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Fees Tag

Avoiding ERISA Lawsuits Isn’t Hard

Proposed class action lawsuits by retirement plan participants against their own employers are on track for a fivefold increase between last year and this year, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis. Sixty-five class action suits have been filed so far in 2020 and many of these suits are for excessive fees and/or the use of overpriced share classes. Several employers have been sued multiple times (e.g. Quest Diagnostics, Cerner Corp, Omnicom Group). Startlingly, some of the employers are large money management and plan recordkeeping firms (e.g. INVESCO, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Mutual of Omaha, Fidelity – multiple times). Talk about a fox guarding the hen house!Moreover, these lawsuits are being brought against smaller plans (e.g. Greystar Management Services - $188M plan) and to other participant driven plans like 403(b)s (e.g. Mercy Health, University of Miami). After all, ERISA and the duty to pay only reasonable fees applies equally to qualified plans of all sizes and flavors. Sure, many of these lawsuits can be explained by the fact that the case law is maturing (providing a blue print for action) and that participants are more knowledgeable and attuned to fees now that the expense curtain has been pulled back somewhat. Today, there

Actuarial Services Need Not be a Black Box

A defined benefit (DB) or cash balance (CB) plan is more than just an employee benefit.  Properly structured, a DB or CB plan can be an elegant tool to help manage cash flow, maximize profitability, and super charge the retirement accounts of key employees and business owners. For many advisors and indeed even for most plan sponsors, the actuarial services for a DB or CB plan remain a mystery, in a black box somewhere.  It appears that actuarial service providers have taken their eye off the ball for all but the largest of clients.  Often, the only time a client hears from their service provider is when the annual funding notice comes detailing the amount that must be contributed to the plan. That’s not the way Northwest Plan Service (NWPS) operates. We open the black box to explain how the calculations are constructed and how to use the plan to meet business objectives.  With the client’s long term goals in mind, NWPS can develop a multi-year funding strategy that best meets the goals for cash flow, balance sheet considerations, maximizing tax-deferrals and minimizing PBGC premiums.  We carefully monitor the plan and the rate of accrual for benefits.  We’ll then provide a quarterly scorecard