Parties Agree to Settlement in New York Life Self-Dealing Suit

The insurance company will pay $3,000,000 to a settlement fund.

In a case accusing New York Life Insurance Company of improperly favoring and thereby profiting from the use of its MainStay funds in its retirement plans, a settlement agreement has been reached by the parties.

New York Life has agreed to put aside $3 million in a fund to provide payment to the class represented by the lawsuit, the plaintiffs, and class counsel.

The lawsuit focused on the MainStay S&P 500 Index Fund, owned and operated by New York Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries. The complaint states that from 2010 to July 16, 2016, when the lawsuit was filed, the MainStay S&P 500 Index Fund had annual costs of 35 bps, or 0.35% per year, “more than 17 times higher than the Vanguard Institutional Index Fund, the S&P 500 index fund offered by Vanguard with annual expenses of only 2 bps, or 0.02% per year.”

While 35 bps is ostensibly pretty cheap for an investment fee compared with, say, an active retail mutual fund product, plaintiffs still suggest the plans could have easily invested in other brands of mutual funds ranging anywhere from 10 bps to 4 bps and below. “By retaining the MainStay S&P 500 Index Fund in furtherance of the financial interests of New York Life, the plans’ fiduciaries cost the plans’ participants millions of dollars in excess fees,” the complaint argues.

Text of the settlement agreement is here.