Ways and Means Committee to Hear Testimony on DC Plan Fees

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee will hold an October 30 hearing to discuss the fees charged to participants enrolled in defined contribution plans.

According to a statement from Committee Chairman Charles Rangel’s office, the hearing will cover fees charged to 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plan participants and will begin at 10 a.m.

Rangel announced his intentions to hold a hearing early this year just as Representative George Miller, (D-California) unveiled a fee disclosure proposal (See Ways & Means to Hold Hearings on 401(k) Fees). Rangel vowed in a statement to work with Miller to draft a “reasonable and balanced resolution” to fee disclosure.

“This is an important issue for millions of American workers who are being asked to shoulder the cost of saving adequately for their retirement,” said Rangel, (D-New York) in the statement about the upcoming hearing. “If we are going to ask our workers to fully take on this level of responsibility, and the federal government is going to subsidize these efforts, we have a duty to make sure that our federal dollars are efficiently and effectively working for the benefit of our workers. We need to make sure that these subsidies are being reflected in the account balances of these workers.”

The U.S. House Education and Labor Committee heard testimony at the beginning of October on the Miller bill (See Fee Disclosure Legislation Introduced in House). The proposal evoked caution from panelists, who mostly argued that Miller’s legislation would impart too heavy a burden on plan sponsors and plan providers and plan participants would be no better off to make investment decisions (See Fee Disclosure Proposal Draws Industry Criticism at House Committee Hearing).

Miller’s proposal would:

  • require plan administrators to disclose, in clear and simple terms, all fees charged to plan participants each year;
  • help workers better understand their investment options by providing more detailed information on investment strategies, risks, and returns when they sign up for their company’s 401(k);
  • 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.

To submit testimony for the upcoming Rangel hearing, visit http://waysandmeans.house.gov, and select “110th Congress” from the menu entitled, “Committee Hearings.’ Select the correct hearing, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.” Further instruction is available here.