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Pension Reform Set to be Re-Introduced

A pension reform bill that would increase retirement savings contribution limits and streamline the process for setting up retirement plans for small businesses will be introduced in the House of Representatives this week, according to Elizabeth Gregory, a spokesperson for The Financial Services Roundtable of Washington, D.C., a financial services company association.

Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) will introduce the bill, the Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act, according to Gregory. The bill passed both houses of Congress last year but the president did not sign it, said Gregory.

The Financial Services Roundtable supports the bill and is cautiously optimistic that the new president will sign it, said Gregory.

In addition to increasing contribution limits, the bill will reduce the amount of paperwork involved in setting up pension plans for small businesses, said Gregory.

The bill will also help people to catch-up with their retirement savings, through the so called "Catch-up Provision," Gregory said.

"It's a particularly helpful provision, especially for women who have been out of the work force for a number of years, whether they were raising children or staying home, and it allows people once they turn 50 to go back and contribute the sum of money for the years that they were out of the work-force," she said.

Passage of the bill will be very helpful to the mutual fund industry, said Geoffrey Bobroff, president of Bobroff Consulting of East Greenwich, R.I.

"Since the fund industry has about 50 percent of its assets related to some type of retirement savings, this would be a significant addition to the industry's efforts by expanding the limits allowable under 401(k) plans or IRAs," he said.