Eighth Circuit Holds Service Provider Is Not Plan Fiduciary In Excessive Fee Case
Continuing a trend in other Circuits, the Eighth Circuit held that a service provider that was contracted to provide the 401(k) plan’s investment options does not act as an ERISA fiduciary when, consistent with the terms of a contract it negotiated at arms’ length, it passes through operating expenses to participants. The Court also rejected the plan’s remaining arguments that Principal was a fiduciary because there was no nexus between the fiduciary services and the plan’s allegations that Principal had charged it excessive fees. The case is McCaffree Financial Corp. v. Principal Life Ins. Co., No. 15-1007, slip op. (8th Cir. Jan. 8, 2016).