ING Facing Revenue Sharing Suit

Healthcare Strategies Inc. is accusing ING Life Insurance and Annuity Company of violating the prohibited transaction rules of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

According to the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, ING entered into revenue sharing agreements with various mutual funds, affiliates of mutual funds, mutual fund advisers, and others in which it receives kickbacks for its own benefit. Healthcare Strategies says the payments are part of a pay-to-play scheme in which ING receives payments in the form of 12b-1 fees, administration fees, and other fees in return for providing the entities access to its retirement plan customers.  

In its complaint, Healthcare Strategies claims the revenue sharing payments have the effect of increasing the expense ratios of mutual funds offered in its 401(k) plan and all other plans similarly situated. According to the suit, while ING describes the payments as service fees, “the amount of the revenue sharing payments bear[s] absolutely no relationship to the cost or value of any such services.”  

The action seeks equitable relief and damages under ERISA for the Healthcare Strategies plan as well as all other plans similarly situated, including disgorgement and/or restitution of the revenue sharing payments and other compensation improperly received by ING.  

The complaint is here.