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How safe are your employees’ retirement funds?

published in The Journal Record | October 31, 2008

The Journal Record published a story spotlighting one of the featured breakout sessions at McAfee & Taft’s Fall 2008 “Big League” Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar.

The session featured a panel discussion with three of the firm’s employee benefits attorneys — Richard Nix, Jim Prince and Bill Freudenrich — examining the impact of the recent financial turmoil on employee retirement funds and the issues retirement-plan fiduciaries need to address as soon as possible.

“People are nervous,” Nix said. Most people’s retirement hinges on the health of their 401(k) fund.

“When they see that go in half, believe it or not, they get concerned.”

Prince told the attendees that it’s more important than ever to know what your retirement plan documents provide and what steps you, your investment committee or financial advisors have taken to maintain your company’s 401(k) program, the article reported.

Freudenrich asked the audience how many how many in the audience have ever read their companies’ investment policy statements, documents he said can figure prominently in lawsuits filed by workers over the fate of their retirement funds. Few hands were raised, the article stated. Freudenrich said policy statements serve as road maps, establishing who serves on investment committees, where fiduciary liability lies, and other key issues.

Approximately 400 people attended the seminar in Oklahoma City on October 30th and nearly 150 attended the seminar in Tulsa on October 21st. The seminar featured seven sessions covering current employment and employee benefits topics.