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WASHINGTON -- Control of Enron Corp.'s retirement plans is being transferred from company executives to an independent expert who will be appointed by the Labor Department in an arrangement announced Tuesday.
Enron must pay the cost of the independent, legal representative for three years up to a maximum $1.5 million a year plus expenses such as accounting services. The agreement may require bankruptcy court approval.
The legal representative, called a fiduciary, will protect workers interests during corporate bankruptcy proceedings and maximize the effort to recover the funds, said Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.
The fiduciary will control operating the plans and investing their assets.
Many workers lost their retirement savings that were heavily invested in Enron stock as the price steadily declined last year.
Overall, the 20,795 participants in Enron's 401(k) plan had about 63 percent of their assets in company stock.
The department is investigating whether the company-appointed fiduciaries were prudent and acted in the interest of the employees.