New York (May 21, 2003) -- The stock market slide over the past few years decimated investors' mutual fund portfolios and 401(k)s -- but company pension plans may have been hit the hardest.

To help fiduciaries better manage and advise clients on their pension funds, the American Institute of CPAs and the Foundation for Fiduciary Studies jointly developed a new handbook to promote best investment practices -- "Prudent Investment Practices: A Handbook for Investment Fiduciaries."

The 46-page handbook was designed for the five million high-level investment decision-makers such as CPA financial planners, CPAs serving in business and industry who serve as trustees and/or members of investment committees, as well as individual investors and plan sponsors.

The scope of the handbook addresses primarily the Employee Retirement Income Securities Act, the Uniform Prudent Investor Act, and the Uniform Management of Public Employee Retirement Systems Act.

CPA/PFS Ken Dodson, of Ohio-based King/Dodson Financial Advisors, Inc. serves on the AICPA's Financial Planning Executive committee, which oversaw the handbook.

Dodson said the pension fund problems today reflect the disconnect between performance of funds versus what had been projected. "We hope that ultimately this handbook, through a process of looking at expenses and diversification issues, should ultimately improve performance, although obviously there are no guarantees there," Dodson told WebCPA.. "There's never before been a consolidation of all the laws, rules and regulations in one easy-to-understand handbook that allows fiduciaries to know what their responsibilities are".

To request a copy, which sells for $30 to the general public, and $20 for AICPA members, visit the foundation's Web site at www.ffstudies.org.

-- WebCPA staff

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