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Nevin E. Adams

A primary sponsor of the SECURE Act—and Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee—has a bone to pick with the Labor Department and a key assumption in its interim final rules regarding lifetime disclosures. In a letter to Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, Rep. Richie Neal (D-MA), a sponsor... READ MORE
The “more harm than good” standard once again proves to be too high a burden for plaintiffs in a stock drop suit—but defendants didn’t need to go “there.” This suit (Burke v. Boeing Co., N.D. Ill., No. 1:19-cv-02203, 11/12/20) had been filed by plaintiffs Diane Burke, Alex Proestakis, Miguel A.... READ MORE
Those who had hoped for some clarity—or perhaps a shift—in the standards involving where, and how, to draw the line between the obligations of corporate officials and ERISA plan fiduciaries—well, the Supreme Court has decided (again) not to provide it. It’s an issue that the U.S. Supreme Court had... READ MORE
Citing the “absence of any evidence indicating actual confusion in the marketplace,” a federal judge has decided in favor of the American Retirement Association (parent organization of NAPA) in litigation brought by the CFA Institute regarding use of the NAPA CPFA credential. On Nov. 5, the U.S.... READ MORE
If you have turned on a TV, walked by a radio, driven down a residential street, or answered a phone (or more likely let it go unanswered) in the past month, you will, of course, be aware that our nation officially went to the polls.  Of course, our nation was “going” to the polls—or at least... READ MORE
Another multibillion-dollar 401(k) has been targeted in a fiduciary breach suit—but this time the focus isn’t fees, but the choice of target-date funds, and their alleged “abysmal underperformance.” The suit (Cutrone v. Allstate Corp., N.D. Ill., No. 1:20-cv-06463, complaint 10/30/20) has been... READ MORE
Halloween is the time of year when one’s thoughts turn to trick-or-treat, ghosts and goblins, and things that go bump in the night. And sometimes it’s just a good time to think about the things that give us pause—that cause a chill to run down our spine.  In that category, here are three things to... READ MORE
The final rule on ESG investing by ERISA plans steps away from the proposed rule’s focus on ESG. Indeed, the Department of Labor (DOL) notes that “unlike the proposal, the final rule’s operative text contains no specific references to ESG or ESG-themed funds.”  Rather, acknowledging the fluid... READ MORE
A reader recently commented, “Nevin: You are continually berating those who question various aspects of 401(k) plans as if the current structure is ‘perfect.’ It isn’t.” That comment was inspired by a recent column of mine critical of a proposal rumored to be under contemplation by the Biden... READ MORE
Another massive 401(k) plan has been targeted with an excessive fee suit, alleging a lack of RFPs, overpriced recordkeeping and managed accounts and self-dealing.  The suit (Guyes et al. v. Nestle USA Inc. et al., case number 1:20-cv-01560), brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern... READ MORE
Noting that the settlement agreement is “fair, reasonable, and adequate, and within the range of possible approval,” the parties in an excessive fee suit have come to terms. More specifically, on Oct. 12, 2020, “after extensive litigation, lengthy discovery,[1] and protracted arm’s-length... READ MORE
Another week, another Bloomberg op-ed bashing 401(k)s—but this time the target is fees—and advisors. The most recent “shot” is found in an article[1] titled “401(k) Fees Are Eating Your Retirement Savings.” The author, one Ethan Schwartz,[2] without citation (beyond “various estimates”), tosses... READ MORE
In a year full of challenges for plans and plan sponsors alike, we’ve seen a spate of litigation against retirement programs like none in recent memory. So what’s a plan fiduciary to do?  At times, it seems that every plan in American with more than $1 billion in assets has fallen short of at... READ MORE
A plan sponsor, sued for a 401(k) account theft, is off the hook for now—but not the recordkeeper. The suit was filed on behalf of Heide Bartnett, 59, a retired former employee of Abbott Laboratories, who had left her savings in the Abbott Corporate Benefits Stock Retirement Plan. Filed against... READ MORE
A different set of plaintiffs tried a (slightly) different approach (with different attorneys) in an excessive fee suit—but got the same result. The defendant in this instance was Trader Joe’s Company Retirement Plan, who had been sued for a variety of alleged fiduciary ills back in 2019 by former... READ MORE
Determining that the decision to pursue litigation was “objectively reckless,” a federal judge has sanctioned the law firm of Schlichter Bogard & Denton with a fine of (up to) $1.5 million. “When dealing with a lawyer, the courts ‘are entitled to demand that an attorney exhibit some judgment.... READ MORE
The drumbeat to “fix” the 401(k) seems to be starting a little earlier this year—though the cures seem more likely to kill the patient. The latest ran in the Wall Street Journal recently—a column by Spencer Jakab innocuously titled: “Is America’s Favorite Retirement Plan Broken?” Ironically, in... READ MORE
I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Rick Unser as a guest on his 401(k) Fridays podcast. Guess what we talked about… It was a wide-ranging discussion—no predictions as to the outcome of the elections, but we had a chance to bring to light some of the topics that we’ve covered over the... READ MORE
You might think there couldn’t be another multibillion-dollar 401(k) plan to be sued—and yet there is. This suit was filed by former participant Michael Johnson, “individually and as representative of a class of participants and beneficiaries of the Duke Energy Retirement Savings Plan,” a plan... READ MORE
After “…substantial discovery, the exchange and review of key documents, and arm’s-length negotiations between experienced ERISA class-action counsel directed by a seasoned and respected mediator,” the parties in a suit involving proprietary fund investments have come to terms. The cash settlement... READ MORE