Regulatory Compliance Association Reviews

ERISA Regulation™

Practice Edge 02

ERISA Regulation™

Date: March 3, 2015
General Session: 12 Noon to 1:30 PM
Location: Webcast (Free)

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The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) comprehensively regulates private US employee benefit plans. ERISA’s reach extends not only to the design and terms of the plans, but to the fiduciary conduct of those managing the plans and their assets. There is a significant concentration of investment capital in employee benefit plans, including ERISA plans. ERISA’s rules may have a significant impact both on those managing the assets of the plans and on those transacting business or otherwise dealing with the plans, and liability can be extensive in the case of an ERISA violation.

In addition, ERISA provides rules for determining when an entity holds “plan assets,” with the result that those managing an investment fund could be ERISA fiduciaries, merely because of investment in the fund by ERISA plans. The application of ERISA to a “plan assets” fund can raise issues for the fund sponsor (and its personnel) and for those dealing with the fund. These issues take on increased significance given the trend towards collective investment, combined with an ever-growing appetite on the part of managers to have ERISA plans as clients and investors.

This course will give an overview of ERISA’s evolving role for fund sponsors, ERISA’s basic fiduciary rules, the “prohibited transaction” rules under ERISA, and the potential liabilities for those who act as counterparties to ERISA plans. The course will then cover how a fund might be deemed to hold “plan assets,” and the special compliance challenges that may arise in such a case. The course will also touch upon a number of recent regulatory and judicial developments and other current issues that have arisen under ERISA. The goal is that, at the conclusion of the course, there will be a sense for the importance and complexity of this increasingly important area.

 Students should leave this class session with a solid introduction to ERISA’s fiduciary rules and their relevance to investment management, with a broad overview of ERISA’s basic fiduciary principles, including:

• Context for why money managers should be familiar with ERISA, if their investors are or may be retirement plans or other employee benefit plans subject to ERISA

• Ability to identify plan fiduciaries, and describe ERISA’s general prudence and other fiduciary rules

• Recognition of related-party and self- dealing prohibited transactions, possible statutory and administrative exemptions from the rules governing prohibited transactions, and the liabilities and other taxes, penalties, and other risks that may arise in the event of a non-exempt prohibited transaction

• Defining “plan assets” so that a manager may identify when it is managing or facing (as the case may be) assets subject to ERISA’s comprehensive regulatory scheme

• Addressing other rules under ERISA, including those relating to custody, bonding, and reporting

• Being familiar with recent regulatory and judicial developments and other current issues arising under ERISA

Session Chairman:
Walter Zebrowski, JD, CPA, Principal, Hedgemony Partners
Chairman, Regulatory Compliance Association

Senior Fellow from Practice:
Andrew L. Oringer, JD, Partner, Dechert

Guest Lecturers:
Peter E. Haller, JD, CPA, Partner|Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits,
Willkie Farr & Gallagher
Steven W. Rabitz, JD, LL.M, Partner, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan
William E. Ryan III., JD, LL.M, Managing Director & Chief Fiduciary Officer, Evercore Trust
John W. Schuch, JD, Director & Assistant General Counsel, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch
Alan S. Wilmit, JD, Managing Director & Associate General Counsel,
Legal Director|ERISA & Benefits, Goldman Sachs