I just ran across an interesting article that talks about a lawsuit against Wal-Mart over their 401(k) investment selections. The suit claims that Wal-Mart harmed their employees by offering high-cost retail funds instead of the cheaper institutional funds for which they surely qualify, and by only offering actively-managed (and thus costly) fund options rather than choosing a company such as Vanguard that offers low-cost index funds. Overall, the suit claims that if the Wal-Mart 401(k) had been invested in Vanguard funds, it would have been worth an additional $140 million over the six year period under consideration.
This is an interesting case. While I’m not a big fan of lawsuits of this nature, the lack of affordable investment options in many 401(k) plans is a real issue that needs to be dealt with.