Rep. George Miller wants to play Lets Make a Deal with pension and mutual fund lobbyists: If they drop opposition to his bill that would require greater disclosure of fees by DC plans, hell drop a provision that would force all 401(k) plans to offer an index fund as an investment option.
Thats the key bargaining chip pension industry lobbyists said has been placed on the table as Mr. Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, considers revising his 401(k) fee legislation in an effort to garner industry support.
Mr. Millers legislation, introduced last July, has been the subject of widespread industry criticism for requiring too much disclosure of plan fees.
The provision to require all 401(k) plans to provide an index fund has drawn particularly vehement opposition from representatives of the mutual fund industry.
Some industry representatives fear the index fund provision would set a dangerous precedent for lawmakers to dictate what kinds of investment options must be provided (Pensions & Investments, Aug. 6).
Washington insiders say that 401(k) legislation might be approved by the House this year, but they dont expect a bill to win Senate approval this year.
Pension lobbyists said in a meeting last month with Michele Varnhagen, labor policy director for the House Education and Labor Committee, Ms. Varnhagen made clear that Mr. Miller is seeking industry support for his bill and might be open to reconsidering the index fund provision.
It was something she said was still up for discussion, said one lobbyist, who spoke on condition of anonymity. It was something that might be traded for other things.
Other sources, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said Ms. Varnhagen indicated that Mr. Miller was considering softening the bills fee-disclosure requirements as well.