Morin, et al v. Essentia Health:  A New Twist on Fee-based Cases against Plan Sponsors

Excessive Fee LawsuitA case recently filed in Minnesota took a unique approach to accusing a plan sponsor of charging participants excessive fees. Essentia Health and its subsidiary maintained two plans. One retirement plan established in 1965. The second was a 403(b) plan established in 2009. The original plan consisted of approximately 16,848 participants and $982 million in assets and was recordkept by BMO Harris. The 403(b) plan consisted of $103 million in assets and was recordkept by Lincoln Financial.[1] Continue reading

Checksmart Excessive Fee Suit Requires Closer Look at Fund Performance

Excessive Fee Lawsuit FiledA recently filed lawsuit attempts to hold plan fiduciaries to what has been an unprecedented standard until now. Previous lawsuits accused plan fiduciaries (with a slight amount of industry knowledge) of what could be considered “a no brainer”: don’t pay too much. If there is an identical or nearly identical investment option offered at a lower cost, choose the lowest cost option. If it is not feasible to switch to the lowest cost option, retain the fund but rebate revenue sharing. Simple, provided you know what you’re looking for. This new lawsuit requires fiduciaries to put more thought into the plan’s fund lineup, particularly with respect to fund expenses relative to fund performance. Continue reading

Yet Another Excessive Fee Lawsuit is Settled

Excessive Fee LawsuitIn 2013 MassMutual was sued by a class of over 14,000 participants of its own 401(k) plan for charging the Plan excessive fees for record keeping services, among other things. The case was filed by the St. Louis based law firm Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, and was recently settled for $30.9 million[1]. Continue reading