Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Tibble v. Edison International, a lawsuit that centered on an alleged breach of fiduciary duty by a 401(k) plan sponsor. On May 18th, the Supreme Court issued its unanimous opinion on Tibble.

The Court ruled in favor of the 401(k) participants and held that ERISA’s fiduciary duty requires a continuing duty to monitor plan investments, “separate and apart from the duty to exercise prudence in selecting investments at the outset.”

Significantly, participants will be able to bring a claim of breach of the continuing duty of prudence so long as the alleged breach occurred within six years of the suit. Employers, therefore, must undertake ongoing reviews of investments and fees, and must systematically consider the prudence of each investment at that time.

What does this mean for your company? It may be time to review your company-sponsored retirement plan if:

  1. It has been more than one year since plan investments have been reviewed
  2. Fees have not been consistently monitored and appropriately re-negotiated
  3. Your Broker/Advisor is not working in a fiduciary capacity
  4. Plan participants have not received regular updates and education on the plan and its investment options

If you have any questions or concerns about your obligations or best practices to undertake with respect to your company-sponsored retirement plan, please call Erik Jensen (408) 350-5751 or John Hitch (408) 350-5768.