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Wall Street Journal: Vanderbilt Settlement Handled by Schlichter Bogard & Denton at Forefront of New Retirement Plan Battleground

On May 8, 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that cases handled by Schlichter Bogard & Denton are at the forefront of a new litigation battleground—the marketing of financial products and services using retirement plan participants’ confidential personal information.  According to the article, as retirement plan fees have fallen, asset managers and recordkeepers have sought to make up lost profits by cross-marketing other products and services, a trend which has been challenged by litigation.  The leading example cited by the paper was the recently announced preliminary settlement of a class action against Vanderbilt University, a case in which Schlichter Bogard & Denton represented the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit had alleged that the fiduciaries of Vanderbilt’s 403(b) retirement plan allowed excessive fees to be charged and included underperforming investment options in the plan. In the settlement, the defendants agreed to bar their current recordkeeper from using participants’ personal information to market or sell products or services unrelated to the retirement plan at issue, and to prohibit future recordkeepers from such practices. Employee data “should not be used to sell other products any more than a doctor should use confidential patient information to sell products to patients,” said Jerry Schlichter, managing partner of Schlichter Bogard & Denton.

The Wall Street Journal article may be found here (subscription required). For additional information about Schlichter Bogard & Denton’s ERISA and Financial Abuse practice, please contact Schlichter Bogard & Denton at 1-800-873-5297 or sbd@uselaws.com.