By David Gensler, President, Madison Pension Services, Inc.
Imagine if the participants in your company’s 401(k) plan just discovered that the funds supporting their retirement plan haven’t been reviewed in years. Furthermore, what if they also learned that the exact same (but cheaper) fund choices were available but that no action had been taken to make those choices available to them? The resulting reduction in the value of their accounts, the very accounts intended to finance their golden years, would—understandably—be a tough pill for them to swallow.
Indeed, such was the situation that drove Edison International’s employees to take their concerns to court. They brought suit against their employer in 2007 for violating its fiduciary duties with respect to mutual funds added to their 401(k) Savings Plan in 1999 and 2002. The employees, in a lawsuit that ultimately ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court (Tibble vs. Edison), argued that Edison acted imprudently by offering higher-priced mutual funds when materially identical lower-priced mutual funds were available.