MassMutual Settles 401(k) Suit For $31M

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MassMutual Settles 401(k) Suit For $31M

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. has agreed to a nearly $31 million settlement in an excessive-fee lawsuit regarding the company’s 401(k) retirement plan. By doing so, MassMutual joins Fidelity Investments and Ameriprise Financial in settling similar suits. Fidelity and Ameriprise settled their 401(k) suits for $12 million and $27.5 million respectively.

The class-action case involved two of MassMutual’s retirement plans: the $2.2 billion Thrift Plan and the $200 million Agent Pension Plan, in which the company served as both record keeper and investment manager.

The class consists of current and former plan participants. They allege that the defendants breached their fiduciary duty under ERISA by causing unreasonable administrative fees to be charged to the plans, offering high-cost and poor-performing investments, and offering a fixed-income option that was unduly risky and expensive.

The parties filed a motion seeking preliminary approval of the settlement agreement, which includes $30.9 million payment by MassMutual as well as certain non-monetary provisions meant to benefit plan participants.

Non-monetary provisions include, among others:

(1) using an independent investment consultant, ensuring participants are not charged more than $35 for standard record-keeping services and not assessing record-keeping fees on a percentage of assets;

(2) reviewing and evaluating all investment options in the plan; taking into consideration the lowest-cost share class available for each fund, collective-investment-trust-fund and separately-managed-account alternatives; and passively managed funds for each category or fund offering; and

(3) considering at least three finalists in making an investment selection.

“While MassMutual denies the allegations within the complaint and admits no fault or liability, we are pleased to put this matter behind us, avoiding the expense, distraction and uncertainty associated with protracted litigation,” spokesman Michael McNamara said. “Importantly, the amount of the settlement is not material to MassMutual’s financial strength, nor its 2016 financial results.”

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

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