Plaintiffs Glenn Tibble and others sued Edison International and affiliated companies. At issue in the case are 17 mutual funds that defendants selected as plan investment options in March 1999. For each of the 17 funds, defendants initially selected the retail shares instead of the institutional shares, or failed to switch to institutional share classes once one became available. In general, institutional share classes are available to institutional investors, such as 401(k) plans, and may require a certain minimum investment. Institutional share classes often charge lower fees (i.e., a lower expense ratio) because the amount of assets invested is far greater than the typical individual investor. The investment management of all share classes within a single mutual fund is identical and managed within the same pool of assets. In other words, with the exception of the expense ratio (including revenue sharing), the retail share class and the institutional share class are managed identically. Plaintiffs contend that defendants breached their duty of prudence by not switching the retail shares of the 17 funds at issue to institutional shares. Two issues remained for trial: (1) whether the defendants violated their duty of loyalty or duty of prudence by selecting for the plan certain retail share mutual funds that provided for favorable revenue-sharing arrangements but charged higher fees to plan participants than identical institutional share mutual funds; and (2) whether the defendants violated their duty of prudence by selecting for the Plan a money market fund that allegedly charged excessive management fees. Plaintiffs sought recovery under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), for alleged financial losses suffered by the plan, injunctive and other equitable relief based on alleged breaches of the defendants’ fiduciary duties. Did defendants violate their duty of loyalty and prudent to plaintiffs by choosing investment with higher and possibly even excessive management fees? Why or why not? [Tribble v. Edison Int’l, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130806 (Central Dist. CA 2017).]

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