COURT NIXES SEC RULE GOVERNING FINANCIAL PLANNINGA federal appeals court ruled that the Securities and Exchange Commission overstepped its authority in updating rules governing brokers who offer financial advice.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with the Financial Planning Association, which sued the SEC over its original 1999 proposal, which was never actually adopted. The association said that the rule violated distinctions that Congress intended to apply to brokers and investment advisors. The court's ruling in early April said that the SEC lacked the authority to give brokers a broad exemption from laws that apply to financial advisors.

Congress has said that brokers can offer financial advice, but only when it is solely incidental to their brokerage business and the brokers do not earn any special compensation for the advice.

HALF OF AMERICANS EXPECT TO RETIRE WITH A PENSION

Nearly half of all non-retired adult Americans expect to retire with a pension, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the American Institute of CPAs.

Despite the fact that a greater number of companies are shifting from defined-benefit plans to defined-contribution plans such as 401(k)s, just 11 percent of those surveyed and who were under the age of 35 were participating in their company's 401(k) plans. And just 14 percent of the respondents mentioned a 401(k) plan when asked about their various methods of saving. To compile the data for the survey, Harris Interactive surveyed 1,000 adults during March.

IBM SPENDING $50 MILLION ON EMPLOYEE FINANCIAL EDUCATION

IBM Corp. said that it would introduce a $50 million, five-year initiative aimed at improving its employees' financial education and planning. Employees and their spouses or domestic partners will be offered a series of live and Web-based investment seminars, plus unlimited one-on-one personal planning and counseling.

The new program, IBM MoneySmart, is targeted at all the company's U.S. employees. IBM is moving away from traditional retirement benefits to its new 401(k) Plus Plan for next year.

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