Twenty thousand Enron employees lost approximately $1 billion in pension assets during the company’s recent collapse. Factors contributing to large employee losses included:
- Lack of diversification – Employees had 63 percent of their 401(k) assets invested in Enron stock.
- Restrictive corporate rules – Company rules barred employees from selling Enron matching stock until they reached age 50.
- An ill-timed lockdown period – Employees were prevented from selling assets for several weeks last fall while plan administrators were changed. During this period, Enron stock prices fell significantly.
In response to problems brought to light by the Enron debacle, a number of legislative proposals have been offered. A summary of some of the most prominent proposals follows.