Columbia Joins List of Schools Sued Over Retirement Fees

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By Jacklyn Wille

Aug. 16 — Columbia University is the ninth prominent college to be sued this month over the fees charged by its retirement plan ( Doe v. Columbia Univ., S.D.N.Y., No. 1:16-cv-06488, complaint filed 8/16/16 ).

Last week, St. Louis law firm Schlichter Bogard & Denton filed coordinated ERISA lawsuits against Yale, Duke, MIT and other top colleges. The lawsuits all focus on the large number of investment options offered in the colleges' 403(b) retirement plans, among other things.

The latest lawsuit, filed Aug. 16 against Columbia by New York-based Sanford Heisler LLP, closely echoes and even quotes many of the arguments made in Schlichter's lawsuits—specifically, that the university's retirement plan included too many investment options and charged excessive fees for record keeping and plan investments.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacklyn Wille in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at

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