Cases & Investigations

ERISA Lawsuit Investigation: Financial Engines

CASE STATUS: Under Investigation

Step 1: Are you a current or former participant in a company retirement plan or 401(k) plan?

Step 2: Did your retirement plan’s provider or recordkeeper offer you investment advisory services through a company called Financial Engines?

Step 3: Did you pay for Financial Engines’ services through your retirement plan or 401(k)?

Step 4: If you answered “yes” to the first three steps, please fill out the form on this page. You may be able to file a class action lawsuit.

If you participated in an employer-provided retirement plan, paid for Financial Engines’ advisory services, and are interested in discussing a possible case, please contact Todd Collins at tcollins@bm.net or (215) 875-3040 or Ellen Noteware at enoteware@bm.net or (215) 875-3051.

About the case

Berger Montague is investigating the possibility that retirement plan participants who pay for Financial Engines’ investment advisory services may be paying excessive fees.

Many retirement plans offer investment advice provided through the auspices of Financial Engines. A plan participant wanting this service pays a fee. The problem is that the plans’ retirement plan provider or recordkeeper may “take a cut” of the fee paid by the plan participant, thus causing the plan participant to pay too high of a fee.

Financial Engines gives the investment advice. The recordkeeper performs no valuable service in connection with the investment advice that Financial Engines provides – but still takes a share of the fee the plan participant pays. He or she is paying not just Financial Engines, which provides the investment advisory services, but also the recordkeeper, which does not. This violates the fiduciary duties and prohibited transaction rules imposed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).

How do I know if my employer partners with Financial Engines?

Your plan statements or other materials should indicate that Financial Engines is providing you with investment advice if you are signed up for their services.

According to Financial Engines’ website, the company works with the following employers:

  • Alcoa, Inc.
  • Altria Group, Inc.
  • Ameren Group, Inc.
  • Arby’s
  • Arch Coal
  • Ardent Health Services
  • BAE Systems
  • Beaumont Hospitals
  • Boar’s Head
  • Cablevision
  • Caterpillar, Inc.
  • CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
  • Comcast-NBCUniversal
  • Delta Air Lines, Inc.
  • Dow Corning Corporation
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Gerdau
  • Health Net, Inc.
  • Henry Schein
  • Hubbell, Inc.
  • IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC.
  • IBM Corporation
  • J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
  • Johnson Controls
  • Kellogg Company
  • Land O’Lakes
  • Lear Corporation
  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Liberty Mutual Group
  • Marathon Oil
  • Marathon Petroleum
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Nestle USA, Inc.
  • Northern Trust
  • Occidental Petroleum
  • PG&E Corporation
  • Potlatch Corporation
  • Rockwell Automation
  • Southern California Edison
  • State of Georgia
  • Suburban Propane
  • Texas Instruments
  • Tenneco Inc.
  • Teradyne
  • Tesoro Corp.
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Travelers Companies, Inc.
  • Tree Top, Inc.
  • UL
  • Unum
  • VF Corporation
  • Visteon Corporation
  • Xerox Corporation
  • Zebra Technologies

If you work for any of these companies, invest in the companies’ retirement plans, and pay for Financial Engines’ services, please fill out the contact form on this page.

What is ERISA?

ERISA is a federal law that sets standards for most retirement plans in private industry in order to protect individuals who are participants in those plans.

ERISA imposes fiduciary duties-the highest duties known to law-on the people who run retirement plans. It gives plan participants the right to sue where those fiduciaries fail to put the participants’ interests first.

Previous ERISA 401(k) settlements

Berger Montague has settled numerous ERISA 401(k) class action lawsuits:

  • Diebold v. Northern Trust Investments, N.A.: In August 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved class action settlements totaling $60 million in cases brought by Berger Montague and other attorneys against The Northern Trust Company and Northern Trust Investments, N.A. on behalf of 401(k) and pension plans that invested in Northern Trust’s collective trusts. Plaintiffs alleged that Northern Trust breached its fiduciary duty by keeping for itself an excessive amount of the revenue generated by the collective trusts through the practice of securities lending. (Securities lending involves lending securities owned by the collective trusts to short sellers and others, who provide collateral that is then invested, supposedly in the interest of the retirement plans that invest in the collective trusts).
  • In re: Eastman Kodak ERISA Litigation: In October 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York approved a $9.7 million settlement on behalf of the participants and beneficiaries of the Eastman Kodak Employees’ Savings and Investment Plan and the Eastman Kodak Employee Stock Ownership Plan (the “Kodak Plans”). On behalf of plaintiffs and the participants of the Kodak Plans, Berger Montague charged that the Kodak Plans’ fiduciaries continued to invest in Kodak’s common stock, even though it was apparent that Kodak was an imprudent investment. The stock price collapsed, and Kodak eventually filed for bankruptcy.
  • Glass Dimensions v. State Street Bank & Trust Co.: In May 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts approved a $10 million settlement on behalf of retirement plans that invested in a collective trust established by State Street Bank & Trust Co. under a master securities lending agreement. Berger Montague served as co-lead counsel in this class action case that involved more than 900 retirement plans invested in more than 250 collective investment funds. Plaintiffs alleged that State Street Bank & Co. breached their fiduciary duties and engaged in prohibited transactions under ERISA by charging excessive fees (50% of all net income derived) for the securities lending services the company provided.
  • Lequita Dennard v. Transamerica: In October 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa approved a $3.8 million settlement on behalf of current and former Transamerica Corp. employees who claimed the company did not live up to its fiduciary duty under ERISA with its 401(k) plan. Employees alleged that Transamerica breached its fiduciary duty under ERISA-which requires those that administer 401(k) plans to act in the best interest of the plan participants-when it offered investment options that benefited the company, charging employees excessive investment management and administrative fees.

Do I have to pay to consult with an attorney?

We are happy to talk with you about your potential claims free of charge. If we agree to represent you in a lawsuit, we will do so on a contingent basis, which means the attorneys advance all of the costs of the litigation, and the attorneys get paid only if we win a recovery on behalf of you and the other retirement plan participants.

Please contact us to discuss the details of your case. You may:

  1. Use the contact form on this page
  2. Email info@bm.net
  3. Call (800) 424-6690

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Lead Attorneys

Todd Collins Headshot

Todd S. Collins

Managing Shareholder
Ellen Noteware Headshot

Ellen T. Noteware

Shareholder

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