PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Fees and qualified default investment options were among the hottest topics at Pensions & Investments' 16th annual East Coast conference here.
James Delaplane, a partner in the law firm of Davis & Harman LLP, Washington, and the keynote speaker who opened the conference, said the fee disclosure bill introduced by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., will retain the index fund requirement that had met resistance from some members of Congress as well as financial service companies and plan sponsors.
“George Miller will be bringing his fee disclosure bill to the floor in April. The most significant part is that (Mr.) Miller is retaining the requirement that a plan have an index fund in its lineup. The House will vote this summer and it will pass,” predicted Mr. Delaplane, who added that it will pass in the Senate as well.
Turning his attention to the 2008 presidential election, Mr. Delaplane asked attendees to disregard his previous predictions. “I won't revisit my predictions from last time. October was a long time ago,” Mr. Delaplane said over laughter, referring to his picks of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as the candidates for president. He now predicts Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will win the White House.
As for Congress, he predicted the Democrats will hold control in the House and Senate after the November election. “The GOP holds 22 of the 34 Senate seats up in 2008,” he said.
Panelists also turned their attention to the issue of qualified default investment alternatives. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 encouraged companies to automatically enroll participants into one of three qualified default investment alternatives, or QDIAs: balanced funds, target-date funds or managed accounts. The Department of Labor finalized the proposed regulations late last year.