Saturday, March 17, 2007


I'm writing an article about 401(k) plans.
I wanted to write a side article about a model plan--one offered by a big, sophisticated company.

I decided on one of the biggest employers in Morris County, NJ. A company with a splendid reputation.

Talking wwith the people there, I kept asking if the company would reveal what choices were in its plan. I had already learned the match (I think it was 50 percent up to 6% of salary), what the default was (a money market fund). I had interviewed someone in benefits and was to interview someone else.

And then I was told: No, we will not reveal what our choices are. Why? I asked, dumbfounded. No reply.

Did I want to continue with the story? I was asked. A story about a company's fine 401k plan -- where I couldn't describe the 401k plan? No, I said.

What could the company expect to hide? All its employees know what's in the plan!

The company: Novartis.

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