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March 20, 2002
Labor Dept. Names Enron Fiduciary
The DOL and Enron had agreed last month to replace the existing administrative committee for the retirement plans (the Enron Corp. Savings Plan, the Enron Corp. Employee Stock Ownership Plan and the Enron Corp. Cash Balance Plan) with an independent fiduciary. The department has selected a team of experts from State Street Bank and Trust to act in that capacity.
"I am pleased we have concluded this lengthy and complicated process," said U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. "The sole criteria in this selection was to determine who could best protect the interests of the employees and retirees. Enron employees have suffered enough."
As part of its agreement with the Department, Enron will pay all fees associated with State Street's assumption of fiduciary duties up to $1.5 million annually for a period of three years plus expenses, subject to Bankruptcy Court approval. This agreement is particularly important because the fees and expenses would otherwise be directly deducted from the employee benefit plans. Under the current agreement, the Enron plans will not have to pay for State Street's services, preserving more assets for the current and former employees of Enron.
State Street will be responsible for, among other things, the investment of plan assets, the selection and monitoring of investment managers, the investment of plan assets in employer securities, representation of the plans' interests in litigation. This includes representation of the plans' interests in the Enron bankruptcy and the selection and monitoring of funds and investment options offered under the Savings Plan.
State Street, according to the department, has vast experience managing employee benefit plan assets and acting as independent fiduciaries for numerous employee benefit plans. Currently, it has $700 billion in assets under its management and holds over $6 trillion in assets under custody for mutual funds and pension plans.
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U.S. Department of Labor has announced that State Street Bank and Trust of Boston will act as the independent fiduciary for the Enron Corp.'s retirement plans.