In a June 20 memorandum dismissing a lawsuit against John Deere, Inc. and two subsidiaries of Fidelity Investments, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin ruled that ERISA does not require plan sponsors or service providers to disclose revenue sharing information to 401(k) plan participants. For those of you that don’t know what revenue sharing is, it’s the common practice of mutual funds and their investment managers to make payments to other service providers.
It’s been included in most of the class action litigation, and I’ll leave it to the lawyers like Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner to comment on the legal aspects of this decision.
But don’t count on non-disclosure of revenue sharing being an acceptable practice for much longer. The Department of Labor’s proposed changes to the 2009 Form 5500 calls for reporting the dollar amount of revenue sharing and who receives it. A copy of the Form 5500 must be provided, of course, to a participant upon request, and is also available on several on-line Form 5500 data bases.