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Friday, June 23, 2006

"Insider Tips" Spark Spitzer's Interest

by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Eliot L. Spitzer has already beaten one union this year for its undisclosed endorsement of retirement products, and it looks like he wants to take on more. The office of the New York attorney general is looking into other unions' practices and partnerships regarding retirement plans, InvestmentNews reported Wednesday.

According to Spitzer, he may have just uncovered the tip of the iceberg.

"Weve been told it's a pervasive practice," Spitzer told InvestmentNews. "The NYSUT case has woken up the industry and you do see a dialogue under way."

Spitzer claims that his office is now getting lots of information from insiders.

"This was brought to us industry professionals who had concerns about what was occurring," Spitzer explained. "The volume of calls we've experienced this time is surprising."

A spokesperson from Spizter's office declined to offer any details about any pending, or even theoretical investigations.

"Anything brought to our attention we'll follow up on," Darren Dopp told InvestmentNews. "We're very aggressive about following up on leads."

Dopp expressed optimism about the effects of the investigations.

"We think ultimately if the industry re-evaluates itself and commits to better disclosure there will be a period of re-alignment so people can shift to another plan at no cost," Dopp said. "There would be a period of change in the industry, but that's a healthy thing in our view."

Just last week, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) settled with Spitzer, agreeing to change their ways and pay the $100,000 the state spent investigating their case. The case involved what Spitzer called NYSUT's "silent partnership" with ING.  

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