If you’ve been wondering how the results of last month’s mid-term elections are going to affect the 401(k) industry, then wonder no more.

401(k) fees now in court have just moved into the political arena.

Yesterday’s article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Dems set to take on pension, health industries, reported that Rep. George Miller, D-Cal., said the House Education and the Workforce Committee that he is in line to chair under the new Democratic-controlled Congress should hold hearings next year to examine the fee issue.

A just released Government Accounting Office report, Changes Needed To Provide 401(k) Plan Participants and the Department of Labor Better Information on Fees (43 pages, PDF), that was commissioned by Congressman Miller, said:

  • Congress should consider amending ERISA to require sponsors to disclose fee information in a way that allows investors to compare options.
  • The Department of Labor should require plan sponsors to report a summary of all fees paid out of plan assets or by participants.
  • Conflict of interest problems arise when pension consultants are not required to disclose that they are being paid by investment companies that they are recommending to plan sponsors.

Said Congressman Miller in a statement:

It’s critical that workers’ hard-earned savings not be wasted on excessive fees. Workers need complete, accurate and clear information about the total cost of different investment options so they can choose the ones that are best for them.

Buckle up your seat belts!