Merrill Settles 401(k) Class Action for $75 Million

By Staff Report

Apr. 6, 2009

Participants in the 401(k) plan at Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. have reached a $75 million preliminary settlement with the brokerage firm to cover losses sustained in their retirement plans over the last several years.

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll of Washington, along with Keller Rohrback of Seattle, announced the proposed settlement Monday, April 6.

Marc Machiz, an attorney with Cohen Milstein, who is representing Merrill workers in the class action, added that a federal court will hold a hearing at the end of July to determine if the payment will be approved.

He said that the class notice will be going out this week to Merrill workers who participated in the company’s 401(k), retirement accumulation plan, or stock ownership plan between September 30, 2006, and December 31, 2008.

During that time, the value of Merrill’s stock declined by more than 80 percent.

The class action was initiated by participants in November 2007 to recoup some of the losses they incurred for investing a portion of their retirement savings in Merrill stock.

The suit alleged that the company should have known that its stock was an imprudent investment option for its plan participants.

A Merrill spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Filed by Crain’s New York Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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