Monday, December 19, 2011

More DOL investigations - this time with irony!

Following up on our recent post titled "Investigations into improper advice" about the increasing number Department of Labor investigations into breaches of fiduciary duty, we found an interesting Businessweek article by Anthony Effinger.  The article tells the story of an independent fiduciary being sued by retirement plans for breach of fiduciary duty.  Sounds run-of-the-mill until you see that the independent fiduciary had said, "The fiduciary duty is the highest duty known to the law," when testifying a few years earlier before a congressional committee.

This story reminds us of several facts for 401(k) plan sponsors:
  1. Hiring an independent fiduciary does not necessarily shield you from liability.
  2. You shouldn't blindly trust people just because (or maybe especially if) they've testified before Congress.
  3. Even if you hire outside help, it is a good idea to be informed.
Good data can help you — trust but verify.

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