The U.S. Department of Labor obtained a court order appointing an independent fiduciary to manage the abandoned 401(k) plan of Worldwide Trade Resources Inc.
The Weehawken, N.J., company ceased operations in October 2010 and did not provide for the distribution of individual account balances, the DOL alleged in a lawsuit filed in October 2011.
Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, plans must be managed by named fiduciaries and if there isn’t one available, participants and beneficiaries can’t obtain plan information, make investments or collect retirement benefits.
As of Jan. 31, 2011, there were 52 plan participants and assets of about $2.2 million.
Under the court order, M. Larry Lefoldt of Lefoldt & Co. P.A. was appointed to serve as an independent fiduciary of the 401(k) plan. He will manage the plan and distribute its assets to eligible participants and beneficiaries and eventually terminate it.
"Retirement savings are extremely important to workers and their families, especially to those who have left the workforce and are relying on those savings as their primary source of support," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "We are pleased that these plan participants soon will once again have access to the hard-earned savings they entrusted to the plan established by their former employer."
Phyllis Borzi, assistant secretary of labor for employee benefits security, added that, “workers and beneficiaries are still entitled to collect their retirement savings even if an employer goes out of business. My agency is committed to protecting the rights of plan participants and ensuring they have access to the retirement benefits they have earned.”