WASHINGTON - Industry officials applauded legislation introduced this week in the House that would let financial firms provide investment advice to users of their retirement savings plans.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, belongs to a package of three bills aimed at revamping the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. The legislation was immediately endorsed by the American Bankers Association, the Securities Industry Association, and the American Council of Life Insurers.

Rep. Boehner's Retirement Security Act would let financial firms advise workers covered by 401(k) or other retirement savings plans on how to invest their money. Under current law, plan providers may offer financial advice but can be sued by employees whose investments sour. Rep. Boehner's plan would shield firms from liability.

"The legislation will help employees get the investment help and advice they need to maximize their retirement savings," ABA chief lobbyist Edward L. Yingling said in a statement.

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