The Investment Company Institute is encouraging Congress to consider additions to pending 401(k) reform bills that would allow more people to get advice about their investments.

ICI president Matthew Fink said in a statement released today that lawmakers in Washington should combine two pieces of legislation that were approved by the House and are now pending in the Senate. The Senate is likely to consider both the Trust Equity Guarantee Act and the Protecting America’s Pensions Act in the fall. Both bills are intended to address the financial reporting scandals, such as those involving Enron and Worldcom, that have plagued Wall Street this year.

But neither bill, according to Fink’s remarks, currently includes adequate provisions for providing investors with advice, a sticking point with the ICI. "The institute was disappointed that neither Senate bill includes provisions that would offer greater hope of making professional, objective investment advice available to the millions of 401(k) investors who want and need it," the statement said. Specifically, the ICI would like mutual fund providers to be able to offer 401(k) advice directly, rather than through third parties.

Fink went on to say that the bills’ current approach to the advice issue "does little more than preserve the status quo, and will benefit relatively few employees."

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