The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, is studying the extent to which defined contribution plans are invested in employer securities and real estate, and hopes to issue a report on its findings by early November, according to a source who declined to be identified.
The GAO study, launched at the request of the Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee last fall, is also looking at ways to make participants' retirement savings more secure in situations where the employer, not employees, makes the investment decision. Also to be part of the study are the differences between fiduciary rules for defined benefit pension and defined contribution plans, outside of employer stock ownership plans.
The GAO is basing its analysis on 1992 annual reports filed by plan sponsors with the Internal Revenue Service and the Labor Department.
The study was prompted by legislation introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., which would limit investments in employer stock and real estate.