Given the increased congressional interest in 401(k) plan oversight, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), an agency of the Congress, is offering an opportunity to plan sponsors to provide input for a congressional study on Restrictions on Withdrawals from 401(k) Plans. To facilitate input, GAO asked PLANSPONSOR to help by reaching out to its membership and encouraging plan sponsors to participate in a short survey.
Unlike those covered by traditional pension plans, 401(k) plan participants are responsible for selecting from an array of investment options, such as various mutual funds, offered by the plan sponsor, and directing their investments. However, in recent months, some 401(k) participants purportedly were unable to transfer their money between investment options or were limited in withdrawing money from their account. According to reports, participant withdrawals are being restricted from certain funds because many investments were negatively affected in the market downturn and experienced cash flow or liquidity problems.
As a 401(k) plan sponsor, you will have the opportunity to provide GAO with information about whether your plan participants were restricted from withdrawing from their plan accounts and whether any of the investment options offered in your plan restricted withdrawals. GAO is interested in finding out (1) the extent of the problem, (2) which types of investments are involved, and (3) what disclosures plan sponsors and participants received about the possibility of such withdrawal restrictions.
The results of this inquiry will be compiled and presented in summary form only. Our report will not identify individual respondents. Respondents’ names will not be listed in any GAO report. Providing your name and contact information is optional.
However, if you are interested in helping GAO further by discussing these issues in greater detail, or if you would like to answer these questions by telephone, you will be given the opportunity to provide your contact information, or you can contact the GAO staff working on this study, whose telephone numbers are listed below.
The survey can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RHYP9PV
Thanks VERY much for your assistance!
If you would like to answer these questions by phone or talk about the issue of 401(k) withdrawal restrictions, feel free to call Monika Gomez, in Washington, D.C. at 202-512-9062 or Jessica Gray, in Seattle, WA at 206-287-4894. Thank you.