These lawsuits all target large 401(k) plans sponsored by large employers, name the employer as defendant, and in some cases, plan fiduciary committees and their various individual members. In the “cookie-cutter” complaints, the plaintiffs allege a variety of breaches of fiduciary duties and prohibited transactions relating to fees paid by 401(k) plans, according to a posting on the web site of law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP, which did not name Schlichter, Bogard & Denton as the firm filing the suits.
As we go to press, we are still trying to obtain copy of the complaints. Nonetheless we wanted you to be aware of this potentially significant development.
Plan sponsors might also want be aware that law firm Keller Rohrback says that it is currently investigating companies that serve as “Investment Providers” for 401(k) plans and the company fiduciaries that retain them in order to determine whether they have breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA by, among other things, causing 401(k) plans to incur excessive management and administration fees or entering into improper fee sharing arrangements with mutual fund companies that are selected by them.
According to a posting on the firm’s Web site, “these abuses, though sometimes difficult to detect based on the information given to plan participants, can cost plans millions of dollars and substantially reduce the retirement savings of Plan participants. If you are concerned about your 401(k) plan, or would like more information regarding our 401(k) Excessive and Improper Fee Investigation, please contact us.”