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ERIC Number: EJ1152715
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May-2
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1938-5978
Retirement Plan Lawsuits: Preparing for the Storm
Morahan, John; Turner, Aaron
New England Journal of Higher Education, May 2017
Currently, higher education is being roiled by class-action lawsuits filed against high-profile institutions, including MIT, Yale and New York University, over management of their retirement plans. As the lawyers are deployed and the billable hours accrue, it is timely to examine how those who have responsibility for retirement plan oversight--directors, officers, trustees, plan administrators and human resources personnel--might be surprised to find their personal assets are exposed for investment decisions made by others. These current lawsuits target universities' 403(b) plans, which are defined-contribution plans sponsored by tax-exempt employers, and the allegations fall into four breaches of fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA): (1) Immoderate record-keeping plan fees; (2) Expensive investment plan options; (3) Redundant investment plan options; and (4) Unsuitable investment plan options. Enacted in 1974, ERISA requires minimum protection standards for participants in most voluntarily established health and pension plans. In addition to requiring information about plan features and funding, ERISA also outlines fiduciary responsibilities for individuals who control, manage and administer plan assets, with a central focus on personal actions. This article discusses understanding coverage issues and addressing them before a litigation event hits.
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Employee Retirement Income Security Act
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A