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Pension Plan Investments 2017: Current Perspectives


Speaker(s): Alan S. Wilmit, Andrew L. Oringer, Christina Y. Lee, Erin K. Cho, Ian L. Levin, Ira G. Bogner, James S. Frazier, Jeanie Cogill, Jeffrey Ross, Karen L. Handorf, Laura E. Bader, Mary E. Alcock, Michael B. Richman, Michael Collins, Patricia Anne Kuhn, Patrick S. Menasco, Shannon Barrett, Steven W. Rabitz
Recorded on: May. 16, 2017
PLI Program #: 186059

Andrew L. Oringer is a partner and the co-chair of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group at Dechert LLP.  He is the co-chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association’s Business Section, the Emerging Issues Coordinator of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation, a former co-chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the Tax Section of the New York State Bar Association and chair of the NYSBA’s Committee on Attorney Professionalism.  Mr. Oringer is a charter member of the Practical Law Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Advisory Board and was a long-standing member of the Advisory Board for the Bloomberg BNA Benefits Resource Practice Center and for the Tax Management Compensation Planning Journal.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, a Senior Fellow from Practice for the Regulatory Compliance Association and an adjunct professor at the Maurice A. Deane Law School at Hofstra University.  He is co-editor of a leading treatise on ERISA fiduciary law and has authored a chapter in a leading treatise on the taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation.  Mr. Oringer is highly rated by a number of key ranking organizations, is included in a widely disseminated list of the Top 100 lawyers in New York City across all practice areas and is a member of The Legal 500 Hall of Fame.


Christina is lead ERISA counsel for the institutional broker dealer and the asset management businesses of Morgan Stanley.  Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 2011, Ms. Lee was an attorney at Allen & Overy LLP, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Proskauer Rose LLP, representing clients in all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation.  

Christina received her JD from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, where she was an editor of the Law Review and a Bachelor of Science, with distinction, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Ms. Lee is admitted to practice in New York.


Erin K. Cho is a principal in the Fiduciary Responsibility practice group at Groom Law Group. Ms. Cho advises clients on matters involving ERISA’s fiduciary and conflict of interest rules. She advises asset managers, broker-dealers and investment bankers with respect to the many and varied services and financial products (including complex structured products and derivatives) they offer to U.S. pension plans. She counsels hedge funds and private equity clients on the consequences of accepting investments by benefit plan investors, as well as plan assets and prohibited transaction concerns arising in connection with venture capital investments and corporate transactions. She counsels plan sponsors on all aspects of ERISA fiduciary compliance, including plan governance, plan expense issues and the selection and monitoring of plan investment options. Ms. Cho also represents clients on exemption requests and regulatory initiatives before the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Ms. Cho regularly speaks on pension investment matters, including as a co-chair of the Practising Law Institute’s annual conference, “ERISA: The Evolving World”.  Ms. Cho received her B.A. in History from Yale University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and her J.D. from Harvard Law School (cum laude).


Ian L. Levin is a partner in the Employment & Employee Benefits Group at Schulte Roth& Zabel LLP. He concentrates on executive compensation and employee benefits, with a focus on the employee benefit aspects of mergers and acquisitions and issues arising from the investment of pension plan assets. He represents both executives and companies with respect to the negotiation and drafting of executive employment agreements and advises as to the design and establishment of virtually all types of employee benefit arrangements ranging from cash incentive, equity, deferred compensation and change-in-control arrangements to broad-based retirement and welfare plans. He also advises clients on fiduciary and plan asset requirements of ERISA, including the structure and offering of various securities and securities products; the formation and ongoing compliance of private equity and hedge funds; the administration, management and investment of employee benefit plans; and compliance with ERISA’s various prohibited transaction rules and exemptions.

Ian has been recognized as a leading employment and employee benefits attorney by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 US and New York Super Lawyers. The Legal 500 US noted that he “operates at a very high level across many areas, but brings a particularly unique set of skills to ERISA Title I matters in his representation of private investment funds.” A highly sought-after thought leader, he has been quoted in articles published by Bloomberg and The Washington Post. He co-authored the SRZ Alert “DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule Officially Dead” and he discussed “ERISA: The M&A Transactional Practice” at the PLI’s ERISA: The Evolving World Seminar. Ian serves as a member on the Advisory Board and as chair of the Center for Transactional Law and Practice Advisory Board at the Emory University School of Law. He also serves as an adjunct professor at New York Law School. Ian earned his LL.M. from New York University School of Law, his J.D. from Emory University School of Law and a B.A. from Union College.


Ira G. Bogner is chair of the firm’s Tax Department and a member of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group. Ira represents a varied list of clients, including financial service companies, entertainment industry clients, and tax-exempt organizations, and also actively represents individual executives in executive compensation matters.

Areas of Concentration

Ira has provided guidance to clients on a wide variety of matters in the areas of employee benefits and executive compensation, including:

  • investment of plan assets
  • implementation of employee benefit plans
  • employee benefit issues in mergers and acquisitions
  • awarding of equity-based compensation
  • negotiation and drafting of employment agreements and severance arrangements
  • structuring, analyzing and maintaining investment funds that are suitable for plan investors

Ira counsels clients with respect to the tax, securities law disclosure, corporate governance, stock exchange and other requirements relevant to executive compensation arrangements. Ira also provides advice regarding equity arrangements, employment agreements, change in control agreements and all other types of executive compensation arrangements, including guidance regarding “409A,” “162m,” “457A,” and “280G.”

Ira frequently is called on to structure and analyze alternative investments for pension trusts and other exempt organizations. He also works with the firm’s corporate and real estate lawyers in structuring and maintaining investment funds that include participation by pension plans. Through his work in the investment fund area Ira has obtained substantial experience in applying the rules provided under the “plan asset” regulations, including the operation of venture capital operating companies and real estate operating companies. He has assisted in the formation of private equity, real estate, infrastructure and hedge funds, including “fund of funds.” Ira also has advised clients on both avoiding ERISA “plan asset” status and operating an investment fund in accordance with ERISA.

Thought Leadership

Ira has published a number of articles in publications such as The New York Law Journal, The New Jersey Law Journal, The Daily Deal, The Journal of Pension Planning and Compliance, Mergers and Acquisitions (The Monthly Tax Journal), The Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, European Private Equity & Venture Capital Associations, The LPA Anatomised and Private Equity International and has been named to the Board of Advisors of the Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions. He also has lectured on topics such as the classification of workers, drafting employment agreements, equity alternatives for senior executives, investing IRA assets, the plan asset regulations, shareholder approval of equity plans, Code Section 409A, and key provisions for ERISA investors investing in a private equity fund.

Recognition

Ira has been recognized and ranked by various directories. US Legal 500 has carried the following comments: “Ira Bogner is ‘available, responsive and knowledgeable;” “Ira Bogner ‘provides a level of comfort with respect to business issues that is rare in the world of ERISA;” “Ira Bogner is the ‘go-to guy for fund sponsors needing help with ERISA.’"


James Frazier focuses his practice in the area of ERISA and employee benefits. A large part of his practice is devoted to advising clients with respect to the application of ERISA's fiduciary standards and prohibited transaction provisions to their activities in transactional and regulatory matters.

James regularly advises financial services firms with respect to the structuring of investment vehicles and other investment products, including complex structured products and derivatives, offered to employee benefit plans and entities deemed to hold the assets of such plans. He routinely advises financial services firms in connection with the provision of services, such as investment management and brokerage services, to such plans or entities. James also advises clients regarding issues that arise under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code in the context of corporate transactions. He also routinely represents clients before the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Recognized by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer, James was praised for his ERISA experience and clients noted that he "is thoughtful, has a great practical approach and is very helpful in giving us a sense of where we are in the pack." James was also recognized in the 2016 and 2017 editions of The Best Lawyers in America as one of the nation's leading lawyers in ERISA law.

Prior to entering private practice, James was a Pension Law Specialist with the U.S. Department of Labor, where he spent extensive time working with the fiduciary provisions found in, and prohibited transaction exemptions issued under, Title I of ERISA.

James received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and an LL.M. in Taxation and Certificate in Employee Benefits Law, as well as an LL.M. in Labor Law, with distinction, from the Georgetown University Law Center. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina. He is admitted to practice in New York and North Carolina.


Jeanie Cogill practices in the executive compensation, pension plan investments, and employee benefits areas of law. She advises public and private companies on all aspects of executive compensation arrangements, including equity incentive programs, golden parachute arrangements, performance incentive arrangements, severance programs, and nonqualified deferred compensation plans.

Jeanie also regularly advises public and private companies and private equity clients in connection with executive compensation and employee benefits issues arising in the context of mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, restructurings, and similar corporate transactions. She advises banks, broker-dealers, and other financial services clients on the fiduciary responsibility provisions of ERISA, including considerations associated with the structuring, developing, and offering of financial products and services to ERISA plans. In addition, she represents investment managers, hedge funds and private equity funds, and their principals in connection with fund structuring for ERISA and operational compliance with ERISA, providing counsel on fiduciary responsibility, prohibited transaction, VCOC, REOC, and other plan assets issues. 

Jeanie helps employers, management, and plan fiduciary committees, design and administer tax-qualified pension plans, health and other welfare plans, and counsels them on their fiduciary compliance responsibilities and the handling of claims and litigation.

Jeanie is a chapter author of the Section 409A Handbook (BNA Books 2010).


Karen L. Handorf is a Partner at Cohen Milstein and Chair of the firm’s Employee Benefits (ERISA) Practice Group. She joined the firm in 2007 following a distinguished career in government service litigating ERISA cases in federal and district courts. In her role as head of the Employee Benefits Practice, Ms. Handorf represents the interests of employees, retirees, plan participants and beneficiaries in ERISA cases in the district courts and on appeal.

Ms. Handorf is involved in litigation and appeals involving a broad range of employee benefits issues. She currently leads a team of litigators in a series of lawsuits alleging that health care systems wrongfully claim their pension benefit plans are exempt from ERISA’s protection because they are church plans.  Ms. Handorf is also litigating issues involving the selection of proprietary funds by 401(k) plans sponsored by financial institutions and imprudent and non-diversified investments by defined benefit plans.  She also represents Oregon officials in a lawsuit alleging that a provision of the state’s OregonSaves retirement program for private-sector employees is preempted by ERISA.

Prior to joining Cohen Milstein, Ms. Handorf was an attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), where she litigated ERISA cases in federal and district courts for 25 years. While at the DOL, she played a major role in formulating the Government’s position on ERISA issues expressed in amicus briefs filed by the Solicitor General in the United States Supreme Court.

Ms. Handorf is a recipient of the Department of Labor Distinguished Career Service Award and received Exceptional Achievement Awards for her work on ERISA 401(k) plan remedies, the amicus brief in the Enron litigation, retiree health care, the amicus program in general, the appellate brief in the Department’s Tower litigation, termination annuities litigation and multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWAs) litigation.

Ms. Handorf has been recognized for her expertise by her colleagues in the ERISA bar, who named her a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. She is a frequent speaker on ERISA issues for the ABA, various Bar associations and at private seminars. She serves as plaintiffs' co-chair of preemption subcommittee of the Employee Benefits Committee of the ABA's Labor Section. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, she was named to the Best Lawyers in America.

Ms. Handorf attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where she received a B.S. in Speech and History, and earned her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.


Mary E. Alcock is counsel based in the New York office.

Ms. Alcock’s practice focuses on employee benefits and executive compensation matters, including design and regulatory compliance. She regularly counsels financial institutions on the issues arising under pension and tax laws with respect to their many and varied interactions with pension funds. Ms. Alcock also advises clients on corporate governance issues as well as on disclosure issues relating to compensation matters.

Ms. Alcock is recognized as a leading employee benefits lawyer by Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America and The Legal 500 U.S.

Ms. Alcock joined the firm in 1993 and became counsel in 2002. She received a J.D. degree in 1993 from Yale Law School and an undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, in 1988 from Yale University.

Ms. Alcock is a member of the New York State Bar.


Michael B. Richman is a partner in Morgan Lewis's Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice. His principal focus is on matters under the ERISA fiduciary responsibility rules. He advises plan sponsors on investment matters for defined benefit and defined contribution plans, and also counsels banks, investment advisers and broker-dealers on ERISA compliance for ERISA plan separately managed accounts, collective investment funds, private funds and other arrangements. In addition, he counsels clients on fiduciary governance of ERISA plans, prohibited transaction issues in proposed transactions and transactions under government investigation, and preparing requests to the U.S. Department of Labor for prohibited transaction exemptions and advisory opinions.  His practice also includes advising IRA custodians on permissible IRA investments and investment restrictions.

Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Mr. Richman was counsel in the benefits and executive compensation and investment management groups at Reed Smith LLP.

Mr. Richman earned his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1988, where he was managing editor for the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. He earned his A.B., magna cum laude, in history from Princeton University in 1985.

Mr. Richman has authored or co-authored a number of articles on ERISA issues. He is the co-author of the book ERISA Class Exemptions and of chapters on the ERISA class exemptions and trustee responsibility in the book ERISA Fiduciary Law, as well as of an overview of the ERISA-prohibited transaction rules for the online Bloomberg BNA Benefits Practice Resource Center.

Mr. Richman is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Maryland and before the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.


Michael Collins is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He is Co-Chair of the Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits Practice Group. Mr. Collins graduated summa cum laude and second in his class from Notre Dame Law School in 1995.  While at Notre Dame, he received six American Jurisprudence awards for best performance in a class, was editor of the Notre Dame Law Review, and received the Dean O'Meara Award for distinctive academic performance.  For four consecutive years, Mr. Collins has been ranked by Chambers & Partners USA as a leading lawyer in the area of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation in the District of Columbia.  He is also listed in 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® under the category of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law.

Mr. Collins graduated with high honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1991.  On the May 1991 CPA examination, he received the highest score in Indiana and one of the top five scores in the United States.  Prior to attending law school, Mr. Collins was an auditor with Ernst & Young.

His practice focuses on all aspects employee benefits and executive compensation.  His practice runs the full gamut of tax, ERISA, accounting, corporate, and securities law aspects of stock option, SAR, restricted stock, and employee stock purchase plans; tax-qualified retirement plans, nonqualified deferred compensation; SERPs; executive employment agreements, golden parachutes and other change in control arrangements; severance, confidentiality, and noncompete contracts; performance bonus and incentive plans; director's pay; rabbi trusts; split dollar life insurance; excess benefit and top hat plans; and the like.  He represents both executives and companies in drafting and negotiating employment arrangements.

In addition to his employee benefits practice, Mr. Collins has taught at different law schools including: Conflicts of Law at Catholic University Law School, and Tax Research and Qualified Plans at the University of Denver Law School.  He has published numerous articles on employee benefits and executive compensation topics, including articles in the Labor Lawyer, the Virginia Tax Review, the Journal of AccountancyNew York University Tax Institute Proceedings, and the ABA Preview of Supreme Court Cases.

EDUCATION

  • University of Notre Dame - 1995 - Juris Doctor
  • University of Notre Dame - 1991 - B.A. Business Administration

ADMISSIONS

  • District of Columbia Bar


Patricia is a member of the bank’s Legal Department. She provides advice and guidance on ERISA, fiduciary and other employee benefit plan and retirement issues to the Global Wealth and Investment Management business.  Her responsibilities include supporting institutional and individual retirement programs and services and non-qualified deferred compensation and equity plans.

Prior to Bank of America, Ms. Kuhn was a Managing Director at BlackRock in Legal and Compliance and a counsel at Shearman & Sterling LLC in the Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Group.  She advised clients on issues arising under the Title I and Title IV of ERISA and other employee benefit plan and employment issues.

Patricia received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the State University of New York, College at Purchase in 1983, and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University, cum laude in 1989, and she was a member of law review.


Patrick Menasco is a nationally-recognized ERISA and public plan investment lawyer with 25 years of public and private sector experience.  He enjoys longstanding connections with regulators, a broad technical proficiency in ERISA and public plan regulation, and a gift for blending analysis with insight.  Patrick’s work focuses on investment funds (particularly real estate, transportation and stable value-related strategies), general asset management, bank/broker-dealer netting opinions, derivatives and other capital market transactions, prohibited transaction exemptions, government investigations, and adversarial proceedings.  His clients include major national and international financial institutions.

Patrick is also a frequent lecturer on employee benefit investment issues at the Practising Law Institute in New York and has served as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School for ten years. He is regularly recognized by Chambers USA and The Legal 500 lists of top lawyers for employee benefits and executive  compensation.


Shannon Barrett is a partner in O’Melveny’s Washington, DC office.  He concentrates his practice on ERISA-related litigation and on providing advice relating to Title I of ERISA. He has been involved in litigating a broad range of ERISA matters at both the trial and appellate levels, with a particular focus on fiduciary issues. In addition to his litigation practice, Shannon has assisted clients in responding to regulatory investigations and has counseled clients, including financial institutions and plan sponsors, on ERISA issues such as fiduciary structure, fee disclosure, and compliance with ERISA’s prohibited transaction provisions. Shannon also has advised independent fiduciaries in their representation of employee benefit plans’ rights in connection with ERISA and securities settlements.

Shannon is a frequent thought leader on ERISA-related topics and serves as the co-editor of the ERISA Litigation Reporter. He is recognized by Chambers USA and Legal 500 in the ERISA Litigation (Nationwide) category.


Steven W. Rabitz is a Partner at Dechert LLP focusing on executive compensation matters for public and private companies and the fiduciary responsibility, prohibited transaction and funding rules of ERISA.  He is regularly featured in Chambers USA for his work in employee benefits and executive compensation and in Best Lawyers for his ERISA-related practice. He is nationally recommended by The Legal 500 and was named a “Leading Lawyer” in 2017, in addition to being ranked in Super Lawyers.   Mr. Rabitz’s writing on current legal topics and issues has appeared in numerous publications, including, Tax Management Compensation Journal, Pension & Benefits Daily, Derivatives: Financial Products Report, The Hedge Fund Law Report, and he has been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Institutional Investor, Barron’s, Bloomberg, Hedge Fund Law Report, International Business Times and Law 360. In 2015, he received the Burton Award for excellence in legal writing.

Prior to private practice, Mr. Rabitz pioneered and led the ERISA, executive compensation and benefits legal function at Lehman Brothers and served in a similar capacity at Barclays Capital. He also worked as part of a dedicated team of ERISA and compensation lawyers at Goldman Sachs earlier in his career. Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. Rabitz was a partner at a national leading law firm.

 


Alan is the senior attorney responsible for executive compensation, employee benefits and ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) matters. In addition to advising on the firm’s own employee benefits, Alan assists in structuring investments for ERISA plans and advises Goldman Sachs Asset Management in connection with the ERISA aspects of its responsibilities. He is a member of the Acquisition and Disposition Review Committee. Alan joined Goldman Sachs in 1999 and became a legal director in 2004. He was named managing director in 2006.

Prior to joining the firm, Alan was a partner in the ERISA Department of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, LLP. He was also an assistant general counsel at Salomon Brothers, Inc. and was an associate in the Employee Benefits group at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton.

Alan is a graduate of Tufts University and Cornell Law School.


Laura Bader has two decades of experience counseling clients in connection with institutional investment and ERISA fiduciary matters.

Laura's experience includes structuring and negotiating private equity, real estate, and other private funds for fund sponsors as well as for institutional investors. She also has counseled ERISA plans, investment managers, and a variety of pooled investment vehicles on ERISA compliance and fiduciary matters.


Jeffrey Ross is a partner and chair of the Executive Compensation & ERISA Department, resident in Fried Frank’s New York office. He joined the Firm in 2008 and became a partner in 2009. Mr. Ross’s broad practice focuses on high-stakes ERISA and executive compensation matters in complex transactions.

Mr. Ross is regarded as one of the top ERISA attorneys advising on structuring and compliance matters for many of the largest standalone and institutional hedge funds and alternative asset managers in the world. As part of the Firm’s market-leading Asset Management team, Mr. Ross regularly advises on complex ERISA fiduciary matters, with particular emphasis on the application of ERISA’s fiduciary and prohibited transaction rules to the structuring, operation, and administration of a wide range of private investment funds and investment management arrangements. He counsels extensively regarding ERISA’s Plan Asset Regulations and routinely assists clients wishing to operate plan asset hedge funds in compliance with ERISA. Working closely with the White Collar Criminal Defense team, Mr. Ross also regularly assists clients in regulatory enforcement actions and investigations involving the US Department of Labor, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

As part of the Firm’s sophisticated M&A and Private Equity teams, clients frequently call upon Mr. Ross to advise on the employee benefits and executive compensation matters arising in connection with mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, and other related transactions. His practice focuses on the structuring and design of equity compensation arrangements for private and public companies, as well as representing numerous private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies in financial and strategic transactions, including IPOs and other company exits.

Mr. Ross also frequently represents executive management teams, including CEOs and other C-Suite executives, in their highest-stakes matters. For example, Mr. Ross has recently assisted such clients in negotiating change-in-control arrangements, significant co-investment opportunities, high-ticket multiyear employment contracts, complex performance-based pay packages, separation arrangements involving significant amounts of equity, and similar arrangements.

Mr. Ross is a frequent speaker on ERISA and compensation matters and is consistently recognized by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business and The Legal 500 as a leading individual in Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation. Mr. Ross is also a board member of The Jewish Community Project Downtown.

Mr. Ross received his JD from New York University School of Law in 2001, where he was an associate casebook editor of the law school’s Moot Court Casebook. He received his BA, cum laude, with honors in Latin Literature, from Yale University in 1998. Mr. Ross is admitted to practice in New York.