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High-profile court cases that pit participants in defined-contribution retirement plans against the plans’ sponsors have dominated news headlines lately. Participants in some plans have sued, claiming their plan’s sponsor violated its fiduciary duty by offering investment options that carry excessive fees. If you sponsor a defined-contribution plan, the implications of cases like Tibble v. Edison and Tussey v. ABB might have you feeling a bit of pressure. You wouldn’t be alone.

Heightened scrutiny on defined-contribution plan fees has led some sponsors to decide to move their plan investments to lower-cost passive options. The rationale is that if courts have decided high fees are bad, then funds with the lowest possible overall cost must be good. Unfortunately, things are not that simple.

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