(CN) — Employees of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University and Yale University sued their respective schools on Tuesday alleging that exorbitant fees associated with their employee retirement plans have undercut their savings.
The lawsuits were filed by the Missouri law firm of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton in the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and in the Southern District of New York.
According to the complaints, which range from 68- to 108-pages the university’s actions as retirement plan sponsors caused their employees to pay millions in “unreasonable and excessive fees” tied to their 401(k) or 403(b) accounts.
The three lawsuits charge the schools did not live up to their obligations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
That law requires them to act in the best interest of participants and plan beneficiaries. The lawsuits say the colleges failed to pick the best-performing or least-expensive investment options and that employees had less in retirement savings as a result.
The lawsuit against MIT also challenges the school’s relationship with Fidelity Investments, the plan’s record keeper, suggesting it was influenced by the fact that Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson is a member of the MIT board of trustees.
Representatives for MIT and Yale could not be reached Tuesday afternoon.
NYU spokesman John Beckman told the Associated Press that the university is careful in choosing and administering retirement plans for employees and that its decisions are influenced by feedback from employees.
“We will litigate this case vigorously and expect to prevail,” he said.
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