In today’s ever digitized world, we do not only have to protect our natural selves but also our digital selves.  Maintaining confidentiality and privacy protection are not only an individual’s responsibility but are the shared responsibility of employers and plan sponsors.  As fiduciaries, plan sponsors are held to the highest standard to serve solely in the interest of participants and beneficiaries.  From the receipt, possession, disclosure, usage, transfer, and accessibility to destruction of participant data, plan sponsors should have a clear and well thought-out process and view.  The question now facing plan sponsors, recordkeepers, asset managers and advisers is who has ownership of the data besides the participants and beneficiaries.  The plaintiff bar is pushing to see the boundaries or limits of data ownership, usage and rights by plan sponsors and service providers.

Please see our commentary regarding the latest class action complaint filed against Shell Oil.