Excessive Fee Litigation and the Small Plan

It has become a given in any talk on 401(k) plans and fiduciary liability that I give these days - my comment that, when the market was always going up, up, up, no one cared that they might have made 15% instead of 14% but for some unresolved problem with a plan’s structure, but with the market going down, down, down, anything and everything even allegedly wrong with a plan is going to get sued over. The point is always the same: it is doubly important now to always dot all the eyes and cross all the tees, which translates into watch your investment selection mix, watch your fees, watch your level of disclosure, watch the process by which you select your vendors, and so on. It all adds up to the idea that in this market, someone is going to come after you if you are a fiduciary or a plan vendor, so be prepared to defend everything you do.

That is why I liked this post here, from the folks at the Float, about excessive fee litigation trickling down to the level where suits based on fees are being filed against plans with as little as $2 million is assets, and their advisors. There’s nowhere to hide anymore, folks. Get it right in the first place, and then defend yourself; being the small fish isn’t going to keep you out of the churn.