Church pensions allowed to pool assets under bill sent to president

Posted: Friday, October 15, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) The House voted last Friday to amend several securities laws dating back to the 1930s to allow church pension programs to pool their assets with private and government pension plans as a means of increasing retirement savings.

Under the legislation, which now goes to the president for his signature, church pension plans can participate in ''collective trusts'' where corporate and other secular pension plans join together for investment purposes in stock and non-stock areas.

The House sponsors, Reps. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., and Harold Ford, D-Tenn., said their bill would enable thousands of church plans, set up so clergy and lay church employees can save for retirement, to enjoy the benefits of collective buying power.

The bill, approved by voice vote, would make it easier for church plans to diversify their investments and to share the risk of transaction costs with other pension plans.

The bill is H.R. 1533.

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