SURVEY: EMPLOYEES WORK HARDER WITH STOCK PLANSSome 76 percent of employees participating in a Fidelity Investments survey indicated that they work harder for a company that offers employee stock purchase programs and employer-sponsored stock plans.

More than two thirds of those polled said that stock plans made them feel more invested in their companies, while roughly half said that they would be less likely to change jobs because of the presence of the plans.

Meanwhile, 86 percent of the survey participants considered their stock option plans a critical piece of their compensation package.

FPA FORMS BEST PRACTICES TASK FORCE PANEL

The Financial Planning Association has formed a special panel whose goal will be to identify the best practices for the financial planning profession under the new CFP fiduciary standard. The new FPA task force will be comprised of members who cover the entire range of the profession, from large financial planning firms and independent fee-only planners, to broker/dealers and compliance professionals.

For more information, visit www.fpanet.org.

AICPA URGES ANNUAL DISCLOSURE OF PLAN FEES

The American Institute of CPAs has written a letter to the Labor Department supporting a proposal to require retirement plan sponsors and administrators to annually disclose fees and expenses to participants.

The AICPA recommended that the Labor Department work with the Internal Revenue Service to create a sample disclosure notice with standard paragraphs that could be customized to particular plans. The standardized format would help retirement plan participants compare plan expenses and fees as they move from one job to another.

The AICPA's comments came in response to proposed regulations from the Labor Department for fee and expense disclosures for participant-directed individual account plans such as 401(k) plans. The AICPA also recommended that the Labor Department extend the effective date until at least Jan. 1, 2010.

The institute also said that the Labor Department should extend the deadline for providing disclosures to 30 days after a participant becomes eligible for the plan, or coordinate the timing with the time frame for furnishing summary plan descriptions (90 days after becoming eligible).

The AICPA also wants the Labor Department to clarify whether the proposal applies to certain types of individual retirement accounts that provide for employer contributions - that is, Simplified Employee Pension Retirement Account and Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees plans.

In addition, the institute asked the Labor Department to exclude smaller plans from gathering information on investment options, and it wants the regulations to clarify the terms "participant" and "beneficiary."

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