The Goldman Sachs Group was granted summary judgment in an ERISA class action brought on behalf of Goldman Sachs’ 401(k) plan. On September 14, Judge Edgardo Ramos of the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of Goldman Sachs and its 401(k) Retirement Plan Committee, rejecting the plaintiffs’ claims that the Committee violated its fiduciary duties under ERISA by improperly retaining mutual funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management as plan investment options. The Goldman Sachs 401(k) plan is one of the largest in the country, with between $6.3 billion and $7.5 billion in assets under management during the class period.
Although dozens of similar cases have been brought against financial institutions under ERISA challenging their inclusion of “proprietary” mutual funds as plan investment options, this appears to be the first summary-judgment victory for a defendant, and most of those cases have settled for significant amounts.
The judge held that the defendants appropriately monitored the challenged investment options and showed no favoritism towards Goldman Sachs’ proprietary mutual funds, which were removed from the plan more than two years before the lawsuit was filed.
The S&C team was led by Rick Pepperman and Tom White, who received “Litigator of the Week” runner-up recognition from The American Lawyer’s Litigation Daily. The team also included Jonathan Carter, Mark Popovsky, Thomas McIver, Tom Garvey and Kara Grandin.
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