Participants in the Essentia Health Retirement Plans claim that their employer did not negotiate plan fees for the Plans – a $982 million, 16,000 + participant defined contribution plan and a $103 million, 2,800 + participant 403(b) plan. Fees paid by participants were used to subsidized the employer’s costs for the plans. Plaintiffs argue that the combined size of the plan relationship should have assisted with pricing for administrative services and investments. Claims for damages concern the period before an “administrative merger” of the plans, when allegedly the defendants imprudently kept the recordkeeping separate, with the defined contribution plan recordkeeping performed by BMO Harris and the 403(b) plan provided by Lincoln National. Fiduciaries should have priced the servicing of both plans with each provider to negotiate lower costs.
www.planadviser.com; January 3, 2017.