Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP is evaluating whether Allstate mismanaged its 401(k) plan.
Our research indicates that year after year Allstate retained too many poorly performing investment options that were detrimental to the plan. In particular, we believe Allstate’s decisions to retain certain “target retirement date” funds, called the Northern Trust Focus Funds, cost employees millions of dollars in retirement savings. Large numbers of Allstate invested in the Northern Trust Focus Funds, which held over half billion dollars of the 401(k) Plan’s assets.
If you were one of the 50,000 participants in the Allstate 401(k) Plan and owned one of the following target retirement date funds, please contact Sanford Heisler Sharp, 655 West Broadway, Suite 1700, San Diego, CA 92101 or call our San Diego Office at (619) 577-4253.
What is a Target Date Fund?
Target date funds are designed to achieve certain investment results based on an investor’s anticipated retirement date (the “target date”). Typically, these funds shift to more conservative investment strategies as they approach the target date. Over the past decade, target date funds have become increasingly popular retirement savings options. According to the investment research firm Morningstar, as of the end of 2018, target date funds held about $1.7 trillion in assets. Given their popularity, many employers offer target date retirement funds to their employees through their 401(k) plans. Some 401(k) plans use these funds as the default investment for plan participants who have not selected their investments under the plan.
Is My Employer Responsible For Removing Poorly Performing Target Date Funds?
Under Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), employers have a responsibility to vigorously and thoroughly investigate the target retirement date funds they place in their 401(k) plans. Each employer must consider a variety of comparable target date retirement funds, review their performance and their expenses, and determine which fund should be included in the plan’s investment line-up. Selecting and retaining chronically underperforming target date retirement funds when superior options are readily available could be indicative of a flawed fiduciary process that robs employees of their retirement savings. If an employer fails in these duties, ERISA authorizes workers enrolled in the plan to bring a lawsuit to hold their employer accountable.