Employee Benefits/ERISA & Compliance Leader
Employee Benefits/ERISA & Compliance Professionals
Employee Benefits/ERISA & Compliance Areas of Practice
Employee Benefits/ERISA & Compliance Related Sectors & Services

Investment Counsel

Our Employee Benefits team advises pension and qualified retirement plans on the variety of state, federal, and applicable non-US securities laws and additional regulations, including anti-money laundering, pay-to-play, and Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) that impact these plans. We advise on ERISA, public pension, and trust law principles, as well as fiduciary duties under state and non-US law. Applying our knowledge of fund jurisdictional and organizational issues relevant to nontaxable investors, we advise clients regarding favorable investment tax structures, tax-efficient distributions, and other fund requirements.

Our clients rely on us to provide advice on the investment of plan assets in real estate, hedge funds, private equity funds, fixed income, and collective investment trusts. In the sphere of funds that may have ERISA sensitive investors, our work often involves addressing whether an alternative investment vehicle will constitute “plan assets” subject to the fiduciary and prohibited transaction rules.

We provide legal guidance on the unrelated business income tax (UBIT), review and negotiation of subscription agreements, limited partnership agreements, and other investment applications and instruments. We are prepared to provide recommendations of best practices regarding the application of investment-related policies and procedures, as well as advice regarding fund review checklists, side letters, self-certifications, and other relevant form documents and policies.

Our team negotiates and documents complex contracts with third parties, such as consultants, investment managers, brokers, and other vendors. We negotiate and prepare side letter agreements to confirm our clients’ agreement, addition, exclusion, or replacement of certain language in the investment documents. Moreover, we offer legal guidance and support to internal investment personnel on various investment matters and draft and/or review memorandums, legal opinions, and other investment and contractual documentation. Our goal is always to ensure that investment-related actions are consistent with the client’s fiduciary duties.

Also, we advise professional staff regarding compliance with relevant US federal securities laws that apply either to public market activities directly or to investments in private funds. We also counsel clients on compliance with non-US securities laws, rules, regulations, and guidelines, such as those published by the European Commission, the European Securities and Markets Authority, the Canadian Securities Administrators, and the Canadian provincial regulators.

To assist clients to enter into various types of derivative transactions, such as listed futures and options and over-the-counter options and forwards, we apply our skill in assisting and advising clients with negotiating industry-standard trading agreements using our knowledge of International Swaps and Derivatives Association(ISDA)-published information and materials. Based on our understanding of US-listed derivatives exchange and clearinghouse rules, policies, and procedures, and industry-standard over-the-counter clearing and settlement practices, our firm can provide derivatives regulatory advice to the client. Furthermore, we draw upon our knowledge of the Dodd-Frank Act and related Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and ISDA rules and protocols to ensure that the client maintains compliance.


With assistance from  Kristi Gauthier,  Ed Hammond, Peter Domas and Bishop Bartoni, Kevin Hendrick and Nicole Tersigni successfully defended an insurance priority dispute, resulting in an extremely favorable judgment for firm client, United States Steel Corporation’s ERISA-governed Retiree Benefits Plan.  U. S. Steel Retirement Plan was joined as a third-party defendant in a pending dispute by a No-Fault Automobile Insurance carrier,  which had been sued by a healthcare service provider for unpaid patient attendant care fees.  The No-Fault Carrier claimed that the obligation to pay for these services under Michigan No-Fault law  fell to U. S. Steel Retirement Plan, which covered the patient (who was a former U. S. Steel employee).  Ed, Bishop, Kristi and Peter lent their expertise to Kevin and Nicole in interpreting alleged conflicting insurance priority provisions and explanations of benefits.  Kevin and Nicole crafted a legal argument that ultimately led to summary disposition in favor of U.S. Steel Plan, and against the No-Fault carrier, saving U.S. Steel Plan from payment of the healthcare fees, and also reimbursing U.S. Steel Plan for benefits it had earlier paid by mistake, out of priority.  As the No-Fault carrier had rejected the Case Evaluation award prior to the filing of cross motions for summary disposition, it also appears that attorney  fees are recoverable for our client.  Kristi and Ed on Employee Benefit law, Bishop on Michigan No-Fault law, and Pete on Health Care issues, proved to be unbeatable resources.

Newsletter Alerts
IRS Temporarily Relaxes Section 125 Cafeteria Plan Election Change and “Use It or Lose It” Rules in Response to COVID-19 PandemicCARES Act Permits Emergency Access to Retirement Funds for Employees Affected by COVID-19 Through Relaxed Participant Distributions and LoansIRS: High-Deductible Health Plans Can Cover COVID-19 Screening2020 Benefits LimitsIRS 2019 Required Amendments List Requires Individually Designed 401(k) and 403(b) Plans to be Amended by Dec. 31, 2021, for Hardship Distribution ChangesImportant Employer Considerations With Respect to Health Plan Opt-Out BenefitsIRS Adopts Final Regulations With Required and Optional Changes to Hardship Distribution Rules for 401(k) and 403(b) PlansDepartment of Labor Issues Final Association Retirement Plans RuleFederal District Court Rejects Trump Administration’s Proposal for Association Health Plans 2019 Benefits Limits and Recent Changes to 401(k) and Other Qualified Retirement PlansAffordable Care Act Held Unconstitutional – What’s Next?President Trump Announces Association Retirement Plans; DOL Publishes New ACA Notices2018 Benefits LimitsSupreme Court Unanimously Extends the "Church Plan" ERISA Exemption to Plans Originally Established by Non-Church AffiliatesDOL Extends Fiduciary Rule Effective Date for 60 DaysPresident Issues Executive Order Addressing Affordable Care Act RepealSome Small Employers May Reimburse Employees' Premium and Other Uninsured Medical ExpensesIRS Offers A Short Extension For Certain ACA ReportsIRS Taketh and Giveth: Plan Determination Letter Program Scaled Back, Remedial Amendment Period Extended“They’re Here!” – Department of Labor Issues Final ERISA Fiduciary and Conflict of Interest Regulations
Clark Hill PLC Receives National and Regional Rankings in the 2021 Edition of Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2021 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorneys Named to 2020 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars List Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2020 “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USAClark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2020 Top Lawyers ListClark Hill Lawyers Named 2020 Leading LawyersBrad Oxford to Present Webinar on Retirement Plan Audits on October 1, 2019Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2019 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising StarsClark Hill Attorneys Named 2019 “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USAClark Hill PLC Receives National and Regional Tier 1 Rankings in the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms” Sixty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2018 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars143 Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorneys Named 2018 “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USASixty-Seven Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2018 Leading LawyersClark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2018 Top Lawyers ListClark Hill PLC Receives National and Regional Tier 1 Rankings in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms”Sixty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2017 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising StarsSeventy-Four Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorneys Named 2017 “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USATwenty-Eight Clark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2017 Top Lawyers ListClark Hill PLC Receives National Rankings in the 2017 Edition of U.S. News-Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms”Sixty Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2016 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising StarsSixty-Four Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2017 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorneys to Present During the 2016 MCMCFC Spring Management Conference & Trade ShowClark Hill Attorneys Named 2016 “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USATwenty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Named to Pennsylvania Super Lawyers & Rising Stars 2016 List