Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Merrill Lynch won a judge’s final approval to pay $13.5 million to settle claims the retailer’s employees were charged excessive 401(k) fees.
U.S. District Court Judge Gary A. Fenner in Missouri approved the accord at a hearing Wednesday, according to the court docket. Merrill Lynch, the plan’s trustee and now part of Bank of America Corp., will pay $10 million and Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart will pay $3.5 million. The settlement was reached in December.
The docket entry said the “court orally grants motion for approval of class-action settlement” and “written order to be issued.”
In 2009, a U.S. appeals court overturned Mr. Fenner’s decision the previous year throwing out the suit. Wal-Mart was accused in the suit of failing to offer retirement plans that limit the amount of fees and expenses that are charged when employees make investments.
The complaint also included an allegation that the improper administration of the plans cost participants more than $60 million.
“We’re pleased to have settled the matter,” Greg Rossiter, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said in a phone interview.
Bill Halldin, a spokesman for Bank of America, said the bank was pleased to resolve the case “and continue to provide a high-quality plan for Wal-Mart employees.”
Gretchen Obrist, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.