Former Participant Files Lawsuit Against Prudential Retirement Insurance and Annuity Company, Prudential Bank, FSB and Prudential Investment Management Services, LLC
Jan 27 16
A former participant of the Ferguson Enterprises Inc. 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan f/k/a Wolseley North America 401(k) filed a lawsuit against Prudential Retirement Insurance and Annuity Company, Prudential Bank, FSB and Prudential Investment Management Services, LLC. The plaintiff alleges Prudential literally has lined its pockets with tens of millions of dollars in revenue sharing payments by and through self-dealing, other prohibited transactions and breaches of its fiduciary duties. The plaintiff alleges that the kickback payments at issue are essentially part of a pay-to-play scheme in which Prudential receives payments from mutual funds in the form of fees in return for providing the mutual funds with access to its retirement plan customers. The plaintiff claims that the Prudential has entered into revenue sharing agreements and similar arrangements with various mutual funds, affiliates of mutual funds, mutual fund advisors, sub-advisors, investment funds, including collective trusts, and other investment advisors, instruments or vehicles, pursuant to which Prudential receives revenue sharing payments (which amount to kickbacks) for its own benefit from these mutual funds in violation of, inter alia, the prohibited transaction rules of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as well as ERISA's fiduciary rules. The plaintiff alleges that Prudential uses its ownership and control over separate accounts in which its retirement plan customers' investments are placed to negotiate for the receipt of these revenue sharing payments from mutual funds, and the revenue sharing payments have the effect of increasing the expense ratios of the mutual funds, which expenses are deducted directly from the assets of the separate accounts. The plaintiff says that Prudential describes and deceptively characterizes the revenue-sharing payments as ‘service fees’ and reimbursement for expenses racked up in providing services on behalf of the mutual funds, and that the amounts of the revenue-sharing payments bear absolutely no relationship to either the value or cost of the services, and Prudential provides the same services no matter the amount of revenue-sharing payments.