The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up a case about fees in a huge 401(k) plan, and the case involves the use of retail mutual fund shares.
Yesterday the highest court in the land granted a petition to step in to Tibble v. Edison
, a lawsuit filed
by participants in the power company's multi-billion-dollar 401(k) plan [our sister publication, 401kWire
, also covered the move]. How the justices rule could impact the future (or lack thereof) of retail mutual funds in large 401(k) plans.
Lawrence Hurley of Reuters
, Hazel Bradford of Pensions & Investments
, and Greg Stohr of Bloomberg
all covered the Supreme Court's move.
Big legal guns are lined up in the case. Jerry Schlichter
of Schlichter Bogard and Denton
, has represented plaintiffs in numerous 401(k) fee lawsuits, and he is doing so here, too. Jonathan Hacker
of O'Melveny & Myers
is representing Edison International
. And U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr.
even weighed in on the case.
The question before the Supreme Court revolves around retail share classes of six mutual funds. A lower court ruled
four years ago that Edison breached its fiduciary duty when including retail shares (instead of available institutional shares) of three of those funds -- the William Blair Small Cap Growth Fund
, the MFS Total Return Fund
and the Pimco (Allianz) RCM Global Tech Fund
. Yet those funds were all chosen within six years of the lawsuit being filed. Retail shares of three other funds -- the Allianz CCM Capital Appreciation Fund
, the Franklin Small-Mid Cap Growth Fund
, and the Janus Small Cap Investors Fund
-- were all chosen more than six years before the suit, and the district court and the circuit court both dismissed
those claims as being beyond the statute of limitations. Schlichter wants those claims reopened.
Neil Anderson, Managing Editor
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