Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Lawyers Target College Retirement Plans

Nancy Mann Jackson wrote an article on January 23, 2017 detailing the challenges colleges face in using their retirement plans to better serve higher ed workers. She writes:
"Eight prominent universities—including University of Pennsylvania, Duke, Emory, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt and others—were hit with separate lawsuits in August 2016 alleging the institutions mishandled their employee retirement plans."
"In general, the lawsuits allege the universities breached those responsibilities by offering retirement plans that required employees to pay excessive fees and miss out on extra savings."
As the article mentions, the committees in charge of investments for retirement plans are increasingly offering index options and target date funds to their workers rather than find them in a situation where the offerings include an expensive actively managed fund that underperforms a less expensive index fund option. This is a risk fewer and fewer investors (institutional and individual) are willing to accept. Please read more about the indexing vs active management debate in Barry Rithotz's fantastic piece for BloombergView titled, Shift From Active to Passive Investing Isn’t What It Seems. It was published October 28, 2016 and succinctly summarizes how Bill Miller, a mutual fund manager, views the shift toward lower cost index funds.

Nancy's article, College Retirement Plans Under Attack at UniversityBusiness.com is well worth a read if you want to learn more about how litigators and regulators are changing the retirement plans institutions offer their employees.

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