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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.”

Milliman USA also issued a statement. Milliman says “the request we received relates to whether there have been anticompetitive agreements or understandings among firms providing employee benefits actuarial consulting services.

“Milliman has not been accused of any wrongdoing. We are comfortable that our firm has acted in compliance with its legal and professional obligations.”

Both Towers Perrin and Milliman say they are complying fully with the request. Hewitt Associates has been contacted by the DOJ and is “cooperating fully,” says spokesperson Maurissa Kanter.

Wyatt Watson is providing information requested by the DOJ and will continue to provide information if additional information is requested, says David Popper, a Wyatt spokesperson.

Department of Justice wants information regarding anticompetitive activity


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, June 4, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.