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Pension Plan Investments 2015: Current Perspectives

Speaker(s): Andrew L. Oringer, David M. Cohen, Edmond T. FitzGerald, Erin K. Cho, Erin Rose Miner, James S. Frazier, James Wallin, Jeanie Cogill, John W. Schuch, Kareem A. Raymond, Karen L. Handorf, Lyssa E. Hall, Nancy Donohoe Lancia, Patricia Anne Kuhn, Patrick S. Menasco, Seth Grosshandler, Shannon Barrett, Steven W. Rabitz, Timothy D. Hauser, William E. Ryan III
Recorded on: Mar. 31, 2015
PLI Program #: 59317

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, Emerging Issues Coordinator of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation and chair of the New York State Bar Association 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 two of its chapters, and has authored a chapter in a leading treatise on the taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation and.  Mr. Oringer is highly rated by a number of key ranking organizations, has been repeatedly 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.

David Cohen, a partner in the New York office of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP (SRZ), specializes in matters related to fiduciary responsibility, ERISA and qualified plans.

David received his J.D. from The George Washington University Law School and his B.A. from Columbia University. Prior to joining SRZ, David held positions in both the private sector (as vice president and assistant general counsel of a major investment firm) and in government service (with the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration’s Divisions of Regulatory Coordination and Exemptions).

David speaks and writes widely on ERISA and benefit fund-related issues, including authoring ERISA compliance guides for broker-dealers for Practising Law Institute and presenting on “Handling ERISA Issues When Managing a Plan Asset Look-Through Fund” for a Financial Research Associates Hedge Fund Tax, Accounting and Administration Master Class and on “Fund Formation Issues,” “Current Topics in Private Equity and Alternative Investments” and “Current Fiduciary Issues” for recent Practising Law Institute Pension Plan Investments and ERISA Plans in the Financial Markets conferences. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was selected for inclusion in New York Super Lawyers, a listing of outstanding attorneys in the New York metro area, Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America.

Erin K. Cho is a partner in the Employment & Benefits Group at Mayer Brown focusing on ERISA Title I fiduciary matters. Erin has extensive experience advising financial institutions, asset managers, insurance companies and other retirement plan service providers 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. Erin also represents clients in connection with audits and investigations as well as advisory opinion and exemption requests before the Department of Labor. Erin regularly writes on pension investment matters for a variety of publications. She is a frequent speaker on ERISA matters and is the co-chair of the Practicing Law Institute’s annual conference, “ERISA: The Evolving World.”

Erin received her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School and her B.A. Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude from Yale University.

Erin Rose Miner is Director at Credit Suisse in New York heading the US regulatory compensation group as well as providing Executive Compensation coverage in the Americas.  Ms. Miner ensures the bank’s compensation plans and programs comply with US regulatory expectations as well as manages the execution of the compensation plans for employees based in the Americas. Ms. Miner received her undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Maryland, College Park and received her law degree from New York Law School.

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 has also been recognized in 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.

James Wallin is a Senior Vice President in AllianceBernstein’s Fixed Income group. Prior to joining AllianceBernstein, Mr. Wallin was head of the Governance Group at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Senior Counsel at Evergreen Asset Management Corp. and General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of Yamaichi Capital Management Inc.  Mr. Wallin also worked in the legal department of The Dreyfus Corporation and with the law firm of Cole and Dietz, and he was with Alliance Capital (the predecessor of AllianceBernstein), from 1982 to 1986. Mr. Wallin serves on the Board of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and is an active participant in securities industry forums.  Mr. Wallin is a member of the New York Bar and a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales.  

Mr. Wallin graduated from SUNY at Stony Brook in 1980 and received his J.D. from New York Law School in 1983.

Jeanie Cogill is a partner in King &Spalding’s Corporate, Finance and Investments practice. She specializes in the executive compensation, employee benefits and ERISA fiduciary areas of law.

Jeanie advises public and private companies across a variety of industry sectors on all aspects of executive compensation arrangements, including equity incentive programs, employment agreements, change in control protections, incentive programs and nonqualified deferred compensation plans. Jeanie also regularly advises clients on executive compensation and employee benefits issues arising in the context of mergers and acquisitions and financing transactions. Jeanie helps employers, management, and plan fiduciary committees design, establish and administer tax-qualified pension plans, health and welfare plans and fringe benefit programs, and counsels them on their fiduciary, tax and other compliance responsibilities. 

Jeanie also counsels investment managers and their principals, including sponsors of hedge funds, private equity funds and real estate funds, on the fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transaction provisions of ERISA, including the structuring and administration of private commingled funds that are marketed to employee benefit plans and tax-advantaged accounts.

John W. Schuch is a Director and Assistant General Counsel at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.  Mr. Schuch joined the Bank in January 2011 and is the lead ERISA Counsel for its Global Banking and Markets division.  Mr. Schuch is responsible for advising the Bank with respect to ERISA and other pension related rules in connection with its global institutional banking, custody, broker-dealer, and trading platforms.  

Prior to joining the Legal Department of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Mr. Schuch spent over 4 years in the legal department at Morgan Stanley advising its broker-dealer and asset management businesses with respect to ERISA rules.  Mr. Schuch was also a member of the ERISA/Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation groups at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Proskauer Rose.

Mr. Schuch received a J.D., summa cum laude, from Brooklyn Law School in 2002 and a B.S. from Binghamton University in 1998.  He is admitted to practice in New York.

Karen L. Handorf is a partner in and the immediate-past Co-Chair of Cohen Milstein’s Employee Benefits/ERISA practice group, where she represents the interests of employees, retirees, plan participants and beneficiaries in ERISA cases.

A Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, Ms. Handorf joined Cohen Milstein in 2007 following a distinguished 25-year career in government service where she was the Deputy Associate Solicitor, Plan Benefits Security Division, among other senior positions she held at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). During her tenure at the DOL, Ms. Handorf played a major role in formulating and litigating the Government’s position on ERISA issues expressed in amicus briefs filed by the Solicitor General in the United States Supreme Court.

At Cohen Milstein, Ms. Handorf has led some of the most significant ERISA-related litigation in recent U.S. history, including successfully litigating over twenty “church plan” cases, which allege that employers had improperly claimed their pension plans qualified for the “church plan” exemption under ERISA, resulting in billions-of-dollars of underfunded plans and losses to beneficiaries, as well as other types of employer-sponsored defined benefit plans, such as 401ks, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), and health plans that are allegedly in breach of ERISA.

As a testament to her expertise in ERISA, Ms. Handorf is frequently invited to represent entities in filing their amicus briefs before appellate courts, including the Supreme Court.

Elected by her peers as a Fellow to the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel in 2007, Ms. Handorf was elected to the College’s Board of Governors in 2018.  She served as Plaintiffs' Co-Chair of Preemption and Civil Procedure Subcommittee of the Employee Benefits Committee of the ABA's Labor Section. Ms. Handorf has also received numerous industry recognitions, including being named Law360’s “MVP – Benefits” (2020), recognizing the top five most influential employee benefits and ERISA attorneys in the United States, as well as being named among The National Law Journal’s “Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar” (2020). She has also been named to the Best Lawyers in America (2016 – 2020), and, in 2019, she was named “Lawyer of the Year” in Washington, DC in ERISA Litigation.

Ms. Handorf is a frequent commentator and speaker on ERISA issues for the press, the ABA, Practising Law Institute, American Conference Institute, various Bar associations, and private seminars.

Lyssa E. Hall is employed with the United States Department of Labor as the Director of the Office of Exemption Determinations in the Employee Benefits Security Administration.  OED is responsible for the consideration and disposition of requests for exemptions from the prohibited transactions provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Federal Employees Retirement Security Act.

Ms. Hall is a former instructor for EBSA’s Basic, Financial Institutions and Customer Service training courses for new employees. She served as an adjunct professor at the Howard University Law School and has been a frequent speaker at national financial industry conferences and seminars.

Ms. Hall received a B.A. in Political Science from Howard University. She also holds a J.D., LL.M. in tax and a certificate in employee benefits law from Georgetown University Law Center.

Ms. Hall is a member of the Maryland bar.

Mr. Ryan is President and Chief Fiduciary Officer of Newport Trust Company, and served as President and Chief Fiduciary Officer of Evercore Trust Company, N.A., prior to the acquisition of Evercore Trust’s institutional trustee and independent fiduciary business by Newport Trust in 2017. Prior to Evercore Trust, Mr. Ryan was with Morgan Stanley, where he was an Executive Director in the Legal and Compliance Division and Head of ERISA Law, responsible for coordinating ERISA and qualified tax issues for Morgan Stanley's Institutional Securities Group (Institutional Brokerage), Morgan Stanley Investment Management (Asset Management), and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (Retail Brokerage). Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Mr. Ryan was the Chief ERISA/Benefits Counsel for Prudential Financial, Inc. from 1995 through 2004, handling ERISA-related HR, compensation and product issues for Prudential Insurance, and was in private practice in New York from 1987 through 1995, specializing in ERISA issues. On behalf of various industry groups, Mr. Ryan has met with and testified before the U.S. Department of Labor, the Treasury Department, the White House, and various state regulators on fiduciary and other retirement issues. He has also served on various industry groups, including the SIFMA Retirement Committee (where he served as co-chair from 2010-2013). Mr. Ryan holds an A.B. Degree in History from Princeton University in 1984, a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1987 (where he was an editor of the Stanford Law Review), and a Masters in Taxation (LL.M.) from New York University School of Law in 1995.

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.

Seth Grosshandler is a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP based in the New York office.

Mr. Grosshandler’s practice focuses on financial institutions, derivative products, securities transactions, secured transactions and structured finance. As an instrumental player in the development of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and Orderly Liquidation Authority, Mr. Grosshandler is regarded as a preeminent expert on risks to counterparties of regulated financial institutions in the event of the insolvency of the financial institution, as well as the rights of secured and unsecured creditors in insolvency proceedings to close-out, net and exercise remedies in derivative and securities transactions. During and after the financial crisis, he advised major Wall Street firms on their exposure to failing and failed counterparties, including Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and various government agencies on market stabilization efforts.

Since then, Mr. Grosshandler has participated in transatlantic regulatory reform initiatives, with a particular emphasis on legal mechanisms for resolving financial institutions. He has been actively engaged with both market participants and regulators on the development of rules to implement Orderly Liquidation Authority, innovative approaches to financial company insolvency such as ‘bail-ins’, and harmonizing U.S. and EU requirements for resolution plans (so-called ‘living wills’). Mr. Grosshandler is currently advising several U.S. and non-U.S. institutions on the preparation of their resolution plans.

Mr. Grosshandler has also been very involved in the move to cleared OTC derivatives – representing the Futures Industry Association in the creation of standard documentation for the relationship between futures commission merchants and their cleared OTC customers and the insolvency treatment of the FCMs’ rights, and the implementation of the CFTC’s “legally segregated operationally commingled” (LSOC) treatment of cleared OTC customer collateral. That work is an outgrowth of Mr. Grosshandler’s representation of an ad hoc group of buy-side and sell-side market participants (with the participation and support of ISDA, SIFMA AMG and MFA), formed at the behest of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to analyze cross- jurisdictional insolvency issues with respect to customer access to central CDS clearing platforms.

Mr. Grosshandler is designated as a “star performer” by Chambers Global and Chambers USA and is internationally distinguished as one of the best lawyers by Law Business Research’s The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, Who’s Who of Banking Lawyers, IFLR 1000: The Guide to the World’s Leading Financial Law Firms, The Legal Media Group Guide to the World’s Leading Banking Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America and The Legal 500. He was also selected as Best Lawyers' 2014 New York Derivatives and Futures Lawyer of the Year.

Mr. Grosshandler lectures and is widely published on the various aspects of financial institution insolvency matters and derivatives products.

Mr. Grosshandler joined the firm in 1983 and became a partner in 1992. He received a J.D. degree, cum laude, from Northwestern University in 1983 and an undergraduate degree from Reed College in 1979.

Mr. Grosshandler is a member of the Bar in New York. His native language is English, and he is proficient in French.

Shannon Barrett 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.

Kareem manages the Pension Strategies Group (PSG) in the Investment Banking Division (IBD), and is responsible for working with corporate clients to help them manage and mitigate risk in their pension plans through structuring and implementing strategic pension risk management solutions.

Previously, he worked in the Merchant Banking Division, where he evaluated, executed and monitored senior loan and mezzanine principal investments across a broad range of industries on behalf of Goldman Sachs Loan Partners and the Goldman Sachs Mezzanine Partners series of funds. Kareem joined Goldman Sachs in 2004 as an associate in the Consumer Retail Group in IBD, where he advised clients on mergers and acquisitions and other corporate finance matters. He was named managing director in 2012.

Prior to joining the firm, Kareem worked as a management consultant for A.T. Kearney, Inc. in the Financial Institutions Group, where he advised corporate and nonprofit entities on strategic, financial and operational issues.

Kareem is a board member of NextStep Fitness, a nonprofit organization that provides fitness, health and wellness services to individuals living with paralysis and other physical disabilities.

Kareem earned a BA in Government from Harvard College and an MBA in Finance and Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. FitzGerald is the head of the Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits Practice Group of Davis Polk.  His practice and experience includes virtually all commercial and regulatory matters relating to compensation and benefit plans and arrangements.


Listed as a leading lawyer in several legal industry publications, including:

  • Band 1, Nationwide: Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation – Chambers USA 2012-2013
  • Band 1, New York: Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation – Chambers USA 2012-2013
  • Practical Law Company’s Which lawyer? Yearbook and Labour and Employee Benefits Guide
  • Legalease’s The Legal 500 (United States)
  • American Lawyer Media’s Corporate Counsel: Best Lawyers Annual Guide to Employee Benefits Law


  • Partner, 2000-present
  • Associate, Davis Polk, 1997-2000
  • Associate, Pillsbury Winthrop, 1995-1997
  • Associate, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, 1991-1995


  • State of New York


  • B.S., Cornell University, 1987
  • J.D., Brooklyn Law School, 1991

Nancy Donohoe Lancia is managing director of State Government Affairs at the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association, or SIFMA, and has  more than twenty years  of federal and state government relations experience including 15 years representing the financial services industry, more than seven years of federal lobbying experience, and has worked for Members of Congress and on Presidential campaigns.

At SIFMA, Nancy is responsible for state lobbying activities on state regulations and legislation and state tax issues in 16 states including New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida and City of New York.

Prior to the formation of SIFMA, Nancy Lancia also served as managing director of State Government Affairs at the Securities Industry Association, which merged with the Bond Market Association in 2006 to form SIFMA.

Timothy D. Hauser is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Program Operations of the Employee Benefits Security Administration and as such is the chief operating officer of the Agency. His responsibilities include overseeing EBSA's regulatory, enforcement and reporting activities.

Mr. Hauser joined the Department of Labor in 1991 as a trial attorney for the Plan Benefits Security Division (PBSD), where he represented the Department in federal district court and appellate litigation. From November 2000 until November 2013, Mr. Hauser was the Associate Solicitor of the Division. As the head of PBSD, he was responsible for all of the Department's legal work under ERISA.

Before joining the Department of Labor, Mr. Hauser worked as a trial attorney for six years at Legal Aid of Western Missouri. As a Legal Aid attorney, he represented indigent clients in civil litigation in ten rural counties in Missouri.

Mr. Hauser graduated from Harvard Law School in 1985. He is also a graduate of the University of Illinois.