Defined benefit pension funds are a significant focus of Watkins, Pawlick, Calati & Prifti's overall practice. Our employee benefit fund attorneys provide legal advice and guidance for all aspects impacting our pension fund clients. From plan drafting and general compliance matters to all aspects of individual participant and beneficiary claims.
With the interests of participants in mind, we provide guidance along with our client’s actuaries that is intended to meet fiduciary and technical obligations and ultimately set the fund on a course of improvement and reduce withdrawal liability. The passage of the Pension Protection Act and the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act, as well as ongoing talks to continue to address multiemployer pension funding issues, have made a number of significant changes in the law. We stay on top of the latest developments and stand ready to provide advice on improving funding that is specific to the circumstances of each client. We have expansive experience working on funding improvement plans, rehabilitation plans and general funding policies.
As the world of investment options continues to grow, we work with our client’s investment consultants to protect their interests and ensure our clients meet their fiduciary obligations and understand the role each new investment plays in their overall portfolio. We have reviewed various types of investment vehicles and negotiate investment management agreements and side letters that address the unique concerns of each investment and the general tax and ERISA requirements our pension fund clients face.
While we do our best to steer our clients away from disputes, we have successfully resolved benefit claims as well as DOL and IRS investigations. That work starts well before the dispute or investigation arises through our making sure that the right process and procedures are in place and followed, with exceptions documented and explained. We do this when contracts are prepared, when investments are made, when plan documents are drafted, when service providers are engaged, when participant claims and appeals are handled, and when other decisions are made. The key to laying a strong foundation to stand against future questions is following a prudent process.
In addition, we provide benchmarking information based on publicly available Form 5500 data to allow our clients to compare themselves and their service providers to their peers.
We stay in touch with our national peers to learn of developing trends in enforcement and other matters. This further expands the knowledge base of our team to directly benefit our clients.
For more information about our pension fund practice, we welcome you to contact WPCP.