Kimberly-Clark 401(k) participants sue over high fees

April 19, 2021

Two participants in a Kimberly-Clark Corp. 401(k) plan, Dallas, sued the company and plan fiduciaries, alleging breaches of fiduciary duty ranging from "unreasonably high fees" to lack of a "prudent decision-making process" in plan management.

"At all relevant times, the plan's fees were excessive when compared with other comparable 401(k) plans offered by other sponsors that had similar numbers of plan participants and similar amounts of money under management," said the complaint filed April 15 in a U.S. District Court in Dallas.

The plaintiffs, who are former company employees, alleged that plan fiduciaries failed to monitor record-keeping fees and didn't "adequately disclose fees associated with the plan to participants," said the complaint in the case of Seidner et al. vs. Kimberly-Clark Corp. et al. The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status.

The plan had about 16,792 participants and $4 billion in assets as of year-end 2019, the lawsuit said.

"Prudent fiduciaries of 401(k) plan continuously monitor fees against applicable benchmarks and peer groups to identify objectively unreasonable and unjustifiable fees," the lawsuit said. "Defendants did not engage in a prudent decision-making process, as there is no other explanation for why the plan paid these objectively unreasonable" fees for record-keeping.

A company representative declined to comment.