Marsh & McLennan Buried Under Suits, Subpoenas Including PBGC Info Demand

March 9, 2005 ( - A Marsh & McLennan Companies regulatory filing Wednesday revealed that the company - hard hit by the ongoing insurance bid-ridding investigation - continues to face a blizzard of lawsuits, subpoenas, and more probes.

The firm’s  annual report , filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission,  revealed that it received an information demand earlier this year from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), which insures the nation’s private-sector pensions. According to the report, the PBGC demanded information about the funded status of the Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. Retirement Plan, as well as about “certain financial and business developments” since being hit with a lawsuit last year by New York State attorney general Eliot Spitzer (See  Spitzer Takes On Contingent Commissions ).

Also, Mercer Investment Consulting received a letter from the West Virginia Securities Commission February 10, 2005 asking for documents relating to services provided by Mercer Investment Consulting and related Mercer companies to the State of West Virginia Public Retirement System. In fact, the company said it received a subpoena from the Department of Labor asking for documents about services provided by the company’s subsidiaries to employee-benefit plans in general. The February 8 request includes documents relating to how the company’s subsidiaries have been compensated for such services.

According to the SEC filing, Marsh & McLennan and its Putnam mutual fund company have been hit with more than 70 civil lawsuits over market timing and late trading allegations as of February 15, 2005. These lawsuits were filed in courts in New York, Massachusetts, California, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Vermont, Kansas, and North Carolina.

After the Spitzer suit filing in October, Marsh & McLennan said it and several of its subsidiaries received notices of investigations and inquiries, with requests for documents and information, from attorneys general, departments of insurance and other governmental agencies from “a number of jurisdictions” other than New York. For example, according to the report, attorneys general in 18 jurisdictions have issued one or more requests for information or subpoenas calling for the   production of documents or for witnesses to provide testimony as of February 15.

Subpoenas, letters of inquiry and other information requests have been received from departments of insurance or other state agencies in 29   jurisdictions, the company said. Also, in Australia, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has requested information and documents from insurers and brokers, including Marsh, as part of an examination of brokers’ remuneration practices.

The filing said that since December 2003, Putnam has received various requests for information from the Department of Labor regarding the Putnam Profit Sharing Retirement Plan, including requests for information relating   to

  • plan governance
  • plan investments, including investments in Marsh & McLennan stock
  • class action suits relating to Marsh & McLennan’s receipt of contingent commissions and other matters
  • the market timing-related suits
  • the suspensions of trading in Marsh & McLennan stock imposed by Putnam on its employees in October and November 2004.