Plaintiffs’ law firms are targeting 401(k)/403(b) plan sponsors in a wave of lawsuits, alleging overcharging of fees and inappropriate fund selection. These firms have also focused on investment management businesses that include their own proprietary funds in their 401(k)/403(b) plans, with claims alleging that the businesses are inappropriately favoring their own proprietary funds in the plans. Ropes & Gray can help your business avoid being the target of one of these lawsuits.
Ropes & Gray has a dedicated cross-practice team of attorneys, benefits consultants and analysts with a track record of thoughtfully managing 401(k)/403(b) plan issues and mitigating risk. We actively track factual and legal developments, including new complaints, emerging legal issues, significant decisions and noteworthy settlements. In the event of a lawsuit, our award-winning litigation team has the knowledge and experience to successfully defend your business.
We offer a diagnostic review program that examines historic data to help businesses pinpoint their potential exposure to these claims. We have also developed a qualitative tool for assessing plan governance practices to help identify process deficiencies that may form all or part of a claim. The result would be an assessment of the plan’s risk profile, including identifying and recommending ways to remediate potential issues before costly litigation arises.
If your organization is sued, you can rely on Ropes & Gray’s team of more than 400 litigators with direct experience dealing with complex cases, including those involving fees charged by funds. We have our finger on the pulse of the 401(k)/403(b) plan industry and are closely tracking developments in these cases.
We have represented clients in some of the most significant securities law matters, including those related to the timing of regulatory disclosures. In addition to our breadth of experience defending our clients in litigation, we have equally strong experience from both the legal and consulting sides, advising our clients on best practices in setting up and maintaining a robust retirement plan governance structure.
Most recently, we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Investment Company Institute in support of the Seventh Circuit’s decision to dismiss an alleged breach of ERISA’s duty of prudence in the Northwestern University 403(b) plan case.
- “Hughes v. Northwestern University: Key Takeaways for 401(k) and 403(b) Plan Sponsors and Fiduciaries,” Ropes & Gray Alert (February 1, 2022)
- “All eyes watching DC ERISA case before high court,” Pensions & Investments (September 7, 2021)
- “3 Takeaways From Intel Retirement Plan Leaders' ERISA Win,” Ropes & Gray Alert (February 18, 2021)
- “3 Takeaways From Intel Retirement Plan Leaders' ERISA Win,” Law360 (February 16, 2021)
- “Supreme Court Significantly Raises the Bar for Defined Benefit Plan Participants to File ERISA Fiduciary Breach Lawsuits, but the Risk of Lawsuit Remains,” Ropes & Gray Alert (June 5, 2020)
- “Supreme Court Rules Six Year Statute of Limitations Applies to More ERISA Lawsuits,” Ropes & Gray Alert (February 27, 2020)
- The Circuit Split On ERISA's Actual Knowledge Standard,” Law360 (October 17, 2019)
- “‘Actual Knowledge’ and ERISA Statute of Limitations Issues in Proprietary Funds Litigation,” Lexis Practice Advisor (October 10, 2019)
- “Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Intel Case with Potentially Significant Implications for 401(k) Plan Fiduciaries,” Ropes & Gray Alert (June 27, 2019)
- “FundFire Quotes Tax & Benefits Partner Josh Lichtenstein on ERISA Lawsuit,” Ropes & Gray press release (December 13, 2018)
- ERISA Litigation Update: Revisiting Northwestern University and Intel (March 24, 2022)
- How Would an ESG-Friendly DOL Final Rule Change the Investment Marketplace for ERISA Plans? (January 18, 2022)
- The DOL’s About-face on ESG for ERISA Plan Fiduciary Investment Decision-making (November 22, 2021)
- Recent ERISA Litigation Trends & Outcomes (September 22, 2021)
- The U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear the Northwestern University Retirement Plan Fee Lawsuit (July 23, 2021)
- Pooled Employer Plans (“PEPs”)—An Outsourcing Opportunity for Small and Larger Employers as well as Private Equity Sponsors to Reduce their ERISA Fiduciary Responsibilities (June 25, 2021)
- The DOL’s Cybersecurity Guidance for Retirement Plan Sponsors, Service Providers and Participants (May 11, 2021)
- Anderson v. Intel—A Test Case Regarding the Prudence of Adding Alternative Investments to Defined Contribution Plan Menus (April 15, 2021)
- The Evolving Regulatory Landscape for ERISA Plan Fiduciaries—Cybersecurity Concerns for Plan Sponsors (March 16, 2021)
- The Evolving Regulatory Landscape for ERISA Plan Fiduciaries—The Biden Administration & ESG and Proxy Voting Rules (February 9, 2021)
- Cross-selling in the Crosshairs: Implications and Challenges of the Oracle 401(k) Fee Litigation Settlement (March 23, 2020)
- Supreme Court May Resolve Key ERISA Statute of Limitations and Proprietary Fund Litigation Questions (November 25, 2019)