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Courts

Edward Jones agrees to pay $3.2 million to settle 401(k) fiduciary breach case

Edward D. Jones & Co. agreed to a preliminary settlement of $3.175 million with participants in the company's 401(k) plan who alleged ERISA violations relating to investment options.

The proposed settlement covers participants' claims that the company breached its fiduciary duties by packing the 401(k) plan primarily with products from partners and "preferred partners" whose mutual funds are marketed by Edward D. Jones, the settlement document said.

There were "superior, less expensive investment options" that plan executives should have chosen, the Tuesday settlement document said. Participants also alleged that the plan charged "excessive record-keeping fees."

The settlement document noted that "defendants deny all allegations of wrongdoing, fault, liability or damage" to the participants in the class-action lawsuit, Schultz et al vs. Edward D. Jones & Co. et al, which was filed in August 2016.

The settlement covers participants who had a plan balance at any time from Jan. 1, 2010 until the official approval of the settlement, which must be made by a federal district court in St. Louis.

The Edward D. Jones & Co. Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plan had assets of $5.86 billion as of Dec. 31, 2017, according to the latest Form 5500 report.