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Many Brokerage Firms Are Remiss in Helping Online Clients Deal With Required Minimum Distributions, Says New Report From Corporate Insight.

NEW YORK -- Today, the IRS estimates that 40 million+ Americans own a Traditional IRA account, many of which are under the auspice of self-directed status; thus, it is important that online brokerage firms educate investors so that they are not blindsided by bureaucratic red tape, which includes Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) - a crucial component to the popular Traditional IRA that, if ignored or handled poorly, could result in severe tax consequences and loss of vital retirement income.

In the latest issue of e-Monitor, Corporate Insight, a leading provider of competitive intelligence, analysis, and consulting services to the financial services industry, looks at online educational resources, withdrawal services and alerts regarding RMDs available to online clients of 18 securities firms across the US. Corporate Insight discovered that RMDs are surprisingly treated indifferently online, with 11 of 18 e-Monitor firms providing RMD information, the most common being the Required Beginning Date, calculation rules, including life expectancy tables, and penalties.

"We were surprised at the lack of attention that RMDs were given at many brokerage Websites," said Janet Martin, Senior Analyst at Corporate Insight and author of the e-Monitor reports. "For example, two firms which only offer self-directed accounts, provide little or no information about RMDs at all, leaving their valued clients to fend for themselves. Inherited IRAs are treated with even more reserve, with only 8 of 18 firms providing detailed Beneficiary/Inherited IRA RMD information. We found this lack of detail odd, as beneficiaries can be a lucrative source of new business or a devastating loss, as beneficiaries, according to the IRS, can freely move IRA accounts from trustee-to-trustee. Clearly, there is room for improvement across the board."

"Minimum Effort for Required Minimum Distributions" is an in-depth look at how 18 online brokerage firms deal with RMD information and requirements on their Websites. It includes detailed findings, summary and observations, and Corporate Insight's recommendation on what can be done to improve online RMD education and resources.

For more information on this research and related services, please visit www.corporateinsight.com.

About Corporate Insight

Corporate Insight is a leading provider of competitive intelligence, analysis, and consulting services to the financial services industry. Founded in 1992, the firm has a blue-chip client base of industry leaders who rely on the company's commentary and insight gleaned through years of research examining the issues and trends that have shaped the industry. CI monitors the top firms on an ongoing basis, measuring, analyzing, and communicating industry best practices. Its products include Bank Monitor, Broker Monitor, Credit Card Monitor, e-Monitor, Mutual Fund Monitor, and Mutual Fund Advisor Monitor, as well as custom project work. For more information, please visit www.corporateinsight.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 16, 2005
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