This case involves alleged breaches of fiduciary duty under ERISA for participants in 403(b) retirement plans. Plaintiffs claimed that the defendant plan sponsor failed to ensure that the plans retained prudent investment options and allowed the payment of unreasonable recordkeeping fees. Each of the plans in question paid recordkeeping expenses many times above the reasonable rate for these services because of a failure to conduct a robust request for proposal for recordkeeping services, a failure to consolidate the plans’ recordkeepers, and a failure to require that recordkeeping services be priced to market on a per-participant basis rather than on an uncapped, asset-based amount. An expert in recordkeeping costs for defined contribution retirement plans, particularly annuities and 403(b) retirement plans, was sought to opine on reasonable recordkeeping market rates for multi-billion dollar plans.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience in managing recordkeeping and administrative costs for retirement plans, specifically annuities and 403(b) retirement plans.
Expert Witness Response E-303244
I have provided consulting and fiduciary advisory services to ERISA 401(k) and 403(b) plan sponsors, working directly with human resources and finance professionals to satisfy fiduciary obligations and ensure retirement plan excellence at the most reasonable price. My expertise lies in governance, investment advice (menu selection and monitoring), QDIA analysis, RFP project management, and fee benchmarking. My firm works with 12 different recordkeepers to ensure that our clients are charged reasonable fees. According to the Department of Labor guidelines, RFPs should be performed every 3 to 5 years.