Litigation involving plan sponsors can impact the level of plan assets and benefits, sometimes in a significant way. Often, litigation can result in a settlement where the plan is a potential class member or is otherwise providing a release to a party in interest. If the proper steps are not taken, a prohibited transaction can result. Appropriate action must be taken to obtain relief under Department of Labor Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2003-39 (PTE 2003-39). Under the terms of PTE 2003-39, an independent fiduciary must be retained to review the reasonableness of a proposed settlement.
Fiduciary Counselors has acted or is currently acting as independent fiduciary for more than 50 class action litigation settlements related to alleged violations of U.S. Securities law or ERISA. We also have extensive experience involving private litigation between a plan and a party in interest.
What We Do
Depending on the nature of the settlement, Fiduciary Counselors will assume responsibility for:
- Determining whether the settlement satisfies the conditions of PTE 2003-39, including negotiating any changes necessary to protect the interests of the plan and its participants;
- Determining whether the plan should opt out of the settlement if the settlement permits;
- Determining whether any objections should be brought on behalf of the plan, and if so, filing the objections;
- Determining whether the plan should agree to any release required from the plan as part of the settlement, and if so, signing the release;
- Preparing and filing claims on behalf of the plan in the settlement (if required); and
- Determining how the proceeds of the settlement are allocated to participants’ accounts.
Our experience in this area is unmatched. In those instances where an independent fiduciary is required or simply preferred, Fiduciary Counselors is prepared to help. If you would like to discuss the role of an independent fiduciary and our solutions in greater detail, please contact us.