Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation

Strategic Solutions for Complex Business Matters

Employee benefits and executive compensation is a complex mix of evolving tax and ERISA law. By understanding your business goals at the onset, we deliver innovative advice that furthers your company’s strategy, provides maximum flexibility, and attracts and retain exceptional talent.

Our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group will advise you on all aspects of your qualified retirement plans, non-qualified deferred compensation programs, equity and non-equity based plans, welfare benefit plans, plan administration, fiduciary responsibilities and tax planning.  By distilling complex matters, we empower your board of directors, human resources personnel and plan fiduciaries to provide workable solutions.

Compliance and Administration
We help design benefit plans that meet your objectives and comply with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code and other federal, state and regulatory requirements. We also provide advice on plan administration matters, including negotiating voluntary compliance initiatives with the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Sophisticated Plan Design
Our specialized knowledge in this substantive law makes us well-suited to handle the more sophisticated plan designs and related qualification and administration matters. Through our long-term experience with key taxing authorities, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), we are able to identify issues quickly and mitigate risk.

Corrections
When problems arise we navigate plan corrections to achieve successful negotiation and resolution. We are experienced in highly technical application procedures for the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System and the Department of Labor Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program.

Litigation
From proactive avoidance to aggressive defense, we routinely handle all aspects of benefits litigation including executive compensation, severance, fiduciary breach, and reporting and disclosure claims as well as MPPAA arbitrations.

Corporate Matters
We regularly represent clients in the benefits aspects of corporate transactions and also act as special counsel in mergers and acquisitions, divestments and joint ventures. We design and negotiate comprehensive separation agreements and severance packages. 

Our recent matters include representing:

  • A large New Jersey hospital in complex pension funding and union contracrt issues, and securing Private Letter Rulings to ensure its continued operation
  • One of the world's largest producers of high-quality soda ash in connection with several plan design, compliance and voluntary correction filings with the IRS
  • A nationwide hotel operator in complex negotiations with the IRS and the USDOL including Voluntary Compliance Closing Agreements to maintain the tax qualified status for their retirement plans

Our recent matters include representing:

  • A large New Jersey hospital in complex pension funding and union contracrt issues, and securing Private Letter Rulings to ensure its continued operation
  • One of the world's largest producers of high-quality soda ash in connection with several plan design, compliance and voluntary correction filings with the IRS
  • A nationwide hotel operator in complex negotiations with the IRS and the USDOL including Voluntary Compliance Closing Agreements to maintain the tax qualified status for their retirement plans
Name Title Direct Dial Vcard
Ben-Ami, Andrew R. Partner Partner 212.216.8025 VCard
Steer, Richard L. Partner Partner 212.216.8070 VCard
Toevs Carolan, Tara Counsel Counsel 212.216.8007 VCard
  • Supreme Court Rules that 401(k) Plan Sponsors Have an Ongoing Duty to Monitor Investments (Tibble v. Edison)
    June 22, 2015

    The Supreme Court unanimously decided that separate and apart from the selection of investment choices, a retirement plan fiduciary has a "continuing duty" to monitor investments and remove imprudent ones.

  • IRS Announces New Audit Initiative: Compliance Review Strongly Recommended to Avoid Severe Adverse Tax Consequences
    July 9, 2014

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that it will begin conducting focused audits aimed at determining compliance with Internal Revenue Code Section 409A.   Section 409A is a complex and easily overlooked provision of the tax law which can result in draconian penalties.  For this reason, we strongly recommend that our clients become familiar with the law, and review their existing documents now to avoid these penalties. 

  • Obama Administration Announces Delay to Part of Affordable Care Act
    July 3, 2013

    President Obama’s administration announced yesterday (Tuesday, July 2, 2013) that the “employer mandate,” or the imposition of penalties for employers with more than 50 employees who fail to provide health insurance as required by the Affordable Care Act, will be delayed until 2015. All other Affordable Care Act requirements and related compliance provisions will remain in effect.

  • Disputes Resulting from Beneficiary Designations
    April 25, 2013

    This article addresses a topic which we all may face; how to avoid disputes that arise after death when beneficiary designation failures occur.  The authors suggest best practices plan administrators and plan participants can take to minimize the likelihood of such failures.

  • Employee Benefit Plans: Year-End Compliance Issues
    October 25, 2012

    Every year plan sponsors must ensure that their employee benefit plans meet compliance requirements as set forth by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  With 2012 rapidly drawing to a close, this is the time for employers to conduct year-end reviews to ensure that all qualified retirement plans are up-to-date and operating in compliance with applicable law.