ING might have breached its duties to teachers in New York by paying millions in illegal fees to the teachers union to be the exclusive retirement investment choice then ING received illegal kickbacks for offering high cost mutual funds in its annuities.
Investigation and pending ERISA class action lawsuit against ING Life Insuance and Annuity Company on behalf of current and former New York State United Teachers ("NYSUT") members and beneficiaries who participated in the Opportunity Plus 403(b) plan or the Opportunity Independence 403(b) plan (collectively, the 'Plan") at any time between June 1989 and December 31, 2006 (the "Class Period").
The class action complaint alleges that the Plan, a 403(b) tax deferred annuity program, was established and maintained by New York State United Teachers Member Benefits Trust ("NYSUT Trust"), an arm of NYSUT, for the benefit of NYSUT members. The annuities offered by the Plan were issued by ING Life Insurance and Annuity Company and its predecessor, AETNA Life Insurance and Annuity Company (collectively "ING").
Unbeknownst to its members, NYSUT and NYSUT Trust engaged in an elaborate "exclusive endorsement" scheme with ING whereby NYSUT Trust was paid millions of dollars by ING to market and promote the Plan directly to NYSUT members. NYSUT, NYSUT Trust, and ING used the trust and confidence reposed in it by the NYSUT members to further their own economic interests through the establishment and maintenance of the Plan.
In addition, despite its fiduciary and other duties to Plan participants, ING engaged in revenue sharing kickbacks with mutual fund companies, whereby ING selected funds based on the payments it would receive rather than an objective and prudent evaluation of the merits of the funds and the best interests of Plan participants. ING's selection of high-cost funds instead of widely known and available low-cost, high-quality alternatives substantially diminished Plan participants' retirement savings.
The class action complaint alleges that ING's schemes breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA by:
(1) failing to prudently and loyally manage the Plan's assets;
(2) failing to provide complete and accurate information to Plan participants;
(3) engaging in prohibited transactions under ERISA; and
(4) knowingly participating in, failing to remedy, and enabling one another's breaches of fiduciary duty under ERISA.
Name (Stock Symbol)
ING Groep N.V. (ING)
ING Groep N.V. is a financial services company providing banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services and operates in more than 50 countries.
ING Life Insurance and Annuity Company
ING Life Insurance and Annuity Company, a subsidiary of ING Groep N.V., sells annuities and insurance in the US.
Aetna Life Insurance and Annuity Company
Aetna is a large provider of health care, dental, pharmacy, group life, and disability insurance, and employee benefits. Aetna is the brand name for products and services provided by one or more of the Aetna group of subsidiary companies. One such subsidiary is Aetna Life Insurance and Annuity Company.
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