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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Archer, Part II - From the World of Welfare Plans to the World of Pension Plans

Just as USA Networks' "Suits" merited multiple xtremerisa posts here and here, it turns out that FX's Archer merits an additional mention as well. 
My prior Archer post, which came about based on a tip from Mike S., focused on welfare plans - specifically cafeteria plans and life-insurance plans.  Well, Mike's research skills are unbounded, and it turns out that Archer also covers the pension side as well.  Indeed, there is significant attention to 401(k) plans invested in stock.  Archer has found its way into the world of ERISA stock-drop litigation!  It really does seem that the show is written by a bunch of ERISAfolk.
Thus, the following is from a script of Season 1, Episode 7, which on this particular point has attracted some additional attention on reddit, one finds the following exchange, relating to a would-be bomber's attempt to blow up a certain luxury airship named the Excelsior as an act of vengeance for having been tricked into putting his 401(k) account into company stock:
Capt. Lammers:  "Keep your 401(k) in company stock," they said.  "The price can only go up," they said.  Well, guess what . . . .

Sterling Archer: Um, it didn't?

Further to this exchange, a blurb from wikia (laced with ERISA considerations) regarding Capt. Lammers says:  "Employees of companies are often encouraged, as was Lammers, to put their retirement accounts into company stock.  This serves the dual purpose of tying the self-interest of the employee to the success of the company and inflating the price of the stock.  Executives of some less scrupulous companies have famously encouraged this even though they knew the stock was soon to be worthless."*


And there's more.  The following is from somewhere in Season 2

Sterling Archer:  Lana, what are you mad at me for?  Mother took your 401(k).  All I did was foolishly gamble it all away.   

Ray Gillette:  . . . He does have a point.

And there's still more.  Apparently, based on a blurb about Sterling Archer, he has $480,810 in his 401(k) account (although according to the blurb he "was unaware of it"), and, based on a blurb about Dr. Algernop Krieger, he has $105,526 in his 401(k) account.  Talk about attention to (ERISA) detail!

Should all aspiring ERISAns be watching this show?!?  Maybe so . . .

* The blurb also states:  "His plan was to make the money back by 'shorting' the stock (which would result in a significant gain as the price of the stock went down)."  Pretty deep, no?

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