Retirement Plan Disclosure: Ethical Principles and Legal Obligations

22 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2007

Date Written: July 4, 2007


Failure or refusal to fully disclose fees, expenses, revenue sharing, and other hidden costs is causing hundreds of thousands of 401(k) and similar plans to operate outside the realm of fiduciary prudence, unknowingly engage in prohibited transactions, and unnecessarily erode the future benefits belonging to participants and beneficiaries.

Notwithstanding the general and widespread need for an increased compliance with pre-existing disclosure requirements, knowledge and understanding of this issue is beginning to permeate the consciousness of government, business, and industry. There is reason for hope, as many - including plan sponsors and service providers - are taking positive steps to learn their duties and reform plan oversight. It will take time, but in the author's opinion, there is an excellent prospect of resolving the fundamental issues of inadequate disclosure of all relevant information to plan decision makers and thus avoid potentially unfavorable long-term consequences which participants and beneficiaries would otherwise bear.

Keywords: 401(k),pension,retirement,ethics,disclosure,fees,revenue sharing,hidden fees,fee lawsuits,investments,costs

JEL Classification: A10,B40,D40,D60,D70,D80,E20,E40,G20,G30,H80,I30

Suggested Citation

Hutcheson, Matthew D., Retirement Plan Disclosure: Ethical Principles and Legal Obligations (July 4, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Matthew D. Hutcheson (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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