Seminar  Seminar

ERISA Fiduciary Investment Basics 2014

Why you should attend

This course provides an introduction to the basics of ERISA fiduciary law using a case-study vehicle.  At this year’s program, you will learn about the principal issues in ERISA’s regulation of plan investments through a case study of a hypothetical plan asset hedge fund exploring entry in the plan marketplace and a plan investor considering such an alternative investment.   The program also will utilize a hypothetical fiduciary training session to provide an introduction to the core ERISA fiduciary issues applicable to  defined contribution plans. The final session on ethical considerations relating to ERISA plans adopts a similar interactive approach.

What you will learn

  • ERISA Basics: Terminology; Structure of ERISA and the Code; Fiduciary Standards; Prohibited Transactions and the Exemption Process; ERISA Liability
  • ERISA Landscape Fundamentals for Financial Institutions and Advisors
  • Financial Products and Prohibited Transaction Exemptions - Considerations and Sample Transactional Analysis
  • Through a mock fiduciary training session, the ERISA fundamentals applicable to 401(k) and other defined contribution plans
  • Checklist of ERISA Considerations in Making an Investment in Alternative Investments
  • Ethical Considerations for the ERISA Practitioner

Special Features

One full hour of Ethics!

Who should attend

Practitioners in the field (or who are considering entering the field) seeking a solid foundation in ERISA fiduciary investment rules, and to build on their level of expertise in the area, and to solidify their understanding of the regulatory framework.

9:00 The Launch - Establishing a Plan Asset Fund
  • What is the structure of the fund?
  • What does it mean to manage “plan assets” under ERISA and how do I know if my fund will be deemed to hold “plan assets”?
  • Is the fund manager an ERISA fiduciary and, if so, what are the consequences?
  • How does ERISA plan status affect hedge fund business operations, e.g. payment of fees to the fund manager, indicia of ownership requirements, ERISA bonding requirements?
Speakers: Michael J. Albano, Ira G. Bogner, Sarah Downie, Robert J. Raymond

10:45 Break

11:00 The Plan Perspective

Chief Investment Officer of a company whose responsibilities include supervising assets in that company’s Large Pension Plan is interested in possibly investing in the new fund and meets with outside counsel to discuss:

  • How would CIO’s responsibilities and the responsibilities of the Large Pension Plan’s “named fiduciary” differ in this context as compared to the non-plan asset fund context?
  • Special features of such an investment:
    • holding of plan assets abroad
    • impact of UBTI
    • the checklist of considerations in reviewing the offering documents
  • 5500 reporting and 408(b)(2) fee disclosure
Speakers: Alicia C. McCarthy, David C. Olstein, Jeffrey Ross

12:30 Break

12:45 Luncheon Presentation
Speakers: Melanie Franco Nussdorf, Ivan Strasfeld

1:45 Break

2:00 Understanding Basic Financial Institution Activities

Outside counsel begins to explore the basic financial institution transactions in which the fund will need to engage, with an emphasis on prime brokerage services and swaps, and the related ERISA concerns:

  • What is a prime broker?
  • What is a swap?
  • Parties in interest, prohibited transaction rules, and key exemptions
Speakers: Michael J. Albano, Erin K. Cho, Patrick S. Menasco, Suzzanne Yao

3:00 401(k) Plan Fiduciary Training

Through the process of a fiduciary training session, review the fundamental fiduciary considerations applicable to 401(k) and other plans with participant directed account investment:

  • What are the basic fiduciary responsibilities in the context of a 401(k) plan?
  • How does participant direction of account investment limit this fiduciary responsibility?
  • What are the key areas of possible fiduciary liability exposure?
Speakers: Shannon Barrett, Linda J. Haynes, Howard Pianko

4:00 Break

4:15 Ethics

Advising the Chief Investment Officer

  • Identifying the client: Chief Investment Officer vs. Chair of the Investment Committee for the Plan
  • Information Barriers
  • Exceptions to the attorney client privilege
  • Exemptive Relief Relied Upon Not Available: What should you do?
Speakers: Shannon Barrett, Glenn E. Butash, Howard Pianko

Program Attorney(s)
Grace E. O'Hanlon ~ Program Attorney, Practising Law Institute

New York City Seminar Location

PLI New York Center
, 1177 Avenue of the Americas, (2nd floor), entrance on 45th Street, New York, New York 10036. Message Center, program days only: (212) 824-5733.

New York City Hotel Accommodations

Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan, 1605 Broadway (at 48th Street), New York, NY 10019 (212) 977-4000. When calling, mention Practising Law Institute. You can also make reservations online to access PLI's rates.

The Muse, 130 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036.  Please call reservations at 1-800-546-7866. When calling, please mention Practising Law Institute.  You can also book online at

Millennium Broadway Hotel, 145 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036. Please call reservations at 1-800-622-5569.  When calling, please mention Practising Law Institute.  You can also book online at

Hyatt Times Square, 135 W. 45th Street, New York, NY 10036. For reservations, please call (646) 364-1234. When calling mention rate code CR56218 or Practising Law Institute.

PLI seminars qualify for credit in all states that require mandatory continuing legal education for attorneys. Please be sure to check with your state.

Please check the Credit Information box to the right of each product description for credit information specific to your state.

Special Note: In New York, newly admitted attorneys may receive CLE credit only for attendance at "transitional" programs during their first two years of admission to the Bar. Non-traditional course formats such as on-demand web programs or recorded items, are not acceptable for CLE credit. Experienced attorneys may choose to attend and receive CLE credit for either a transitional course or for one geared to experienced attorneys.  All product types, including on-demand web programs and recorded items, are approved for experienced attorneys.

Please Note: The State Bar of Arizona does not approve or accredit CLE activities for the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirement. PLI programs may qualify for credit based on the requirements outlined in the MCLE Regulations and Ariz. R. Sup. Ct. Rule 45.

If you have already received credit for attending some or the entire program, please be aware that state administrators do not permit you to accrue additional credit for repeat viewing even if an additional credit certificate is subsequently issued.

Credit will be granted only to the individual on record as the purchaser unless alternative arrangements (prearranged groupcast) are made in advance.

Item# 48381
Location:  New York, NY
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Seminar attendance includes course handbook and associated course materials. A downloadable course handbook will also be available several days prior to the program start for your review.