Tag Archives: suit

DOL Reaches Settlement on 401k plans

From Plan Sponsor:


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has entered into a settlement agreement with U.S. Fiduciary Services and three of its subsidiaries that provides for payment of more than $7 million to 42 retirement plans that suffered losses as a result of investments in fictitious loans made by Florida-based First Farmers Financial LLC (FFF).

The agreement and anticipated future payments from a pending receivership estate case involving FFF are expected to compensate the retirement plans fully for approximately $16 million in losses.

FFF created the fictitious loans and forged documents stating that the loans were guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Forty-two retirement plans invested in a fund exposed to the fraudulent FFF loans through subsidiaries of U.S. Fiduciary Services.

The DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) conducted investigations of the subsidiaries—Salem Trust Company, Pennant Management Inc., and GreatBanc Trust Company—for potential violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in connection with the plans’ investments in a fund exposed to the fictitious FFF loans.

After its investigations, the DOL entered into the settlement agreement with U.S. Fiduciary Services and the three subsidiaries, resolving its claims of ERISA violations. Representatives of the ERISA-covered retirement plans that are due to receive settlement proceeds were also parties to the settlement agreement.

“Fiduciaries must work solely in the interest of participants and beneficiaries,” says Jeffrey A. Monhart, EBSA Regional Director in Chicago. “The Department of Labor conducts investigations and undertakes enforcement actions to protect Americans’ hard-earned benefits. This settlement restores vital benefits that rightfully belong to employees.”

Maine COOP sues Government over cost sharing subsidies

From HEalth Affairs Online:


“On December 28, 2017, Maine Community Health Options (MCHO)—a nonprofit insurer in Maine—filed what is believed to be the first lawsuitagainst the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for failing to reimburse marketplace insurers for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) for 2017. MCHO seeks an estimated $5.6 million in CSR payments for the 2017 plan year.

“Although much of the damage of CSR nonpayment has been mitigated for 2018 through higher rates, it remains to be seen whether MCHO will be successful and whether other insurers will sue HHS for outstanding CSR payments. ”


For the full Article, click here.

Would your 401k plan survive the suit against Nordstrom?

The suit, which also names the Nordstrom 401(k) Plan Retirement Committee as being in breach of its fiduciary duty, says that while most large retirement plans have been whittling away at plan and administrative fees, Nordstrom’s “administrative fees increased by 30% from 2011 to 2016,” according to the complaint.

Nordstrom “failed to adequately and prudently manage the plan,” the complaint alleges. “It allowed unreasonable fees to be incurred by participants; it did not act prudently to lower costs; it failed to use lower cost investment vehicles; and it made inadequate disclosures on fees.”

Its a shame that, in this day and age, any employer would be in this position, as our clients understand-  it is easy to protect on this issue.  The question that will arise is can Nordstroms committee show documentation that the fees were “reasonable and necessary” for running the plan the emploiyer desired.  you don’t have to have the lowest fees, nut you do have to be conscious of them and document the decisions you make.



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Reeve Conover is a Registered Representative. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/dealer member FINRA/SPIC. Cambridge and Conover Consulting are not affiliated. Licensed in SC, NC, NY, CT, NJ, and CA.
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