Structuring ERISA-Compliant Retirement Buyouts

Navigating Design Considerations, Funding Options and Qualification Rules for Defined Benefit Plans

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

Conducted on Thursday, October 9, 2014

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Course Materials

This CLE course will provide ERISA counsel with the tools necessary to design and implement a retirement buyout or early retirement incentive program. Our experienced panelist will review design considerations for varying kinds of retirement plans, funding options, tax implications, and qualification rules for defined benefit plans.  


The increase in the PBGC premium cost to plan sponsors, interest rate changes that reduce the cost of plan buyouts for sponsors, and recently released mortality tables showing increased lifespan have laid the groundwork for a major surge in retirement plan buyouts for 2014 and beyond. More and more businesses are seeking to increase financial stability and reduce risk by unloading liabilities and offering employees and retirees an early retirement incentive programs, or retirement buyout.

As enticing as these financial objectives are to companies, they cannot reach those goals unless the retirement plan buyout program is compliant with strict ERISA regulations—and accepted by the employees and retirees.

ERISA presents a plethora of difficult and complex compliance hurdles for retirement plan buyouts. Counsel must guide employers in understanding post-employment restrictions to avoid plan disqualification and in setting up funding options for the program. Counsel must also ensure the program will not result in a violation of the coverage or nondiscrimination rules and understand when to use nonqualified plans.

Listen as our authoritative panelist reviews the maze of ERISA regulations governing early retirement buyout programs. The panelist will focus on areas of particular concern to ERISA counsel, such as funding options for qualified and nonqualified plans and qualification issues when defined benefit plans are used.  



  1. Designing early retirement incentive programs
    1. Pension
    2. Severance
    3. Retiree health
  2. Funding options
    1. Qualified
    2. Nonqualified
    3. Severance pay plans
  3. Qualification issues with defined benefit plans


The panelist will review these and other key issues:

  • Key considerations when creating a pension buyout program
  • Using defined benefit programs to fund an incentive program
  • Funding early retirement windows with a nonqualified plan—when to choose, and the tax and ERISA compliance implications


Collins, Michael
Michael Collins

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Mr. Collins is Co-Chair of the firm’s Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits Practice Group. His practice...  |  Read More

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