TREASURY, IRS FINALIZE ROTH 401(K) RULES: The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have issued final regulations regarding Sections 401(k) and 401(m) related to designated Roth IRA contributions.Roth contributions were added to the code by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, and are effective for taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2005.
Designated Roth contributions allow for employees to designate all or a portion of their Section 401(k) employee deferrals as Roth contributions, which would receive treatment similar to a Roth IRA contribution, where they would be contributed on an after-tax basis, but qualified distributions of those contributions, plus earnings, would be tax-free. The regs can be accessed at www.treasury.gov/press/releases/js3068.htm.
BROKER FINES UP 21 PERCENT IN 2005: The NASD, the regulator for the brokerage industry, said that fines as a result of disciplinary actions it meted out have risen 21 percent, to $125.4 million, versus the prior year. The overseer also said that it filed over 1,400 actions in 2005, a 1 percent rise over the number of cases filed in 2004. On a positive note, the number of firms expelled from the NASD shrank from 22 in 2004 to 14 this year, and the number of individuals suspended fell from 379 in 2004 to 356 in 2005. The group said that it filed some 120 actions against the mutual fund industry in 2005.
SUIT FILED AGAINST WELLS FARGO, H.D. VEST: Wells Fargo and its H.D. Vest Investment Services subsidiary were named in a class-action lawsuit filed in a California federal court by the law firm of Stull, Stull & Brody in November.
The suit, on behalf of shareholders in Federated mutual funds, alleges that Wells Fargo had special shelf-space agreements with 19 mutual fund companies and that H.D. Vest has such agreements with 12 fund companies.
H.D. Vest is one of the original broker/dealers for accountants, and was acquired by Wells Fargo in the summer of 2001.
The lawsuit charges that between June 2000 and June 2005, investors in the Federated funds were steered to invest in the fund families by both firms and their brokers, who received shelf-space payments in exchange for promoting the funds. The lawsuit accuses Wells Fargo and H.D. Vest of violating federal securities laws for failing to disclose those incentives.
Stull, Stull & Brody also accuses Wells Fargo of having revenue-sharing agreements related to the company's Wells Fargo mutual fund family. Other law firms, including Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP and Brodsky & Smith LLC, have also filed similar class-action lawsuits.
COMMERCE BANK ACQUIRES EMONEY ADVISOR: Commerce Bancorp Inc., parent to some 375 Commerce Bank branches in the New York, Philadelphia and Southeast Florida markets, has acquired online wealth manager eMoney Advisor for $32 million. Based in Conshohocken, Pa., eMoney Advisor and its proprietary AdvisorPlatform are employed by both advisors serving high-net-worth clients and financial institutions such as Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., Guardian Life, PricewaterhouseCoopers, New England Financial and MetLife. Commerce said that the purchase of eMoney will enable it to develop a Web-based aggregated financial system for its customers.
Founded by its current chairman and chief executive, Edmond Walters, eMoney Advisor offers a consolidated view of a client's financial portfolio, including a Customer Financial Home Page, daily aggregation of all financial assets, daily updated financial statements, asset allocation tools, daily alerts and a Web-based storage vault for personal documents.
FOUNDATION NAMES THREE TO BOARD: The Foundation for Financial Planning has named Valerie G. Brown, president of ING Advisors Network in Atlanta; Charles G. Goldman, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., in San Francisco; and Glenn G. Kautt, EA, president and chief investment officer for The Monitor Group Inc., in McLean, Va., to its board for three-year terms.
The foundation's board of trustees is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the foundation, as well as assisting in fundraising activities to reach corporate and individual donors. Additionally, the board makes final decisions on any grants given by the foundation.
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