Pension De-Risking for Employee Benefit Sponsors: Avoiding Litigation and Enforcement Action

Designing and Implementing a Strategy to Minimize Risk and Ensure ERISA Compliance

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A


Conducted on Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Recorded event now available


This CLE webinar will provide benefits counsel with a review of pension de-risking approaches companies can use to reduce some of the risks involved with employee retirement benefits and keep retirement plans adequately funded. The panel will offer best practices for leveraging the precautions to prevent ERISA fiduciary law violations when making transfers.

Description

New mortality tables, volatile interest rates and market conditions, and increased PBGC premiums may make pension de-risking an attractive option for benefit plan sponsors. Opting to transfer some or all of a sponsor’s plan risk may make sense for many companies.

De-risking approaches can take many forms, from transferring company obligations to third parties, to offering payouts to plan participants, to undertaking liability-driven investing and other strategies. Counsel and companies must tread carefully to avoid ERISA-based litigation or regulatory inquiries.

Prudent de-risking requires thorough financial analysis and clear demonstrations that ERISA fiduciary standards are met. Counsel should guide companies on how to establish the reasonableness of decisions and prepare to defend against possible court challenges.

Listen as our panel of experienced employee benefit practitioners provides guidance on precautions for companies undertaking transfers of pension plan obligations to third parties or other de-risking options. The panel will outline best practices for assembling a thorough financial review, complying with ERISA requirements, and responding to potential legal challenges from plan participants.

Outline

  1. De-risking overview
    1. Current trends
    2. Different approaches
      1. Transfers to third parties
      2. Lump sum payouts for participants
      3. Investment strategies
  2. Procedural prudence and meeting ERISA fiduciary requirements
    1. Prudence
    2. Care
    3. Loyalty
  3. Potential challenges from plan participants
    1. Grounds for challenges
    2. Likelihood of success

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How can pension providers demonstrate they have met their ERISA standards of prudence, care and loyalty to plan participants?
  • What steps should be taken in preparation for termination of a pension plan?
  • What are the grounds for the various challenges to de-risking approaches and what are the steps that can be taken to mitigate this risk?

Faculty

Maureen J. Gorman, Partner
Mayer Brown, Palo Alto, Calif.

Ms. Gorman’s practice focuses on executive compensation and employee benefits matters. Her work includes advising on tax and benefit issues in both domestic and international contexts, counseling on ERISA fiduciary issues, controversy work involving IRS and DOL audits, and all nature of transaction work.

David Hartman, Vice President and General Counsel
General Motors Asset Management, New York

Mr. Hartman is general counsel to a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors Company that serves as investment fiduciary to, and has responsibility for managing the assets of, employee benefit plans sponsored by GM. His duties focus on institutional investment management, investment transactions including in alternative asset classes, fiduciary matters, and general corporate and transactional matters.

Dr. Susan Mangiero
Fiduciary Leadership, Trumbull, Conn.

Dr. Mangiero has provided testimony before the ERISA Advisory Council, the OECD and the International Organization of Pension Supervisors, as well as offered expert testimony and behind the scenes forensic analysis, calculation of damages and rebuttal report commentary for various investment governance, investment performance, fiduciary breach, prudence, risk and valuation matters.


Recordings

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*Only available for attorneys admitted for more than two years. For OH CLE credits, only programs recorded within the current calendar year are eligible - contact the CLE department for verification.

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CLE On-Demand Video $297.00

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Strafford is an approved provider and self-study CLE credit is available in most states.

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Program Materials

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Program Materials

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CLE Credits

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Pepper Hamilton

The presentations were excellent and timely, and I thought the Q&A was very good.

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Monsanto Company

Excellent topics, discussed very well.

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Dearborn National

Very informative — one of the best run programs in a plethora of on-line offerings.

Jeff Michelman

Stinson Morrison Hecker

I found it helpful to hear the information and perspectives of all the presenters.

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Employment & ERISA Advisory Board

Susan E. Bernstein

Special Counsel

Schulte Roth & Zabel

Judith (Jude) Biggs

Partner

Holland & Hart

Joshua Davis

Director

Goulston & Storrs

Barbara E. Hoey

Partner

Kelley Drye

Jeffrey Hollingsworth

Partner

Perkins Coie

Diana L. Hoover

Partner

Hoover Kernell

Paul J. Kennedy

Shareholder

Littler Mendelson

Marcia Nelson Jackson

Partner

Wick Phillips

William C. Martucci

Partner

Shook Hardy & Bacon

Nancy Morrison O'Connor

Partner

Bracewell & Giuliani

Laura Foote Reiff

Shareholder

Greenberg Traurig

Eugene Scalia

Partner

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Peter Steinmeyer

Member

Epstein Becker & Green

Teresa R. Tracy

Partner

Freeman Freeman Smiley

Todd D. Wozniak

Shareholder

Greenberg Traurig

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