighted the need for 401(k) plan participants to receive more advice and education about smartly allocating their retirement funds. In addition, in today's unstable economy, experts point out that insurers are more likely to provide fiduciary liability coverage to companies that provide their employees with 401(k) advice. To reduce their liability and to improve employees' savings, companies are increasingly relying on independent providers like Financial Engines, Morningstar Inc, and mPower.com. As part of this rising trend, 401(k) providers are also providing participants with regular statements about their retirement accounts.


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