Ameriprise workers sue over company’s own 401(k) funds

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When the new fee disclosure regulations become effective next year (2012) there may be an increase in cases such as this. Plan sponsors are responsible and should begin taking precautions. If nothing else it may hurt relations with their workforce.

The workers allege that Ameriprise and its committees, as the plan’s overseers, violated their fiduciary duty to the retirement plan. Investments in the 401(k) plan included mutual funds and target date funds from Ameriprise subsidiary RiverSource Investments LLC, which is now known as Columbia ManagementInvestment Advisers LLC. Between 2005 and March 2007, an average of $500 million in plan assets went annually into RiverSource and Ameriprise Trust Co., the trustee and record keeper of the plan, according to the complaint.Ultimately, the investment generated fee revenue for RiverSource and its affiliates, as well as for Ameriprise Trust Co., the plaintiffs claim. Further, the funds themselves were costly when compared to offerings from The Vanguard Group Inc., the workers say.

Every employer which sponsors a 401(k) plan for their employees is responsible for the selection of prudent investments for their plan. This includes financial institutions which provide such funds.

Please comment or call to discuss how this affects you and your employees.

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