Berger & Montague, P.C. is investigating accusations that
numerous 401(k) and retirement plan providers are charging
excessive and/or hidden fees that violate the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act (ERISA).
According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), ERISA
is a federal law that sets minimum standards for most voluntarily
established pension and health plans in private industry to protect
individuals in these plans. ERISA requires plans to provide
participants with important information about plan features and
funding, provides fiduciary responsibilities for those who manage
and control plan assets, requires plans to establish a grievance
and appeals process for participants to receive benefits from their
plans, and gives participants the right to sue for benefits and
breaches of fiduciary duty.
industries are violating ERISA?
ERISA violations can occur across numerous companies and
industries, but colleges and universities are particularly prone to
charging unnecessary fees for their retirement plans. Additionally,
Berger & Montague is currently investigating the possibility
that Ford employees who participate in the company's 401(k) plan
may be paying excessive fees. These alleged excessive fees go into
effect when Ford employees opt to receive investment advice through
the plan or make investments through the plan's brokerage
When an employee opts to receive extra advice through their
company 401(k) plan, they may receive this advice from a third
party rather than through the 401(k) plan's primary managers or
fiduciaries. Allegedly, when fiduciaries pass off this advisory
work to third parties, they still collect a fee. This is illegal,
as the fiduciaries are collecting a fee for work they're not
In addition to investment advice fees, employees who decide to
invest their retirement funds through a brokerage window may also
face excessive fees. A brokerage window allows employees to invest
in mutual funds that are not included among their plan's designated
investment alternatives. These outside parties may be including
higher cost shares-even when lower cost shares are
available-resulting in 401(k) plan participants being charged an
I know if I'm being charged unreasonable 401(k) fees?
While ERISA does not provide specific 401(k) fee rates,
reasonable numbers tend to range from .5 to 1.4 percent. The rate
usually depends on the size of the employer-larger employers can
usually offer lower rates. If you're unsure whether you're being
overcharged, contact Berger & Montague.
401(k) fee settlements
There have been numerous 401(k) fee class action settlements
over the last several years.
- Cigna: In June 2013, Cigna Corp. and
Prudential Retirement Insurance and Annuity Co. agreed to pay $35
million to settle a putative class action ERISA suit accusing them
of imposing excessive fees on Cigna's 401(k) plan.
- Boeing: In November 2015, Boeing
agreed to pay $57 million to settle a class action claiming it
allowed a retirement plan to charge excessive fees to its
- Transamerica: In June 2016,
Transamerica Corp. agreed to pay $3.8 million to settle a class
action claiming the company did not live up to its fiduciary duty
under ERISA with its 401(k) plan.
If you believe you have been overcharged for 401(k) fees by your
employer's retirement plan, contact Berger & Montague. You may
be able to file a class action lawsuit.
have to pay to consult with an attorney?
We are happy to talk with you about your potential claims free
of charge. If we decide to represent you in a lawsuit, we will
enter into a written contingent fee agreement with you. A
contingent fee agreement means we only get paid if we win, and that
we will receive our fees from the amount paid by the Defendant in
Please contact us to discuss the details of your case. You
- Use the contact form on this page ("Inquire About Your
- Email email@example.com
- Call (800) 424-6690
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