JPMorgan Chase to Pay $9 Million to Settle 401(k) Self-Dealing Suit

The suit claimed conflicts of interest damaged net-of-fee performance.

Parties in a suit accusing fiduciaries of the JPMorgan Chase 401(k) Savings Plan of self-dealing have filed a settlement agreement and motion for preliminary approval in federal court.

They announced last month a settlement had been reached. Details now show a payment of $9 million will be made to “fully, finally and forever resolve, discharge and settle the released claims.” The defendants and the released parties deny any and all wrongdoing.

JPMorgan Chase Bank was hit with a string of proposed class action lawsuits alleging similar allegations in early 2017, with this one filed in January of that year. The plaintiffs argued the company’s 401(k) plan fees were not properly controlled and that conflicts of interest damaged net-of-fee performance.

The lawsuit alleged plan fiduciaries larded the plan with proprietary fund investment options that charged excessively high fees that inured to the benefit of affiliates of JPMorgan and one of JPMorgan’s closest business partners, BlackRock Institutional Trust Co. It argued that, instead of acting for the exclusive benefit of the plan and its participants and beneficiaries, plan fiduciaries acted for the benefit of themselves by forcing participants to choose among costly investments managed by JPMorgan and BlackRock.