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Ted Benna, creator of the first 401(k) plan and now president of an association charged with their preservation and growth, was shaking his head in disbelief. He had just visited a company that planned to merge its $33 million 401(k), featuring a line of funds from Merrill Lynch, with the plan of another company it was about to acquire. The acquirer’s first action: To make for an orderly administrative transition, it was going to order the company it was absorbing to liquidate its retirement savings investments with Fidelity Investments and shift to Merrill.

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