In 2016 and 2017, 107 complaints were filed with the DOL about 401k plans. This is the most since 2008-2009 according to Retirement Study done at Boston College.

Some things are obvious- when markets fall, complaints tend to rise. These complains tend to fall with plans that were not being paid enough attention to typically, and resulted in “hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements…”

Further, the complaints are typically “obvious and preventable. What are the primary complaints:

  1. Neglecting to have and follow prudent fiduciary policies, procedures and practices.
  2. Failing to mitigate conflicts of interest
  3. Offering inappropriate investment choices
  4. Lacking required transparency

The time to adjust your behavior is before complaints and problems occur, of course. A common theme in the study is that as soon as lawsuits and investigations start, everyone starts getting educated on their fiduciary duties, but thats too late. Also note that these issues are not about investment advice, but about fiduciary processes, so if you have an investment adviser, thats just not enough!