Proskauer held its annual ERISAFEST conference on Thursday, April 26, bringing together over 200 legal counsel, plan fiduciaries and professionals involved in the administration of employee benefit plans to discuss recent developments and legal issues in the area of employee benefits.

We were pleased to host a special lunch panel featuring Aliya Wong from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Jim Klein from the American Benefits Council, and Will Hansen from the ERISA Industry Committee for a discussion on hot topics and trends in employee benefits.

Key highlights from each session:

Fiduciary Litigation Update

Stacey Cerrone and Seth Safra provided a litigation update on 401(k) plans and 403(b) plans. They also discussed the latest trend of recordkeepers for large 401(k) plans defending litigation over investment advice provided by the Financial Engines investment advice algorithm – commonly referred to as “robo-advice.”

The Impact of Tax Reform on Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits

Andrea Rattner and Steven Einhorn addressed the noteworthy tax reform changes affecting compensation and benefits, including the deduction limit on compensation above $1 million and executive compensation paid by tax-exempt organizations. They also discussed the impact on qualified equity grants for non-public companies, qualified retirement plans and fringe benefits.

Health and Welfare Benefit Update

Damian Myers and Katrina McCann explained the recent health care legislation, employer mandate assessments, regulatory developments and recent healthcare litigation. They also discussed the change to HSA contribution limits, regulations related to wellness programs and the new disability claims rules.

Current Issues in Plan Investments

Ira Bogner and Adam Scoll gave an overview of the Fiduciary Rule. They also reviewed outsourcing fiduciary responsibilities to an OCIO and the retention process.

Legislative Update for Multiemployer Pension Plans

Anthony Cacace and Justin Alex discussed pending problems faced by multiemployer pension plans and gave a legislative status update. They walked attendees through the main proposals and their potential impact on multiemployer plans.

Surviving a DOL Audit

Russell Hirschhorn, Neal Schelberg and Joe Clark provided practical tips when preparing for and undergoing a DOL investigation of an employee benefit plan.

Pictured from left: Russell Hirschhorn, Joe Clark and Neal Schelberg

Severance Plan Pitfalls

Robert Projansky, Myron Rumeld and Elizabeth Down walked the attendees through several hypothetical scenarios, including addressing when a program is considered an ERISA plan and how to handle severance claims and appeals.

Ethics in ERISA

Paul Hamburger and Deidre Grossman led a discussion on legal ethics focusing on the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege.

For more information on the topics covered, please contact any of the Proskauer event speakers.