Fidelity Sued For Alleged Fiduciary Breach

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Fidelity Sued For Alleged Fiduciary Breach

Participants in a Delta Air Lines Inc. 401(k) plan have sued units of Fidelity Investments, alleging a fiduciary breach in Fidelity’s role as record keeper. The suit, Fleming, et al. v. Fidelity Management Trust Co., et al., was filed May 20, 2015 in the U.S. District Court in Boston. Delta Air Lines, itself, is not named in the case.

The Plaintiffs, who are seeking class-action status, alleged that Fidelity “wanted a piece of the action” when Financial Engines was hired to provide investment advice for the Delta Family-Care Savings Plan. The plan had $7.84 billion in assets as of December 31, 2014, according to its latest Form 5500.

“In order to be included as the investment advice service provider on Fidelity’s [record-keeping] platform, Financial Engines agreed to pay — and is paying — Fidelity a significant percentage of the fees it collects from 401(k) plan investors,” according to the complaint.

This arrangement “inflated the price of investment advice services that are critical to the successful management of workers’ retirement savings and violates [Fidelity’s] fiduciary responsibility,” the complaint stated.

Participants also alleged that Fidelity’s management of a self-directed brokerage account, called BrokerageLink, “acquires share classes that have higher expense ratios,” according to the complaint. These share classes “will pay Fidelity significant amounts in revenue-sharing payments, effectively using the plans’ assets for its own benefit and its own account.”

Vincent Loporchio, a Fidelity spokesman, stated that “the allegations in this complaint are without merit, and we intend to defend against them vigorously.”

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of a fiduciary breach, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.

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