WASHINGTON, D.C. - It has been over nine months since E-SIGN, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, was signed into law, but there remains some uncertainty with regard to how the act governs certain aspects of electronic delivery of retirement products and services, according to industry executives.

In general, E-SIGN creates a great deal of opportunity for retirement plan service providers, according to Pamela Everhart, associate general counsel at Fidelity Investments of Boston. Everhart spoke here late last month at a retirement plans conference sponsored by the Investment Company Institute of Washington, D.C. Being able to deliver documents electronically to customers increases customers' access to information and reduces companies' operating costs. IRA custodial agreements, disclosure statements, annual reports and prospectuses can all be delivered online once consumers have given consent to receive documents electronically, said Robert Wittie, a partner at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart of Pittsburgh, who also spoke at the ICI conference.

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