Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, August 29, 2014

Brokerage Windows Questioned By DOL


A brokerage window, also known as a self-directed brokerage account, allows you to invest in almost anything in your 401(k) retirement account.  While this may seem obvious, the Department of Labor is questioning whether it is helpful or harmful to investors saving for retirement and whether employers should be liable for employee’s actions. 

Some 401(k) plans allow participants access to brokerage windows in addition to basic investment choices.  Yet, the nanny state position is that employees will make careless mistakes if given free reign to invest their 401(k) money.  Alternatively, it is argued that brokerage windows provide investors the ability to build a better retirement nest egg. 

So, are new safeguards needed?  This is what the DOL wants commentators to decide this fall.  The DOL wants to ensure employees are not exposed to undue risks from brokerage windows and employers properly understand the scope of their ongoing responsibility with respect to the windows. 

See Ashlea Ebeling, DOL Questions 401(k) Brokerage Windows, Forbes, Aug. 28, 2014. 


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