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Settlement reached in Princeton University ERISA case

| Aug 11, 2020 | ERISA

Princeton University trustees agreed to pay $5.8 billion to resolve an ERISA complaint filed by a former employee enrolled in two of the university’s 403(b) plans. The New Jersey university also offered other remedies to demonstrate its goodwill efforts to improve the management and record-keeping for their employee retirement plans.

The university promised that fees attached to record-keeping for the retirement plans would remain constant for three years. This provision of the ERISA complaint settlement will begin on the day the judge overseeing the case officially approves the agreement.

Princeton University admitted no wrongdoing in the matter but said it would consult with an investment expert four times each year for the next five years. The consultant will evaluate the performance of each option included with investment plans.

The filing date for the suit against the Trustees of Princeton University was May 2017. The plaintiff alleges that excessive fees were attached to investment options and administrative services. The complaint was also critical of the university’s decision to enter into revenue-sharing agreements with the two firms in charge of record-keeping for the investment plans.

All individuals possessing an account with the Princeton University Retirement Savings Plan or Princeton University Retirement Plan from May 2011 until the date the settlement becomes final are part of the settlement. Department of Labor records established the combined assets of the two retirement plans as more than $2 billion at the end of 2018.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act is a federal law that protects workers who enroll in voluntary health or retirement plans. ERISA requires employers that provide these plans to act in the best interests of their employees. Individuals with questions regarding their health or retirement plan may benefit from a consultation with an attorney.