Lessons in Litigation
Thomas Clark Jr., a partner in The
Wagner Law Group, said that litigation
in the retirement plan market is strong.
New firms have jumped into the
fray, following the model of Schlichter
Bogard & Denton, a firm that has been
bringing lawsuits against retirement
plans and providers for years. “There
are a half dozen of these firms filing
complaints,” Clark observed.
David Kaleda, a principal at Groom
Law Group, Chartered, added that law
firms are getting creative—moving
down-market and to very large 403(b)
overarching theme is to have a process
for accomplishing goals with clients.
Another “practical practice,” according to Phyllis Klein, senior director, consulting research group at
CAP TRUST Financial Advisors, is training. She noted the evolution in the definition of “fiduciary.” Advisers need to
instruct plan sponsor clients that they
are considered fiduciaries and offer
them training on what that means, she
said. Training should involve program
materials that are understandable and
Klein has found that committees
want to be trained—on investments,
and also financial jargon as they sometimes do not understand the terms
advisers use in quarterly meetings.
She added that advisers should also
train client committees on plan governance and operational requirements.
Stout pointed out that committees are always interested in litigation
At CAPTRUST, to address that
interest, two advisers who are also
ERISA [Employee Retirement Income
Security Act] attorneys create communications about the latest litigations
and what lawsuits and court decisions
mean for plan sponsors, Klein said.
According to Stout, plan sponsors also have a need and demand for
target-date fund (TDF) analysis. Her
firm has implemented the Department of Labor (DOL)’s tips for TDF
analysis and goes over them with
In what “flavor” of fiduciary do you
offer services to plan sponsors?
l 3( 16) 2.3%
l 3( 21) 37.2%
l 3( 38) 0.0%
l 3( 16) and 3( 21) 0.0%
l 3( 21) and 3( 38) 55.8%
l 3( 16), 3( 21) and 3( 38) 4.7%
principal, Groom Law