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Kimberly Clark 401(k) and Profit Sharing Plan Excessive Fee Case

Two participants in this $4 billion plan allege excessive fees for retirement plan services. More specifically, plaintiffs claim that the $78 per participant fee for recordkeeping services is much higher than that of similarly situated plans, at least based on asset size, which would be closer to $30 per participant. “Prudent Plan Fiduciaries”, referenced as such within the case documents, would ensure reasonable fees through the solicitation of bids from various service providers, assuming the same services, which could easily be obtained through service provider salespeople. Accordingly, for a plan of Kimberly Clark’s size, quotes for plan servicing would be possible through simply providing the total number of participants and total plan assets to competing service providers. Plaintiffs also cite that ”more than 30,000 plan fiduciaries switch” retirement plan service providers annually, and that ‘”prudent plan fiduciaries”’ recognize that the conversion process (of the Plan to another recordkeeper) itself is not an appropriate consideration given its “inconvenience” to the plan sponsor. Additionally, through review of the company’s Form 5500, plaintiffs claim that the plan has employed “duplicative service providers”, contributing to additional and excessive fees. Allegations in this case appear cursory as reported, however, the Court has yet to make its determination.

www.napa-net.org; April 19, 2021.