Mellon Liberalizes DC Company Stock Rules

February 27, 2002 ( - Mellon Financial Corp. has relaxed its restrictions on when employees can sell company stock, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

In a company memo, chief executive Marty McGuinn announced that, effective July 1 this year, Mellon shares purchased in 401(k) retirement accounts before January 1, 2000, could be sold at any time.

Previously, employees had to turn 55 before they could sell restricted shares, or stock they owned as a result of contributions by the company, according to the report.

Effective immediately, the firm will also remove the ban on employees trading stock at the beginning and end of each quarter, around earnings announcements, although trading would still have to be subject to the Security and Exchange Commission’s compliance requirements.

Mellon has not yet decided on how to handle restricted stock, but only plans that provide a shorter holding period than the current one are being considered.

According to Buck Consultants, Mellon’s consulting arm, the percentage of 401(k) plan assets in company stock at Mellon is 36%, substantially lower than the national average of 48%. The group’s pension plan holds 10% of its assets in Mellon stock.

Mellon’s action follows a similar move by the Gannett Co .