Avoiding Nonqualified Plan Traps: Key Considerations for ERISA Counsel and Employers

Correcting 409A and 457(f) Errors, Proposed Income Inclusion Regulations, Group Carve-Out Plans, Split-Dollar Life Insurance Plans

A live 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with interactive Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

(Alert: Event date has changed from 1/25/2023!)

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will guide benefits counsel and employers on critical challenges in designing and implementing nonqualified plans. The panel will discuss the application of Section 409A rules and correcting Section 457(f) errors, the implications of the "income inclusion" regulations, and issues stemming from group carveout plans and split-dollar insurance plans, as well as offer methods to ensure the development of an effective strategy for key employees.


A nonqualified plan is a tax-deferred, employer-sponsored retirement plan used for executives and key employees. These plans are not subject to the full gambit of rules under ERISA as qualified plans but have a unique mix of rules, regulations, and potential drawbacks to navigate.

Bonus plans, group carveout plans, split-dollar insurance plans, and nonqualified deferred compensation plans (NQDCP) are ripe with potential pitfalls. One of the main issues that arise in disputes relating to these plans is whether or not the plan is subject to ERISA. To ensure that a nonqualified plan is exempt from ERISA, benefits counsel and employers must carefully consider various critical items in drafting or amending plans and other agreements. In either case, employers must ensure that they follow ERISA claims procedures to minimize penalties and liability.

Section 409A applies to most NQDCPs. Distinguishing what is and what is not deferred compensation subject to Section 409A and documenting compliance is critical in designing and implementing NQDCPs. Furthermore, navigating procedures in correcting errors for plans under Section 457(f) is essential to avoid unintended liability.

Listen as our panel discusses Section 409A rules' application, correcting Section 457(f) errors, the implications of the "income inclusion" regulations, group carveouts, split-dollar insurance, and other essential matters.



  1. Pros and cons of nonqualified plans
    1. Legal and regulatory framework
    2. Administrative challenges
  2. Section 409A and correcting Section 457(f) errors
  3. Group carveout plans
  4. Split-dollar insurance plans
  5. Best practices for effective nonqualified plan design and implementation


The panel will review these critical issues and more:

  • What are the legal and administrative challenges of nonqualified plans?
  • What are the potential pitfalls of Section 409A?
  • What are the available methods for correcting Section 457(f) errors?
  • What are group carveout and split-dollar life insurance plans, and how can they be used as incentives for key employees?


Poerio, Mark
Mark Poerio

Senior Counsel
The Wagner Law Group

For over 35 years, Mr. Poerio has been in private practice with a focus on executive compensation, employee...  |  Read More

Wimer, Ruth
Ruth M. Wimer

Winston & Strawn

Ms. Wimer is an attorney and a CPA with nearly 30 years of experience previously serving as a senior partner in the...  |  Read More

Attend on March 23

Cannot Attend March 23?

You may pre-order a recording to listen at your convenience. Recordings are available 48 hours after the webinar. Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

CLE On-Demand Video