Critics of 401(k) plans say they have failed the nation's workers because they don't equip them with financial advice. Although the Pension Protection Act prescribes giving guidance, it is vague on what it should constitute and, therefore, hasn't prompted many plan sponsors or administrators to provide such assistance. Without clear rules, they are afraid of fiduciary liability.

But that could change due to a bold decision at IBM to equip its 127,000 U.S. workers with financial education and one-on-one personal coaching about their 401(k)s and a myriad of other money issues-particularly because IBM is such a large firm.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.