Wal-Mart Hit with Excessive 401(k) Fee Suit

April 21, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A Missouri Wal-Mart employee and participant in its 401(k) plan has filed an excessive fee lawsuit against the giant retailer.

According to a news report on LawyersandSettlements.com, plaintiff Jeremy Braden claims that the company cost participants $60 million in unnecessary expenses over six years by offering what Braden said were expensive mutual funds and not their less expensive alternatives. The complaint alleges that all plan investment options were retail class shares, which historically carry higher fees than institutional class shares, and that plan trustee Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. received revenue sharing and other, unspecified payments without providing any services.

The news account said the suit, which requests class action certification, seeks to represent current or former employees who participated in, or benefited from the plan since January 31st, 2002. It is estimated that more than one million people could be affected.

According to the complaint, Wal-Mart failed to inform employees about the impact that the allegedly excessive fees would have on their savings, why particular investments options were chosen, or that less expensive options were available.