The law firm of Stember Feinstein Doyle & Payne LLC announced it is examining fiduciary conduct relating to Bear Stearns Cos. ESOP, profit-sharing and 401(k) plans. Stember Feinstein is looking into whether fiduciaries of the plans knew that Bear Stearns was concealing its large exposure to CDOs and subprime mortgages that has rendered Bear Stearns common stock funds a risky investment for plan participants.
Bear Stearns stock has fallen dramatically, with JPMorgan Chase agreeing to pay $2 a share; last April, Bear Stearns was at a record $172.
As of Nov. 30, Bear Stearns $282.4 million employee stock ownership plan held $281.7 million in company stock, according to the firms latest 10-K, filed with the SEC in December 2007. The remaining assets in the ESOP plan are held in cash. Its $720 million 401(k) plan and $300 million profit-sharing plans have no company stock investments. Bear Stearns does not have a defined benefit plan.