Fixing pension plan problems


In many cases, the health of a pension plan is undermined by the conduct of the plan's managers, not by problems facing the company.

If you think something fishy is going on with your pension plan, pursue it.

The fund's managers should be investing the money in the best interests of the people covered by the plan. But if you think your pension managers are making risky investments, failing to diversify, spending too much on administration, or violating the trust of the plan's members in other ways, you should report them.

Contact the nearest Labor Department's Pension Benefits and Welfare Administration field office. People in the Baltimore area should call the Washington field office at 1 (202) 254-7013.

Ask your plan administrator for a copy of Form 5500, which is a report the plan must file with the government. "Circle anything on the 5500 that's a question," said Karen Ferguson, director of the non-profit Pension Rights Center. "Be persistent. Go to your congressmen. Go to the press."

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