Actuarial firms offering employee benefits consulting services are confirming they have been contacted by the Department of Justice regarding anticompetitive activity.
Hewitt Associates, Lincolnshire, Ill.; Milliman USA, Seattle; Towers Perrin, Valhalla, N.Y.; and Wyatt Watson, Washington, confirmed that they had received a civil investigative demand for information. Their statements are in response to press reports and an initial report in Pensions & Investments.
The inquiry concerns legal liability clauses in contracts that limit the liability of consulting firms for poorly performing pension funds.
The Department of Justices antitrust division sent Towers Perrin a letter regarding limitation of liability clauses on March 30, 2004, seeking information relating to the companys decision to “adopt and implement limitation of liability in consulting contracts that relate to consulting services provided to employee benefit plans,” according to Joe Conway, a Towers spokesperson.
In its statement, Towers says “it made an independent and unilateral business decision to require a limitation of liability in the agreements we enter to deliver consulting services to our clients. The firm is confident that this decision was made and implemented in a completely proper and lawful manner.”