A federal judge in Connecticut has given his final approval to a $140 million national settlement in a dispute that has been pending since 2001 between the trustees of five employer-sponsored 401(k) plans and Nationwide Life Insurance.

The plaintiffs in the class action litigation consisted of various companies which paid Ohio-based Nationwide to administer their retirement plans. Nationwide chose which third-party operated mutual funds would be included in the plans. But instead of choosing funds based on investment success, the plaintiffs said Nationwide chose funds from which it received revenue-sharing payments. Some of the funds did not perform well, and the plaintiffs accused Nationwide of breaching its fiduciary duties under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

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